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Yankees organizational depth: Center field

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Misc on Jan 26, 2012 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

In the year Curtis Granderson emerged as an MVP candidate, two of the Yankees lowest-level center fielders emerged as elite prospects. It’s now a position of strength both at the big league level and in the minor league system.

In the big leagues
In his first several months with the Yankees, Granderson hit like an overhyped platoon player. He couldn’t hit lefties, his production plummeted, and hitting coach Kevin Long stepped in for a Texas intervention. The difference has been staggering. Suddenly a complete hitter against lefties and righties, Granderson has become both a top-of-the-order run scorer and a middle-of-the-order run producer. He led the American League in runs and RBI last season, and at 30 years old finished fourth in MVP voting. Signed through this season with a club option for 2013, Granderson is locked into the center field position for the near future, and an extension beyond the next two years doesn’t seem out of the question. Granderson is becoming a best-case scenario, the best the Yankees could have hoped for when they traded three young players to acquire him two years ago.

On the verge
The Yankees immediate center field depth doesn’t necessarily come from the minor leagues. Big league left fielder Brett Gardner is second on the depth chart in center, and out-of-options fifth outfielder candidates Chris Dickerson and Justin Maxwell have each handled the position at the major league level. Down in Triple-A, the Yankees should have Colin Curtis, Cole Garner and veteran Dewayne Wise capable of playing center, and the Double-A roster should have Melky Mesa and Abe Almonte as wild card prospects with plenty of tools but inconsistent results. The bulk of the Yankees young center field talent is lower in the minor league system, but the upper levels provide considerable depth at the position. There isn’t another Granderson in the group, but then again, there aren’t many Granderson types in baseball.

Deep in the system
Take your pick. Mason Williams, Ravel Santana and Slade Heathcott are each toolsy, athletic center fielders with a chance to becoming legitimate everyday options at the big league level. Heathcott is the most familiar name, a 2009 first-round pick with elite speed but also a series of shoulder surgeries that have delayed his development. He got off to a terrific start in Charleston last season, but shoulder problems ended his season just one game — and three hits — into a promotion to Tampa. Heathcotts injuries have opened the door for Williams and Santana to stake their claims as the system’s top center field prospects. Williams was an all-around force in Staten Island last season, and Baseball America tabbed him as the New York-Penn League’s best prospect. He should be ready for full-season ball this year. Santana was similarly impressive in the Gulf Coast League — more power, less speed — and missed the top spot on Baseball America’s GCL prospects list only because teammate Dante Bichette Jr. ranked No. 1.

Organizational depth chart
My rough guess. It’s too early for the Yankees to decide who will be where next season.
New York: Curtis Granderson
Scranton/WB: Dewayne Wise
Trenton: Melky Mesa
Tampa: Slade Heathcott
Charleston: Mason Williams

Triple-A should be a fairly steady rotation in center field, and Double-A should have both Mesa and Abe Almonte getting time in center (hard to say which one should get the bulk of the time there). If Heathcott isn’t ready to open the season, Eduardo Sosa could step into the Tampa job. The Yankees system has not shortage of players capable of handling center field (Austin Krum, Dan Brewer, Damon Sublett) and it’s become a position of both quantity and quality in the organization.

Associated Press photo of Granderson, headshots of Granderson, Dickerson and Williams

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86 Responses to “Yankees organizational depth: Center field”

  1. kd January 26th, 2012 at 9:01 pm

    would be great to see soler on this list next year

  2. blake January 26th, 2012 at 9:07 pm

    Yankees @YankeeSource 4h Campos + Concepcion would be two big prospect adds in one offseason.

  3. kd January 26th, 2012 at 9:17 pm

    campos is the #4 prospect in the yankee system.

    my understanding is that he’s not physically developed yet. seems like his ceiling is a lot higher than people think?

  4. pat January 26th, 2012 at 9:38 pm

    Leyland: “I’m 67 yrs old. I am not worried about 9 years from now”

    Gotta love Leyland!

  5. tucker January 26th, 2012 at 9:54 pm

    Yanks really should put down some cash for Soler and Concepcion before the IFA restrictions effectively kick in.

  6. ron January 26th, 2012 at 9:56 pm

    I said that because we got campos,it might end up saving us someday if pineda doesn’t work out.

