Monday, December 9, 2013

Baseball America Releases Its 2013 Top 10 Yankee Prospects List

You know it's getting close to prospect season when the end-of-year top prospect lists come out.  Today marked the first significant step in the beginning of that process as Baseball America unveiled its top 10 Yankee prospects for 2013.Without further ado, here it is:

1) Gary Sanchez
2) Slade Heathcott
3) Mason Williams
4) J.R. Murphy
5) Eric Jagielo
6) Aaron Judge
7) Ian Clarkin
8) Greg Bird
9) Luis Severino
10) Gosuke Katoh

My thoughts after the jump.

The Winter Meetings Are Here, What Will The Yankees Do Next?

(Originally published at IIATMS/TYA)

What the Yankees have done over the last 2 weeks would be an otherworldly haul to pull from the Winter Meetings.  By spending a shade over $300 million, they've added an elite starting catcher, an elite center fielder, a well above-average right fielder, a solid #2 starting pitcher, and an above-average utility player with pop.  They also lost their previous starting second baseman and former best player, but that was something they were apparently willing to live with and it most likely had a lot of influence on the rest of this early spending spree.

Here's the thing.  This all happened before the Winter Meetings even started.  What the Yankees started by signing Brian McCann 2 Saturdays ago has picked up in a big way across the rest of MLB and we enter the meetings right smack in the middle of a flurry of trade and signing activity usually reserved for this week.  Once the unofficial "real" starting point of the offseason, this year's Winter Meetings are nothing more than the continuation of a hectic 2 weeks of hot stove action with the Yankees once again leading the charge.  With a bunch of balls still up in the air and a roster still very much in flux, here's what to expect from the Yanks this week.

Monday Mid-Morning Food For Thought: Something To Like About Beltran

As with Ellsbury, I'm not fully on board with the Carlos Beltran signing yet.  I was against him at the start of the offseason when there were better, younger options available, less against him once the offseason started, and OK with signing him once Robinson Cano left for Seattle.  I hate the 3rd year of the deal, but I understand it as doing what it took to get a player who could help replace Cano's lost left-handed power.

And when it comes to replacing that lost power, Beltran should do just fine.  The spray chart below shows his BIP distribution from the left side of the plate last year.  You'll notice that the bulk of his power production comes from the left side of the plate and there are a fair amount of balls on the warning track that would have made it out of the short porch in Yankee Stadium.

(Courtesy of Texas Leaguers.  Click to embiggen)

Beltran hit .315/.362/.509 as a lefty in 2013 (.377 wOBA).  That slash jumps to .417/.408/.813 when he pulled the ball from the left side of the plate, including 15 of his 24 home runs.  He may be a wild card in terms of his health and age-related regression, but when it comes to producing from the left side, Beltran should be a more than adequate replacement for Cano in the 3rd spot of the batting order.

Yanks Looking To Build Bullpen Depth With MiL Signings

They're not at all sexy, certainly not sexy enough to make major headlines during Winter Meetings week, but the Yankees are working on fortifying their bullpen depth with a few small Minor League deals.

It started early last week when Ken Davidoff reported that the team had signed righty Brian Gordon to a MiL deal, one that presumably includes an invitation to Spring Training.  If that name sounds familiar it's because Gordon was the man from nowhere who came up and pitched a few spot starts for the team in 2011.  He spent last year in the bullpen for Oakland's Triple-A affiliate and did a pretty good job.

There are also reports that the team is trying to re-sign Matt Daley, one of the recent 40-man casualties, to a MiL deal for next season.  Daley pitched well in limited September work for the big league club and was very good in 53+ MiL innings pitched in 2013.  Like Gordon, he would probably get an invite to ST to compete for a spot in next year's 'pen, although I imagine the Yanks look at both of these guys as Triple-A insurance depth more than realistic Major League options.