If you weren't aware that MLB.com released its first Top 100 Prospects list yesterday, then I feel bad for you. I don't feel bad for the Yankees, though, as they managed to put 4 players on the list, and solidly on the list I might add, as all 4 were inside the top 75. Here's what MLB.com had to say about the 4 Yankee selections and my quick take on their takes.
- Manny Banuelos: 13th- "Once he throws more strikes, he has the chance to be an electric starter who can be a No. 2 or 3 starter."
My Take: Banuelos didn't take a huge knock for his command issues last season thanks to his track record and the fact that he's a LEFT-handed starter with nasty stuff. It's certainly possible, but I think pegging ManBan as a potential 3rd starter at the Major League level is selling him short a bit, especially when the word "electric" was used to describe him previously in the same sentence.
- Dellin Betances: 41st- "His command took a step backward in 2011, and he’ll need to harness his stuff a bit better to have long-term success."
My Take: It's a simple statement, but it's true and it rings truer to Betances than any other Yankee pitching prospect. Command has always been the name of the game with Betances. Another year without it and he could tumble down a lot of people's prospects lists, including this one.
- Gary Sanchez: 53rd- "As long as the defense improves, he can be a bat-first big league backstop, catching every day and hitting in the middle of a lineup."
My Take: For as long as Jesus was in the Yankee system working on his defense, he graduated from Triple-A still having his ability to catch every day questioned. For Sanchez to already have scouts saying he can do it every day with some improvement when his defensive game is so raw and he's still in A-ball is a very good thing.
- Mason Williams: 73rd- "A left-handed hitter who can hit for average and should mature into more power, he has a better idea in terms of an approach than many hitters his age."
My Take: Advanced speed and natural athleticism is one thing. But to also possess an advanced skill so important to being a great hitter at a young age is even better, and Williams seems to have that with his approach. The more that matures and evolves as he advances through the system, the higher his ceiling will become.