Monday, February 4, 2013

Keith Law Ranks Yankee Farm System 10th In MLB

As the hot stove season continues to wind down, prospect season continues to heat up with the release of the latest organizational MiL rankings, this one from Keith Law of ESPN (Insider Only).  Law saw the Yankee system as the 10th best in baseball, right in line with previous rankings (Baseball America 11th, John Sickels 14th) and right within the 10-15 window that has become the general expected range in which the Yankee system falls.

(** Broken record warning **) Like the other previous organizational rankings, Law saw the Yankees' crop of A-ball hitters as their greatest strength, saying that group "could produce as many as three above-average or better regulars plus several other guys who'll have big league value."  I think the Yankees would absolutely kill to have that prediction play out over the next couple years, as it would give them the opportunity both to plug roster holes internally and control costs and package guys together in trades.

Law also followed the trend of rating the Yankees down for their lack of high-impact pitching prospects, and stated he would have ranked them higher had ManBan and Jose Campos not gotten hurt in 2012.  It's worth pointing out that Law opened this post by commenting on his perceived lack of high-impact players and depth across MLB, calling it "fewer than in any of the previous years in which I've gone through this exercise."  Seeing as how the Yankees already have strong depth, more draft picks coming, and a few guys who could make the leap to high-level status, that could bode well for their ranking under Law's criteria next year.

** Shameless self-promotion- If you haven't already, now would be a great time to check out the 2012-2013 AB4AR Top 30.  It's easily the best prospect ranking post I've done all year. **

The Search For Right-Handed Hitting Outfielders Continues

When you've got a stockpile of talent that includes Matt Diaz, Juan Rivera, Melky Mesa, and Ronnier Mustelier, it goes without saying that you would still be in the market for an upgrade if there was one to be had.  Cash came right out and said that in a recent radio interview with Jim Bowden of ESPN, confirming to Bowden that he would still like to add another righty OF before the start of Spring Training.

The signing of Rivera last Monday did a little to boost the overall depth of the group competing for a roster spot this spring, and added some much-needed Major League experience, but his ceiling as a mid-30s player is pretty low.  The Yanks had to DFA Russ Canzler, a somewhat intriguing bench possibility, late last week to clear a spot on the 40-man for Travis Hafner, and they will be crossing their fingers hoping he makes it through waivers.

Mesa and Mustelier offer some upside, albeit limited upside due to their "high for a prospect" age, so it's certainly in the Yankees' best interests to see what else is out there.  The problem is that what's out there ain't much better than they've already got.  The remaining Major League guys are all lefties, some of them guys the Yankees have had before (Damon, Abreu), and the MiL FA crop is made up of lower-ceiling players than who the Yankees already signed.  I applaud the effort on Cash's part to dig out another diamond in the rough, but I'd be shocked if he found anything of value at this stage of the offseason game.