Today, I created the page for the projected minor league rosters of the New York Yankee organization. The Yankees do have some very good prospects, specifically Tyler Austin, Gary Sanchez and Mason Williams, but are actually thin at some places in their system. Here are my thoughts:
1. Travis Hafner is close to signing a deal with the Yankees, which would slot him into the Major League DH role, and most likely move Juan Rivera to the bench. In that case, Matt Diaz or Jayson Nix would either start in Scranton, or be released.
2. The Yankees haven't signed very many veterans to minor league deals, so it seems like most of Scranton's lineup will be guys who played in Trenton last year. Ronnier Mustelier, David Adams, Melky Mesa, Zoilo Almonte, Corban Joseph, and Addison Maruszak are all young guys who could help the Yankees as role players at some point this season, but will never be everyday starters most likely.
3. Scranton's rotation really doesn't have any depth at the moment, especially until Michael Pineda returns from him injury. Dellin Betances is a complete wild card, while Nuno, Hall and Marshall all have very little experience at the AAA level. Nuno and Marshall are interesting players to watch, as they both had very successful seasons last year with Trenton.
4. The Yankees just signed 27 year old Cuban middle infielder Leguim Barroso to a minor league deal and I assigned him to AA Trenton, because they had a need for a 2B. He hit .317 with 0 HR in 91 games between two independent league teams in the American Association and the North American Baseball League last season.
5. I have Mark Montgomery starting in Trenton, but he won't be there for long. I would expect his live arm to be called up to the big leagues at some point this season, probably before September call-ups.
6. Mason Williams and Gary Sanchez should be up to Trenton soon this year, but will probably start in Tampa. It will be interesting to see how the Yankees deal with Sanchez and J.R. Murphy, as Murphy is still a "prospect" but nowhere near the prospect that Sanchez is.
7. The Yankees also recently signed independent leaguer Chris Smith, who was never drafted and went to college at Kentucky Wesleyan. I'm not sure where he'll be assigned, though, if anywhere.
8. Cito Culver and Dante Bichette Jr. will both probably stay at Charleston, but that's only a concern for Culver. Bichette is still young and advanced for his age, and hopefully he can have a better season that 2013 and get a promotion to Tampa. Culver, on the other hand, has struggled at just about every level since being a 1st round pick, and has to be a major cause for concern for the Yankees scouting staff.
9. Will the Yankees start young pitching stud Ty Hensley in Charleston, or will they wait until mid-season and let him pitch for short-season Staten Island? I think he's ready for full-season ball, but they do need to, and will, be careful with his young arm.
Overall Farm System Grade: B-
Top 10 Yankees Prospects
1. Gary Sanchez, Tampa
2. Tyler Austin, Trenton
3. Mason Williams, Tampa
4. Slade Heathcott, Trenton
5. Ty Hensley, Charleston
6. Manny Banuelos, Injured for Season (Tommy John)
7. Jose Campos, Charleston
8. Angelo Gumbs, Tampa
9. Mark Montgomery, Trenton
10. Greg Bird, Charleston
HM: Dante Bichette Jr., Austin Romine, Ben Gamel, Brett Marshall, Nik Turley, Austin Aune