Monday, January 28, 2013

Yankees Minor Leaguers: Who'll make their MLB Debut this year?

It's an exciting time for baseball fans: pitchers and catchers are right around the corner.  The rumor mill is slowing down, teams are looking for those accessory pieces (unless you're Michael Bourn or Kyle Lohse) and it's predictions galore for who'll make the team.  The Yankees hold the unceremonious title of being the oldest team in the league, which means injuries...lots of injuries.  So, let's take a look at some Yankees' minor leaguers who could make their debut this year - not including some players who have already made their debuts, like Adam Warren and Austin Romine.  Without further ado:

Chase Whitley - RP
As far as organizational depth is concerned, the Yankees have some very good depth in the bullpen, both at the major league level (the only change is Aardsma for Soriano, essentially) and in the minors, with Whitley as one arm.  Chuck Johnson at New York Baseball Digest has the scoop on Whitley - "He throws a four seamer which touches 96 and has a very late rise, just enough where he will miss a lot of barrels. He throws an 85 or so slider, and while the break isn’t big, it’s late, which, in the overall scheme of things is almost a preferred option because the potential of a mistake is less. He has a nice change in the 83, 84 range and consistently keeps it down in the zone."  Whitley put together a very solid 3.09 ERA with 66 K's in 84.1 innings.  Whitley can improve upon his K rate with his stuff, but could be the first middle-reliever called up in case of injury.

Mark Montgomery - RP
While Whitley is a solid relief prospect, Montgomery has Yankees fans excited; and here's why.  As an 11th round pick in 2011, Montgomery has flown through the Yankees system, working his way up to AA Trenton by the middle of 2012.  Montgomery's highest ERA to date? 2.25 in 4 innings at Staten Island.  Each stop since has featured an ERA of 1.88 or lower, not to mention a filthy strikeout rate: 51 k's in 28.1 innings in 2011, and a whopping 99 in 64.1 innings in 2012.  Montgomery doesn't throw extremely hard, sitting around 93, but possibly has the best slider in MiLB, and in the Yankees org.  Montgomery could even make the Yankees out of spring training with the long-term hope of replacing the great Mariano Rivera.  Not to mention, he has an awesome Twitter handle - follow him @SnapDragonMonty.

Brett Marshall - SP
My guess would be Adam Warren would be the first starter called up in case of injury, but he already made his MLB debut (which was not pretty...I watched it, I know).  So, if Warren is hurt or called up already, Marshall could get the call.  Marshall spent his whole year in AA Trenton, producing a stat line of 3.52 ERA, with 120 K's in 158.1 innings in 27 starts. Rob Abruzzese over at Bronx Baseball Daily has the scouting on Marshall: "Marshall now boasts a plus fastball that sits in the 92-95 mph range, occasionally hitting 97. He complements that with a two-seam fastball, a solid changeup, and a slider with loads of potential.Marshall should start the year at AAA Scranton with an eye on a 2014 rotation spot. 

David Adams - 2B/3B
Adams is mostly known for being the deal-breaker in the Cliff Lee trade in 2010.  Hopefully for the Yankees, he becomes a solid major league infielder.  I was in the boat of promoting Adams to the Yankees to replace Alex Rodriguez at 3rd, but Kevin Youkilis put a stop to that...for now, which is why Adams makes an appearance here.  Youkilis (and most of the Yankees' infield) has been injury-prone, which is why Adams can see the majors at some point this year.  If it weren't for injuries and questions about a full-time transition to 3rd base defensively, Adams' bat is nearly major league ready. Adams has a minor league career stat line of .295/.378/.448, and a .306/.385/.450 line this year.  In his Arizona Fall League appearance, he had more BB's than K's.  Adams has the talent to leapfrog Corban Joseph at Scranton, but must remain healthy.

Pat Venditte - RP
A fan can dream, can't they?

With that, these Yankees can make an impact on the MLB club.  More posts on the way.  Follow me on Twitter @JMFlorio and watch for new posts from me and other bloggers!!

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