Top 40 New York Yankee Prospects

Over the years, the New York Yankees have greatly diminished a once very strong farm system with what some feel as several impulsive and illogical moves to go out and get veteran players. They consistently have looked for instant satisfaction with a "win now" philosophy. If not for investments in young players in foreign markets, the Yankee system may have been even worse off at this point than it's current number 17 rank by Baseball America.

With the emergence of low level stars, there is still plenty to look forward to in the new York Yankees farm system. The stats shown for each prospect are for the highest level team they played for in 2003.

1.) Dioner Navarro (C)- 20 (with Trenton .341 4HR 37RBI)
Dioner is an absolute gem and is already drawing comparisons to star catcher Pudge Rodriguez. Navarro was signed out of Venezuela in August of 2000 and was assigned to the Gulf Coast Yankees where he made his debut in 2001. A disciplined hitter that has decent power, but is more of a gap hitter. He joined the Trenton Thunder mid way through the 2003 season after playing with Tampa in the first half. Had an outstanding second half with Trenton hitting .341 with 4 home runs after hitting .299 with 3 home runs while with Tampa. Flashes outstanding defensive ability behind the plate along with a cannon for an arm.

2.) Eric Duncan (3b)- 18 (with Staten Island .373 2HR 13RBI)
The 18 year old Duncan is already being touted as the next Chipper Jones as a result of his sweet swing and his professional approach at the plate. Has a slight uppercut that is tailor made for the right field porch in the Bronx, but Duncan also possesses great power to all fields. After only one year in the Yankees system, Duncan has already solidified himself as one of the best hitters in the Yankees minor league system and has almost certainly earned himself a 2004 promotion to Battle Creek. As a third baseman, he is very athletic with an average arm but the Yankee organization envisions him more as their possible first baseman of the future.

3.) Rudy Guillen (OF)-21 (with Battle Creek .260 13HR 79RBI)
His talents have recently been compared with those of Yankee's star second baseman Alfonso Soriano and for good reason. In 2003 he hit .260 with 13 home runs and 79 RBI. Scouts feel the he possesses five tool potential and could possibly be one of the true impact players in the farm system. Has tremendous raw power along with great speed, a strong arm, but needs to improve his skills as an outfielder. Much like Soriano, he still needs to develop much more discipline at the plate and learn to identify the strike zone.

4.) Ramon Ramirez (P)-22 (with Tampa 2-8 5.21 ERA)
Perhaps the most polished Yankee pitching prospect the Yankees have even though there may be many others that possess more potential. After being obtained out of the Japanese baseball league in 2002 he has been highly touted within the organization. He has electric stuff with a mid 90's fastball a good curveball and a changeup. Needs to learn to locate his off speed pitches better and must become more of a pitcher than a thrower.

5.) Joaquin Arias (SS)-19 (with Battle Creek .266 3HR 48 RBI)
Arias is already being considered one of the top shortstops in the organization at the age of only 19 years old. He has tremendous defensive ability and is frequently described as being flashy. Arias has even earned the nickname "spiderman" as a result of his performance in the field and his incredible body control. Has a strong arm along with plus range. Possesses raw power despite his slight build but for now is still a gap hitter and is not a huge power threat.

6.) Danny Borrell (P)-24 (with Columbus 4-2 2.93 ERA)
Since the departure of Brandon Claussen from the organization back in July, Danny Borrell is now starting to be called the Yankees top left handed pitching prospect in the organization. Has a very strong repertoire that consists of a good fastball to go along with a changeup and a curveball. Last year in Columbus, he showed signs of brilliance before having to be shut down due to a torn ligament in his left shoulder and being forced to undergo surgery. The 24 year old lefty has gained even more standing in the organization now that the Yankee's staff has become completely empty of lefthanders and depending on how he recovers from surgery, he could get a shot to compete for the number 5 spot in the rotation in 2004.

7.) Sean Henn (P)-23 (with Tampa 4-3 3.61 ERA)
There is no doubt that talent wise, Sean Henn is as good as they come but it is only a matter if he can make the recovery from "Tommy John" surgery. Henn missed the entire 2002 season rehabbing from his elbow injury. Bounced back fairly well in 2003 but still needs to work his fastball back up to his previous mid 90's range. Henn went 4-3 with a 3.61 ERA with Tampa last season. He needs to improve his sometimes erratic control and has also frequently been accused of having a somewhat shallow repertoire that consists of a power fastball and a solid changeup.

