New York Yankees Top 20 Prospect Report

Deals over the years to add a slugger to the heart of their lineup or an extra arm into the rotation have virtually run the New York Yankee minor league system as dry as it has been in recent memory. Baseball America ranked it as 17th among baseball after being ranked number five (2002), seven (2001), and number one (2000) over the previous three seasons. Could have dropped into the mid-twenties if not for various foreign signings.

1. Brandon Claussen (LHP) - 24 (Columbus: 2-0, 2.03, 53.1 IP)
After being selected in the 34th round as a "draft and follow" in 1999, dominated early in the strikeout category. Mixes pitches with 90-93 mph FB, excellent SL that is effective to both righties and lefties, average CU, and below average CB. Was one of the top pitching prospects in baseball before undergoing "Tommy John"
J. Rivera
Juan Rivera: Despite struggles on the big league level, the outfielder still has a ton of upside. He has come up in various trade talks over the past few weeks as the Yankees look to acquire someone for a stretch run.
surgery on his left elbow last June. Needs to avoid injuries. Nice rebound in Columbus allowed him to get first win of ML career against Mets on June 28.

2. Juan Rivera (RF) - 25 (Columbus: .314, 2 HR, 18 RBI)
Despite hitting just .237 (27-for 114) with 1 HR and 8 RBI before being sent down on July 8, the outfielder still has a ton of upside. His selectivity needs improvement, drawing just thirteen walks in 265 ABs while with Columbus in 02'. Excellent fastball hitter with average power production (lead GCL in HR in 98') that could increase with a better understanding of the strike zone. Had 2002 opportunity with Yankees derailed after running into golf cart in pre-game warm-ups at Yankee Stadium that broke his kneecap and sidelined him for two months. Above average fielder.

3. Bronson Sardinha (OF) - 20 (Tampa: .193, 1 HR, 18 RBI)
After struggling Greensboro to start 02', Yankees demoted him to Staten Island and also moved him from shortstop -- where he made 33 errors in 64 games -- to the outfield. Hit .323 (40-for-124) in 36 games with 34 BB, 36 K, 4 HR, and 16 RBI. Needs improvement against lefties, has patience, and displays good power potential. Still young. Great work ethic.

4. Danny Borrell (LHP) - 24 (Columbus: 4-2, 2.93, 55.1 IP)
The 2000 second round pick has good repertoire (low 90s FB, Klid CU and CB). Changeup his best weapon. Throws strikes. Earned promotion to Norwich in 02' after going 4-1 with 2.33 ERA in FSL. Went 9-4 with Norwich and sported a 2.31 ERA, which led Eastern League. Consistent with numbers in both leagues, but saw K/9 drop from 10.24 to 6.38 after promotion. Might get a call-up before season is through.

5. Julio De Paula (RHP) - 24 on 7/27/03 (Columbus: 6-9, 5.43, 111 IP)
Acquired from Colorado in Dingman deal on April 20, 2001, moved up many scout's lists with an impressive 2002 season while with Double-A Norwich. Fastball tops out at 94 mph with Solid SL. Has great confidence in CU, which he uses as an out pitch. Believes in his stuff. Relies on strike outs. Had 7.82 K/9 with a 2.67 BB/9. Works rapidly. Struggling with Clippers (allowed IL high 18 HR), but still projects to a reliable #3 or #4.

6. Sean Henn (LHP) - 22 (Tampa: 2-3, 4.58, 35.1 IP)
Signed as a draft and follow in the 26th round of the 2000 draft, he got off to great start in the New York-Penn League, but ran into elbow problems and needed Tommy John surgery in September. Missed all of 2002. FB Solid third pitch. Improvement needed on control. Must work himself back.

7. Drew Henson (3B) - 23 (.218, 11 HR, 46 RBI)
Time is running out. The $17 million investment is extremely athletic with excellent raw power. Lots of XBH. Great arm and soft hands, but has struggled to put it together. Still has ton of potential. Needs defensive improvement after finishing with 25 errors last season. Must shorten swing. Needs patience. Only 37 BB in 471 AB with 151 K. Lacks speed. Signed by Texans in NFL Draft and may choose to leave.

8. Rudy Guillen (OF) - 20 (Battle Creek: .266, 10 HR, 48 RBI)
Great all around tools that Yankees love. Possesses above average power production (led Rookie-level Dominican Summer League with 11 HR in 01') . Good arm with speed. Began career last

D. Henson
Drew Henson: The third basemen continues to go through difficulties at Columbus. His strike out rate has yet to lower and his defense is still in need of improvement. Though, he still is extremely athletic and has potential.
season with 15-game hitting streak while with Yankee's Gulf Coast Rookie team. Needs work on identifying the strike zone and improving patience. Still needs at least three more years in minors.

9. Robinson Cano (2B) - 21 - (Tampa: .282, 5 HR, 50 RBI)
Excellent Sally start at Greensboro (.276, 14 HR, 66 RBI) lead to promotion to Staten Island in the New York-Penn League. Plus bat speed. Makes contact. Will hurt you at the plate if you throw a mistake. Goes to all fields. Led organization in hits with 155 during 2002. Currently fourth in FSL with 99 hits.

10. Ryan Bicondoa (RHP) - 24 (Tampa: 3-2, 3.54, 48.1 IP)
Signed as a nondrafted free agent out of Western Kentucky in 2002, he started with a bang and helped tremendously on Staten Island's title run. Cousin of the late Daryl Kile. 6.75 H/9, 0.74 BB/9, and great 9.91 K/9. Finished 6-4 with 1.90 ERA in 85.1 IP. Great control. FB tops at 92 and mixes in CU. CB still needs work. Paints corners.

