Biggest Weaknesses

Going over our Top 50 Prospects rankings again, we'll highlight each of the player's biggest weaknesses in cheat sheet format to highlight the area of their game that might prevent them from reaching their potential if they don't make the necessary adjustments.

IMPORTANT NOTES about the Top 50, even though this is an adjunct article - DO NOT reveal the rankings, either partially or in full, on other message boards, blogs, sites, etc. Remember this is copyrighted material and we'd hope everybody would respect the other paying subscribers by not divulging any of the information in the rankings...

...including just a listing of the names of the players in the rankings! Basically read the rankings, talk about them on our subscribers forum here, and don't share any of the information anywhere else please.

1. Jesus Montero - Foot speed. It would be easy to list defense as his biggest shortcoming but Montero's biggest overall problem is a lack of foot speed. Not only does it hinder him behind the plate, it completely limits his other positional options defensively.

2. Austin Romine - Lack of walks. A year ago this would have been his receiving ability, but he completely turned that around in one short year. To describe him as an impatient hitter wouldn't be correct. Despite drawing so few walks in his career, he actually does employ a patient approach. He'll need to learn to turn that up a notch, however, at the higher levels and make it a point to draw some more walks to be a better overall hitter.

3. Manny Banuelos - His size. One of the few prospects still in A-ball that doesn't have a glaring weakness in his game, his size is a bit of a limiting factor. He still throws pretty hard and he is naturally strong to pitch deep into games, but at 5-foot-11 it would be better if the 18-year old could add a couple of more inches to his frame.

4. Arodys Vizcaino - His changeup. Despite having one of the higher ceilings in the organization, Vizcaino isn't without his faults. His changeup right now is the most glaring weakness. If he were to get that pitch on par with his plus fastball and plus curveball, he could start to fly up the ladder. His propensity to leave pitches up also bears watching.

5. Andrew Brackman - His changeup. Using his statistics in such discussions of weaknesses might lead some to believe his command is the bigger weakness, but vastly improved mechanics and confidence by season's end made that a non-issue. If he can continue to pitch like he did in Instructional League, the only thing holding him back will be further development of his changeup.

6. Slade Heathcott - Lack of experience. Seldom do high school players enter professional baseball with the great set of tools that Heathcott possesses. In that regard, he has relatively few weaknesses. His biggest weakness right now is a lack of professional experience.

7. Corban Joseph - Range. Joseph has some speed, as evidenced by his eight stolen bases in less than one full season at Charleston this past season, so he has the foundation to improve his range at second base. As of right now his biggest shortcoming is ranging on extended defensive plays, especially to his right. Once he masters that there will no more questions about his ability to remain at second, and with his offensive potential, that's good news.

8. Gary Sanchez - Experience. Like Heathcott, Sanchez is a special teenager who is pretty polished on both sides of the ball already. He can hit, hit for power, and he has an excellent defensive foundation. His biggest weakness to date in his inability to receive too much professional coaching and in-game experiences.

9. J.R. Murphy - Power. It's not uncommon for a recent high school draftee to have a lack of power be his biggest weakness so it's not really a big concern at the current time. His lack of experience catching could also be listed as his biggest weakness, but the lack of plus power potential right now is a bigger one since it does somewhat limit positional options going forward if the Yankees would need to move him from the catcher's spot.

10. Christian Garcia - Health. That's it, remaining healthy is not only Garcia's biggest weakness, it's his only one.

11. Zach McAllister - Lack of knockout secondary pitches. There's no denying McAllister's success over the last two years. He's piled up some impressive numbers on the strength of a quality sinking fastball and his ability to command the inner-half of the plate. The lack of a true strikeout pitch among his slider and changeup does raise some questions if he can have the same kind of success at Triple-A and in the big leagues.

12. Graham Stoneburner - His changeup. Experience could be listed as a big weakness right now, but his fastball-slider combination along with his ease of motion could allow him to fly up the minors as a reliever right now. However, with his changeup being a newer pitch to him and not having confidence in it yet is his biggest weakness as a starting pitcher, his projected role right now.

