Overview Of Outfield Prospects

True to form, over the past couple of years the Yankees have gone out and spent millions of dollars putting together an All-Star outfield. While the players they have acquired to play in the big league outfield are stars, many of them do not have age on their side. Unless the organization once again chooses to shy away from their farm system and pursue other markets, the Yankees may need some young outfielders to emerge from the minors and play a role in the big leagues.

As of now, there doesn't seem to be too many players that could be called upon to slip into pinstripes if necessary in 2004. Much of the farm system's talent, including the outfielders, lies in the lower levels.  But there are a couple of players that may be a little closer to the majors as well. One player of this caliber and that is as close as one can get to the major leagues is AAA center fielder Bubba Crosby who will likely start the 2004 season in Columbus. The 28-year-old outfielder is old for a "prospect" but there is no doubt that he has good all-around skills. 

At the lower levels, the Yankees are a lot better off talent-wise with the likes of Estee Harris, Melky Cabrera, and Rudy Guillen already making their drive through the farm system. Out of the bunch, Guillen and Harris seem to be the cream of crop so far. Both are very young and are quite a ways off from the major leagues but both, along with others, could fill the Yankee outfield in the next few years.

Players are listed with their statistics from 2003 along with what there age will be by season's end in 2004. The team that those stats were compiled with is listed in parentheses.

Columbus Clippers - It is very possible that the organization could fill the outfield in Columbus with a group of older veteran minor leaguers rather than true prospects. Players such as Curtis Pride, Darren Bragg, or Mike Kelly could be natural candidates for this. However, they may choose a different direction by going with younger players like Crosby, Mike Vento and Kevin Thompson along with a few others to round out the reserve roles.

Player

Age

Stats (AVG - HR - RBI)

Comments

Bubba Crosby

28

.361 - 12 - 57

Crosby may be the closest player the Yankees have to the big leagues.  He was acquired from the Dodgers for Robin Ventura at the 2003 trade deadline. While his age has greatly diminished his chances of making a splash in the majors, he could still be a solid reserve player or even possibly a starter. Has a good eye with a quick line-drive swing. Crosby has decent power and is able to hit the ball to all fields. A solid defender with an adequate arm.  His only chance to make the Yankee outfield now is if injuries were to strike.

Mike Vento

26

.303 - 14 - 87

Over the past season, Vento has solidified himself as being a player that will be able to help the Yankees. Many would say that he is a highly underrated prospect, but he just hasn't shown the power that scouts would want. Still has a fine future for a major league team as a pinch hitter, platoon or backup outfielder. 

Kevin Thompson

25

.226 - 5 - 20

Despite his less-than-spectacular offensive statistics, Thompson has become well known for his great defense in center field. Has been touted by scouts as the best defensive outfielder in the entire farm system. Thompson has a good arm and covers an immense amount of ground mostly playing center field. Also, he is a great base stealer and, in his minor league career, he has stolen 107 bases with an 84.3% success rate. The only downfall in his game is his power and production numbers. 

John Rodriguez

26

.263 - 10 - 33

Rodriguez has diminished his prospect status over the past few years and has ended up bouncing around the Yankee minor league system since 1997. Rodriguez opened the eyes of scouts in 2001 when he had a huge year. "J-Rod" hit .285 with 22 home runs and 66 RBI in AA that season. Since that time, he has never been able to come close to duplicating those numbers. Instead of becoming the star that the organization expected, Rodriguez has become only a reserve outfielder and it is unlikely that he will ever see Yankee Stadium.

Kevin Reese

26

.272 - 4 - 21

Since his acquisition from San Diego after the 2001 season, Reese's production has been in a steady decline. Before the trade, he was a highly regarded prospect. But since then his power and batting average have decreased rapidly. Very solid outfielder and plays very aggressively in the field and on the bases. Needs to regain his offensive skills or time will run out for the already 26 year old prospect.

