Memorial Day Prospect Rankings: My Top 15

Prospects are a huge part of any baseball organization, and fans generally speaking love to hear about them. Every “top” prospect has the chance to become the next Mickey Mantle, Andy Pettitte or Bernie Williams in a fan’s eyes. However, all too often, these same prospects turn out like Brien Taylor, Eric Duncan, or Drew Henson. With this list, I try to encompass numerous things, including current talent level, star potential, and also, bust potential. To me, a top prospect is one who has less of a chance to bust – which is why one person on my list who many may have in the top three slides out of my top five altogether. So here it is, the first of two in-season lists I’ll compile. The second will likely be right after the trade deadline, to encompass any new faces in the organization, or eliminate any that may leave via trade.

Note: Players who have appeared in the major leagues this season(i.e. David Phelps and D.J. Mitchell) were not considered for this list. 2012 statistics are listed through Sunday games.

1) Manny Banuelos, SP
Age: 21
Level: AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre
ETA: September 2012
2012 Stats: 0-2, 4.50 ERA, 22 K in 24.0 IP (6 starts)
One-liner: Banuelos remains the top prospect in the Yankee system despite a slow start to the season and two Disabled List trips in 2012.

2) Mason Williams, CF
Age: 20
Level: Class A Charleston
ETA: 2015
2012 Stats: .298, 3 HR, 17 RBI, 14 SB
One-liner: Williams has established himself as the best position player prospect in the Yankees system. He’ll be in Tampa later this year.

3) Gary Sanchez, C
Age: 19
Level: Class A Charleston
ETA: 2014
2012 Stats: .285, 3 HR, 21 RBI, 8 SB
One-liner: With Jesus Montero gone, Sanchez becomes the crown jewel of Yankee catching prospects. Unfortunately for the Yanks, Sanchez’s time is not yet here.

4) Jose Campos, SP
Age: 19
Level: Class A Charleston
ETA: 2015
2012 Stats: 3-0, 4.01 ERA, 26 K in 24.2 IP (5 starts)
One-liner: The lesser known of the young arms acquired for Jesus Montero, Campos has had a couple of dominant performances down in Charleston, as well as a couple not-so-great ones.

5) Tyler Austin, OF
Age: 20
Level: Class A Charleston
ETA: 2014
2012 Stats: .300, 13 HR, 40 RBI, 11 SB
One-liner: Austin’s hot start to 2012 has vaulted him up prospect lists, as he’s established himself as a legitimate bat in the Yankees system.

6) Dellin Betances, SP
Age: 24
Level: AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre
ETA: September 2012
2012 Stats: 2-4, 5.59 ERA, 41 K in 46.2 IP (10 starts)
One-liner: Betances’ horrible command of his pitches this season has really hurt his value, and if it continues, may fall further down the list in August.

7) Dante Bichette, Jr., 3B
Age: 19
Level: Class A Charleston
ETA: 2014
2012 Stats: .251, 0 HR, 15 RBI, .356 OBP
One-liner: Bichette hasn’t hit as well as expected, but it’s far too early to jump off the ledge.

8 ) Ravel Santana, OF
Age: 20
Level: Extended Spring Training
ETA: 2015
2012 Stats: Has spent 2012 in Extended Spring Training
One-liner: Santana’s reportedly looked good in EST, though we’ll have more on him later this year.

9) Slade Heathcott, OF
Age: 21
Level: High-A Tampa
ETA: 2013
2012 Stats: Has spent the 2012 season on the disabled list
One-liner: Heathcott’s road to recovery from surgery hasn’t hindered his standing as a prospect.

10) Austin Romine, C
Age: 23
Level: AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre
ETA: 2013
2012 Stats: Has spent the 2012 season on the disabled list
One-liner: With Russell Martin struggling, the Yankees could really use Romine right now. Unfortunately, he’s been out since spring training and there is no sign that help is on the way.

11) Cito Culver, SS
Age: 19
Level: Class A Charleston
ETA: 2015
2012 Stats: .210, 0 HR, 15 RBI, 12 SB
One-liner: Culver’s struggles at the plate have dropped him a bit, but he might be the best defensive infielder in the Yankees system.

12) Brett Marshall, SP
Age: 22
Level: AA Trenton
ETA: 2013
2012 Stats: 5-2, 2.79 ERA, 35 K in 60.1 IP (10 starts)
One-liner: If there’s an opening in Scranton’s rotation this year, Marshall should be the first one to get the call.

13) J.R. Murphy, C/3B
Age: 21
Level: High-A Tampa
ETA: 2013
2012 Stats: .235, 2 HR, 14 RBI, .310 OBP
One-liner: The bat hasn’t been all there, but Murphy has made great strides defensively as a catcher this season.

14) Chase Whitley, RP
Age: 22
Level: AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre
ETA: September 2012
2012 Stats: 5-2, 3.24 ERA, 21 K in 25.0 IP (15 appearances)
One-liner: Whitley might be my favorite prospect in the Yankees system. He’s got a bright future that’s been fast-tracked through the Yankees system. I think we see him later this year in pinstripes, and next year, competing for a middle relief role.

15) Rob Segedin, 3B/OF
Age: 23
Level: High-A Tampa
ETA: 2013
2012 Stats: .294, 6 HR, 27 RBI, 8 SB
One-liner: Tampa’s best hitter is just too good to ignore. Segedin’s a bit old for High-A, but I think he’s shown enough with the bat to earn a promotion to Trenton sooner rather than later. If he fares well there, he could be on the fast track to the big leagues in 2013 as a four-corners type.

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About Dan Pfeiffer

A former University of Scranton student and Ramapo College of New Jersey graduate, Dan majored in Political Science before joining NYYUniverse. A northern New Jersey native, Dan has followed not only the Yankees, but their Scranton and Trenton affiliates extensively. You can follow Dan on Twitter at @danpfeiffer74.

  • ChucktownYankFan

    I think I would have Marshall a little higher (8th behind Bichette for me), Heathcott lower (14-15ish), Montgomery instead of Whitley, and Gumbs over Culver. 

  • danpfeiffer

    If this list had gone to 20, my next five (in no particular order) would
    have been Montgomery, Gumbs, Bryan Mitchell, Nik Turley, and Adam
    Warren.

    I took Whitley over Montgomery based on the fact that, while Montgomery has been dominant in the lower levels, Whitley has done the same in upper levels. I view both as having closer potential in the majors, but with Whitley farther along (and therefore less likely to bust), he got the nod.