LHP, Manny Banuelos: Banuelos, who just turned 19 years old recently, already has three plus pitches and superb command to boot. While his fastball is a plus pitch for a lefty, sitting mostly 91-92 mph, his lack of a consistent mid-90's fastball is really the only detraction from what otherwise would qualify as an 'ace' type of ceiling.
Because of only being able to average the low-90's , his ceiling profiles better as a future #2 someday and that's still good enough to give him one of the better upsides in the organization. With his combination of stuff, command, and pitch-ability though, he'll have plenty of days where he is pitching better than that.
RHP, Dellin Betances: Betances' recent health problems have allowed some folks to forget just how huge his upside truly is. He has shown at times, when he's completely healthy and throwing with consistent mechanics, unbelievably dominating stuff.
He can hit 98 mph with good movement with his fastball, he can sink his fastball, and his knuckle-curveball can make many a batter look foolish. Even his changeup, easily his third pitch, can be a big-time plus pitch on occasion. For him it's all about staying healthy and keeping his mechanics in-check.
RHP, Andrew Brackman: In just about every way Brackman is similar to Betances, albeit Brackman is two inches taller. He too can approach triple digits on the radar gun and with good movement, he can bend knees with his knuckle-curveball, and like Betances his biggest issues are consistent mechanics and health related problems.
He'll also spend the majority of his developmental time harnessing his changeup into a reliable pitch, and like Betances, Brackman has big league ace potential. He'll have to iron out all of his problems to reach that ceiling, but it is quite vast as it stands.
|NEEDS INNINGS ONLY: Garcia just needs to rack up some innings and build his arm strength back up. (Photo: Patrick Teale/PinstripesPlus.com)|
He has three plus pitches in his arsenal, including a mid-90's fastball when he's going right, and special athleticism that allows him to excel in holding runners and fielding his position. He arguably has the highest ceiling in the organization, but he also has had a hard time proving it on the field. He needs to stay healthy.
RHP, Brett Marshall: A 5.56 ERA in his first full season last year helps disguise what is truly a huge upside overall. His fastball velocity averages 92-95 mph with great movement and his changeup, a pitch that few youngsters can master, is also very advanced.
His biggest problem to date has been developing a consistent curveball to go along with his other two pitches. The fact is though that he has snapped off some great ones at times, and he reportedly has a plus slider that he and the Yankees have shelved for now, leading many to believe it's just a matter of time. Throw in his plus makeup and work ethic, Marshall's upside is tremendous.
RHP, Jose Ramirez: Outside of the Yankees, Ramirez is one of the best kept secrets in the minor leagues these days and that could easily land him in the 'sleepers' category if not for his immense ceiling. In some ways he is a bit like Marshall, showing plus fastball velocity and an advanced changeup at a young age.
The 20-year old has great command of a fastball that averaged 94-96 mph by season's end last year and one of the best changeup offerings around, giving him a leg up on Marshall at the current time. Like Marshall too though, Ramirez lacks the consistent plus breaking pitch but has shown one from time to time. But there's no denying the overall ceiling is incredible.
RHP, Graham Stoneburner: Like Ramirez, Stoneburner showcases a plus fastball that sits 93-96 mph and he does it with such an ease of motion that it sneaks up on batters. He also commands his fastball very well and it has good movement.
Unlike Ramirez, however, the changeup is going to need some work going forward but the slider is a legit plus pitch. The changeup will ultimately decide whether or not he taps his 'ace' ceiling down the road, but the rest of the game is already in place.
Closest to the Majors
LHP, Jeremy Bleich: It's weird to find a pitcher who just completed his first full minor league season last year being listed as one of those closest to the big leagues, but Bleich, who could fit nicely into the 'sleeper' category too after struggling in Double-A, isn't all that far off from being big league ready. Stuff-wise and command-wise he's ready right now, he just needs more experience and confidence going forward
|A RELIEF OPTION TOO: De La Rosa seems like a better bet of breaking in initially as a reliever. (Photo: Patrick Teale/PinstripesPlus.com)|
RHP, Ivan Nova: Having reached the Triple-A level and securing a 40-man roster spot this offseason, Nova is already on the short list of potential big league starters from the minor leagues in 2010 should the need arise. The stuff and command are already there. A little more attitude on the mound is perhaps the missing ingredient to having an immediate impact.
RHP, George Kontos: Boasting a career 3.44 ERA with more strikeouts than innings pitched and having reached the Triple-A level, on the surface Kontos has little left to prove at the minor league level. However, he is working his way back from Tommy John surgery so he does have one more big hurdle. Once he regains his health though he shouldn't have more work to do to make a big league impact.
RHP, Zach McAllister: Leading the Double-A Eastern League in ERA as a 21-year old is no joke. The secondary pitches aren't knockout stuff but they are both reliable and he can command them extremely well. The fact that the sinker-ball specialist can pitch deep into games, has a history of avoiding injuries, and is set to tackle the Triple-A level means he is very close to helping out in the Bronx soon.