Best Hitter For Average: Gerardo Rodriguez - He might not be the most selective hitter at the plate, but the 18-year old Rodriguez has a knack of putting the ball in play. He hit .284 in the Dominican Summer League a year ago before hitting .285 this season - and he's only going to get better.
Best Hitter For Power: Gerardo Rodriguez - Rodriguez not only makes very good contact but he drives the ball with authority. He won't turn 19 years old until late October and he already has above average power from center to right field.
Best Fastball Hitter: Melky Mesa - The toolsy outfielder, like a lot of the GCL hitters, has some work to do hitting breaking balls, but very few have better bat speed to catch up with premier fastballs.
Best Breaking Ball Hitter: Gerardo Rodriguez - Hitting breaking balls might not be his strongest suit but he clearly was the best breaking ball hitter on the young GCL Yankees' squad in 2006.
Best Plate Discipline: D.J. Hollingsworth - With nearly twice as many walks as strikeouts, Hollingsworth easily had the best plate discipline this past season. But at a generously listed 5-foot-9, his rather small frame gives opposing pitchers the smallest of strike zones.
Best Bad Ball Hitter: Josue Calzado - Calzado displays a good eye at the plate, but at the same time, he also possesses an uncanny ability to hit bad pitches as well, much like Jose Reyes of the Mets and Vladmir Guerrero of the Angels.
Best Left-Handed Swing: Nick Diyorio - If there was an obvious offensive weakness on the GCL Yankees in 2006 it would be the lack of quality left-handed bats in the lineup. Diyorio not only led all regular players with a .286 average, he was often times the only left-handed hitter in the batting order.
Best Right-Handed Swing: Gerardo Rodriguez - The scary part about Gerry's game is his swing is about as solid an 18-year old in professional baseball can have and it should only get better.
Best Base Runner: Josue Calzado - Hollingsworth wound up with one more stolen base but Calzado is simply a difference maker on the base paths. He only stole ten bases for the GCL Yankees this past season and that number should quickly rise in the very near future.
Best Raw Speed: Melky Mesa - How Mesa didn't have 30+ stolen bases this past season was one of the true mysteries of the Gulf Coast League season. The 19-year old can flat out fly and he's easily one of the fastest runners in the farm system. But with just three stolen bases in 2006, the Yankees are going to have to teach him how to swipe bags.
Best Athlete: Josue Calzado - Blessed with a projectable body and tools across the board, not many have as much God-given talent as Calzado.
Best Untapped Talent: Jose Felix - While an argument could be made to select Calzado or Mesa in this category, their games are farther along than that of Felix. Felix has all five tools in his bag and he has as much natural ability as anybody, he just needs to hone his skills into baseball ability.
Deepest Repertoire: Dellin Betances - One of the truly scary parts about his game is the amount of quality pitches he is already able to throw at such a young age. He's armed with a two-seam fastball, a four-seam fastball, a knockout knuckle-curveball, a changeup, and a slider.
Best Fastball For Starting Pitcher: Dellin Betances - Bringing consistent 93-96 MPH heat, touching as high as 98 MPH at times, Betances clearly has the best fastball.
Best Fastball For Relief Pitcher: Michael Dunn - With instruction the key word of the Gulf Coast League, which in turn creates a piggy-back situation for starting pitchers, the fact is there aren't too many "relievers" at the rookie level. If you take out Ferdin Tejeda, who was essentially rehabbing in the GCL, Dunn, whose fastball sits 90-93 MPH, is realistically the only true reliever from this past year's squad.
Best Curveball: Dellin Betances - Boasting a knee-bending power knuckle curveball, Betances is already drawing comparisons to Christian Garcia for his fastball/breaking ball combination. It's a plus pitch for him already.
Best Slider: Grant Duff - Duff, who can hit 95 MPH with his heater, has a plus slider to give him two plus pitches. He's extremely confident in his slider and he's able to throw it in any count and in any situation. It ranges anywhere from 78-84 MPH.
Best Changeup: Zach McAllister - As terrific as Duff is with his slider, McAllister is equally as dominating with his changeup. Just 18-years old, his changeup is already a plus pitch for him and that just doesn't happen with teenagers in their first professional season. His changeup will take him a long way.
Best Control: Dellin Betances - If not for the trade to the Phillies, Carlos Monasterios would have taken this award in a landslide. But next in line is Betances, who, after just a short time receiving professional coaching, has really made strides in his mechanics and improved control has been an immediate result.
Best Mechanics: Michael Dunn - Despite being a first-year converted pitcher, oddly enough, Dunn's incredibly smooth mechanics is one of the main reasons the Yankees internally believe he'll move quickly up the minor league ladder.
Best Raw Arm: Ivan Nova - Blessed with a plethora of young arms this past season, there are many candidates for this category from the GCL Yankees. But while the likes of Betances, McAllister, and Angel Reyes will get most of the attention, Nova should fly under the radar. He has a 91-94 MPH fastball, a solid curveball, and a quality changeup.
Best Overall Potential: Dellin Betances - His height gives him a huge advantage on opposing batters and the fact he throws two plus pitches with a couple of other solid ones bodes well for his future. Potential-wise, he's right up there with the best pitching prospects the Yankees currently have to offer.
Most Polished Pitcher: Angel Reyes - Nobody is polished at the rookie level, but if there's a pitcher from this GCL squad that has the most polish right now with the way he threw at the end of the Gulf Coast League season, it's Reyes.
Best Defensive Pitcher: Michael Dunn - Dunn's two-way playing days, playing both centerfield and first base as late as this season, gives him a clear advantage over his GCL teammates. He is very athletic coming off of the mound and he is extremely quick.
Best Defensive Outfielder: Josue Calzado - If there was a clear-cut strength on the GCL Yankees in 2006, aside from their obvious pitching depth, was their defensive play. While Melky Mesa or Jose Felix could garner attention in this category, Calzado's combination of range and arm were simply the best.
Best Defensive Infielder: Walter Ibarra - Ibarra is a special defensive player with soft hands and very good range at shortstop. His arm, while not the strongest, is more than adequate at shortstop and he has innate defensive abilities that can't be taught.
Best Defensive Catcher: Gerardo Rodriguez - As with the case of Monasterios, Jesus Sanchez easily would have nabbed this honor had he not been traded to Philadelphia later in the season. By default, Rodriguez takes home the honor despite playing nearly as many games at first base.
Best Outfield Instincts: Josue Calzado - Calzado is simply a special defensive outfielder who knows where to throw in situations and he takes very good routes on balls hit his way.
Best Outfield Range: Melky Mesa - As mentioned above, nobody on the Gulf Coast League Yankees is faster than Mesa and as a result, he can get to balls most other outfielders can't.
Best Outfield Arm: Josue Calzado - While Melky Mesa has a terrific arm in his own right, Calzado's arm is flat out special. Many insiders believe he can throw a ball from home plate over the centerfield fence with ease and he would arguably have one of the best outfield arms in the big leagues right now.
Best Infield Arm: Yang Carlos Perez - Perez is a raw baseball player that possesses a special arm. He has enough range to play shortstop but his arm is strong enough for it to be a plus tool at third base as well.
Best Infield Range: Walter Ibarra - He may not have the range of Ramiro Pena, but it's not all that far behind. Injuries limited his playing time in 2006 but Ibarra's range is his obvious strong suit in the Yankee organization.
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