2004 Tampa Yankees Position Prospect Review

PinstripesPlus looks at the peripherals stats of the Tampa Yankees positional players to project development. We will look at the guys who amassed 150 at-bats for Tampa and did not accrue 150 or more at-bats at Trenton.

Melky Cabrera - CF

Melky Cabrera has the look of a special player in the Yankees' system. Very unique in his own way, Cabrera is not your prototypical centerfielder. He has good speed but does steal bases. He has good power, but does not hit a ton of home runs. At just 20 years old, he was one of the youngest players in the Florida State League. A product of the Yankees' Dominican Summer League (DSL) team, Cabrera was signed as an international free agent and is rapidly climbing the Yankees' prospect charts. He showed decent patience at the plate and developing power. He's a contact hitter that could develop into a really good power hitter down the road. Cabrera will be in AA-Trenton at some point next season where he'll finally get the recognition he deserves as a top prospect.

Level

Team

AVG.

OBP%

SLG%

BB/PA

XBH

AB

A

Tampa

.288

.341

.438

.065

32.3

333

A

Battle Creek

.333

.383

.462

.081

33.3

171



Jayson Drobiak - 1B

The Yankees signed Drobiak in 2002 as a free agent out of the independent Frontier League after being originally drafted by the Detroit Tigers in the 44th round of the 1999 draft and was released by Detroit in 2000. A world beater in 2003 (.293-30-86-18), Drobiak had a hard time finding consistent at-bats in 2004 as he shared time at first base as part of the lefty-righty platoon. His peripherals were actually very good despite the low batting average but time is running out for Drobiak. He turns 26 before the start of next season and it seems if he has plans on ever reaching the higher levels, he'll have to do it in another organization. At this point he's a non-prospect for the Yankees.

Level

Team

AVG.

OBP%

SLG%

BB/PA

XBH

AB

A

Tampa

.229

.293

.417

.080

42.4

288



Eric Duncan - 3B

Some pundits might look at Duncan's batting averages between his two stops at Battle Creek and Tampa and come away disappointed, especially given the hype surrounding him. Don't be fooled! What Duncan accomplished as a 19-year old, reaching high-A ball, was nothing short of amazing. In 2004, Duncan hit 43 doubles and 16 home runs. His extra-base hit percentages were off the charts for such a young player and he showed unbelievable patience at the plate...so much so, that his batting average was rather fluky. Selected by the Yankees with the 27th overall pick (1st round) in the 2003 draft, Duncan is a star in the making and his peripherals are a testament to that. The question is: Will the Yankees hold on to him? The "Boss" needs to show some control and some patience when dealing with Duncan. Duncan, who turns 20 in December, is on a path to hit AA-Trenton some time next season and become the Yankees' version of David Wright sometime soon.

Level

Team

AVG.

OBP%

SLG%

BB/PA

XBH

AB

A

Tampa

.254

.366

.462

.152

59.1

173

A

Battle Creek

.260

.351

.479

.117

49.3

288



Shelley Duncan - 1B

Drafted in the 2nd round of the 2001 draft out of the University of Arizona, Duncan's peripheral numbers were a lot better than the regular numbers (.248-19-78). Duncan did manage to hit a career-high 19 home runs in the pitching friendly Florida State League, which is no small task. He has a ton of power potential and his 44.8% of hits that went for extra bases was way above the Florida State League average. Duncan will never be a .300 hitter (at any level) because he simply strikes out too much and does not make enough consistent contact. But he's extremely patient at the plate. At his size, he seems to be a right-handed version of Adam Dunn of the Reds. He has that much power. Although he just turned 25 so he's going to have to make a major push to be able to showcase his power at the Major League level. He'll be Trenton's starting first baseman in 2005 and could be one of those players that makes the leap from AA to the Majors if called upon.

Level

Team

AVG.

