Jimmy Paredes: Signed as a low-risk/high-ceiling player back in 2006, Paredes' numbers thus far have been underwhelming. Extremely skinny when he signed, he has put on nearly 30 pounds of muscle over the past two years though and the power is slowly starting to develop.
While he can be a bit impatient at the plate at times - although it too is rapidly improving - his is a very good contact hitter. The switch-hitter has good power from the right side, great power potential from the left, he can run quite well for a corner infielder, and he has one of the strongest infield arms around. Lacking some patience and selectivity makes him raw at the current time, but few have his upside.
Bradley Suttle: Like Paredes, Suttle is a switch-hitter with plus power potential. Even though he had undergone major changes to his swing in just one short year since signing, he gets a very good charge with his swing and there's a ton of room for improvement as he gains more comfort with his new swing mechanics.
And while his walk-to-strikeout ratio doesn't exactly bear it out just yet, he does have good plate discipline and many believe he can be a much better hitter than he's shown. He is a solid defensive third baseman too, although he doesn't have quite the arm strength that Paredes has, but it's more than enough to remain at the hot corner.
Closest to the Majors
Eric Duncan: The former first round pick simply hasn't made the necessary adjustments at the upper minor league levels. Whether it's because he was rushed too quickly or if his swing has been changed a couple of times, the fact is his .247 career average hasn't equaled his raw talent.
He is still just 24 years old, however, and now approaching 1,000 at-bats at the Triple-A level, he is the third base prospect closest to the bigs for the Yankees. The 2009 season will be a sink-or-swim year for him to resurrect his fading prospect status.
Marcos Vechionacci: Like Duncan, Vechionacci has a ton of raw talent that has yet to blossom. He has very good bat control, a great eye at the plate, a sound mechanical swing, and the type of body that could allow him to increase his overall strength. He is also arguably the best defensive third baseman in the system.
|HIS LAST CHANCE?: 2009 could be a make or break year for Vechionacci. (Photo: Patrick Teale/PinstripesPlus.com)|
Need to Make Their Move
Mitch Hilligoss: Few prospects have ever had the precipitous fall Hilligoss has had in just one short year. He went from setting a South Atlantic League record 38-game hit streak and hitting .310 in 2007 to batting nearly 70 points lower last season, all while his power has been negligible at a power-hitting position.
It's a bit of an enigma too - he has great knowledge of the strike zone and good bat control, but his patience and selectivity at the plate have been waning. He has quickly been buried on the depth charts with the ascension of others and he'll need to hit his way back into legitimate prospect status.
The Jury is Still Out
Elio De La Rosa: He was signed for his advanced hitting mechanics in 2007 and made his professional debut last season. Battling a serious eye infection for a majority of the season, however, it was a lost year as he hit just .134 in 32 games for DSL Yankees2. He will have to start all over again in 2009 and seems destined for the Dominican Summer League once again.
Emerson Landoni: Landoni was a free agent sign after initially playing for both the Marlins and Tigers in the Venezuelan Summer League back in 2006 before missing all of the 2007 season. He is a bit of sleeper with his solid bat control, switch-hitting abilities, and solid defensive game. However, the competition is steep at the lower levels and he'll need to find a full-time job before being taken a bit more seriously as a prospect.
Mike Lyon: A four-year college player drafted in the 24th-round last season, Lyon had a solid professional debut season, hitting .268 with six home runs for the Staten Island Yankees. He has some power, decent speed for a big man, and he plays a serviceable third base. Like Landoni though, the jury is still out on his prospect status until he can steal some playing time in A-ball over higher-ceiling players.