Trenton Thunder - In 2004, there will be loads of talent moving in and remaining on the Thunder roster in the outfield. It will be a battle for all three of the starting jobs as all of the players competing for it are talented in their own right. The top candidates will likely be Bronson Sardinha, Tommy Winrow, Andy Brown, Jason Grove, Maleke Fowler, Jason Maule and Shelly Duncan. Out of the bunch, Sardinha holds the highest regard from the organization. He is one of the top prospects in the farm system and for that reason alone, there will be a place for him in the Trenton outfield next season.

Player

Age

Stats (AVG - HR - RBI)

Comments

Bronson Sardinha

21

.275 - 8 - 41

As an all around player, Sardinha is a very solid prospect. He was moved out of the infield as a result of his poor defense. His defense in the outfield is improving but he is still new to the position so he'll need a little time. Could potentially be a 20-25 home run guy at the major league level if he continues to progress. Sardinha has decent speed on the bases and could put up moderate stolen base totals. He still needs some more seasoning but projects to be a solid big leaguer some day.

Tommy Winrow

24

.248 - 7 - 47

About the only area that Winrow has been very impressive at is his power hitting ability. His strikeout totals are much too high and his walk totals are much too low. Is in need of a lot of defensive improvement and needs to add more dimensions to his game than power hitting. It remains to be seen if he is able to make these improvements in 2004.

Andy Brown

24

.239 - 7 - 37

Brown is yet another player that seems to have his best skills in the power-hitting department. Brown is also a good defender though, if not spectacular. His strikeout totals are alarmingly high and his walk totals are almost non-existent. Needs a lot of improvement overall.

Jason Grove

26

.287 - 5 - 28

Last year, Grove put together a very fine season for himself. However, power is not a part of his game. He is a line drive hitter that has the potential to hit for a high average. At this point, scouts have given up on the idea that Grove may develop a power stroke. Plays a solid outfield and he could be a bit of a sleeper in the farm system.

Maleke Fowler

29

.272 - 2 - 9

Fowler was purchased from the Camden Riversharks in June of 2003. At the age of 29. He is not a prospect. Only a career minor leaguer.

Jason Maule

27

.274 - 0 - 13

Maule is a bit too old for AA and, after a very disappointing performance in Trenton last year, he will be spending another season there in 2004. Over the span of his career, Maule has shown almost nothing in the way of power or production. Was once a stolen base threat but even that has taken an enormous downturn. Maule is still a decent defender but must be better offensively in 2004.

Shelly Duncan

25

.264 - 8 - 47

Much like many of the outfielders at this level, Duncan has a lot of power potential. He led Tampa last season with 8 home runs. Again, he is another player that strikes out too much and walks too little. His defense needs some improvement but is not terrible. Has shown that he knows how to make improvements and hopefully can make those mentioned. If so, he could make a fine major leaguer some day.

Tampa Yankees - For the 2004 season, perhaps the best outfielder in the Yankee farm system will be playing in Tampa: Rudy Guillen. He will also be joined by the likes of Matt Carson and Eric Verbryke.

Player

Age

Stats (AVG - HR - RBI)

Comments

Rudy Guillen

20

.260 - 13 - 79

Over the past season, Guillen has transformed himself into a top prospect in the farm system. At the age of 20, he has already begun to rocket through the system. Needs improvement in the outfield though. He committed 10 errors in only 133 games. Guillen has excellent power and, despite a .260 average last year, he is expected to have the potential to hit for a high average. Not much patience at the plate but with some more minor league seasoning, he could be a star somewhere down the road.

Eric Verbryke

23

.271 - 9 - 38

Verbryke has  transformed himself from utility player to a solid ballplayer. He has versatility which he uses to his advantage in terms of his playing time. As he has increased his at bats, he has proven himself as a potential everyday player. Has decent power with good plate discipline for a young hitter. Could move quickly through the system because of his versatility.

