Yankees Minor League Notebook: Special Edition

There has been a lot of good things going on so far this season that may have revived the seemingly dull Yankee Farm System. The emergence of some new star prospects has occurred in the lower levels of the system while a couple others are knocking on the door of the big leagues, which is no easy task in such a prestigious organization. Which players have been the standouts as we approach mid-season? Let's take a look now at the PinstripesPlus.com Yankees Farm System All-Star Team.

C - Dioner Navarro - The 20 year old catcher is almost the choice by default but either way, he is putting up a very solid season. In fact, he was playing well enough with AA Trenton to earn himself a promotion to AAA Columbus a little under a week ago. He struggled on defense in Trenton as he had 11 passed balls but his hot hitting early on in the season made up for that. The switch hitting catcher's offense has tapered over the past month but he has still put up respectable statistics. He hit .271 in AA with 3 home runs, 14 doubles and 29 RBI as well. Navarro has gotten off to a slow start in Columbus but it is likely that he will heat up soon.

 

1b - Andy Phillips - This choice is nearly a unanimous one for anyone. Andy Phillips has pieced together an absolutely tremendous season so far. His potential is there but last year, when he underwent elbow surgery, he was held down badly as the injury hampered him. Once again this season, the infielder is back in AAA and playing primarily first base. While he has done a fairly nice job holding down the position, his hitting ability has been what sets him apart. So far this season, Phillips has a gaudy .330 batting average with 11 home runs and 31 RBI. Phillips has been a constant offensive weapon all season for the Clippers.

2b - Robinson Cano - This selection is another no doubt about it job. Cano has been the talk of the Yankee Farm System this season as he has put together his best offensive season so far and is drawing a lot of attention from scouts around the league. Recently, along with Dioner Navarro, Cano was promoted to AAA Columbus. Like he did in Trenton, he continued to hit. In Trenton, the second baseman wash hitting .301 with 7 home runs. In only his first few AAA games, Cano is really lighting it up. He has gotten nine hits in his first fourteen at bats including a home run and six RBI.

3b - Eric Duncan/Bronson Sardinha - Both of these two players warrant this selection but to make it fair, let's take them both for now. Eric Duncan has the better production numbers as he has blasted eleven home runs with 54 RBI and 132 total bases. However, Duncan has had an absolutely nightmarish month and his average has dropped to .257. Sardinha however, has hit for much less power but has hit for a high average all year long. I Tampa, Sardinha hit .315 with two home runs. Then, he earned a promotion to AA Trenton. There, he has been even more impressive. With the Thunder, Sardinha is batting a lofty .375 with two home runs and five RBI.

SS - Hector Made - Even though he, like Eric Duncan, has hit a terrible slump over the past month, there is really no one else that could compete against him for this spot. So far this season with the Midwest League, Battle Creek Yankees, Made is batting .257 with three home runs, 17 doubles and 23 RBI as well.

DH - Jared Koutnik - Koutnik is by far the most surprising name of the entire group. Who would have expected Jared Koutnik to have such spectacular production numbers at this point in the season. He has DHed sometimes and has also moved around the infield. So far, with the Tampa Yankees, he is batting .304 with nine home runs and 45 RBI as well. He has arguably been the team MVP for the Tampa Yankees.

OF - Melky Cabrera - Here is probably the best prospect that no one ever talks about in the New York Yankees Farm System. He had a good season last year but has had an even better one this year to prove that he is top prospect material.

OF - Kevin Thompson - Thompson was down early this season with an elbow injury but has come back strong and he is just about back to full strength. Mostly known for his defense and speed, he seems to have improved his hitting greatly this season. He began his season rehabbing with the Tampa Yankees. There, he batted .356 in eleven games. But his big statistic was that he stole nine bases. Since then, he has moved on to AA Trenton. So far, he is batting .278 there.

OF - Mike Vento - With Bubba Crosby riding the shuttle up and down the big leagues, Mike Vento tends to be ignored in AAA Columbus. However, he is putting together a very fine and productive season for the Clippers. If the outfielder continues to produce, there is almost no doubt that he will receive a September call up to the Yankees. This season, Vento is batting .284 with ten home runs and an impressive 41 RBI. He also has 18 doubles.

SP - Brad Halsey - This choice is for obvious reasons. After starting out in Columbus where he was mowing down the league, Halsey earned a promotion to the Yankees where so far he has pitched brilliantly in two of his three starts. So who knows if and when he will return to the Clippers. he has just had a dream season thus far.

SP - Matt DeSalvo - Matt DeSalvo is quickly moving himself up the prospect ladder faster than any other Yankee prospect. DeSalvo started his season with the Tampa Yankees but he was so dominating, he was moved to AA Trenton. In Tampa, he went 6-3 with a minuscule 1.43 ERA. However, the most impressive thing is that he struck out 80 batters in 75 innings pitched. The righthander made the adjustment well to AA. So far, he is 1-1 with a 3.46 ERA. DeSalvo has struck out 13 in 13 innings pitched.

SP - Steven White - It is almost hard to believe that Steven White has just begun his professional career only a couple months ago. He finally signed from last year's draft and he was assigned to play with Battle Creek. The righty quickly pitched his way out of that league and earned a promotion to high A Tampa. With Battle Creek, he went 5-2 with an impressive 2.65 ERA. Now, with Tampa, he has gone 1-1 with a 2.08 ERA. White appears to a sleeper prospect so he is one to keep an eye on.

SP - Tyler Clippard - Tyler Clippard has had one fine season with the Battle Creek Yankees this season but the lack of run support has come back to get him. He is 5-7 but his ERA of 3.35 is very encouraging. His strikeout and walk statistics are staggering. In 80.2 innings pitched, he struck out 82 batters while walking only 15. He could see a promotion by later in the season.

SP - Abel Gomez - Gomez is yet another up and coming star pitcher for the Battle Creek Yankees. One thing that could work in his favor is that he is left handed. He is pitching very well this year as he is 6-4 with a 3.00 ERA. Gomez has also struck out 83 in only 75 innings pitched.

RP - Edwardo Sierra - Edwardo Sierra could be the power bullpen arm that the New York Yankees are looking for in the future. Sierra has been lights out in the closers role for the Tampa Yankees this season. He has a Yankee farm system best 16 saves.

RP - Paul Thorp - This Battle Creek Yankees reliever has emerged as one of the elite closers in the New York Yankees Farm System. With the BC Yankees, he has saved 13 ballgames.


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