Thursday, January 30, 2014

AB4AR's Top 5 Prospect Tools: Speed

(Courtesy of

Speed kills.  Everybody knows that.  Everybody also knows that the Yankees, year to year, aren't always the fleetest of foot on the basepaths.  They've been better in recent years than they were in the mid-2000s, but with Derek Jeter getting older, Brett Gardner possibly gone via free agency after this season, and Curtis Granderson playing for the little brother across town, the collective speed threat in their lineup could be better.  Luckily there are more than a few prospects in the system with a plus speed tool.  None of them are Billy Hamilton-esque warpaths running the bases, but they've got enough giddy-up to be major base-stealing threats in the future.

2013-2014 AB4AR Top 30 Prospects: 20-11

(Courtesy of

10 down, 20 to go.  Yesterday marked the first official installment of the 2013-2014 AB4AR Top 30 and it was a wide range of players.  From high-level guys who were relative unknowns just a year ago to low-level guys for whom the sky is the proverbial limit, there was a little bit of everything in the bottom third.  Today we move into the middle third of the rankings and as you'd expect everything is a little better in this group.  There's still a nice mix of new faces and holdovers from last year, but the new faces are ones that put up big numbers to earn their spot and, in some cases, did it at higher levels than rookie ball.  The familiar faces all experienced some kind of leveling out of their production in 2013, but not enough to totally wash away their prospect status.  After the jump, dive right in to the middle third of this year's Top 30.

Handicapping The Non-Roster Spring Training Invitees

(Steinbrenner Field.  Site of the only Yankee game action a lot of these players will see in 2014)

(Originally published at IIATMS/TYA)

The Yankees announced their list of non-roster invites to spring camp yesterday, 26 in all.  As expected, all the recent MiL signings received an invite and an opportunity to compete for one of the last spots on the Opening Day roster.  There's also a decent-sized contingent of non 40-man prospects who got the nod, although one glaring omission was utility man Ronnier Mustelier.  Mustelier seemed like a lock to get invited again considering the need the Yankees have for right-handed power and a third base platoon partner for Kelly Johnson, but for whatever reason they decided to proceed without him.

While all of these 26 players technically have a non-zero chance of making the Opening Day roster, the reality is that only a few of them have an actual chance and the rest are just there to fill out workout groups and early spring split squad games.  Being the kind-hearted, generous blogger that I am, I took the liberty of creating this helpful handicap breakdown of the non-roster guys so everybody knows who to focus on when ST starts and who they can ignore.

Yanks Put 3 In Keith Law's Top 100 Prospects

Continuing his efforts to upstage AB4AR Prospect Week 2014, Keith Law released his list of Top 100 Prospects on yesterday.  As was the case with the organizational rankings, the posts are Insider-only but the important thing for Yankees fans is the inclusion of 3 of their own on the list.  Gary Sanchez came in at 68 (down from 18th last year), Tyler Austin at 85 (down from 52nd), and Mason Williams at 87 (down from 35).

Austin staying on the list was a bit of a surprise.  He's taken a big fall on most other rankings after his down year but Law is still high on his overall hitting makeup.  Law also gave another positive review of Sanchez's defense, and stated that he still believed Sanchez could be an MVP-caliber player if he puts it together at the plate and maximizes his power potential.  For a team that came within 1 spot of being in the bottom third of the overall org ranks, it was nice to see 3 players make this list.