    “This puts Campos as the third best pitching prospect in the Yankee’s system behind Manny Banuelos and Dellin Betances, high praise considering both are viewed as future top-of-the-rotation starters”.

    “In fact, Campos is on par in terms of upside, as Conor Glassey in the same BA article states that “the Yankees targeted Pineda to upgrade their rotation and Campos gives them a second potential frontline starter down the road.”

    “While Yankees fans were frustrated—if not angered—at dealing away their favorite prospect, they received TWO arms in return that you simply do not find often”.

    “If Jesus Montero becomes Manny Ramirez and Michael Pineda never develops a quality changeup, the deal will be a failure. But if Jose Campos passes Pineda by and becomes a top No. 2 starter like a Dan Haren or Jon Lester, the Yankees can save face”.

    http://bleacherreport.com/arti.....s-prospect

    Also a video of campos pitching.

    Click link above.

    Can you imagine if we drafted cole & kept viz.
    We would have

    nova
    hughes
    pineda
    banuelos
    betances
    cole
    viz
    campos

  7. Nick in SF January 26th, 2012 at 10:31 pm

    “The Giants’ last major business this winter is extending Cain, who will earn $15 million this season to complete a three-year deal. Cain is eligible for free agency after 2012, but multiple reports suggest he is motivated to stay in San Francisco with a long-term deal for less money than he might earn on the open market.”

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/.....1MTTRB.DTL

  8. Pat M. January 26th, 2012 at 10:35 pm

    ron….At the end of the last thread I posted what a scout had said about Campos…..I don’t have the cut and paste / post skills that I should…At anyrate, Campos could be an impcat arm in a few years….

  9. Nick in SF January 26th, 2012 at 10:40 pm

    “One, just because Lincecum reportedly turned down a five-year, $100 million deal does not mean he does not want to be a Giant long-term. It just means he didn’t want to sign for that many years at that dollar figure. It’s my understanding that the Giants and Lincecum’s agents discussed many contract scenarios, from very short to very long, but two years is where they found common ground.

    Moreover, just because they signed a two-year deal today doesn’t mean they can’t do a longer-term contract before this one expires.

    The second point: Lincecum is taking all the risk by going short on years (if accepting $40.5 million is considered “risky”). Pitchers get arm trouble, and though Lincecum’s health has not been an issue, he is mortal. He is bypassing the security of a longer deal in return for a potentially bigger payday down the road. If reports are true, Matt Cain is taking the opposite tack. He’s willing to accept a below-market, long-term deal in exchange for that security and stability. I’m told no deal is imminent with Cain.

    The Giants’ risk on Lincecum is low. They are not saddled with a potentially crippling pitcher contract, and the worst that can happen is Lincecum walks in 2014 and the Giants have $25 million to spend elsewhere.”

    http://blog.sfgate.com/giants/.....ater-risk/

  10. UnKnown January 26th, 2012 at 10:41 pm

    Imagine if the Tigers still had C Grand. Ultimately they were the biggest losers in that 3 way trade.

  11. Benny Blanco January 26th, 2012 at 10:41 pm

    pat M,

    I’m curious, do you have any interest in Vlad for dh?

    I’m having a hard time trying to figure out who the yankees can target for a LH DH. Any thoughts?

  12. exiledintampa January 26th, 2012 at 10:49 pm

    Yankees jump to #1 in power rankings.

    http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/s.....t-in-style

  13. Pat M. January 26th, 2012 at 11:11 pm

    Benny Blanco…..Vlad’s cooked….The club is much better off with Andruw Jones, by far ….Do need to find a left handed stick of course….But no to Big Daddy Vladdy

  14. ron January 26th, 2012 at 11:20 pm

    What about giambi for dh?

    .990 ops against rh pitching,10 hr in 99 ab.

  15. GreenBeret7 January 26th, 2012 at 11:29 pm

    Forget Giambi. He’s not worth a prospect. For one thing, he won’t be the same type of hitter in Ys. He’ll return to being pull-crazy. For another, he’s got a big mouth. Who’s going to trust him to not rin to Verducci with stories of what’s going on in the clubhouse?

