Jimmy Paredes: The Dominican native is already 21 years old and he has yet to make it into the long-season leagues, but few players offer his kind of upside. He has every tool in his bag; plus speed, plus arm strength, excellent contact hitting ability, and plus power potential.
A switch-hitter too, Paredes can do just about everything in both facets of the game. His batting average has gone up each year in his first three professional seasons and he has just started to scratch the surface of his abilities. He still has a lot to prove, but his tools are already in place.
Bradley Suttle: Missing all of the 2009 season with a torn labrum, Suttle has almost become the forgotten man in the Yankees organization. He had just started taking to the changes made to his swing prior to the injury, and with his plus approach and ability to impact the baseball, his vast potential has also been somewhat dismissed.
Like Paredes, Suttle is a switch-hitter with plus power potential and above average to plus defensive abilities. He still has to prove the arm strength once he returns to the infield, but few expect there to be any problems in the batter's box.
Closest to the Majors
Marcos Vechionacci: Once one of the better prospects in the organization, the switch-hitter is still one of the smoothest defensive players around. Offensively, however, a rash of injuries in recent years has put his development behind schedule and the power hasn't materialized.
He is just 23 years old though so he still offers some decent upside. However, the fact that he has amassed more than 425 at-bats in a season just once in his seven-year career and he is the one closest to the big leagues means he isn't the greatest Alex Rodriguez insurance should an injury arise.
Corban Joseph: Joseph has one of the highest ceilings in the organization but both his defensive abilities at third base and power potential are both seriously underrated by most, making him a bit of a 'sleeper' at third base. The bat control and plate discipline are very much in place already.
|DOUBLE DIPPING: Joseph doesn't just have upside at second base, but third base as well. (Photo: Patrick Teale/PinstripesPlus.com)|
Brandon Laird: Like Joseph, Laird's ceiling is pretty significant, but he gets the 'sleeper' tag here because too many folks have written him off has a potential big league third baseman someday. His defensive liabilities to man the position have been somewhat exaggerated by pundits.
The fact is he has a decent glove, a strong arm, and his range has gotten much better over the past two seasons as his conditioning has improved. He has become a very good defensive player on the slow-roller plays in particular. If the power can continue to improve, he could handle the hot corner on both sides of the ball.
Garrison Lassiter: He entered the farm system late in 2008 with a ton of promise and he didn't exactly live up to those expectations in his first full season last year, hitting just .260 with a pair of home runs and having some supporters already jumping ship somewhat.
He battled injuries in his first full season, however, and also endured a position switch after moving over from shortstop. The top-shelf talent is still there though and the lower expectations from some will now allow him to fly under the radar more.
Kevin Mahoney: Drafted in the 23rd round as a college senior, Mahoney is a true 'sleeper' in every sense of the word. He has very good power, stellar defensive abilities, and better plate discipline than his first-year numbers showed last season.
He has an uphill battle ahead of him trying to grab playing time away from players who received bigger signing bonuses, but his all-out hustle and special glovework are the kinds of traits that help push one's opportunities. Keep an eye on him.
Need to Make Their Move
Elio De La Rosa: He hasn't even turned 19 years old yet so there's still time for him to turn things around, but two years into his professional career he only boasts a .191 average and has struck out 90 times in 85 games. And for a player known for his bat more than his glove, he has to start hitting real soon.
The Jury is Still Out
Robert Lyerly: Last year's sixth round pick battled a hamstring injury and a sports hernia, amassing just 71 at-bats with the Staten Island Yankees in 2009. The Yankees believe in his batting potential but he just hasn't had enough time to showcase those abilities yet.