David Adams: He has quietly put together one of the more solid performances over the last year and half, hitting .291 with 79 walks, 55 doubles, eleven triples, ten home runs, and 16 stolen bases over his last 642 at-bats. He has a short and compact swing, great bat speed, a patient approach, and average big league power potential at a middle infield position.
Like his offensive game, while his range isn't a plus tool, he is above average in every other way except turning the double-play pivot and that's where he stands above most second base prospects in the game. He has no holes in his game on either side of the ball and that not only gives him one of the better ceilings, but one of the safer bets to reach his ceiling.
Anderson Feliz: Feliz, who won't turn 19 years old until this coming May, is one of the toolsier middle infielders in the entire farm system. Signed as a shortstop, his arm is a plus tool at second base, he has plus speed, soft hands, and average power potential at a middle infield position.
Like most young switch-hitters, however, he will have to continue to hone his swing mechanics from both sides of the plate and that could cause some growing pains in the immediate future, but everything else is in place for him to be a potential stud second baseman both offensively and defensively down the road.
Angelo Gumbs: In a lot of ways Gumbs is a right-handed hitting version of Feliz; good power from a middle infielder, plus speed, a lightning-quick bat, soft hands, and a very strong arm for a second baseman.
He's already younger than most high school players entering the 2011 draft, however, so he does have a lot of growing up to do as he enters his first full professional season. He has the tools to make up for the inevitable mistakes that are sure to follow him early in his development though and should he develop as planned, his ceiling is extremely high.
Corban Joseph: Quite frankly, Joseph, who is quite solid, lags behind the other three defensively because his range isn't nearly as good and he's not nearly as athletic. However, few position prospects can match his consistent swing mechanics or patient approach at the plate.
He has an uncanny ability to barrel the ball and adjust his bat mid-swing if need be, leading many scouts to believe he should be a plus hitter in due time. He has good power right now for a second baseman, but still very skinny, he could stand to add on some useful muscle mass in the coming years. Should that happen, he could become a special offensive player in the middle infield.
Closest to the Majors
Reegie Corona: Not much has changed with Corona over the years. He is still a very good defensive player with above average speed, great plate discipline, and questionable power potential. It's that limited power though that will most likely relegate him to bench duties at the big league level with the Yankees, but the rest of the switch-hitter's game is big league ready right now.
Kevin Russo: Russo is cut in the Corona mold of a solid defensive player with good speed, great plate discipline, and limited power. Where he differs from Corona negatively, however, is his inability to man the shortstop position and that could limit his big league role as a bench player for the Yankees.
Claudio Custodio: If there's one constant pitfall among the national prospect pundits, it's their consistent propensity to overlook the non-high dollar International signings as they ascend their way through the minor leagues [see Manny Banuelos]. Signed for just $200,000, which is next to nothing in today's International free agent market, Custodio is very toolsy.
Though he hit just .217 in the Dominican Summer League in his debut season last year, he has plus power potential, plus speed, a plus arm for a second baseman, and he has shown to be very patient at the plate. He has a lot of room to fill out his smallish frame too and with his current tools, the whole package screams upside in what can only be labeled an under the radar signing.
|COULD HE MAKE THE MOVE?: Kuo could be an offensive standout at second base if the Yankees tried him there. (Photo: Patrick Teale/PinstripesPlus.com)|
The 20-year old has a mature approach at the plate, good power potential, and he is a smooth defensive player at third base. He hasn't played a single game at second base yet, but he appears to have the athleticism needed to man the position. Should the Yankees decide to try him out there, with his batting potential, he not only could become a big-time 'sleeper' but possibly move right into the 'highest ceiling' category. He's one to keep an eye on at any position.
Kevin Mahoney: The former Canisius standout is already an elite defender at third base with some intriguing power potential and the Yankees tried his hand at second base last year. He not only didn't embarrass himself, but he played a very good second base.
He posted a combined .871 OPS over four minor league levels with eight home runs last year and he brings a winning attitude to whichever team he plays for. Four-year college players drafted so late seldom bring his kind of upside to the table, let alone at a middle infield position. He just needs to keep getting his chances and responding like he did last year. If he does exactly that, he could be the 'sleeper' of all sleepers.
Jose Pirela: Signed as a shortstop and getting a lot more reps at shortstop than second base last year, Pirela actually profiles best as a potential big league second baseman. He's not nearly as powerful as David Adams, but he does offer the same blend of tools on both sides of the ball in ever other way.
He has decent power, very good strike zone discipline, solid speed, and he has shown to be an elite defender at times at the second base position. His biggest problem will be trying to out-slug his competition at the position, but his all-out hustle and winning drive are second to none. He doesn't have the sizzle other guys have tools-wise, but he has more substance and that helps him fly under the radar.
Need to Make Their Move
Walter Ibarra: A very good contact hitter [just 135 strikeouts in 844 career at-bats], an excellent defensive player, and a switch-hitter to boot, Ibarra gives the organization some potential long-term bench options. He really needs to have another season like last year [.301, 15 stolen bases], however, to continue to get looks because he doesn't have a long track history of success.
Jose Rosario: The diminutive 19-year old is actually pretty solid on both sides of the ball, enough to be a marginal 'sleeper' of sorts if he continues to fill out and develop his game further. He can play an adequate shortstop and that should keep him around for a bit and his strong arm is a plus tool at second base. He just needs to keep progressing long-term and short-term he could stand to grab an important role with one of the long-season league teams to open some eyes.
Justin Snyder: With big league plate discipline and defensive versatility as two major pluses in his corner, Snyder has some things going for him. However, he has hit just a combined .221 over the past two seasons and he needs to get his average up to the pre-2009 levels [he hit .288 in 2008] awfully quick if he's going to garner any serious long-term consideration as a potential backup.
The Jury is Still Out
Jorge Alcantara: He broke out in a big way last year, hitting .331 and showed power, speed, and good plate discipline with the Dominican Summer League Yankees, so much so that he too is a mild 'sleeper' at this point. However, he's not truly adept at any one defensive position so he's going to have keep putting up numbers and progress steadily in the field before scouts are sold on his long-term potential.
Rafael Polo: Like Alcantara, Polo opened some eyes with a .323 batting average in the Dominican Summer League last year and he also shows some interesting power-speed combination at a middle infield position. However, he is extremely skinny at this point and it remains to be seen if he can develop the necessary physique to further develop his skills long-term. He needs to get stronger and until he does the jury is still out on what he could be prospect-wise.