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Thread: Newsday- "Yankees Future more than just arms"

  1. #1

    Newsday- "Yankees Future more than just arms"
    Yankees Future more than just arms

    Yankees prospect outfielder Austin Jackson waits to take batting practice before the team's
    spring training game against the Phillies Saturday.

    March 1, 2008

    The Yankees prospects who have gotten the most attention and acclaim the past couple of years have been their pitchers, particularly Joba Chamberlain, Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy. But they have some position players on the way, too. Here are five prospects to watch, including four position players.

    Jose Tabata

    The Yankees have had several top players from the Dominican Republic in recent years, but lately are making more noise with Venezuelan prospects. One of the most exciting of that bunch is rightfielder Tabata. The 19-year-old has a .305 average in two-plus seasons in the minor leagues, and the Yankees think the power should show up soon.

    "I got a lot of experience last year," Tabata said. "I've been working hard on my swing. For me, it's really great to be here [at big league spring training]. I want to get to the major leagues as soon as possible."

    General manager Brian Cashman, who is keeping a close eye on Tabata, said: "He and Austin Jackson are potential middle-of-the-lineup power impact bats."

    Tabata was given a locker next to Derek Jeter this spring training. He said fellow rightfielder Bobby Abreu and Robinson Cano have been especially helpful in offering advice. As much as Tabata respects Abreu's career, though, he said he tries to look at another rightfielder as a model.

    "I never saw him play, but the player I most admire is Roberto Clemente," Tabata said. "The way he carried himself and the things he did on and off the field."

    One of Tabata's top skills is one that Clemente remains famous for: a terrific arm. Clemente may be remembered as much for his community work as his Hall of Fame play, though, which is why Tabata has a portrait of Clemente on his wall and has read several books about him.

    Jesus Montero

    The youngest player invited to the Yankees' major league spring training, Montero turned 18 in November. The Venezuelan native has drawn the notice of manager Joe Girardi, who has commented on the catcher several times and even poked at Jorge Posada by pointing out that Montero is half Posada's age.

    Montero, who hit an opposite-field home run off the Phillies' Vic Darensbourg Saturday, is listed at 6-4 and 225 pounds, and already puts on impressive power displays in the batting cage.

    "I feel very grateful that they brought me to big-league camp," Montero said. "I'm working hard to get better at everything, but especially behind the plate."

    Montero hit .280 with three homers and 19 RBIs in 33 games for the Gulf Coast League Yankees in his debut season last year. He was one of the youngest players to compete for Magellanes in the Venezuelan Winter League. Montero signed for about $2 million out of Venezuela in 2006 and has a younger brother, Jesus Rafael Montero, who is a catcher in the Cardinals' system.

    Said Posada: "He's got a lot of tools. I thought he was older, that's how good he is."

    Hitting coach Kevin Long said: "He's got a big, powerful stroke. He's a very talented individual who has a huge, huge upside."

    Baseball America rated Montero the Yankees' top power-hitting prospect this winter. The Yankees also think highly of Venezuelan-born catcher Francisco Cervelli, who will turn 22 this week. Cashman said Cervelli could be an everyday player.

    Jeffrey Marquez

    While Chamberlain, Hughes and Kennedy got most of the attention from Friday's game against the University of South Florida, the first player Cashman commented on was Marquez. The 23-year-old right-hander could well be the next starter to get a major-league look for the Yankees.

    "He's a strike-thrower, he's got plus stuff, he works fast and he gets ground-ball outs," Cashman said.

    Marquez spent the 2007 season at Double-A Trenton, where he was 15-9 with a 3.65 ERA in 27 starts. He's well aware that guys he was drafted with (Hughes) and played with (Kennedy, Chamberlain, Chase Wright) have seen big-league action.

    "It's definitely awesome that's happening," Marquez said. "If I get the opportunity, I want to make sure I'm ready."

    To ensure that happens, Marquez has been concentrating on throwing first-pitch strikes.

    Pitching coach Dave Eiland is impressed, saying he expects to see Marquez "next year for sure, but it wouldn't surprise me if he comes up this year at some point. The stuff that he has, his pitchability."