8.) Robinson Cano (OF)-21 (with Tampa .276 5HR 50 RBI)
Yet another player that has been compared with Alfonso Soriano. Cano is another of the new breed of power hitting middle infielders. He needs to develop more plate discipline but is still a decent contact hitter that has the potential to be a consistent .300 hitter. In order to be a full fill his power hitting abilities he needs to add a little extra muscle. Is not exactly a good defensive player and needs a lot of improvement on arm strength. Still needs a lot of minor league seasoning but with some improvement he could be a solid player in the majors.

9.) Estee Harris (OF)-19 (with GCL .277 6HR 18RBI)
Harris was the Yankees second round pick in the 2003 Draft and he proved his worth in 2003 by putting up solid numbers. he hit .277 with 6 home runs and 18 RBI in 101 at bats. Has good power along with the skills of a leadoff hitter with his good speed and discipline at the plate. He is pure centerfielder but played most of his games in left field in 2003. If his career stays on track and he improves upon his very few flaws in the field and at the plate he could be a guy to keep your eye on a few years down the road.

10.) Jorge DePaula (P)-24 (with Columbus10-11 4.05 ERA)
Well one thing that Jorge DePaula can say is that he has been to the show and back again. With the skills that he has, that is probably not the only trip that he will make. DePaula made an incredible debut in pinstripes in 2003 when he was called up in September and got a chance to make his first big league start. He pitched 6 innings of no hit ball before being taken out and was given a standing ovation by the Yankee Stadium crowd. A deep repertoire is to his advantage and adds to his potential as a starting pitcher. It is believed that he will also get an opportunity to compete for the fifth spot in the Yankee rotation in 2004.

11.) Bronson Sardhina (OF)-21 on 4/6 (with Battle Creek .275 8HR 41RBI)
The Yankees may have picked up a star player out of Honolulu back in 2001 when they signed Bronson Sardhina. Has solid power hitting ability that could translate into 20-25 home runs on the major league level. Also could hit for a very high average with his patient approach along with a sweet swing and ability to hit to all fields. Last year, after a terrible start with Tampa, he was demoted to Battle Creek, where he hit .275 with 8 home runs and 41 RBI. Has average speed but still needs significant improvement in the outfield despite a very strong throwing arm.

PENDING DEAL TO TEXAS! 12.) Jose Garcia (P)-22 (with Battle Creek 9-8 2.64 ERA)
Like many of the Yankees top pitching prospects, Garcia is a hard thrower and has loads of potential to be a star in the majors. Has a deep repertoire that includes a fastball, changeup and a curveball. Garcia has nasty stuff that can make a batter look foolish if he is on. A workhorse on the Battle Creek staff for most of the season going 9-8 with a 2.64 ERA over 136.1 IP. Has earned himself a closer look by the organization and could be looking at a future spot in the rotation a couple years down the road.

13.) Jose Valdez (P)-20 (with Battle Creek 11-7 3.64 ERA)
This young man could eventually become the jewel of the farm system if he develops according to plan. Right now, he is still very young and sometimes lacks consistency. Has a great fastball that he throws in the mid to upper 90's and has a very deceptive pitching motion. Is especially tough on right handed hitters. Valdez led the Yankee minor league system last year with his 12 victories. Scouts predict that this 20 year old righthander could rocket through the minors and become and become a future major league ace.

14.) Jayson Drobiak (1b/3b)- 25 on 3/3 (with Battle Creek .293 30HR 86RBI)
The Yankees picked up Jayson Drobiak out of the Frontier League for which he played in for two seasons in 2002 after he was released by the Tiger organization in 2000. Drobiak revitalized his young career in the Yankee organization in 2003 and flashing big time power. He had a breakout season, hitting .293 with 30 home runs and 86 RBI. Drobiak was a surprise to the Yankee organization and even at a slightly old age for a prospect (24) he still has the potential to be an impact player in the majors.

