David Adams: Arguably nobody put themselves more squarely on the radar in 2009 than Adams did after he hit a combined .286 and sported a .373 on-base percentage between low-A Charleston and high-A Tampa. And not only did the power materialize in the pitching-friendly Florida State League, but he turned himself into one of the better defensive second basemen on the pivot play.
Now a true two-way player who can positively impact the game on both sides of the ball, the fact is there is more upside left in his game. He only finally found a swing he was comfortable with once he got to Tampa, and with his patient approach, that could be a great recipe for even better success going forward as he continues to get comfortable.
Corban Joseph: Like Adams, Joseph employs a very patient approach and has excellent plate discipline. He also has a very quick bat and the power is nice and easy. A lot of scouts agree that there could be some impressive power coming down the road as he continues to fill out his thin frame.
A plus hitter now could turn into a plus hitter with power in due time and that's a bit of a rarity at the middle infield position. However, there is still some work to do defensively to fulfill that potential at second base, most notably on the double-play pivots and ranging to his right. If he can make those adjustments and gain more strength, the sky is the limit for him.
Closest to the Majors
Reegie Corona: Corona has plus plate discipline, above average defensive ability, and above average speed - all perfect traits for a big league second baseman. His switch-hitting ability also helps, but the power is only now starting to develop. He is very close to being big league ready, especially as a potential utility man to start.
Christopher Malec: Like Corona, Malec's game isn't all that far off from being big league ready. He too has great plate discipline and a knack for making contact. He's not quite the same defensive second baseman, however, and in fact he has been playing less second base over the past couple of years. Like Corona his best route to making the big leagues initially is as a utility player.
Kevin Russo: Russo is kind of a Corona-Malec hybrid. He bats exclusively from the right side, has limited power, great plate discipline, and an inability to man the shortstop position adequately like Malec, but he does offer more speed like Corona. He too seems better suited as a big league utility man initially.
Jimmy Paredes: Paredes is one of the toolsiest players in the entire organization. He has elite speed, plus power potential, and one of the strongest infield arms around. In fact, his bazooka for an arm is the reason he is a 'sleeper' at this position because he projects to have more of a defensive impact on the left side of the infield.
The former shortstop is more of a natural third baseman and he only really started playing second base last year. However, he has the prerequisite range to handle the position and it is a nice fallback option should the power not materialize like many believe it will. He'll be one to keep an eye on.
|A REAL GAMER: Pirela plays higher than his tools. (Photo: Patrick Teale/PinstripesPlus.com)|
Neither his power nor his speed grade out as anything but average at this point, but the hitting and plate discipline are already in place early in his career. He is also arguably the hardest worker in the organization and he knows only one playing speed - all-out! He is a true gamer in all facets and he has plus defensive abilities at second base.
Damon Sublett: In a lot of ways Sublett isn't that much different from Corban Joseph ability-wise. Like Joseph he has great patience, a short, compact swing, good power with some real potential, and just okay speed. And like Joseph, he hasn't exactly taken to second base defensively just yet.
He too isn't the greatest at turning double-plays and his range is somewhat limited, two reasons why he was tried out in centerfield in the second-half of last season. He'll probably continue to play both positions going forward, but he still has the chance to be a plus offensive player at second base if the defense gets better.
Need to Make Their Move
Matthew Cusick: A bit of a 'sleeper' in his own right because he has great plate discipline and innate contact hitting ability, the fact is Cusick hasn't been able to grab a starting position in the Yankees farm system since being dealt over from the Houston Astros. He'll need to do that real soon to move up on the depth charts.
Justin Snyder: Snyder has some significant attributes that also make him a bit of a 'sleeper' - good patience, good plate discipline, speed, and defensive versatility. However, he wasn't able to make the most of his opportunity in Double-A last year and he'll need a bounce-back season in 2010 to get back on the radar.
The Jury is Still Out
Anderson Felix: The switch-hitting Dominican native was signed as a shortstop in 2008 but wound up playing mostly second base in his debut season last year. He hit just .254, and while he showed good plate discipline, he hasn't exactly shown the power-speed combination yet that he was reported to have prior to signing.
Jose Toussen: A career .243 hitter three years into his development, Toussen could actually fit into the 'Need To Make Their Move' category if not for the fact that he just turned 20 years old this offseason. He has good plate discipline, some pretty good patience for a younger hitter, and some pretty decent tools. The Yankees also like his leadership qualities.