13. D.J. Mitchell - His size. Armed with three quality big league pitches and superb command of them to boot, there aren't any glaring weaknesses to his game. Listed at just 170 pounds, however, adding some bulk to his frame would only help his ability to remain stronger deeper into games and throughout a long season. He could stand to get a bit physically stronger to increase his endurance.

14. Jose Ramirez - His breaking ball. Blessed with a plus arm that can light up radar guns, as well as a quality changeup and above average command, Ramirez's biggest weakness is the lack of knockout breaking pitch at the current time. He also doesn't grasp instruction as quickly as others do and that makes his adjustment time a bit longer than most, so that bears watching, but a plus breaking pitch is the biggest weakness right now.

15. David Adams - Range. On the subject of making adjustments, this time a year ago there could have been a small laundry list of weaknesses for Adams, but he's come an extremely long way in a short period of time. He has no real glaring weaknesses in his game anymore, which is a credit to his work ethic and overall intelligence. His biggest negative [if you want to call it that] is he doesn't have plus range, but now we're nitpicking.

16. Eduardo Nunez - Lack of walks. Like Romine, Nunez actually has good pitch selection at the plate, although Nunez is not nearly as patient as Romine. He's an ultra-aggressive hitter who has a knack for making hard contact, but a stronger commitment to working deeper in the count with the goal of drawing more walks would help him sustain the kind of success he had this past season.

17. Dellin Betances - Mechanics. His changeup could also be listed here, but the root of Betances' inconsistencies over the years, including his changeup, has been his mechanics. He seemed to be on the cusp of finally having consistent mechanics before going down with Tommy John surgery, however. The hope is the wagging of the head in his delivery is a thing of the past and that will spell better command and a consistent changeup.

18. Abraham Almonte - Consistent swing mechanics. There is absolutely nothing wrong with Almonte's game. He has patience, selectivity, power, speed, defense, etc. His biggest weakness, and this could be said of all young switch-hitters, is his inability to have consistent swing mechanics at both sides of the plate. That leads to streaky hitting, a trademark of Almonte's career so far, but he seems to possibly have turned that corner. We'll see.

19. Ivan Nova - Pitch-ability. The subtitle here could be a lack of killer instinct because a pitcher with three plus pitches and an innate ability to throw strikes should have much, much better strikeout numbers. He has struggled at times to set batters up in the box and go for the strikeout when ahead in the count. There's no question about his stuff, command, and strength. A bit more attitude on the mound is what's needed.

20. Kelvin De Leon- Hitting breaking pitches. Taking better routes in the outfield and showing more hustle in the field were two glaring weaknesses a year ago, but he's corrected those issues in quick fashion. His biggest bugaboo at the current time is making consistent contact on breaking pitches and laying off of ones out of the zone better. Should he start doing that he could really blossom.

21. Jeremy Bleich - Confidence. Bleich's critics unfairly and inexplicably point to his stuff as a weakness. That's really not the case at all. His biggest weakness right now is trusting his stuff more and having confidence to throw it by people. He has three big league pitches and superb command. Not giving opposing batters too much credit - which had been a problem for the likes of Cliff Lee in the past - is his biggest hurdle.

22. Kyle Higashioka - Arm strength. It might come as a surprise to some but Higashioka actually has few weaknesses in his game despite being so young. His offensive approach is flawless, his leadership skills are off the charts, his defensive abilities are well advanced, and he has more power than many realize. His biggest weakness right now is plus arm strength, but he makes up for it with a quick release and accurate throws.

23. Jairo Heredia - Arm strength. Great command of three big league pitches at his young age is a bit rare, and his plus curveball especially gives him a leg up on his competition. But as good as those things are, his lack of a plus fastball will start to bury him a bit on the depth chart. If he can add just a couple of ticks to his fastball, he could be real special.

24. Brandon Laird - Patience. Not only could Laird use more patience in his offensive approach - making it a point to draw more walks and force himself to see better pitches - but he could use more patience with himself. His insatiable desire to be great out of the gate each of the last two years has had him pressing a bit and he's at his absolute best when he allows the game to come to him. A more relaxed and patient attitude with being successful could do wonders.