15.) Matt DeSalvo (P)-23 (with Battle Creek 3-3 1.84 ERA)
DeSalvo is a flame throwing strikeout pitcher that throws consistently in the mid 90's. Last year with Staten Island, he went 3-3 with a 1.84 ERA and with Battle Creek he was an impressive 2-0 with an unbelievable 0.82 ERA. DeSalvo may have a wonderful future if he continues to build up his skills but may have his greatest future as a reliever.

16.) Mike Vento (OF)-25 (with Columbus .303 14HR 87RBI)
Mike Vento has surprised many people with his unexpected development into a very solid all around ballplayer. He has decent power and hits the ball to all fields along with adequate patience at the plate. Last season, between Trenton and Columbus, he hit a combined .303 with 14 home runs and 87 RBI. Vento has decent speed and is a very smart base runner. has a strong arm and could conceivably play both corner outfield positions.

17.) Chien-Ming Wang (P)-24 (with Trenton 7-6 4.65 ERA)
Wang has an excellent repertoire and could end up being a sleeper in the New York Yankees farm system. He has a fastball that he can throw up to 94 miles per hour along with a good splitter, curveball and a slider. Led the Staten Island Yankees to a New York Penn League Championship back in 2002. Needs to develop more consistency if he wants to continue to move through the farm system.

18.) Scott Proctor (P)-27 (with Columbus 1.42 ERA 26K's)
Scott proctor arrived in Columbus last year after he was traded to the Yankee organization last year in a deal that involved Robin Ventura being sent to the Dodgers. Proctor didn't miss a beat once he joined the Yankees and was absolutely lights out for the Clippers. he is an outstanding relief pitcher and likely the best in the Yankee farm system. Has a 100 mile per hour fastball and uses it to his advantage in the strikeout category. Last season, in Proctor's short time with Columbus he posted a microscopic 1.42 ERA with 26 strikeouts in 19 innings pitched.

19.) Jon-Mark Sprowl (C)-23 (with Battle Creek .402 1HR 20RBI)
Since joining the Yankee organization in mid 2003 Sprowl has done nothing but impress as a hitter and behind the plate as well. He is projected as being one of the Yankees possible catchers of the future and if he continues to hit and play catcher as well as he has been this may be a reality.

20.) Bubba Crosby (OF)-27 (with Columbus .302 2HR 8RBI/with Las Vegas .361 12HR 57RBI)
Crosby has shown many signs that he could become a big league ball player someday and every season he has continued to improve. He is a solid outfielder with plenty of speed and can also can be a very good base stealer. Has a bat and is a lot of discipline at the plate. Is a guy that has the ability to have a high on base percentage. Crosby does not have a lot of power but hits well to the gaps and can still hit for a fairly high average. He seems that he could at least be a solid 4th outfielder for a major league team.

21.) Kevin Thompson (OF)-24 (with Tampa .331 5HR 25RBI)
The 24 year old Thompson has become more well know throughout his Yankee minor league career as a defender than as a hitter. Is well known in the organization as the best defensive outfielder in the farm system and is getting better every year. However, in his time with Tampa last year, Thompson hit .331 with 5 home runs until he was promoted to Trenton where he struggled mightily only hitting .226. If he improves his power hitting over the next couple years and combines that with great outfield skills he could be an outstanding player.

22.) Hector Made (SS)-19 (with GCL .236 5HR 18RBI)
This young man has shown all the skills of being an outstanding major league shortstop in his first season in the Yankee's farm system. Despite only hitting .236 in the Gulf coast League, he showed great plate discipline by striking out only 19 times and walking 20 times. This is a good sign for a the 19 year old righty, and shows that he can become a good hitter to go along with his great defensive abilities.

23.) Ferdin Tejada (SS)-21 (with Tampa .295 OHR 20RBI)
When speaking of this 21 year old shortstop there is no denying the incredible talent that he has in the field, as a hitter, and on the base paths as well. He plays outstanding defense at shortstop with great range, soft hands and a plus arm and routinely frustrates hitters with outstanding plays. As he is in the field, Tejada is a pest to opposing teams on the base paths. Is arguably the fastest player that the Yankees have in the organization and his stolen base totals should be on the rise over the next couple of years. The switch hitting shortstop is not a power threat but hits the ball well to the opposite field and gets a lot of extra base hits due to his speed.

