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A New York Yankees blog by Chad Jennings and the staff of The Journal News

Callis: “There’s some obvious talent in the (Yankees) system”

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Misc on Jan 19, 2013 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Early last week, Baseball America executive editor Jim Callis was asked for his personal list of the Top 10 farm systems in baseball. His list started with the Cardinals, ended with the Astros, and left no room for the Yankees. So I called Jim with a simple question: How close were the Yankees to making his Top 10?

Turns out, there are four Baseball America writers who have input into the magazine’s overall farm system rankings, and all four of them – including Callis – ranked the Yankees 11th.

“There’s some obvious talent in the system,” Callis said. “But I think the thing they lack that prevents them from ranking higher is they don’t have that (high-end) talent that’s ready to step in at the big league level.”

Callis offers only one man’s opinion, but at least in his office, there seems to be a universal agreement that the Yankees are very nearly, but not quite, a Top 10 farm system. The problem is in the hurdles along the way: The Yankees top hitting prospects have high ceilings but a long way to go, and many of their top pitching prospects are either hurt or extremely young. Baseball America is not alone in having picked Mason Williams as the Yankees top individual prospect, with Gary Sanchez, Slade Heathcott and Tyler Austin rounding out the top four. All four have significant upside, but none has significant experience beyond Class A.

“(Williams) has a chance to be a star,” Callis said. “I really think you could say that about all their top guys. … If they do it in Double-A, then all of a sudden they’re knocking on the door.”

In other words: If those top four take the next step, they’ll bring the Yankees system with them.

Opinions on the Yankees minor league pitching will depend a lot on how well Manny Banuelos and Jose Campos — Callis called Campos “real interesting” — bounce back from elbow injuries. Opinions will also change depending on how well high-risk, low-level pitchers like Rafael DePaula and Ty Hensley progress.

“They have some intriguing arms,” Callis said. “But a lot of them come with question marks.”

Callis called Brett Marshall a “relatively safe bet to make it to the big leagues,” but when asked to name prospects outside of the organizational Top 10 to keep an eye on, Callis mentioned three other pitchers: Mark Montgomery (“nasty, nasty slider”), Bryan Mitchell (“some of the best stuff in the system, just kind of inconsistent”) and Jose Ramirez (“terrific arm, will flash a breaking ball”).

Callis is one of several analysts at Baseball America, and Baseball America is one of several publications ranking prospects each winter. There’s no such thing as ay definitive voice in something like this, but it’s interesting to find out how these opinions are formed and what they might indicate about the future of the Yankees.

“(The Yankees) should shoot for the moon,” Callis said. “You’re not asking your farm system to fill your whole big league team. You’re looking for some talented players to build around.”

Associated Press photo of Williams





62 Responses to “Callis: “There’s some obvious talent in the (Yankees) system””

  1. jmills January 19th, 2013 at 6:14 pm

    Leafs in olde Montreale, but its not the same thing :(

  2. jmills January 19th, 2013 at 6:22 pm;rel=0

    ….The way it used to be

  3. MTU January 19th, 2013 at 6:22 pm

    Heathcott, Williams,Austin, Flores, Santana, Banuelos, Campos, DePaula, Ramirez, Mitchell, Hensley,

    Yup. That’s a lot of talent.

    Rest of baseball better get used to it.


  4. MTU January 19th, 2013 at 6:24 pm

    If all goes well next year we’ll be in the top 10.

    maybe top 5.


  5. MTU January 19th, 2013 at 6:25 pm

    Still think we can afford to trade away a few.


  6. Tar January 19th, 2013 at 6:37 pm


    Thanks again. The first half was the best (defensively) I’ve seen them play in a long time. That FSU game really fired them up.

  7. jmills January 19th, 2013 at 6:38 pm

    MTU,…’re relentless! I got cactus spikes in me the other day and thought of you! :)

  8. jmills January 19th, 2013 at 6:39 pm

    Tar, I’m still configuring this Heel thing.

  9. MTU January 19th, 2013 at 6:46 pm


    Ouch !

    I’ve had my share.

  10. Tar January 19th, 2013 at 6:46 pm


    It’s all about “Madness” especially in March.

  11. jmills January 19th, 2013 at 6:49 pm

    Alright, Tar, I’ll go mad middle March buddy!