25. George Kontos - Health. For a long time his changeup and curveball were causes for concern, but he made big improvement with both after committing to throwing both more often. His fastball velocity, once in the plus range, had dipped down to the average realm prior to going down with Tommy John surgery. The hope is that was the reason for the dip in velocity and that he'll return to the plus range once he's healthy again.

26. Wilkins De La Rosa - His slider. The southpaw has a plus arm and a big league changeup as well, but his slider, while quite effective at times, is on the inconsistent side. All pitchers need a reliable breaking pitch, especially left-handers. Once he can get that up to par with his fastball-changeup combination, he'll be big league ready.

27. Eduardo Sosa - Timidness. Sosa has huge talent in nearly every facet of the game. While his lack of plus power potential could be viewed as a weakness, that's really not his game. He has more than enough natural power to be an impact hitter. His biggest problem to date is a lack of self-assurance in his abilities and being a little less timid overall. A quiet and shy person by nature, all he needs to do is come out of shell a tad and let his abilities take over.

28. David Phelps - His changeup. Now like David Adams, this is a nitpicking a bit. The fact is Phelps has a pretty good changeup to go along with a good fastball-slider combination, and he has command and pitches with efficiency, but getting his changeup into a more reliable out-pitch so he has it on the days when the slider or fastball evades him is really the only sub-standard part of his game.

29. Bradley Suttle - Development time. Beyond more game experience, Suttle just needs more development time to continue working on his revamped swing and that has been a problem over the last calendar year after having labrum surgery in September of 2008. All of the other pieces are in place. Possessing good plate discipline, perhaps the only other area of weakness is a stronger commitment to taking walks.

30. Jimmy Paredes - Patience. For being as extremely toolsy as he is, Paredes is actually pretty refined overall. He hasn't hit for power to date, but considering he hasn't gotten his man strength yet, that really isn't a concern. Being a lot more patient at the plate and working on getting better pitches to hit would allow him to better tap his vast potential though.

31. Jose Pirela - Power. Pirela had yet to hit a home run in official game action in over 500 at-bats in the United States. Now he stings the ball routinely on line-drives and he's built very well, enough to show some decent power potential, but the loft in his swing isn't there yet. With his plate discipline, hitting ability, overall defensive skills, and leadership qualities, a bump in power could make him a top prospect.

32. Adam Warren - Knockout breaking pitches. It's way early in his development so this is really isn't a big concern, but considering he is so polished with his fastball and changeup, throws with plus power, and has real good command, the only knock on his game is further developing his curveball and slider into more reliable strikeout weapons. With his ability to make quick adjustments, however, it seems just like a matter of time before he improves them.

33. Caleb Cotham - Experience. Reportedly possessing three pitches, two of them plus in the form of his fastball and slider, and having good command, the only real weakness at this point is gaining professional game experience and receiving professional coaching.

34. Brett Marshall - His curveball. The Yankees coaching staff might list toning down his aggressive nature as his biggest weakness, but that's more of an easy fix. His biggest dilemma is getting his curveball, which can be a plus pitch from time to time, into a reliable weapon. Throwing his pitches down in the zone more frequently is also on the wish list.

35. Bryan Mitchell - His size. Like Cotham, Mitchell also needs game experience and professional coaching more than anything. He too has a changeup that lags behind his plus fastball, plus curveball combination. However, at 6-foot-2 and 175 pounds, he's even thinner than D.J. Mitchell. Putting on useful muscle mass will be atop his to-do list going forward.

36. Hector Noesi - His changeup. Like Phelps, we're definitely nitpicking here because, quite honestly, he doesn't have a glaring weakness. His changeup lags behind his plus curveball and above-average fastball, and his command is superior. Getting his changeup into a reliable strikeout pitch is really the only area with room for improvement.

37. Damon Sublett - His speed. For a guy who has struggled a bit over the past two seasons, he actually has a strong foundation in his overall game. He has more power than his home run total this past season suggests, he has a good idea of the strike zone and employs a patient approach, and he has a solid arm too. Improving his overall speed, while he does have some, would help improve his defensive range and that's his biggest weakness in an otherwise solid game.