24.) Melky Cabrera (OF)-19 (with Staten Island .283 2HR 31RBI)
Was the most consistent hitter for Staten Island in 2003 while playing a solid outfield as well for the club. He is considered by many scouts as a player that is slipping under the radar and could be a guy to watch for in the near future. This switch hitting centerfielder definitely fits the description of "pesky" or "scrappy" and performed well as the team's leadoff hitter for most of the season. Last season he hit .283 with 2 home runs and 31 RBI. He played a very solid centerfield for Staten Island in 2003 and is also very speedy on the base paths as well.

25.) Elvys Quezada (P)-22 (with Staten Island 3-0 1.83 ERA)
Quezada was the Yankees 15th round pick in the 2003 draft and he proved his worth in his first season in the Yankee farm system. Elvys went 3-0 with the Staten Island Yankees and posted an outstanding 1.83 ERA and even earned a late season promotion to Battle Creek. There he was just as good, compiling a 1.38 ERA. Quezada has a power fastball in the mid 90's along with a nasty slider in the low 80's. The tall righthander, finished the season on the DL but should be back in full swing for the 2004 season.

26.) Jeremy King (P)-21 (with Battle Creek and Tampa 4-13 3.80 ERA)
Jeremy King is a very talented young righthander that seemed to be the hard luck loser for the Battle Creek and Tampa Yankees this season. At the end of the season, he had a disappointing 4-13 record to go along with a 3.80 ERA. It is obvious that his record does not reflect his skills as a pitcher or his ERA. Was third in the Yankee farm system with 120 strikeouts and his ERA also ranked in the top ten. Scouts and coaches believe that there is much more to come in the career of this 21 year old righthander.

27.) Aaron Rifkin (1b)-25 (with Trenton.269 18HR 90RBI)
Rifkin is one of the few good Yankee first base prospects left in the organization. Many have been traded away (Nick Johnson) and Rifkin remains one of the few left with the overall ability to be a major league player. Last season, he hit .269 with 18 home runs and 90 RBI while spending the season with AA Trenton. Has good power to all fields but must lower his very high strikeout totals. At 25, he will probably play his 2004 season with Columbus ad must put up good numbers in order to be considered for the big league club in 2005.

28.) Tyler Clippard (P)-19 (with GCL 3-3 2.89 ERA)
Besides fellow prospect Scott Proctor, Clippard could be the best relief pitching prospect in the Yankee organization. Has tremendous strikeout potential along with excellent control for a very young man. He put together a very solid 2003 season and is expected to move very quickly through the farm system.

29.) Tim Battle (OF)-18 (with GCL .208 0HR 5RBI)
Battle had a very tough year in his first season in the Yankee farm system and scouts are hoping that it will be the only season that he struggles. The organization is expecting big things from this young man yet he only managed to hit .208 with no home runs with the Gulf Coast Yankees in 2003. However, he is only 18 years old and could very easily rebound and be the power hitting outfielder that the Yankees thought he would be.

30.) Brian Myrow (3b)-27 ( with Trenton .306 18HR 78 RBI)
Myrow was purchased from the Northern league back in 2001 and since then has done nothing but hit. He had a tremendous 2003 season with the Trenton Thunder, hitting .306 with 18 home runs and 78 RBI. Some people say that the sweet swinging lefty may be the best pure hitter in the system but his age of 27 years old is against him.

31.) Kevin Reese (OF)-26 (with Trenton .272 4HR 21 RBI)
Reese has been impressive throughout his minor league career in the Padres organization and since he was traded to the Yankees as well. He is a good contact hitter that lacks great power. Has above average speed and he is a solid outfielder with a decent arm. If this lefty outfielder continues to progress, he could be a sleeper that could surprise everyone by making an impact on the major league level.