11. Chien-Ming Wang (RHP) - 23 (Trenton: 4-3, 4.37, 82.1 IP)
Good debut with Staten Island in 2000, going 4-4 with 2.48 ERA in 14 starts. Signed out of Taiwan to $1.9 million bonus on May 5, 2000. Shoulder injury kept him out for entire 2001 season. Led Staten Island to 2002 NY Penn League title, throwing eight shutout innings in the deciding game. Great repertoire (FB 90-94 mph, SPL, SL, CU).

12. Charlie Manning (LHP) - 24 (Tampa: 0-3, 4.50, 16.0 IP)
Selected by Yankees in ninth round of the 2001 draft, finished second in the system in strikeouts (85 in FSL, 61 in EL) in 2002. Throws FB consistently in the high 80s while mixing in SL, CU, and CB. Keeps ball down and uses infield. Tons of GB.

13. Joaquin Arias (2B/SS) - 19 on 9/21/03 (Battle Creek: .239, 3 HR, 25 RBI)
Signed for $300,000 out of the Dominican Republic in 2001, often draws comparisons to current second basemen Alfonso Soriano. Possesses quick bat speed and above-average power. Made debut in GCL during 2002 by hitting .300 (61-for-203). Average arm strength.

14. Ferdin Tejada - 21 on 9/15/03 (Tampa: .295, 0 HR, 25 RBI)
Made debut in DSL in 2001 and finished second in the league in hitting with .330 average. Below-average power hitter, but uses speed to his ability. Great bunter. Steady in the field, with good glove and plus arm.

15. Javier Ortiz (RHP) - 24 on 11-28-03 (Trenton: 5-7, 5.92 ERA, 106.1 IP)
Maturity level and his performance held him back from moving up into higher levels. Missed most of 2000 and 2001 due to knee and back ailments. Offers FB that rides in the 90-94 range and he occasionally drops down to 3/4 to throw it at 90-92. Above average CB. Showed organization something in 2002, tossing a system high 177 innings between SAL and FSL. Currently second in EL with 49 walks.

16. Andy Phillips (2B) - 26 (Columbus: .209, 2 HR, 5 RBI)
Selected by the Yankees in the seventh round of the 1999 draft, Phillips was moved to second base in 2001 due to the presence of Drew Henson. He earned third-team All American honors as a senior while at Alabama. Great work ethic. Hits for average. Solid glove and average arm, but lacks range on both sides. Has developed power (28 HR between EL and IL in 2002).

17. Dioner Navarro (C) - 19 (Tampa: .299, 3 HR, 28 RBI)
Built like Ivan Rodriguez, drawing the nickname "Pudgito", he was signed out of Venezuela in August of 2000 and made debut in GCL in 2001. Gap hitter that doesn't expand the strike zone. Promoted from Tampa to Norwich, where he is hitting .296 with 1 HR and 12 RBI. Above-average defensive catcher with excellent arm.

18. Alex Graman (LHP) - 26 on 11/17/03 (Columbus: 7-6, 4.22, 102.1 IP)
Great repertoire (4-FB, 2-FB, SPL, SL, CU). FB sits at 88-92 mph, but varies speed between the 4-FB and 2-SB. SPL is his best weapon. Was 5-2 with 2.88 ERA in Norwich during 2002 before being promoted to Columbus. Needs to throw more strikes. Currently fourth in IL with 46.

19. Brandon Weeden (RHP) - 23 on 10/14/03 (GCL: 0-0, 2.08, 13.0IP)
Drafted out of Santa Fe HS, Oklahoma in the second round of the 2002 draft, made debut in GCL (02') going 2-1 with 2.86 ERA and 30 K in 35 IP. Sound mechanics. FB sits in the 89-93 range with above-average SL. Will move up level by level. One of the best athlete's in the system. Was football quarterback, basketball forward, and then splitting time between shortstop and the mound in baseball while a senior in high school.

20. Kevin Reese (OF) - 25 (Trenton: .258, 4 HR, 17 RBI)
Dropped down in the 2000 draft after tearing a ligament in his thumb. Selected by Padres in 27th round before being shipped to the Yankees for Bernie Castro in December of 2001. Line drive hitter. Above-average speed. Lacks power, but possesses all five tools.

Abbreviation Key:
· BB - walks or bases on balls
· K - strike outs
· SB - stolen bases
· SBA - stolen base attempts
· AFL - Arizona Fall League
· GCL - Gulf Coast League
· DSL - Dominican Summer League
· EL - Eastern League
· IL - International League

· AB - at bats
· 4-FB - 4-seam fastball
· 2-FB - 2-seam fastball
· CB - curve
· SL - slider
· SPL - splitter
· CU - change up
· GB - ground ball outs

Notes
Right-hander Jason Anderson probably would have been around number eleven if not for his enlarged role in the Yankees bullpen on the big league level. Has a 94-97 mph FB with above average SL and can pinpoint the CU for strikes. Still durability questions and has come up in trade talks.

Fernando Seguignol could see some time with the Yankees before the season is through. He is tied for third in the IL, with teammate Nate Rolison, with 15 home runs. The switch-hitter is also is hitting .335.

** Statistics as of Sunday, July 13.

Information from Baseball America was used in this report.


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