38. Zoilo Almonte - Consistency. This isn't actually in regards to his season this past year, because he was quite consistent, but it's more a reflection of his career overall. He has the ability to hit for average, show plate discipline, hit for power, and he recently has improved his speed and defensive play. He just needs to do it again in all phases to prove last year wasn't a fluke.

39. Colin Curtis - Power. It should come as no surprise to long-time followers of the Yankees farm system that Curtis' most glaring weakness is his lack of home run power. He does everything else pretty well, but the lack of even average power in game situations limits his projection to that of a reserve outfielder at this point. .

40. Sean Black - His breaking ball. Black has a plus sinker, a good changeup, and command, but his breaking ball, which showed to be a plus pitch at times during Instructs, is a very inconsistent weapon right now. Further advancing the reliability of it is his main priority at the current time.

41. Jorge Vazquez - Taking walks. He's not the greatest defensive first baseman around so that's an area where he could use more work, but his greatest value is with his bat anyway. He is a great contact hitter and he has very good power, but an increased willingness to work deeper into counts and make taking walks a priority could help take his offensive game to another level.

42. Garrison Lassiter - Taking walks. Listing his lackluster power here wouldn't necessarily be wrong, but he has a strong physique that should only get stronger with age and he has very, very strong hands already. Once he starts using his legs more in his swing the power should come. However, an aggressive hitter who is confident he can hit any pitch, showing more willingness to take more pitches and draw walks could give him better pitches to hit and that's a bigger priority right now.

43. Kevin Whelan - Command. It's no secret that Whelan, who boasts three plus pitches stuff-wise, would be in the big leagues if he could cut down his walk totals significantly. If he could make that one adjustment, he would be an impact reliever immediately.

44. Neil Medchill - His offensive approach. - Medchill unfairly gets tabbed 'slugger' when he has more than just that in his game. He's a bit more athletic than people realize, he has decent speed, and he's a virtual sponge who soaks up information. He's got big-time power and sometimes he gets a little home run happy, however, and that can put him in slumps. He's better off using the whole field more and just letting his plus power take over naturally.

45. Manny Barreda - His size. - Barreda has three quality big league pitches and all have plus potential, but his smaller stature [5-foot-11] might limit his potential big league role to the bullpen. Furthermore, as hard as he throws, his size could create injuries if he's not careful. He's got everything else going for him though.

46. Kelvin Perez - His size. - Like Barreda, Perez has some nasty stuff and he commands it pretty well too. While his changeup is a pitch that could definitely use some more work, it's his smaller size that could work against him. He's a bit taller than Barreda, standing 6-foot-1, but he's awfully thin. A bit more bulk would do him wonders sustaining his above average to plus power later in games and later into seasons.

47. Melky Mesa - Hitting breaking pitches. - A four-tool uber prospect with plus power, plus speed, plus defensive ability, and a plus arm, the only thing missing from Mesa's game is being better at hitting better breaking pitches and laying off of ones out of the zone. Like Medchill, he too can get a bit too home run happy and start pulling the ball too much, but looking for the breaking pitch and just adjusting to the fastball is the missing ingredient in his game.

48. Reegie Corona - Power. - Corona has everything else in his game: plus plate discipline, above average speed, above average defensive ability, and defensive versatility, so much so that he was just protected on the 40-man roster as a utility player. He's spent the last several years working on adding strength. Should he get even more, there's a chance he could become a big league starting player in due time.

49. Kevin Russo - Power. - Short and sweet, like Corona, the only big thing lacking from Russo's game is better power.

50. Reymond Nunez - His offensive approach. Like Medchill, Nunez's plus power is a big-time tool that will only be fully realized once he focuses on becoming a better overall hitter and just letting his natural power take over. He started doing that last season, but he'll need to continue doing that for years to come.

