Yankees’ Organization Depth August 14, 2007Posted by Pablo Zevallos in Austin Jackson, Carmen Angelini, Eduardo Nunez, Frankie Cervelli, Jesus Montero, Jose Tabata, Mitch Hilligoss.
The Yankees should really try to upgrade their offensive organizational depth, because many of their overpaid veterans…er, stars…(Hideki Matsui, Bobby Abreu, Derek Jeter, Jason Giambi, Jorge Posada) won’t be around forever, and there aren’t enough good prospects to replace them.
Hideki Matsui’s Probable Replacement: Austin Jackson
Matsui may get a one-year deal when his 4/yr, $52 million deal to hold the seat for Jackson. Now, Austin Jackson may/may not be a fluke with his FSL performance, as he has hit only .186 this month, but until next year I would not fully consider him a top-flight prospect until I see more of him next year. He has drawn comparisons to a Marquise Grissom–pretty good.
Bobby Abreu’s Probable Replacement: Jose Tabata
Abreu probably gets a one-year, $8 million deal after the season to hold the seat for one of these two toolsy outfilder. Jose Tabata needs to develop power, but he likely has a hamate bone injury to explain his current DL stint. However, he is an RBI and average machine, and he probably will develop power, as he is 18 and still filling out his body.
Derek Jeter’s Probable Replacement: Eduardo Nunez, Mitch Hilligoss, or Carmen Angelini
Now, Jeter’s contract runs into 2010, so there’s no rush to fill in for him yet. However, his range and speed is declining, though his bat is very constant. He could be a DH for the last two years, or he could be moved to CF (though Melky Cabrera is seemingly entrenched there). Eduardo Nunez was an undrafted FA in 2005, signed by the Yankees. In Staten Island (short-season A), he excelled, hitting .313 with 3 HR’s, but his his average has dipped ever since. His numbers scream lack of home run power, as he has just 10 home runs over three seasons, but even worse, just one this year.
Mitch Hilligoss also has no power–4 so far this season–and is already 22, so he has likely filled out his body. I don’t know about his fielding, since I only read free scouting reports and I don’t read subscriber material, but I’m sure I have read elsewhere sometime that it was pretty good.
Carmen Angelini is the best bet to take Jeter’s place. He is the Yankee’s 10th-round draft choice, out of Louisiana High School. He has good speed and power, and has played third base out of deference for SS Josh Prince (now with the University of Texas). His line:
AVG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB
.433 150 58 65 14 8 6 52 38
Great numbers, really, in high school. However, signability is an issue because he has a commitment to Rice.
Jason Giambi’s Probable Replacement: Jesus Montero
Giambi is gone as soon as he has the option available. Jesus Montero is a catcher, 17 or 18 years old and was signed out of Venezuela. Is a hefty 6’3″, 225lbs (bad-body type), and may outgrow the catcher position. Projects to have tons of power (40-50 HR type), and has plenty of time to develop. However, he will probably grow out the catcher position and play first base or DH. This is his first year in the minors, after his international signing, and has gotten hot since slumping after an ankle sprain to begin his GCL Yankees career. He also shares another thing with Giambi–allegedly, Montero failed a drug test, which caused the Yankees to lower his signing bonus.
Jorge Posada’s Probable Replacement: Augustine Romine/Francisco Cervelli
Posada is 36, but he started catching at 25, so he has 2-3 years left in him. Augustine Romine, the Yankee’s 2nd round pick this year, has an average to good bat, an excellent arm (80 out of 80 on scouting scale), and great defensive skills. He was very unknown until the Yankees drafted him at pick #80.
Twenty-year-old Francisco Cervelli used to be a switch-hitting shortstop, but the Yankees converted him to a right-handed-hitting shortstop. He runs very well for a catcher (but wasn’t considered fast as a shortstop) and is very patient at the plate, taking many walks. He is very agile as a catcher and has a great arm. He broke out offensively in short-season Staten Island last season after two sub-par seasons in 2004 and 2005. The Yankees started him at Tampa (Hi A) this season, and has been slumping since June, but still takes his walks. His slugging is low (.387) as he only has 2 HR’s, but has 24 doubles and 2 triples. His ETA is 2009.
This put in perspective, I am not sold on all these options. As I said, I’m not 100% sold on Austin Jackson, although he is pretty darn good. Angelini is the best shortstop option, but there may be someone better next year. Regardless, I’m able to give both a chance, and they’ll probably succeed. However, I’m not sure about the catcher situtation, because, although big bat/big defense catchers are rare to come by, there’s not a lot of substance there. However, having a league-average catcher is OK. Having a league-average Yankee lineup is not.
Information from the Baseball Cube, MVN–Pending Pinstripes, and Minor League Baseball were used in this post.