Matt Carson

23

.259 - 11 - 52

After a dismal first half, Carson turned his season around to end up having a decent 2003 campaign. To add to his offense, Carson is also a superb defender. He possesses a tremendous throwing arm and has good range as well. Has decent power but his strikeout totals are high and he won't produce a high on base percentage.

Battle Creek Yankees - There will be some new faces in BC for the 2004 season and for some of these players it will be the season that defines their career as a prospect. Many of these players have gotten off to good starts but the organization wants to see what they can do in a level above the Rookie League.

Player

Age

Stats (AVG - HR - RBI)

Comments

Melky Cabrera

20

.283 - 2 - 31

Cabrera's first complete season a could be a gauge of what is to come in his young career. Has shown off four of the five tools along with the intangibles of playing the game the way it was meant to be played. Cabrera's arm has become a threat to any base runner and his vast range in centerfield may only be second to fellow prospect Kevin Thompson. An improving eye at the plate and his natural ability to hit for contact has allowed him to become an outstanding leadoff hitter. Cabrera also swiped 13 bags last year. He is highly touted as a future leadoff hitter in the big leagues if he continues to progress on his current path.

Jared Treadway

24

.274 - 4 - 18

On a Staten Island team that had very little to speak of, Treadway had himself a very solid offensive season. However, he was an extremely impatient hitter and had way too many strikeouts. Was fairly solid in the outfield. Is slightly too old for this level of play and needs to make a big leap this season.

Erold Andrus

20

.286 - 1 - 6

In his first two seasons in the system, Andrus has shown little power at the plate. Scouts do not predict that he will ever become a power hitter but believe that his power numbers will improve to respectability. He is an excellent outfielder and has a fantastic throwing arm. Had 10 assists in 2003. Has excellent range as well. Will likely be a full-time player this season rather than more of a reserve role that he held last season. Has an excellent shot to prove himself this upcoming year.

Kaazim Summerville

26

.188 - 1 - 2

At the age of 26, Summerville is much to old for low-A ball. Has shown a whole lot of nothing in his minor league career and is really not a prospect anymore, barring an unlikely monster 2004 season. Not a prospect.

Estee Harris

19

.277 - 6 - 18

In only one year in the farm system, Harris has solidified himself as one of the organization's top prospects. Scouts are saying that Harris has all five tools and is an all around athletic player. Besides being a good power threat, Harris is a superb base stealer and is rarely caught. Has the skills of a leadoff hitter but is powerful enough to be a run producer as well. But he must cut down on strikeout totals. This 2nd round pick in the 2003 draft also plays an outstanding outfield with a great arm while covering a lot of ground as well. Projects to be a possible major league star.

Staten Island Yankees - his season, the Staten Island Yankees will depend on players to have much better seasons than last year. Many of their outfielders had horrendous seasons in 2003. Hopefully, their will be some draftees that can step in or players that get promoted from the Gulf Coast League. Either way. Some of their starters will have to perform much better in order to improve their dismal offense.

Player (Position)

Age

Stats (AVG - HR - RBI)

Comments

Tim Battle

19

.208 - 0 - 5

Despite having a sub-par 2003 season in limited playing time, Battle will have a chance to redeem himself this season with SI. He is still very young and possesses a lot of potential. Even though he didn't show it last year, Battle has excellent raw power and is a fairly good contact hitter. Has a decent glove in the outfield along with an average throwing arm. Is very good on the bases and could end up being an excellent base stealer if nothing else.

Edwin Cabrera

21

.246 - 5 - 26

Cabrera suffered a down year with the bat in 2003 when you consider what he has the potential to do at the plate. The 21-year-old outfielder performed fairly well in the outfield in the GCL and is expected to perform much better at the plate in 2004. Has good power and surprisingly good patience for a very young hitter. It will take a full season before we see what Cabrera really brings to the table.