32.) Sam Marsonek (P)-25 (with Columbus 4-4 4.84 ERA 18 saves)
Marsonek is a hard throwing relief pitcher that was pitching predominantly out of the closers role fro Columbus last season. Certainly, Marsonek had his share of problems last year however. He posted an ugly 4.84 ERA with a 4-4 record while also saving 18 ballgames. He struggled with some control problems as well, walking 31 batters in only 83.2 innings of work. Gives up a lot of hits (84) and needs to work on his command of his very good stuff.

33.) Abel Gomez (P)-19 (with GCL 2-2 2.63 ERA)
Gomez is still very young and very raw as a pitcher even after one whole season with the Gulf Coast League. He went 2-2 with a 2.63 ERA over 37 innings pitched. Has a great fastball and strikes out a ton of hitters. In 2003, the left handed Gomez struck out a spectacular 43 hitters in only 37 IP. However, he needs to greatly improve his control. Walked a total of 26 batters last season and if he wants to be successful that number must come down.

34.) Mark Phillips (P)-21 (with Tampa 6-6 5.76 ERA)
The lack of quality left handed pitching in the Yankee organization will likely help the career of Mark Phillips in the long run. He had a rough season last year in Tampa (his first year in the organization) when the 21 year old posted a 5.76 ERA while going 6-6. has the tools to be a good pitcher but must work on his control in order to ever amount to anything. He walked an awful 51 batters in only 70.1 IP. Has good potential as a left handed pitcher and with some improvement on his control along with his command he could be a solid pitcher for a major league club.

35.) Alex Graman (P)-27 (with Columbus 9-10 4.48 ERA)
Alex Graman is still a young, talented left handed pitcher and the key word here is lefty. The Yankees have to be pushing for a good young left handed pitcher to emerge from their farm system and it is still yet to happen. Back in 2001 it was thought that Graman was going to be this pitcher. However he has not put up the same kind of statistics since that season. Last season he went 9-10 with a 4.48 ERA. Must work on his control problems in order to succeed on a higher level of play.

36.) Erold Andrus (OF)-19 (with Battle Creek .286 1HR 6RBI)
Andrus has shown that he is a very solid outfielder and a good hitter as well in his time in the organization. Last season, Andrus hit .286 with 1 home run and 6 RBI in his time with Battle Creek in 2003 after being promoted directly from the Gulf Coast League. He hopped right over Staten Island where most players go after they play in the Gulf Coast. Has shown the potential to be a legitimate stolen base threat and could develp into a good hitter in the top of a lineup.

37.) Jeffrey Karstens (P)-21 (with Staten Island 4-2 2.54 ERA)
The Yankees may have found themselves a stud out of Texas Tech University in the person of Jeffrey Karstens. He was impressive in his first year in the organization while playing with Staten Island. Posted a nice 2.54 ERA while putting up a 4-2 record in 10 games started. This 19th round pick might want to improve upon his somewhat inconsistent control and command and if he does so he could be a solid pitcher in the future.

38.) Cory Stuart (P)-21 ( with GCL 0-0 0.00 ERA)
Not much to say about this 21 year old righthander except that he could be a big part of the Yankees future pitching staff with the skills he has. In 2 innings pitched with the Gulf Coast Yankees, he gave up 2 hits, struck out 3 with a 0.00 ERA. this isn't much of a guage at all but watch for this young man next season to finally see what he can do.

39.) Edwin Cabrera (OF)-21 (with GCL .246 5HR 26RBI)
Edwin cabrera suffered a down year with the bat in 2003 when you consider what he has the potential to do at the plate. He hit only .246 with the Gulf Caost Yankees while hitting 5 home runs and driving in 26 as well. The 21 year old outfielder performed fairly well in the outfield in the Gulf coast and is expected to perform much better at the plate in 2004.

40.) Chris Kemlo (P)-20 (with Tampa 3-1 1.74 ERA)
Chris Kemlo truly earned his way onto the end of this list by catching the entire Yankee organization by surprise. This former 34th round draft pick has shot down any doubts that people had about his talent. However, Kemlo is not going to dazzle anybody. He has a fastball in the low 90's along with a decent curveball. Relies much more on location and his vast intelligence. Many consider Kemlo to be a big time sleeper in the Yankee organization.

Special thanks to Frankie Piliere for organizing our Top 40 New York Yankees Prospects article.

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