  12. tomingeorgia January 19th, 2013 at 6:58 pm

    Since no one is here, all I want to see is some baseball.

  13. MTU January 19th, 2013 at 7:01 pm

    I’m with ya’ Mister Tom.

  14. jmills January 19th, 2013 at 7:01 pm

    Thanks, Tom! :D – I’m ready for a little b-ball as well

  15. jmills January 19th, 2013 at 7:05 pm

    MTU, its, ” Major Tom. “

  16. MTU January 19th, 2013 at 7:08 pm

    No Mills.

    It’s Preacher Tom.


  17. ron January 19th, 2013 at 7:13 pm

    Like callis said,you don’t need a farm system to fill an entire roster,just a few guys to build a team around.

  18. jmills January 19th, 2013 at 7:14 pm

    Son of a preacher man. Now if ya’ all don’t mind, I’m gonna’ jump off the Telehache bridge :)

  19. tomingeorgia January 19th, 2013 at 7:18 pm

    Mister MTU and Dr. Mills,
    I don’t often philosophize (change the ‘z” to an “s”, jmills) here, but when I was a kid up north, with a new glove or ball I’d gotten for Christmas, when the first sign of spring happened, I and all the other kids in the neighborhood were out playing ball. Down here, we had a week of 70′s, the daffodils are in bloom, and one stupid forsythia is joining in. It’s time for baseball, right?

  20. jmills January 19th, 2013 at 7:21 pm;rel=0

    Tom, it is mon ami.

  21. blake January 19th, 2013 at 7:21 pm

    “In other words: If those top four take the next step, they’ll bring the Yankees system with them.”

    Yea….it’s a big year for then farm. An 11th ranking with really no impact player in the upper levels that’s healthy just shows how much upside they have with some guys.

    As MTU said…..if the system has a good year on whole and really that top group of position players gets to and performs at Trenton then there is a very good chance they’ll have a top 5 system this time next year…..obviously this is if they don’t trade guys

  22. tucker January 19th, 2013 at 7:53 pm

    Really like what I saw from Slade Heathcott in the Arizona Fall League. It was one moment in time, in one league, but the kid looked great. He might be the best of the bunch. But does his temperament translate to injury-free play and long-term success? He certainly has the tools to shine.

  23. blake January 19th, 2013 at 8:02 pm

    @BobKlap: First thing I noticed about players on the dais tonight: CC Sabathia has dropped 25-30 pounds, minimum.

  24. blake January 19th, 2013 at 8:03 pm

    @JonHeymanCBS: Stan the Man, RIP

    RIP Stan…..he was my granddad’s favorite player and a true legend player and person by most all accounts…..

  25. blake January 19th, 2013 at 8:05 pm

    I loved what I saw from Slade too in the AFL… wasn’t big league competition of course but he just wreaked havoc on the games…..seems like the other teams just couldn’t stop him at all.

  26. tucker January 19th, 2013 at 8:06 pm

    Sad day for baseball. Two greats pass.

  27. blake January 19th, 2013 at 8:06 pm

    At least one scout thought Heathcott was the best player in the AFL this year….and there were some pretty good players there…. Castellanos, Rendon, etc

  28. blake January 19th, 2013 at 8:08 pm

    Yup….two greats in one day…..these usually happen in 3s….hopefully not this time… Stan could take….his numbers are unreal

  29. tucker January 19th, 2013 at 8:09 pm

    Yeah, though AFL is not a slouch league, either. About 3 of 4 players who are chosen for AFL end up making it to MLB. Heathcott just has to stay healthy and consistent.

  30. Bo knows January 19th, 2013 at 8:09 pm

    Trading the top four or even the top ten at this point in time would be a hell of a gamble and just silly. They don’t know what they’ve got. Looks good but will it translate. Heatcott is really not injury prone. He’s had problems with the same shoulder since the draft. He was finally healthy last year. Remember he was Yankees’ #2 after Trout that year.

  31. tomingeorgia January 19th, 2013 at 8:10 pm

    Are you talking about the Man? Haven’t seen anything.

