SS, Carmen Angelini: There is a lot working against Angelini these days. Not only is he having to compete against last year's first round pick Cito Culver for playing time at the lower levels, shifting to second base doesn't seem likely either considering hot-shot prospects Anderson Feliz and Angelo Gumbs are in the way.
Throw in the fact he's attempting to work his way back from a torn labrum in his right hip and that his career numbers have been less than stellar [.218 average with a career 565 OPS] entering his third full season, he has a lot prove and not a lot time to do it. He is starting to run out of chances.
OF, Kelvin De Leon: De Leon's power potential is as tantalizing as it gets, but three seasons into his career and he has yet to break into the long-season leagues. Part of the problem has been his inability to put consistent wood on the ball, whiffing 141 times in 125 minor league games in the United States and hitting just .250 over that time.
He has improved his in-game engine, going from a spectator at times to one who hustles on every play, and he's no longer a liability defensively in the outfield, but guys with his kind of profile usually get to the long-season leagues [and have success there] quicker. 2011 could be a pivotal year for him.
OF, Taylor Grote: Like fellow '07 draft classmate Carmen Angelini, Grote has struggled with bouts of inconsistencies and injuries over the past three years. He missed most of the 2010 season with a fractured bone in his foot and the overall career numbers [.235, 9 home runs in 199 games and 243 strikeouts] haven't been good.
He has a much better approach than the numbers would suggest, however, so much so that a few team officials believe his breakout season is coming soon, but with the depth of quality young outfielders coming up behind him, it has to happen in 2011.
RHP, Jairo Heredia: Heredia has a world of talent and it wasn't all that long ago that he was widely considered one of the top prospects in the organization. But four years into his career, he still has yet to put a respectable season together at the high-A level.
Throw in the fact that he has also seen his once big league average fastball dip down to the below average range, his career is at a crossroads. He really needs to put together a representative season in the Florida State League to fend off the younger hurlers coming up behind him and even stake a claim amongst the ones above him, and gaining some arm strength back would be a good first step in the right direction.
UT, Damon Sublett: Unlike the other names on this list, Sublett has been a pretty steady force over his minor league career thus far...when he has been healthy. The former second baseman turned utility man has a career 806 OPS and that's while he has been dealing with an array of injuries.
The problem is he hasn't had a year where he's collected more than 400 at-bats and the time off of the field is going to start catching up to him if he doesn't watch out. With his talent, he still has a chance to make his mark with the Yankees but he needs to have another breakout season like the one he had in Staten Island in his debut season [.326, eight home runs] back in 2007.
Five Needing Breakout Seasons
Pinstripes Plus Top Stories
Martinez Getting His Work In At ExtendedTAMPA, FL -- Nolan Martinez, the Yankees’ third round draft pick last year, dealt with a lat strain that kept him sidelined and off the mound for most of his debut season in the…
Pinstripes PlusThursday at 8:54 PM
Abreu Making Severino-Like SplashTAMPA, FL -- On consecutive nights in two different cities and very much at two different levels the Yankees fans saw what is and what could be. Luis Severino dominated a Red Sox…
Pinstripes PlusWednesday at 8:56 PM
Yankees Prospect Power RankingsHere are the top 20 performances by the Yankees' prospects in the long-season leagues. This is our second installment of the Power Rankings for the 2017 season.
Pinstripes PlusMonday at 8:56 PM
Five Needing Breakout SeasonsEvery prospect heads into a new season each year hoping for one but five Yankee prospects in particular really need to have a breakout season in 2017.