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Pinstripes Plus Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nIMPORTANT NOTES about the Top 50, even though this is an adjunct article - DO NOT reveal the rankings, either partially or in full, on other message boards, blogs, sites, etc. Remember this is copyrighted material and we'd hope everybody would respect the other paying subscribers by not divulging any of the information in the rankings...
\r\n
\r\n...including just a listing of the names of the players in the rankings! Basically read the rankings, talk about them on our subscribers forum here, and don't share any of the information anywhere else please.
\r\n
\r\n1. Jesus Montero - Foot speed. It would be easy to list defense as his biggest shortcoming but Montero's biggest overall problem is a lack of foot speed. Not only does it hinder him behind the plate, it completely limits his other positional options defensively.
\r\n
\r\n2. Austin Romine - Lack of walks. A year ago this would have been his receiving ability, but he completely turned that around in one short year. To describe him as an impatient hitter wouldn't be correct. Despite drawing so few walks in his career, he actually does employ a patient approach. He'll need to learn to turn that up a notch, however, at the higher levels and make it a point to draw some more walks to be a better overall hitter.
\r\n
\r\n3. Manny Banuelos - His size. One of the few prospects still in A-ball that doesn't have a glaring weakness in his game, his size is a bit of a limiting factor. He still throws pretty hard and he is naturally strong to pitch deep into games, but at 5-foot-11 it would be better if the 18-year old could add a couple of more inches to his frame.
\r\n
\r\n4. Arodys Vizcaino - His changeup. Despite having one of the higher ceilings in the organization, Vizcaino isn't without his faults. His changeup right now is the most glaring weakness. If he were to get that pitch on par with his plus fastball and plus curveball, he could start to fly up the ladder. His propensity to leave pitches up also bears watching.
\r\n
\r\n5. Andrew Brackman - His changeup. Using his statistics in such discussions of weaknesses might lead some to believe his command is the bigger weakness, but vastly improved mechanics and confidence by season's end made that a non-issue. If he can continue to pitch like he did in Instructional League, the only thing holding him back will be further development of his changeup.
\r\n
\r\n6. Slade Heathcott - Lack of experience. Seldom do high school players enter professional baseball with the great set of tools that Heathcott possesses. In that regard, he has relatively few weaknesses. His biggest weakness right now is a lack of professional experience.
\r\n
\r\n7. Corban Joseph - Range. Joseph has some speed, as evidenced by his eight stolen bases in less than one full season at Charleston this past season, so he has the foundation to improve his range at second base. As of right now his biggest shortcoming is ranging on extended defensive plays, especially to his right. Once he masters that there will no more questions about his ability to remain at second, and with his offensive potential, that's good news.
\r\n
\r\n8. Gary Sanchez - Experience. Like Heathcott, Sanchez is a special teenager who is pretty polished on both sides of the ball already. He can hit, hit for power, and he has an excellent defensive foundation. His biggest weakness to date in his inability to receive too much professional coaching and in-game experiences.
\r\n
\r\n9. J.R. Murphy - Power. It's not uncommon for a recent high school draftee to have a lack of power be his biggest weakness so it's not really a big concern at the current time. His lack of experience catching could also be listed as his biggest weakness, but the lack of plus power potential right now is a bigger one since it does somewhat limit positional options going forward if the Yankees would need to move him from the catcher's spot.
\r\n
\r\n10. Christian Garcia - Health. That's it, remaining healthy is not only Garcia's biggest weakness, it's his only one.
\r\n
\r\n11. Zach McAllister - Lack of knockout secondary pitches. There's no denying McAllister's success over the last two years. He's piled up some impressive numbers on the strength of a quality sinking fastball and his ability to command the inner-half of the plate. The lack of a true strikeout pitch among his slider and changeup does raise some questions if he can have the same kind of success at Triple-A and in the big leagues.
\r\n
\r\n12. Graham Stoneburner - His changeup. Experience could be listed as a big weakness right now, but his fastball-slider combination along with his ease of motion could allow him to fly up the minors as a reliever right now. However, with his changeup being a newer pitch to him and not having confidence in it yet is his biggest weakness as a starting pitcher, his projected role right now.
\r\n