  16. GreenBeret7 January 26th, 2012 at 11:34 pm

    jnorris427 Josh Norris
    BA’s Top #Yankees No. 11-20: Marshall, Culver, Flores, Gumbs, Warren, D Mitchell, B Mitchell, Laird, Z Almonte, Austin

    jnorris427 Josh Norris
    BA’s Top #Yankees No. 21-31: Phelps, Nuding, Montgomery, Cave, Custodio, Adams, Turley, Bird, Whitley, Pinder, Tejeda.

    The top 10 in the system was already released

  17. Pat M. January 26th, 2012 at 11:37 pm

    ron…I think The Giambino burnt his bridge to the Bronx….I agree with GB, and I was a fan of his……The times I’ve met him he came off like a real good guy, but the whole thing with Alex was very uncool…..

  18. Rich in NJ January 26th, 2012 at 11:40 pm

    If it’s not a DH who is an impact bat, I want one that makes good contact because the Yankees have already at least two batters who try to hit a HR every time up, and that can kill you in the posteason, as we saw v. Detroit.

  19. ron January 26th, 2012 at 11:55 pm

    Not talking about trading anyone for him.

    He is not a fa??

  20. ron January 27th, 2012 at 12:03 am

    Cashman will have to do something.

    3 pitchers for 1 rotation spot.

  21. yclept January 27th, 2012 at 12:03 am

    ron -

    Giambi resigned with Colorado.

  22. GreenBeret7 January 27th, 2012 at 12:04 am

    Giambi re-signed with Colorado

  23. yclept January 27th, 2012 at 12:05 am

    ron –

    The Yankees do have to sort out their pitching, but there is no real rush to do so. If nothing good materializes, wait until spring training – when some contender out there may lose a starter to injury. Or perhaps the Yankees lose a starter to injury. They can wait this out for now.

  24. Jerkface January 27th, 2012 at 12:06 am

    Not talking about trading anyone for him.

    He picked up a mutual option with the rockies

  25. Nick in SF January 27th, 2012 at 12:15 am

    He also picked up Soriano’s next option.

    Psych!

  26. Rich in NJ January 27th, 2012 at 12:37 am

    ” there is no real rush to do so. If nothing good materializes, wait until spring training – when some contender out there may lose a starter to injury. ”

    There isn’t a rush now, but it must be clarified by the end of ST. They can push that date back by either putting Hughes at AAA to remain stretched out as a starter, or finding a way to get AJ off the team, unless he is sent to the pen and somehow flourishes, in which case, he may be vastly overpaid, but at least he would be paid for actually contributing something beyond eating innings with a very poor ERA.

  27. blake January 27th, 2012 at 12:45 am

    If they add the two additional wild cards ….which still could happen this year…..then less teams may be selling in July than before.

  28. Nick in SF January 27th, 2012 at 12:52 am

    I posted a couple quotes about Matt Cain if you scroll up a bit, blake.

    Nothing seems imminent, but don’t be shocked if he ends up extending with the Giants.

  29. blake January 27th, 2012 at 1:03 am

    Nick,

    Yea I think Cain will get extended…..and they’ll trade Timmy at some point….maybe even this year if they aren’t in contention

  30. Rich in NJ January 27th, 2012 at 1:04 am

    Yankees are out on big money pitchers anyway. (not that I think that’s wrong)

  31. Nick in SF January 27th, 2012 at 1:04 am

    I think they’ll be in contention. Timmy stays.

  32. jacksquat January 27th, 2012 at 2:09 am

    Was just looking over the Mariners’ roster. It’s even worse than I thought. :eek: Jesus is going to have to be in the 3/4 slot for them. He should be their best hitter and it might be by far…

  33. Nick in SF January 27th, 2012 at 2:18 am

    Perhaps the GM after Jack Z will trade him back to us in a few years for some young pitching.

  34. lounge lizard January 27th, 2012 at 3:06 am

    Yanks interested in Ibanez.

    ,245/.289/.419

    Well he wouldn’t clog the bases.

