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Yankees Minor League Report

Yankees minor-league report

It is easy to hate the Yankees. Money oozes out of their pores. But even the most died-in-the-wool Yankee hater has to admit that this franchise is run brilliantly. Having money helps, but what separates the Yankees from rich-but-stupid clubs like the Orioles is the fact that the Bronxmen know how to spend their resources. The key players on the major league roster were either developed by the farm system, or were acquired in trades for farm system products. This is no longer a franchise built on the big-name free agent.

New York is actually rather conservative in the amateur draft process, usually going after college players, though they will take an occasional gamble on a young "tools" player. On the other hand, the franchise is one of the pioneers in international scouting, willing and able to open the pocketbooks to promising talent from Latin America, or elsewhere. This is a cost-effective approach, certainly more productive than signing mediocre major league free agents, as the Yankees used to do, and as most teams still do. Yankees personnel are also aware of the importance of on-base percentage, far more than most clubs.

1999 Minor League W-L Percentage: .558 (ranked 2nd)

1999 amateur draft: The Yankees usually focus on college players, and did so again in 1999. First-rounder David Walling, from the University of Arkansas, does not have blazing stuff, but is a polished pitcher who should move through the system quickly. Third-rounder Alex Graman, from Indiana State, should also move fast. He has solid velocity for a left-hander, and like Walling, he knows what he is doing. The second-round pick was Tommy Winrow, a high school outfielder from Florida with a smooth stroke at the plate. Fifth-rounder Seth Taylor, a shortstop from Southern Alabama, and seventh-rounder Andy Phillips, a third baseman from Alabama, are advanced college products who balance the younger Winrow.

Top prospects

  • 1) Nick Johnson, 1B: Hit .345, with 14 homers, 123 walks, and excellent defensive skills in Double-A. Power is marginal now, but should increase. He will replace Tino Martinez in 2001.
  • 2) D'Angelo Jimenez, SS: Ranked behind Alfonso Soriano by most experts, but I like Jimenez just a bit better. He has much better strike zone judgment, and has proven himself at a higher level at the same age. .327, 15 homers, 26 steals in Triple-A.
  • 3) Alfonso Soriano, SS: Hit .305 with 15 homers and 24 steals in Double-A, but just .183 in Triple-A due to weak strike zone judgment. Overall ability is excellent if he controls the zone.
  • 4) Ed Yarnall, LHP: Likely to earn job as the fifth starter and should do well. Compared to Andy Pettitte, due to deceptive fastball, excellent secondary pitches, and willingness to throw strikes.
  • 5) Drew Henson, 3B: Backup quarterback at Michigan. Held his own in a surprise trip to the Florida State League, an advanced level for a guy without much pro baseball experience. Could be a superstar if he chooses baseball.

    Others of note:

  • Wily Mo Pena, OF: Compared to Juan Gonzalez, but with better makeup and attitude. Hit .247 with seven homers in rookie ball, but expected to advance quickly.
  • Randy Keisler, LHP: Second-round pick out of LSU in 1998. Throws 91-93 mph with a good curve, good control. Could see the majors by 2001.
  • Jackson Melian, OF: Power is starting to develop, if 13 triples in the Florida State League are any indication. Still needs better strike zone judgment, but it is improving.
  • Donzell McDonald, OF: Speed demon, effective as a leadoff man when he stays patient and doesn't try to hit for power. Unlikely to get a chance as a regular, but should have a good career as a backup.
  • Other names to know: Ricardo Aramboles, RHP; Ryan Bradley, RHP; Yhency Brazoban, OF; Billy Brown, OF; Richard Brown, OF; Brandon Claussen, LHP; Luis De Los Santos, RHP; Craig Dingman, RHP; Donny Leon, 3B; Todd Noel, RHP; Teuris Olivares, SS; Brian Reith, RHP; Juan Rivera, OF; John Rodriguez, OF; Scott Seabol, 3B; Jay Tessmer, RHP; Marcus Thames, OF; Jake Westbrook, RHP.

    Yankee Minor League Links

    Columbus Clippers (AAA)

    Norwich Navigators (AA)

    Tampa Yankees (A)

    Staten Island Yankees (A)

    Greensboro Bats (A)

    Gulf Coast League Yankees (A)

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