\r\n13. D.J. Mitchell - His size. Armed with three quality big league pitches and superb command of them to boot, there aren't any glaring weaknesses to his game. Listed at just 170 pounds, however, adding some bulk to his frame would only help his ability to remain stronger deeper into games and throughout a long season. He could stand to get a bit physically stronger to increase his endurance.
\r\n
\r\n14. Jose Ramirez - His breaking ball. Blessed with a plus arm that can light up radar guns, as well as a quality changeup and above average command, Ramirez's biggest weakness is the lack of knockout breaking pitch at the current time. He also doesn't grasp instruction as quickly as others do and that makes his adjustment time a bit longer than most, so that bears watching, but a plus breaking pitch is the biggest weakness right now.
\r\n
\r\n15. David Adams - Range. On the subject of making adjustments, this time a year ago there could have been a small laundry list of weaknesses for Adams, but he's come an extremely long way in a short period of time. He has no real glaring weaknesses in his game anymore, which is a credit to his work ethic and overall intelligence. His biggest negative [if you want to call it that] is he doesn't have plus range, but now we're nitpicking.
\r\n
\r\n16. Eduardo Nunez - Lack of walks. Like Romine, Nunez actually has good pitch selection at the plate, although Nunez is not nearly as patient as Romine. He's an ultra-aggressive hitter who has a knack for making hard contact, but a stronger commitment to working deeper in the count with the goal of drawing more walks would help him sustain the kind of success he had this past season.
\r\n
\r\n17. Dellin Betances - Mechanics. His changeup could also be listed here, but the root of Betances' inconsistencies over the years, including his changeup, has been his mechanics. He seemed to be on the cusp of finally having consistent mechanics before going down with Tommy John surgery, however. The hope is the wagging of the head in his delivery is a thing of the past and that will spell better command and a consistent changeup.
\r\n
\r\n18. Abraham Almonte - Consistent swing mechanics. There is absolutely nothing wrong with Almonte's game. He has patience, selectivity, power, speed, defense, etc. His biggest weakness, and this could be said of all young switch-hitters, is his inability to have consistent swing mechanics at both sides of the plate. That leads to streaky hitting, a trademark of Almonte's career so far, but he seems to possibly have turned that corner. We'll see.
\r\n
\r\n19. Ivan Nova - Pitch-ability. The subtitle here could be a lack of killer instinct because a pitcher with three plus pitches and an innate ability to throw strikes should have much, much better strikeout numbers. He has struggled at times to set batters up in the box and go for the strikeout when ahead in the count. There's no question about his stuff, command, and strength. A bit more attitude on the mound is what's needed.
\r\n
\r\n20. Kelvin De Leon- Hitting breaking pitches. Taking better routes in the outfield and showing more hustle in the field were two glaring weaknesses a year ago, but he's corrected those issues in quick fashion. His biggest bugaboo at the current time is making consistent contact on breaking pitches and laying off of ones out of the zone better. Should he start doing that he could really blossom.
\r\n
\r\n21. Jeremy Bleich - Confidence. Bleich's critics unfairly and inexplicably point to his stuff as a weakness. That's really not the case at all. His biggest weakness right now is trusting his stuff more and having confidence to throw it by people. He has three big league pitches and superb command. Not giving opposing batters too much credit - which had been a problem for the likes of Cliff Lee in the past - is his biggest hurdle.
\r\n
\r\n22. Kyle Higashioka - Arm strength. It might come as a surprise to some but Higashioka actually has few weaknesses in his game despite being so young. His offensive approach is flawless, his leadership skills are off the charts, his defensive abilities are well advanced, and he has more power than many realize. His biggest weakness right now is plus arm strength, but he makes up for it with a quick release and accurate throws.
\r\n
\r\n23. Jairo Heredia - Arm strength. Great command of three big league pitches at his young age is a bit rare, and his plus curveball especially gives him a leg up on his competition. But as good as those things are, his lack of a plus fastball will start to bury him a bit on the depth chart. If he can add just a couple of ticks to his fastball, he could be real special.
\r\n
\r\n24. Brandon Laird - Patience. Not only could Laird use more patience in his offensive approach - making it a point to draw more walks and force himself to see better pitches - but he could use more patience with himself. His insatiable desire to be great out of the gate each of the last two years has had him pressing a bit and he's at his absolute best when he allows the game to come to him. A more relaxed and patient attitude with being successful could do wonders.