  35. 108 stitches January 27th, 2012 at 4:28 am

    The Giambi ship has long sailed. Damon and Ibanez are limited to DH roles as would be RH hitting Guerrero.
    Consider Casey Kotchman who carries an above average glove if Girardi rests Teixeira for a full day and is a LH alley hitter (fit for the Stadium) and with occasional power. Has played in the AL East and is still young enough.

    http://mlb.mlb.com/team/player....._id=425773

  36. tomingeorgia January 27th, 2012 at 6:38 am

    Hiking today, MTU?

  37. Yankee Trader January 27th, 2012 at 6:56 am

    Good morning Tom and anyone else just waking up-

    NY Post reporting Ibanez on Yankees Radar.

    On the free agent front, they have interest in lefty hitting Raul Ibanez, according to industry sources. Ibanez’s average dropped to .245 last season with the Phillies, but he managed to hit 20 home runs and drive in 84 runs. Ibanez, who will turn 40 in June, has drawn interest from a number of clubs.

    Ibanez recently had a productive workout with hitting guru Rudy Jaramillo and believes he has corrected flaws in his swing. Over the last six seasons, he averaged 24 home runs and 100 RBIs. The Yankees are not expected to pursue Cuban defector Yoennis Cespedes.

    Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/sports.....z1keuaGcms

  38. tomingeorgia January 27th, 2012 at 7:01 am

    Morning, YT.

  39. rr212 January 27th, 2012 at 7:02 am

    Ibanez? Great, another old guy with a low ba that swings outta his shoes. I hope its not true.

  40. Yankee Trader January 27th, 2012 at 7:04 am

    Ibanez vs Damon last year

    BA .245, .211 vs LH, .256 vs RH, .419 slugging%, .289 OB%, 20 homers, 2 SB
    BA .261, .277 vs LH, .255 vs RH ,.418 slugging%, .326 OB%, 16 homers,19SB

    Which one would/should the Yankees pursue at DH? No glove necessary

  41. Yankee Trader January 27th, 2012 at 7:11 am

    Ibanez vs. Damon purely vs righties:

    .307 OB%, slugging% .440, OPS .747-Ibanez
    .314 OB%, slugging% .401, OPS .715- Damon

  42. tomingeorgia January 27th, 2012 at 7:12 am

    Sign Damon. Looks like everybody’s sleeping in this morning. Wish I were, too, dark and rainy out.

  43. Yankee Trader January 27th, 2012 at 7:13 am

    Tom-
    Did you get any of that bad weather last night?

  44. tomingeorgia January 27th, 2012 at 7:17 am

    YT,
    The bad stuff went by to the west. We just got some rain, which we badly need.

  45. Benny Blanco January 27th, 2012 at 7:19 am

    with Gonzo, Albert, and the prince…… not sure if Tex will even sniff the ASG this year. I’m hoping tex is out to prove that he’s still one of the best “hitting” first baseman in the AL.

  46. Yankee Trader January 27th, 2012 at 7:23 am

    Good argument why the Yankees should sign lefty Cuban Gerardo Concepcion:

    http://www.yankeeanalysts.com/.....cion-37760

  47. upstate kate January 27th, 2012 at 7:24 am

    Good morning

    We got freezing rain yet again…rather have snow.

    I would rather have Damon. I had both Johnny D and Ibanez in FBB last year. Damon was good for me all season, while I dumped Ibanez after the first month. Besides, I like Johnny D :)

  48. Yankee Trader January 27th, 2012 at 7:34 am

    Good morning Kate-

    Damon offers more in terms of being a fulltime DH, while Ibanez is a platoon player vs righties. Plus he can bunt and steal a base.

    Damon probably wants a 2 year contract to achieve 3000 hits. He currently has 2723.

  49. tomingeorgia January 27th, 2012 at 7:35 am

    Morning, Kate,
    Very strange winter here, daffodils blooming a month or so early, even the forsythias are pushing bloom.

    Put me in the Damon column, too, if only because I like his style.

  50. randy l. January 27th, 2012 at 7:51 am

    tomingeorgia-

    raining right now in southern maine too and 40 degrees . i’m planning on going fishing and playing golf on cape cod tomorrow so yeah, weird weather.

    i think damon is going to get his three thousand hits and get in the hall of fame. just a hunch.
    i’m not sure i’d want him to do it as a yankee. not sure i don’t either.

    after imagining having montero in that spot often, it feels like a let down to have damon in in part time.

    but not the craziest idea. you know he would most likely show up in big games.