Edwar Gonzalez

21

.229 - 2 - 22

Gonzalez followed the trend of dismal offense on the SI Yankees in 2003. While there is no doubt that he has a high ceiling, there were just about no encouraging statistics for Gonzalez. His walk totals were too low and the strikeout totals were much too high. Needs to make some major improvements this upcoming year.

Alexander Santa

21

.193 - 0 - 10

Things couldn't get much worse for Santa in 2003. First of all, his strikeout totals were incredibly high and the walk totals must rise in 2004. Showed absolutely no power hitting, but was able to steal 7 bases in 8 attempts. Needs to make a mass of improvements next season.

Horace Lawrence

23

.211 - 0 - 12

Lawrence did not perform well in 2003, but neither did the majority of the SI offense. Is in need of a full season to show off what he has to offer rather than the 71 at bats he had last season.

Kyle Frank

25

.258 - 0 - 4

Frank is way too old to only be playing in a short season league. Therefore, he is not a prospect anymore. Hasn't shown the potential that was expected when he was drafted out of Clemson.

Nick Covarrubias

24

.266 - 0 - 8

Covarrubias had one of the highest batting averages on the team in 2003 for SI. It seems hard to believe that a .266 would earn him that title but the offense was just that bad. Covarrubias has good speed and can steal some base and cover some ground in the outfield. His power numbers need some work.

GCL Yankees - Much of this team could be made up of draftees but those players still remain to be determined in the upcoming draft. Besides them, this club will be made up of some returning players and others that will get promoted from the Dominican Republic.

Player (Repertoire)

Age

Stats (AVG - HR - RBI)

Comments

Jose Perez

19

.189 - 0 - 10

It is difficult to judge a player that only had 122 at bats, but 2003 was still a season to forget for Jose Perez. However, Perez did play fairly adequate defense and also stole 5 bases in 7 attempts. Another encouraging factor is his 30 walks but he also had a bloated 40 strikeouts as well. We'll see how he rebounds in 2004.

Anderson Amador

19

.061 - 0 - 4

Rather than look at the ugly statistics he compiled last season in very limited playing time, this season should be considered as his first full season. Scouts believe this Dominican Republic product has endless potential but just needs a full season of playing time. A player to watch closely in the upcoming year.

Michael Mcintyre

19

N/A (High School)

Mcintyre was the Yankees 39th round pick in the 2003 draft. Obviously an excellent all-around player in high school, but his performance on a professional level remains to be seen.

Jonathon Bertschinger

19

N/A (High School)

Bertschinger was the Yankees 46th round draft selection in the 2003 draft. A good line-drive hitting left handed hitter. His skills still haven't been defined and we'll have to wait and see what he is as a player.

Dominican Summer League Yankees - The Yankees DSL teams are as strong as they have ever been and Yankee scouts are still well known for their mastery of scouting Dominican players. Last season, the Yankee teams had some of the best players in the league and some of them were outfielders.

Player (Repertoire)

Age

Stats (AVG - HR - RBI)

Comments

Wady Rufino

18

.264 - 2 - 15

Over the past year, scouts have given Rufino rave reviews. He is considered to be a possible 5-tool player and one of the top players in the DSL. Last year, Rufino attended the Perfect Game National Showcase in Lincoln, Nebraska and was ranked 11th out of 100 of the top prospects from the U.S. and abroad. Scouts have said that Rufino's arm in the outfield is one of the best they have ever seen of any player of his young age. His throws have been clocked on the radar gun at speeds upward of 95mph with pinpoint accuracy. Also, he possesses fantastic home run power and has decent speed as well. Rufino is an extremely rare talent that must be watched closely. Still a long way from the majors though.

Jose Cardenas

18

.262 - 4 - 24

Cardenas is a solid all-around ballplayer and has a chance of even being in the GCL in 2004. Has terrific home run power and is a decent outfielder. He is not quite the player that Rufino has the talent to be, however, he could be an excellent player in his own right.


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