Down on the Farm: Top Six Disappointments

With the 2004 minor league season now over, PinstripesPlus will look at the prospects that disappointed this past year. Here's a list of the top six biggest disappointments among the Yankees' farmhands in their developmental process for 2004.

6) Jayson Drobiak - A lot of prospect gurus knew not to expect the same type of monster season as Drobiak had last year when he hit .293 with 35 doubles, 30 home runs, 86 RBI, and 18 stolen bases. But few expected such a dramatic fall off after climbing just one more rung on the prospect ladder. Drobiak, albeit playing more of a part-time role in 2004, hit just .229 with 11 home runs and 43 RBI in 81 games this season for the high-A Tampa Yankees. 2005 will be a crucial year in Drobiak's career as it should be the deciding year in his fading "prospect" label.

5) Ramon Ramirez - After a dominating performance in the Arizona Fall League, Ramirez fell on his proverbial face in 2004 and hardly looked like the #5 Yankees' prospect as labeled by Baseball America heading into the season. Ramirez went just 4-6 with a 4.62 ERA in 18 starts for the AA-Trenton Thunder this season. Like Drobiak, 2005 will go a long way towards deciding just how good a prospect Ramirez will be for the Yankees.

4) Estee Harris & Tim Battle - Harris, a 2nd round draft pick out of Central Islip High School in 2003, and Battle, a 3rd round selection out of McIntosh High School in last year's draft, had decent seasons. We put the combination of these two together so high on the list for not having anymore success at a higher level. Both played decent baseball for the Staten Island Yankees. However, Harris showed very little in his 57 games for the Battle Creek Yankees, hitting .214 with three home runs. Battle did not play for anyone other than Staten Island. A little more is expected from two of your top three draft choices, even if drafted out of high school, in their second professional seasons.

3) Ferdin Tejeda - Easily could have been the most disappointing player on this list. The reason he's not is we did not like him as a prospect as much as Baseball America. We ranked Tejeda the 23rd best Yankees prospect prior to the season compared to Baseball America's preseason ranking of #7. Tejeda looked lost starting the year off in AA-Trenton, hitting just .174 with one extra-base hit in 30 games for the Thunder and did not look much better in his 50 games for single-A Tampa where he hit just .236 with no home runs. Sure he's a slick-fielding defenseman at shortstop, but the guy is not showing the promise at the plate that Baseball America and other scouts felt he had. He has not hit a home run in two years and has all the makings of former Mets' SS Rey Ordonez...and we all know how that panned out for the Mets.

2) Slow Ascension of the 2002 Draftees. It takes a couple of years to grade a team's draft, or so many people have said. At first glance the 2004 draft appears to be the makings of a tremendous draft. Conversely, the 2002 draft appears to have been a dud. Matt Carson, Eric Verybryke, Brandon Harmsen, Hector Zamora, and Jared Koutnik were all drafted out of college in 2002 (Harmsen was drafted out of community college). Carson, Harmsen, and Koutnik had fine seasons in 2004 but only Brad Halsey (drafted in the 7th round in 2002 out of the University of Texas) has risen through the ranks in a timely manner and made his way to the majors while the others have not made it above A-ball yet.

1) Rudy Guillen - After hitting .260-13-79 with 13 stolen bases for Battle Creek in 2003, Guillen clubbed a grand total of one home run in 79 games this season for the Tampa Yankees. Guillen has still not shown that incredible power potential he displayed in the Dominican Summer League a couple of years ago. Sure Guillen had some big hits in clutch situations for the Tampa Yankees. But one home run and one stolen base for a 5-tool talent like Guillen is an alarming sign to say the least.

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