  51. Yankee Trader January 27th, 2012 at 7:52 am

    Is there another bad contract, a hitter, whether righty or lefty who hits righties well that could be traded for Burnett, and put in DH spot?

    Purely looking at BA only from last year against righties:
    Dunn .187
    Soriano .235
    Lee .253
    Bay .228
    Morneau .270
    Hafner .302

    Before you say Hafner, remember he elected to rest a tendon injury in his foot rather than surgery and his remaining contract is not all that bad 12:$13M, 13:$13M club option ($2.75M buyout)

  52. tomingeorgia January 27th, 2012 at 8:00 am

    randy,
    If Damon makes it to 3000 as a Yankee, that would mean 140 or so hits per year for the next two years from the DH spot. I’ll take it.

  53. Yankee Trader January 27th, 2012 at 8:01 am

    Randy l-

    Where are you in southern Maine? Transplanted Yankee fan amidst all those Sox fans?

  54. Yankee Trader January 27th, 2012 at 8:06 am

    It’s looking like there’s little interest in Burnett unless the Yankees eat the same % as was taken on by the Cubs [83%] when they traded Zambrano to the Marlins. That would make Burnett essentially a 3M/year, 2 year player.

    Still would not give up on Hughes, especially since they’d probably not get back a young stud hitter.

    Let them fight it out in spring training, and if Burnett loses out, tell him he’s in the bullpen. By then he might demand a trade and drop his partial NT.

  55. upstate kate January 27th, 2012 at 8:07 am

    I really really hope Phil does not get traded

  56. dogface January 27th, 2012 at 8:15 am

    Let them fight it out in spring training, and if Burnett loses out, tell him he’s in the bullpen. By then he might demand a trade and drop his partial NT

    ==============================

    Partial NT isn’t what’s stopping other teams from benig interested.

  57. MTU January 27th, 2012 at 8:16 am

    Tom-

    I’m here. No hiking today. What’s happenin’ ?

  58. MTU January 27th, 2012 at 8:17 am

    Kate-

    Me too but he is a likely candidate if they are at all serious about a bat.

    :(

  59. tomingeorgia January 27th, 2012 at 8:17 am

    MTU,
    Same old, same old, midwinter ennui.

  60. dogface January 27th, 2012 at 8:19 am

    Still would not give up on Hughes, especially since they’d probably not get back a young stud hitter

    ==========================

    Agreed. They wouldn’t get back a young stud hitter because they wouldn’t be giving up a young stud pitcher. Hughes is probably more valuable to the Yankees as a guy with potential who’s still trying to realize it with some level of consistency than as trade bait.

  61. Yankee Trader January 27th, 2012 at 8:20 am

    Based on rumors:

    Roy Oswalt was being offered 5M by the Red Sox, but he really wants to stay in NL with the Cardinals, or go back home to Texas with the Rangers.

    Edwin Jackson getting offer of 4 years from the Orioles, only 1 year from the Red Sox.

    Lefty 19 yo Cuban FA Gerardo Concepcion close to signing with a team-Yankees?
    See the article attached at 7:23

  62. MTU January 27th, 2012 at 8:20 am

    Tom-

    Pitcher’s and Catcher’s report sooner than you think.

    Time flies especially as you get older.

    I try to follow the old maxim about not looking back.

    ;)

  63. MTU January 27th, 2012 at 8:22 am

    YT-

    The Yankees really seem to be obsessed with pitching now.

    They are becoming the “Bronx Pitchers”.

    You know my bias so I am pleased.

    :)

  64. Tom in N.J. January 27th, 2012 at 8:23 am

    Gerardo Concepcion and Jorge Soler would both be nice additions to the system.

    With the $2.9mm ‘cap’ on Intl. FA’s starting in July, this is the Yankees best, and last, chance to flex those financial muscles one last time….

  65. Yankee Trader January 27th, 2012 at 8:23 am

    Finally some activity this morning! :)

    It’s looking like there’s little interest in Burnett unless the Yankees eat the same % as was taken on by the Cubs [83%] when they traded Zambrano to the Marlins. That would make Burnett essentially a 3M/year, 2 year player.