  32. blake January 19th, 2013 at 8:11 pm


    Yes…… @Joelsherman1: Hall of game prez Jeff Idelson announces at Bbwaa Dinner that Stan Musial has died, produces audible gasp #RIPTheMan

  33. blake January 19th, 2013 at 8:13 pm

    “Heatcott is really not injury prone. He’s had problems with the same shoulder since the draft. He was finally healthy last year. Remember he was Yankees’ #2 after Trout that year.”

    The way he plays though could lead him to be…..he’s probably my favorite Yankee prospect though right now…..he’s very fun to watch….

  34. tomingeorgia January 19th, 2013 at 8:15 pm

    Thanks. Saw him play, and yes, he could hit. RIP.

  35. blake January 19th, 2013 at 8:16 pm

    Stan almost OPSd 1 for his career…..he was really really good….he struck out over 40 times only 3 times in his career and 2 of those were when he was 41 and 42 years old and he Never K’d 50 times in a season……

  36. blake January 19th, 2013 at 8:17 pm

    He’s one if the ones I wish I could have seen….

  37. tucker January 19th, 2013 at 8:17 pm

    My first baseball game was in Oakland, A’s vs. Orioles. Bunch of kids from my pee-wee league team. During batting practice, one of the Orioles players (forget who) hit a line drive down the third base line into the stands. Hit one of the kids in the arm … Earl Weaver came dashing down the line and started to read us the riot act. Told us to pay attention during BP and throughout the game in a way only Earl Weaver could. So, yes. We paid attention.

  38. blake January 19th, 2013 at 8:18 pm

    @jcrasnick: Albert Pujols was never comfortable with “El Hombre” label because there was only one “Man” in St. Louis: Stan Musial.

  39. blake January 19th, 2013 at 8:19 pm

    Granderson has struck out more times in the last 5 seasons than Musial did in his entire 22 year career

  40. tomingeorgia January 19th, 2013 at 8:25 pm

    He’s one of the many great ball players whose stance I tried to copy. My late uncle,a radio and TV anchor from St. Louis, knew him well, and I met him once when we were visiting out there.. I was thrilled.

  41. blake January 19th, 2013 at 8:34 pm

    @DanBarbarisi: At NY writer’s dinner, Chipper Jones said he weighed comeback for 5 mins last week, went to workout, & then decided to go to hawaii instead.

  42. blake January 19th, 2013 at 8:43 pm

    @jcrasnick: Stan Musial slugged .559 for his career. He struck out 696 times & drew 1,599 walks. Wrap your head around those numbers

  43. blake January 19th, 2013 at 8:44 pm

    @jcrasnick: When Musial won his first MVP Award in 1943, he struck out 18 times in 700 plate appearances. #stlcardinals

    It’s hard to even imagine a player doing that today…..

  44. Bo knows January 19th, 2013 at 8:55 pm

    The thing that gets me is that all these superstars were not big men. Mantle – 5’11. Mays 5’10, Aaron and Musial – 6′. We have these behemoths with the smaller ball parks, new technology and nada, no comparison.

  45. blake January 19th, 2013 at 8:56 pm

    @jcrasnick: And this on Musial: He had 1,815 hits at home & 1,815 on the road. He drove in 1,951 runs and scored 1,949. #stlcardinals

  46. austinmac January 19th, 2013 at 10:20 pm

    Musial was a great hitter. I remember him hitting .330 when he was, I believe, 42. And by all accounts, a great guy.

  47. Vince January 19th, 2013 at 10:36 pm

    Yeah man, all those huge players with speed in the outfield in smaller parks. I can’t imagine why our hitters can’t get more hits, especially when you compare gloves. And it’s a good thing we still sport mid 20th century pitchers to pitch against those behemoth hitters today to make it even….

  48. comnsnse January 20th, 2013 at 4:59 pm

    Having posted this comment numerous times,it bears repeating.

    Brian Cashman,Mark Newman,Damon Oppenheimer,Billy Eppler and the scouting department have FAILED to produce major league ready players for years both from the draft and international departments.Added to the poor trade record with only Swisher being a good one and you know why this is an aging overpaid group and will have to forget budgets to compete!

    In the process wasting millions! Callis is being kind in his assessment and George S. for all his involvement persisted in playing the Tampa cabal against NY,with Cashman not strong enough to buck the process.

    Only one question is necessary to ask, would the organization have won in 09 if not for the “Yankee dollar”? Or going on 13 years with no rings!

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