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New York Yankees Top 5 Prospects for 2009

by: Nick Marro

1. Jesus Montero (Catcher):
Jorge Posada’s likely successor is only nineteen years old and considered by many to be the first great power threat the Yankee’s farm has seen in years. Baseball America is calling Montero the best power-hitter in the system and his .344 BA after the South Atlantic League All-Star break has many fans anxious to watch the young catcher develop. While Montero is constantly applauded for his skills at the plate, his defense is facing a lot of criticism. Many feel that Montero won’t be MLB ready until 2012 so he will have an opportunity to hone his skills behind the plate and if that doesn’t work out, expect a move to first base.

2. Austin Jackson (Centerfield): Jackson just turned twenty-one earlier this month and there’s a chance we’ll see him in centerfield at some point in 2009. Jackson is a balanced player in all aspects off the game and has drawn countless comparisons to Bernie Williams due to his consistency and desire to improve. Jackson was named the Eastern League’s Playoff MVP last season batting .375 with 5 RBI’s in Trenton’s run for the AA Championship. If Jackson can become more patient at the plate, he may be in centerfield at the new stadium for years to come.

3. Dellin Betances (Starting Pitcher): At twenty-years-old Betances has the most upside of any pitcher in the Yankee’s farm system. Betances struck out 135 batters in only 115 innings pitched last season for the Charleston Riverdogs and is expected the make huge strides over the next couple of seasons. At 6’9” Betances already has three pitches in his repertoire; a fastball, knuckle curve, and changeup. His knuckle-curve features a nasty12-6 break and his fastball has fluctuated between 92-98 mph. If Betances can develop strong mechanics we can expect to see him in 2011 making some sort of impact.

4. Mark Melancon (Relief Pitcher): After missing the 2007 season due to elbow surgery, Melancon awed scouts and fans in 2008 posting a 2.27 ERA in 95 IP making stops at all three levels of the farm. He has drawn constant comparison to Joba Chamberlain due to his ability to speed through the minor leagues while dependant on only two pitches. Melancon possesses a high-speed curve ball and a major league ready two-seam fastball that can cause a lot of problems for hitters when combined. Melancon is hoping to start the season with the Major League team but barring injury or a ridiculous performance in spring training, expect him to start the season in AAA.

5. Andrew Brackman (Starting Pitcher): At 6’10” Andrew Brackman is finally set to prove his worth. Tommy John surgery and an emergency appendectomy have kept Brackman’s career at a stand still thus far, but he finally appears ready to make an impact in 2009. A two-sport athlete at NC State, Brackman is considered by many scouts to be freakishly athletic for his size. Brackman saw his first professional action this off-season striking out 36 batters in 34 innings for the Waikiki BeachBoys in the Hawaii Winter Baseball League. While he lacks the professional experience of some of his competitors, his upside alone has Brackman hopeful for a MLB debut in 2009.

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