\r\n
\r\n25. George Kontos - Health. For a long time his changeup and curveball were causes for concern, but he made big improvement with both after committing to throwing both more often. His fastball velocity, once in the plus range, had dipped down to the average realm prior to going down with Tommy John surgery. The hope is that was the reason for the dip in velocity and that he'll return to the plus range once he's healthy again.
\r\n
\r\n26. Wilkins De La Rosa - His slider. The southpaw has a plus arm and a big league changeup as well, but his slider, while quite effective at times, is on the inconsistent side. All pitchers need a reliable breaking pitch, especially left-handers. Once he can get that up to par with his fastball-changeup combination, he'll be big league ready.
\r\n
\r\n27. Eduardo Sosa - Timidness. Sosa has huge talent in nearly every facet of the game. While his lack of plus power potential could be viewed as a weakness, that's really not his game. He has more than enough natural power to be an impact hitter. His biggest problem to date is a lack of self-assurance in his abilities and being a little less timid overall. A quiet and shy person by nature, all he needs to do is come out of shell a tad and let his abilities take over.
\r\n
\r\n28. David Phelps - His changeup. Now like David Adams, this is a nitpicking a bit. The fact is Phelps has a pretty good changeup to go along with a good fastball-slider combination, and he has command and pitches with efficiency, but getting his changeup into a more reliable out-pitch so he has it on the days when the slider or fastball evades him is really the only sub-standard part of his game.
\r\n
\r\n29. Bradley Suttle - Development time. Beyond more game experience, Suttle just needs more development time to continue working on his revamped swing and that has been a problem over the last calendar year after having labrum surgery in September of 2008. All of the other pieces are in place. Possessing good plate discipline, perhaps the only other area of weakness is a stronger commitment to taking walks.
\r\n
\r\n30. Jimmy Paredes - Patience. For being as extremely toolsy as he is, Paredes is actually pretty refined overall. He hasn't hit for power to date, but considering he hasn't gotten his man strength yet, that really isn't a concern. Being a lot more patient at the plate and working on getting better pitches to hit would allow him to better tap his vast potential though.
\r\n
\r\n31. Jose Pirela - Power. Pirela had yet to hit a home run in official game action in over 500 at-bats in the United States. Now he stings the ball routinely on line-drives and he's built very well, enough to show some decent power potential, but the loft in his swing isn't there yet. With his plate discipline, hitting ability, overall defensive skills, and leadership qualities, a bump in power could make him a top prospect.
\r\n
\r\n32. Adam Warren - Knockout breaking pitches. It's way early in his development so this is really isn't a big concern, but considering he is so polished with his fastball and changeup, throws with plus power, and has real good command, the only knock on his game is further developing his curveball and slider into more reliable strikeout weapons. With his ability to make quick adjustments, however, it seems just like a matter of time before he improves them.
\r\n
\r\n33. Caleb Cotham - Experience. Reportedly possessing three pitches, two of them plus in the form of his fastball and slider, and having good command, the only real weakness at this point is gaining professional game experience and receiving professional coaching.
\r\n
\r\n34. Brett Marshall - His curveball. The Yankees coaching staff might list toning down his aggressive nature as his biggest weakness, but that's more of an easy fix. His biggest dilemma is getting his curveball, which can be a plus pitch from time to time, into a reliable weapon. Throwing his pitches down in the zone more frequently is also on the wish list.
\r\n
\r\n35. Bryan Mitchell - His size. Like Cotham, Mitchell also needs game experience and professional coaching more than anything. He too has a changeup that lags behind his plus fastball, plus curveball combination. However, at 6-foot-2 and 175 pounds, he's even thinner than D.J. Mitchell. Putting on useful muscle mass will be atop his to-do list going forward.
\r\n
\r\n36. Hector Noesi - His changeup. Like Phelps, we're definitely nitpicking here because, quite honestly, he doesn't have a glaring weakness. His changeup lags behind his plus curveball and above-average fastball, and his command is superior. Getting his changeup into a reliable strikeout pitch is really the only area with room for improvement.
\r\n
\r\n37. Damon Sublett - His speed. For a guy who has struggled a bit over the past two seasons, he actually has a strong foundation in his overall game. He has more power than his home run total this past season suggests, he has a good idea of the strike zone and employs a patient approach, and he has a solid arm too. Improving his overall speed, while he does have some, would help improve his defensive range and that's his biggest weakness in an otherwise solid game.