    Austin Jackson

    Although Jackson likely is a year or two away from contending for a big-league position, the Yankees are psyched about the 21-year-old outfielder. He is widely ranked as one of their top prospects (Baseball America lists him behind only Chamberlain) and he is touted for both his offense and his defense.

    Jackson made big leaps forward last year, a year in which he was named the team's top minor-league position player. He hit .260 with three homers, 25 RBIs and 33 runs scored in 60 games at low Class A Charleston. Then at high Class A Tampa, he batted .345 with 10 home runs, 34 RBIs and 53 runs in 67 games. He stole a total of 33 bases.

    "I think Austin Jackson has the chance to eclipse all of them," Cashman said of his young outfielders. "Nothing against Melky or Brett Gardner, but he and Tabata, those two guys are the highest-ceiling guys."

    The athleticism Jackson displays has long been evident. He was a top basketball player at Denton Ryan (Texas) High School and signed for well above eighth-round slot money to pass up his basketball scholarship to Georgia Tech.

    In Saturday's 9-3 win over the Phillies, Jackson made a terrific catch of a low line drive hit by Mike Cervenak. After the game, Reggie Jackson called him the "best athlete in the organization."

    Said Austin Jackson: "That's coming from one of the best players in baseball, so when you hear that, your hard work is starting to pay off."

    Brett Gardner

    Although Tabata and Jackson have "higher ceilings," Gardner is the outfield prospect knocking on the door of the big leagues. He's a speed demon who was rated the eighth-best prospect in the organization by Baseball America.

    "I just want to come in and show them that I'm ready to play at the major-league level," Gardner said.

    Cashman said: "We believe he could become a Juan Pierre who walks."

    Gardner split time last year between Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He hit .300 with 17 RBIs, 43 runs scored and 18 steals in 54 games at Trenton and hit .260 with nine RBIs, 37 runs and 21 steals in 45 games for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

    "My job is to get on base and make things happen," Gardner said.

    Last year, Gardner said he worked on his stance and trying to be more open at the plate. Hitting is the area in which he needs to show the Yankees he is ready for the next level. He's already solid defensively.

    Said Girardi: "He can really run down some balls in the outfield."
    Good write up, but Horne and Melancon get no love!
    Last edited by Tyler Durden; 03-02-2008 at 11:59 PM.

  2. #2
    Marquez is a potential 5th starter, that's all.I'll believe the Tabata hype when he actually does show some power.In the meantime he's Rickey Ledee.

    Yankees signed 2 big HITTERS last season that are getting rave reviews.

    1. Brad Suttle, 3b (National rank: 34) BAts L & R
    School: Texas. Class: So.
    Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 213. Birthdate: 1/24/86. Scouting Report: There's a debate among scouts about who's better, Suttle or his Longhorns teammate, Kyle Russell. Suttle doesn't have Russell's power ceiling, but he's a better bet to hit in the major leagues. He's a pure hitter and switch-hitter to boot, with scouts preferring his stroke from the left side. He has a strong 6-foot-2, 213-pound frame, though his inside-out swing doesn't have much lift and somewhat limits his power. He drives more balls into the gaps than over the fence. He has a strong arm (clocked up to 92 mph when he was a high school pitcher) and soft hands.

    2. Brandon Laird 6'1 205- 3b Bats Right
    Pro Debut
    Laird was sent to the Rookie level GCL Yanks after signing, and continued to do nothing but mash. He hit .339-.367-.577 with 14 doubles, 1 triple and 8 homers. He finished fifth in the league in batting average and second in slugging percentage. He also took part in Fall Instructional League, and wowed onlookers during the league homerun derby.

    Lairdís best tool is the one that makes guys the most money. He has game changing power to all fields, and makes consistent hard contact against both righties and lefties. Heís adept at identifying breaking balls, and doesnít have any glaring holes in his swing. His plate discipline is good but not outstanding; heíll take his walks when they come. Laird can flat out rake and he knows it.

    His only other plus tool is his arm, which is strong but not particularly accurate yet. Heís also got good bloodlines obviously,His brother is the catcher for the Astros and there arenít any makeup or work ethic questions.