    That’s why the Yankees have no deal for Burnett. Why give him up for only 6M of salary relief.

  66. dogface January 27th, 2012 at 8:23 am

    Lefty 19 yo Cuban FA Gerardo Concepcion close to signing with a team-Yankees?
    ===============================

    Haven’t read much good about this kid. Apparently miles behind Soler as a prospect in the eyes of some.

    That said, never hurts to have some young lefties in the system. never know how it will turn out. They call ‘em prospects for a reason.

  67. tomingeorgia January 27th, 2012 at 8:24 am

    MTU,
    Tell me about it. My youngest daughter just turned 26.

  68. 86w183 January 27th, 2012 at 8:24 am

    I wanted Betemit or someone who could play 3B, but if they go with purely LH hitting DH then definitely Damon over Ibanez assuming the $$$ is close.

    But I don’t see any way Damon gets enough AB to reach 140 hits, which is the pace he’ll need for 3,000. More likely he’ll need three years@ 90 hits a year to get there.

  69. MTU January 27th, 2012 at 8:28 am

    Tom-

    A wise person understands that life is over in the blink of an eye.

    Knowing that, if you want to get the most out of it you’d better not snooze or you’ll really lose.

    “carpe diem” amigo.

    ;)

  70. Yankee Trader January 27th, 2012 at 8:29 am

    Dogface-

    Attached article on Gerardo Concepcion earlier:

    http://www.yankeeanalysts.com/.....cion-37760

  71. 86w183 January 27th, 2012 at 8:29 am

    Growing old (I’m 53) sucks, but it sure beats the alternative!

  72. randy l. January 27th, 2012 at 8:32 am

    yankee trader-

    in portland area half the time right now on work project. i’m used to being surrounded by the enemy from being on cape cod half the year for 30 years.

    red sox fans are laying real low on cape cod and in maine from what i can see.

    just the way i like them.

  73. Yankee Trader January 27th, 2012 at 8:33 am

    86w183-

    You might have a good point there. Posada at DH last year only got 344 abs with 81 hits.

  74. dogface January 27th, 2012 at 8:34 am

    YT:

    Thanks. I saw that. Numbers and relative low level of play in the Cuban league (thought to be comparable to SS/Low A levels) don’t excite me, but he is young and left handed, so I view him as being a guy the Yankees should definitely consider taking a flyer on.

  75. Yankee Trader January 27th, 2012 at 8:39 am

    There’s only one thing you need in life to be happy – friends!

    Remember this Andy Kaufman video:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BmZAxRH3Ibs

  76. MTU January 27th, 2012 at 8:50 am

    As I sit here eating the breakfast of champions I can only come to the conclusion that Life is good.

    :)

  77. Erin January 27th, 2012 at 8:52 am

    Yankee Trader January 27th, 2012 at 8:39 am
    There?s only one thing you need in life to be happy ? friends!

    ********************

    I would have finished that sentence with chocolate. But that’s just me. :P

  78. MTU January 27th, 2012 at 8:55 am

    And that living here in Utah is like chicken soup for your soul.

    :)

  79. Yankee Trader January 27th, 2012 at 8:57 am

    MTU-

    Now I’m hungry. Off to breakfast too. Watch the Andy Kaufman video for a good laugh.

    Predictions for the day subject to mocking:

    Gerardo Conception signs with the Yankees

    Roy Oswalt sign with the Cardinals

    Edwin Jackson signs with the Orioles

    Rich Harden gets a minor league contract with the Yankees

    Yoenis Cespedes signs with the Marlins after a big push by the Cubs, and is a strikeout machine in the majors.

    Until later all. Have a great day.

  80. MTU January 27th, 2012 at 8:58 am

    YT-

    Savor your breakfast. Have a goooood day !

    :)

  81. 86w183 January 27th, 2012 at 8:59 am

    How about friends with chocolate? And a good Pinot Noir

  82. Erin January 27th, 2012 at 9:00 am

    86-that definitely works. ;)

  83. MTU January 27th, 2012 at 9:02 am

    86-

    I do not know squat about wine. Never got much past ‘Boone’s Farm”.

    Now beer. That’s a different story.

    ;)

  84. MTU January 27th, 2012 at 9:03 am

    New non-alcoholic thread —->

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