Posted by Tom K
Time for the future of the Pittsburgh Pirates…oops, I mean the future of the New York Yankees to take the field. In terms of prospects in the fold, not much has really changed in terms of the names you will hear. The Yankees didn’t make a significant off-season trade involving any meaningful prospect. To be exact, the most they gave up this winter was a first round pick for Rafael Soriano.
Obviously, with a new season comes promotions for a lot of prospects. And we’ll hear more about those as the weeks and months go by. Some will excel and get us excited; some will completely bomb and fall off of the radar. That is part of what makes following the minor leagues so fun.
Now for the recap of Opening Day!
And it wasn’t such a pleasant night for David Phelps. Phelps went 4.1 innings, allowing five runs on six hits as Scranton got crushed by Lehigh, 7-2.
Andrew Sisco, a former big-league left-hander who could have a shot at getting to the big club this year, pitched a scoreless inning in relief, striking out two in the process.
Greg Golson went 2-for-3 with a double, while Jesus Montero and Brandon Laird each contributed a hit.
A much better night for left-handed Steve Garrison, who started and went four scoreless innings in a 5-1 Trenton victory.
Garrison allowed three hits, walked nobody, and struck out four. This is a name to watch – not because he is Manny Banuelos, but because if Pedro Feliciano misses a huge chunk of the season, Garrison may have a shot to crack the major league bullpen at some point as a second left-hander. The Yankees, on the advice of then-consultant Kevin Towers, claimed Garrison off of waivers from the Padres late in 2010. And for those who like local products, Garrison graduated from the Hun School of Princeton.
Craig Heyer, who has flashed exceptional control in his minor league career, was a bit off tonight in that regard – allowing two walks in three innings. However, he didn’t allow a hit (one unearned run) and earned the victory. Heyer walked 9 batters in 72.1 innings for Tampa in 2010. He is a ground-ball specialist who doesn’t strike anyone out and probably has a ceiling of a middle relief innings-eater.
Austin Romine didn’t get a hit, but walked twice and scored a run. Melky Mesa made his Trenton debut, going 2-for-5 with a double, run scored, and run batted in. 3B Bradley Suttle added a 2-run double of his own.
Also at this level to start 2011 is Jose Pirela, a 21-year old shortstop. In Tampa last year, he hit .252/.329/.364 and swiped 30 bases in 37 attempts. Prior to 2010, he had stolen 28 bases in 43 attempts, so he made nice strides there last season. Sometimes you can get a bit of a handle on what an organization thinks of a player by how they challenge him. Being 21 years old and in Trenton is a nice challenge for Pirela. He went 1-for-4 with a run scored tonight.
Tough night for under-the-radar prospect Brett Marshall, who allowed six runs in four innings as Tampa’s rally fell short in a 7-5 loss to Lakeland.
Marshall is a 21-year old right-hander who came back strong from Tommy John surgery in 2010, flashing a 2.50 ERA in 13 starts (72 IP, 52 H, 22 BB, 56 K, 2 HR). Although he hasn’t shown much of it yet in his minor league career, Marshall does have power-pitcher potential and is someone to watch as he tries to conquer a tough level for a guy with his experience (33 career minor league starts)
Outfielders Zolio Almonte and Abraham Almonte each went 1-for-4 in the loss (Zolio also added a stolen base), while 22-year old outfielder Taylor Grote contributed a home run. The Almonte’s are bigger prospects than Grote, who was a 8th round pick in the 2007 draft. Zolio (21) hit .269/.331/.424 in 465 at-bats between Charleston and Tampa in 2010, stealing 15 bases in 22 attempts. Due to injuries, Abraham (21) only batted 57 times in 2010. In 2009, he put up a .280/.333/.391 line in Charleston, stealing 36 bases in 41 attempts. He is a nice prospect – and you always hate to see good prospects lose a full season of play.
The Ghost of Carmen Angelini went 0-for-3 with a run scored and a walk. Angelini was once a high ceiling shortstop prospect who the Yankees selected out of high school in the 2007 draft. But he last played in 2009, putting up a dismal .193/.254/.265 line in the Sally League.
Gary Sanchez wants to live up to all of the insane hype. Sanchez went 2-for-4 with a home run and two runs batted in, while Shane Greene pitched six impressive innings in a 6-1 victory over Lexington.
Sanchez is an 18-year old catcher who put up a .329/.393/.543 line in 173 at-bats between the GCL and Staten Island last year. He is a prospect with through the roof potential, and this is not a bad way to start your first game in a full-season league.
Fellow teenager Anderson Feliz also is trying out this level in 2011. Feliz hit .274/.328/.439 between the GCL and Tampa last year (his stay in Tampa was only for 25 at-bats). The switch-hitting infielder is obviously high on the Yankees radar; they don’t just place 18-year old players in Charleston for the heck of it.
Catcher JR Murphy (who DH’d tonight) went 1-for-4 with a pair of runs scored. I will assume that the Yankees will want to take it easy with Sanchez in his first full season, so expect to see some time sharing between Sanchez/Murphy behind the plate.
Former first-rounder Slade Heathcott went 1-for-5 with a double and a run scored in this game. The Yankees probably want to see Heathcott tap more into his power potential this year; in 2010, he put up a respectable .258/.359/.352 line with only two home runs (one of which was an inside-the-park job). He stole 15..but was also caught 10 times. These are the types of growing pains he was expected to go through; but it is not unreasonable to expect more from him in 2011.
Greene allowed one unearned run on four hits, walking nobody while striking out three. The 15th round pick from the 2009 draft is not a big prospect, but tonight he threw well. Daniel Burawa earned the save with three scoreless innings in relief. The 22-year old right-handed local product (12th round pick out of St. John’s last year) put up a 7.71 ERA in only six games for Staten Island in his first taste of professional ball late in 2010.