(How high did BA rank Mr. Williams? Courtesy of Roger Peterson/MiLB.com)
You know it's officially the baseball offseason when the major publications start putting their top prospects lists out, and Baseball America is always one of the most anticipated lists. This list isn't supposed to be officially released until Friday, but luckily for us Josh Norris, Mr. Everything Trenton Thunder, was able to get the advanced scoop on Baseball America's top 10 Yankee prospects list for 2012-2013 and was gracious enough to tweet it out this past weekend in order to get the always-fun prospect debates going nice and early. After the jump, check out BA's top 10 and my quick takes.
Baseball America's Top 10 Yankee Prospects
1) Mason Williams
2) Slade Heathcott
3) Gary Sanchez
4) Tyler Austin
5) Jose Campos
6) Brett Marshall
7) Angelo Gumbs
8) Manny Banuelos
9) Ty Hensley
10) Rafael DePaula
- I have no problem with Mason Williams at #1, but I think BA went a little overboard on his tools ratings. According to Norris, they rated him 60 Batting, 60 Power, 70 Defense, 70 Speed, 50 Arm on the 20-80 scale. The speed and the defense I'll buy, but the batting and the power are a little too high for me based on what we've seen from Williams in A-ball. Let's not annoint the kid the next Griffey just yet.
- Heathcott at number 2 over Sanchez and Austin surprises me, if for no other reason than we haven't seen him be able to stay healthy since he was drafted. The tools are all there, no doubt, but I've read a couple reports that his shoulder still seems to bother him on some swings. Heathcott is an easy top 10 pick after his comeback season this year, but #2 is a little aggressive.
- Brett Marshall at 6 is also a little aggressive given what he did this year. I have to think BA is putting more weight in his strong second half in Double-A, but with that happening after a lot of players had been promoted I'm going to need to see Marshall keep the K rate up when he makes the jump to Triple-A to be convinced.
- No pick bothers me more than Gumbs in the top 10. I know a lot of people like the tools, and he does have plenty of them, but I just don't see what he's done to deserve a top 10 ranking in his young Yankee career. He hasn't shown any kind of elite hitting tool, his defense is still suspect, and he can't stay healthy. Top 20? Sure. Top 10? Not in my book.
- ManBan and Hensley are an interesting pairing at 8-9. It's fair to knock ManBan down for another shaky season before the elbow injury, but with him still being just 21 I think he deserves to maintain a top 5 spot. Hensley was impressive in his short GCL debut, and a case can certainly be made for him as a top 10 player given his combination of plus stuff, big frame, and youth.
- DePaula at 10 is another head-scratcher for me. Once again, I recognize that the talent is there, and DePaula has all the tools to be a top-flight starter. But we still haven't seen him pitch in the US or in a full-season league. It's hard for me to give him such a high ranking based on numbers in the DSL, which is basically a step above HS in terms of competitive skill. If he can come over and do it in a full-season A-ball league, I'll be impressed.
There's one top 10 list down and plenty more to follow this offseason. One of those will be the 2nd edition of the AB4AR Top 30, and we're about 2 months away from that so mark your calendars.