Top Five Instructs Winners

In what has evolved into a less publicized rite of passage on the farm, each year certain prospects make a charge up the rankings with a good showing at Instructs. Some, like D.J. Mitchell did two years ago and Graham Stoneburner did a year ago, make incredibly quick adjustments and propel their game to another level or others get their first taste of professional baseball.

Note: These rankings are about how much a player has improved his prospect standing in the organization based on the strength on their Instructional League showing and not about what they've done in 2010 as a whole.

1. Kelvin De Leon, OF: His stock had been slipping a bit after hitting just .236 with 80 strikeouts in 69 games for the Staten Island Yankees this past season, but his approach at Instructs was greatly improved.

He was hitting hard liners to the opposite field with regularity, displaying a shorter and quicker bat, and showing the same great power he's always had. Throw in the fact that he was hustling hard on every play after his work ethic was somewhat questionable a couple of years ago, De Leon's game is headed in the right direction.

2. Conor Mullee, RHP: The former college shortstop was not only arguably the most impressive pitcher for the Gulf Coast League Yankees this past season, he was arguably the best pitcher at Instructs this year too.

He was sitting low-to-mid-90's with relative ease and with an effortless motion. He was also showing a slider with plus potential and it quickly became a consistent weapon for him. and he threw all of his pitches for strikes. The kid has a big upside.

3. Mason Williams, OF: He got into just five Gulf Coast League Yankee game this past season after signing right at the deadline and hit just .222 with one stolen base. That small sample size doesn't do his game justice.

He showed he is already an advanced bunter and with a few extra-base hits to the left-centerfield alley, he also displayed some surprising power. It's early but with a little more physical development [he needs to put on some weight] he has the look of a future Brett Gardner type but with more power.

4. Gabe Encincas, RHP: Encinas was both one of the most impressive pitchers in camp and one who also looked very ordinary at times. When pitching out of the windup, the kid was an absolute world-beater, sitting 92-94 mph with a plus curveball and he could command both pitches.

When he got a runner on and had to pitch out of the stretch, however, his velocity would dip down to the 90 mph range and he had a hard time locating his pitches. If he had his stretch pitching figured out a bit more he would have ranked first on this list, but as it stands he was still one of the most impressive players in camp.

5. Cito Culver, SS: A strong argument could have been made to put either second baseman Angelo Gumbs or first baseman Reymond Nunez here, but Culver's performance stood a bit higher.

His plus arm was very evident as was his above average speed and athleticism, but what he showed at Instructs though was a better opposite field approach. Like Williams, Culver was lacing liners to left field when he batted from the left side and it's that kind of approach that could take him far.

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\r\n \r\n\r\nNote: These rankings are about how much a player has improved his prospect standing in the organization based on the strength on their Instructional League showing and not about what they've done in 2010 as a whole.
\r\n
\r\n1. Kelvin De Leon, OF: His stock had been slipping a bit after hitting just .236 with 80 strikeouts in 69 games for the Staten Island Yankees this past season, but his approach at Instructs was greatly improved.
\r\n
\r\nHe was hitting hard liners to the opposite field with regularity, displaying a shorter and quicker bat, and showing the same great power he's always had. Throw in the fact that he was hustling hard on every play after his work ethic was somewhat questionable a couple of years ago, De Leon's game is headed in the right direction.
\r\n
\r\n2. Conor Mullee, RHP: The former college shortstop was not only arguably the most impressive pitcher for the Gulf Coast League Yankees this past season, he was arguably the best pitcher at Instructs this year too.
\r\n
\r\nHe was sitting low-to-mid-90's with relative ease and with an effortless motion. He was also showing a slider with plus potential and it quickly became a consistent weapon for him. and he threw all of his pitches for strikes. The kid has a big upside.
\r\n
\r\n3. Mason Williams, OF: He got into just five Gulf Coast League Yankee game this past season after signing right at the deadline and hit just .222 with one stolen base. That small sample size doesn't do his game justice.
\r\n
\r\nHe showed he is already an advanced bunter and with a few extra-base hits to the left-centerfield alley, he also displayed some surprising power. It's early but with a little more physical development [he needs to put on some weight] he has the look of a future Brett Gardner type but with more power.
\r\n
\r\n4. Gabe Encincas, RHP: Encinas was both one of the most impressive pitchers in camp and one who also looked very ordinary at times. When pitching out of the windup, the kid was an absolute world-beater, sitting 92-94 mph with a plus curveball and he could command both pitches.
\r\n
\r\nWhen he got a runner on and had to pitch out of the stretch, however, his velocity would dip down to the 90 mph range and he had a hard time locating his pitches. If he had his stretch pitching figured out a bit more he would have ranked first on this list, but as it stands he was still one of the most impressive players in camp.
\r\n
\r\n5. Cito Culver, SS: A strong argument could have been made to put either second baseman Angelo Gumbs or first baseman Reymond Nunez here, but Culver's performance stood a bit higher.
\r\n
\r\nHis plus arm was very evident as was his above average speed and athleticism, but what he showed at Instructs though was a better opposite field approach. Like Williams, Culver was lacing liners to left field when he batted from the left side and it's that kind of approach that could take him far.
\r\n
\r\n

\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n\r\n
\r\n

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\r\n

\r\n

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