Monday, June 17, 2013

Previewing The Short Season Leagues: Staten Island

The short season leagues kick off this week in the Minors, bringing the Yankee farm system up to full song for the 2013 season.  In case you missed it, Stacey Gotsulias took a trip to Media Day for the Staten Island Yankees and got to talk to some of their coaches about the upcoming season and I highly recommend you check that out as a way to get up to speed on what's in store for that club this year.  After the jump, there's a quick primer on what and who you should be looking at on the field.

The crown jewel of this year's season-opening roster is Jordan Cote.  He's a big 20-year-old pitcher with a very high ceiling who came in at #23 on this year's AB4AR Top 30.  He made a few appearances last year before an elbow injury ended his season early, but he should be at full strength to start this season and should use 2013 as his first real step up the prospect ladder.  His combination of stuff, frame, and youth makes him a possibly top-flight pitching prospect and he'll likely be the de facto ace of the staff.  2013 5th round pick David Palladino highlights the relief pitchers.

2011 4th round pick Matthew Duran and catcher Isaias Tejada headline the returning position players, although both have serious questions surrounding their ceiling as upper-level prospects.  Tejada is still relatively young at age 21 but is repeating this level again and has a lot of catching depth ahead of him.  His inconsistency with the bat last year took a lot of shine of his prospect status.  Duran hit well in the GCL last year before a promotion to SI and he needs to show he can hit for power to maintain any kind of legit prospect status.

The more exciting positional prospects are the new guys.  2013 draft signees John Murphy, Michael O'Neill, and Brandon Thomas have all been assigned to start here and all 3 can be looked at as potentially fast movers as college players.  O'Neill and Thomas are the 2 most intriguing players of the group and if they prove to be as advanced for this level as they should be they won't be around very long.

As the season progresses there should be a few more recognizable names that get bumped up to Staten Island, namely last year's 2nd-rounder Austin Aune.  I haven't read much on what the Yanks are planning to do with him as far as position, but if he hits in the GCL again there's no reason not to move him up.  Other 2013 draft picks like Gosuke Katoh, Tyler Wade, and Kendall Coleman could also get their start here, as could higher-profile guys like Eric Jagielo, Aaron Judge, and the recently-signed Ian Clarkin if the Yankees decide to take the patient approach with them.

There's always a lot of turnover at this level and this year should be no different.  SS Staten Island, regardless of their record, shouldn't have a shortage of potential talent at any time.

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