OBP%

SLG%

BB/PA

XBH

AB

A

Tampa

.248

.336

.450

.113

44.8

424



Rudy Guillen - RF

A free-agent signing out of the Dominican Republic in 2000, Guillen had an awful year at the plate after finally showing his five-tool potential for Battle Creek in 2003. After clubbing 13 home runs and stealing 13 bases in '03, Guillen hit just one home run and stole just one base for Tampa this past season. His peripheral numbers were not as dreadful, showing a decent extra-base hit percentage and average walk ratio. Guillen, who just turns 21 in November, still has a ton of potential and is not likely to be written off just yet. He probably needs some more seasoning in the Florida State League in 2005 to prove that his 2003 season was not a fluke. Chances are he'll be back in Tampa to start the season next year and he has the talent to chalk up his 2004 campaign as just a bad year.

Level

Team

AVG.

OBP%

SLG%

BB/PA

XBH

AB

A

Tampa

.264

.313

.339

.067

23.5

307



Jared Koutnik - UT

Drafted in the 16th round of the 2002 draft out of Michigan State University, Koutnik has the look of a very useful utility player down the road. He played 2B, 3B, SS, and even some outfield in 2004. He hit a career-high 10 home runs this past season and his peripheral numbers, while not great, were very solid. Koutnik has shown decent power and good patience at the plate. He's one to keep an eye on as a future role player for the Yankees. Expect to see him serving the same utility role for the Thunder in Trenton next season.

Level

Team

AVG.

OBP%

SLG%

BB/PA

XBH

AB

A

Tampa

.291

.348

.430

.073

27.9

381



Gabe Lopez - 2B

At 5'8" and 170 lbs, Lopez has decent gap power which was shown in his surprising number of extra-base hits in 2004. He's selective at the plate and always willing to take a walk. Selected in the 17th round of the 2002 draft out of San Jose State University, Lopez does a little bit of everything. With the ability to play shortstop and even some third base, Lopez has a future as a possible utility player down the road. Lopez is not going to light it up numbers wise but he is a solid contributor to a baseball team. His size and lack of power hamper his chances of becoming a Major League starter. Look for him to be in AA-Trenton next season.

Level

Team

AVG.

OBP%

SLG%

BB/PA

XBH

AB

A

Tampa

.256

.327

.355

.094

29.1

403



Jon-Mark Sprowl - C

Acquired from the Arizona Diamondbacks along with Bret Prinz in the trade of Raul Mondesi in July of 2003, Sprowl battled nagging injuries all year in 2004 and posted a career-low .324 slugging percentage as a result. Time is running out for Sprowl to make his mark in the Yankees' system. Very good defensively, Sprowl is an extremely patient hitter that has a chance to put it all together. He turns 25 next summer and is starting to get that dreaded "NP" label....no prospect.

Level

Team

AVG.

OBP%

SLG%

BB/PA

XBH

AB

A

Tampa

.256

.381

.324

.158

21.4

219



Eric Verbryke - OF

Drafted in the 9th round of the 2002 draft out of Cal-State Northridge, Verbryke has not been able to show the same power he had in college when he clubbed 14 home runs in 57 games he final year of school. In fact, he has just 16 career home runs in his first three seasons in the Yankees' system. Still, Verbryke has some solid peripheral numbers and has an outside shot of becoming a fourth or fifth outfielder in the Majors someday. He has a good eye at the plate, is really selective, and does have decent gap power. Verbryke could serve as Trenton's backup outfielder in 2005.

Level

Team

AVG.

OBP%

SLG%

BB/PA

XBH

AB

A

Tampa

.250

.337

.368

.096

31.8

340



Tommy Winrow - LF

After playing in his sixth season in the Yankees' minor league system, Winrow shared time with Verbryke as the left-handed portion of a platoon in left field for Tampa this past season. His .330 average came out of nowhere in 2004 after four straight seasons of sub .290 averages. Even with the .330 average, Winrow's peripheral stats don't really jump off the page as a legit Major League prospect. A free-agent this winter, it remains to be seen if he'll be back in the Yankees' system in 2005.

Level

Team

AVG.

OBP%

SLG%

BB/PA

XBH

AB

A

Tampa

.330

.379

.437

.071

23.2

339



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