    2008 Outlook
    Laird is a candidate to start the season in Extended Spring Training to continue working on his defense, but his bat is full-season ready. If he doesnít go the Extended Spring followed by Short Season Staten Island route, heíll head to Low-A Charleston and may have to DH in deference to Bradley Suttle. He just turned 20, so heís not much older than a typical high school draft pick.

    My Take
    Laird is an intriguing guy, but heíd be even more intriguing - and more dangerous - if he batted lefty. Lairdís bat is going to determine how far he goes, and luck for him heís got quite the hit tool. When it comes to 27th round draft picks, Laird is as good as it gets.

  3. #3
    1. Jose Tabata: Recovering from wrist surgery. Career .305 hitter power numbers were down because of bad wrist. Great tools and potential star material.

    2. Jesus Montero: 17 year old catching prospect. Big strides in his rookie year. Plus power and has game changing potential with the bat.

    3. Austin Jackson: Great athletic ability. Plenty of tools and high ceiling. Good power potential with speed. Currently playing in Hawaii.

    4. Dellin Betances: 3 plus pitches and good size. Needs work on his defense. Has ML ace potential.

    5. Alan Horne: Biggest improvement in 07. AA pitcher of year at Trenton. Power fastball and big improvement in his changeup. Could be starter or reliever in future. Should start at AAA SWB.

    6. Humberto Sanchez: Recovering from TJ surgery will be at spring training could be available to pitch in NY later in the year depending on progress. Power fastball. Could start or setup or close. Great potential.

    7. Mark Melancon: Back from TJ surgery. Expected to be this years version of Joba and be up in NY the 2nd half of 08. Great mental toughnes and power arm to go with it. Great potential in the bullpen.

    8. Christian Garcia: Great pure stuff arguably as better than Hughes. Has had knee surgery and TJ surgery. Could start pitching by June.

    9. Jairo Heredia: Called Pedro Martinez Jr. Plus command of 3 ML pitches. Great competitive nature.

    10. Francisco Cervelli: Plus defensive catcher. Gives good at bats. Has to work on offense.

    11. Brett Gardner: Great speed on the basepaths and exciting. Very good outfielder. Good hitter but needs to hit more for average. Leadoff candidate or bench depending on his offense.

    12 Jeff Marquez: Led Yanks minors with 15 wins at AA last seaon. Plus fastball, plus change. Potential plus curve. Works quickly, innings eater.

    13. Juan Miranda: Power to all fields. Defensive is improving still needs some work. Great potential. Favorably being compared to Carlos Delgado.

    14. Daniel McCutcheon: 14-4 between Single A and AA this year. 3 plus pitchs. Fastball can top out at 96. Could start or relieve.

    15. Ivan Nova: 3 plus pitches. 93 mph fastball. Raw but has the stuff to advance quickly.

    16. Austin Romine: 2nd round pick this year. Catcher out of high school. Great talent, lacks experience. Plus defender, strong accurate arm and great opposite field power.

    17. Carmen Angellini: 10th round pick this year. Shortstop. Plus arm and range. Patient hitter. Needs more size and strength.

    18. Abraham Almonte: Speed and power. Moved from 2nd to CF and his offense took off. Some see comparisions to Jose Reyes.

    19. Brad Suttle: drafted this year. 3rd baseman. Expected to hit for average and power. Needs experience.

    20. Colin Curtis: Patient hitter and had good at bats at AA Trenton.

    21. Eric Duncan: Yanks showing patience with 22 year old former 1st round pick. Playing 1st last 2 seasons. Has had injuries and needs to hit. Hasn't hit above .250 last 3 years.

    22. Brandon Laird: Very good bat potential. Needs work on defense.

    23. Damon Sublett: Strong arm, solid defense. Hit. 326 this year. Needs to hit to all fields.

    24. Mitch Hiligoss: Very good ML hit potential. Had 38 game hit streak. Beig strides defensively. Not much power, but good for average.

    25. George Kontos: Plus fastball, slider. Developing curve & change. At. Hawaii right now and recently struck out 11 in 5 innings.

    26. Steven White, 27. Ryan Pope, 28. J. Brent Cox 29. Ferdin

    Tejada, 30. Marcos Vechionacci.[/size]


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