\r\n
\r\n38. Zoilo Almonte - Consistency. This isn't actually in regards to his season this past year, because he was quite consistent, but it's more a reflection of his career overall. He has the ability to hit for average, show plate discipline, hit for power, and he recently has improved his speed and defensive play. He just needs to do it again in all phases to prove last year wasn't a fluke.
\r\n
\r\n39. Colin Curtis - Power. It should come as no surprise to long-time followers of the Yankees farm system that Curtis' most glaring weakness is his lack of home run power. He does everything else pretty well, but the lack of even average power in game situations limits his projection to that of a reserve outfielder at this point. .
\r\n
\r\n40. Sean Black - His breaking ball. Black has a plus sinker, a good changeup, and command, but his breaking ball, which showed to be a plus pitch at times during Instructs, is a very inconsistent weapon right now. Further advancing the reliability of it is his main priority at the current time.
\r\n
\r\n41. Jorge Vazquez - Taking walks. He's not the greatest defensive first baseman around so that's an area where he could use more work, but his greatest value is with his bat anyway. He is a great contact hitter and he has very good power, but an increased willingness to work deeper into counts and make taking walks a priority could help take his offensive game to another level.
\r\n
\r\n42. Garrison Lassiter - Taking walks. Listing his lackluster power here wouldn't necessarily be wrong, but he has a strong physique that should only get stronger with age and he has very, very strong hands already. Once he starts using his legs more in his swing the power should come. However, an aggressive hitter who is confident he can hit any pitch, showing more willingness to take more pitches and draw walks could give him better pitches to hit and that's a bigger priority right now.
\r\n
\r\n43. Kevin Whelan - Command. It's no secret that Whelan, who boasts three plus pitches stuff-wise, would be in the big leagues if he could cut down his walk totals significantly. If he could make that one adjustment, he would be an impact reliever immediately.
\r\n
\r\n44. Neil Medchill - His offensive approach. - Medchill unfairly gets tabbed 'slugger' when he has more than just that in his game. He's a bit more athletic than people realize, he has decent speed, and he's a virtual sponge who soaks up information. He's got big-time power and sometimes he gets a little home run happy, however, and that can put him in slumps. He's better off using the whole field more and just letting his plus power take over naturally.
\r\n
\r\n45. Manny Barreda - His size. - Barreda has three quality big league pitches and all have plus potential, but his smaller stature [5-foot-11] might limit his potential big league role to the bullpen. Furthermore, as hard as he throws, his size could create injuries if he's not careful. He's got everything else going for him though.
\r\n
\r\n46. Kelvin Perez - His size. - Like Barreda, Perez has some nasty stuff and he commands it pretty well too. While his changeup is a pitch that could definitely use some more work, it's his smaller size that could work against him. He's a bit taller than Barreda, standing 6-foot-1, but he's awfully thin. A bit more bulk would do him wonders sustaining his above average to plus power later in games and later into seasons.
\r\n
\r\n47. Melky Mesa - Hitting breaking pitches. - A four-tool uber prospect with plus power, plus speed, plus defensive ability, and a plus arm, the only thing missing from Mesa's game is being better at hitting better breaking pitches and laying off of ones out of the zone. Like Medchill, he too can get a bit too home run happy and start pulling the ball too much, but looking for the breaking pitch and just adjusting to the fastball is the missing ingredient in his game.
\r\n
\r\n48. Reegie Corona - Power. - Corona has everything else in his game: plus plate discipline, above average speed, above average defensive ability, and defensive versatility, so much so that he was just protected on the 40-man roster as a utility player. He's spent the last several years working on adding strength. Should he get even more, there's a chance he could become a big league starting player in due time.
\r\n
\r\n49. Kevin Russo - Power. - Short and sweet, like Corona, the only big thing lacking from Russo's game is better power.
\r\n
\r\n50. Reymond Nunez - His offensive approach. Like Medchill, Nunez's plus power is a big-time tool that will only be fully realized once he focuses on becoming a better overall hitter and just letting his natural power take over. He started doing that last season, but he'll need to continue doing that for years to come.
\r\n
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