New York Yankees 2012 Minor League Updates: Top 30 Prospects, 6/4-6/10

Weekly updates on the Yankees top 30 prospects, including hitter of the week and pitcher of the week.

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12 Total Updates since June 4, 2012
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Manny Banuelos Injury: Yankees' Top Prospect Done For Season

Manny Banuelos’ 2012 season is over, as the Yankees have decided to shut down the left-hander for the remainder of the year, with the hope that he will be ready for winter ball.

Banuelos, 21, was rated as the Yankees’ pre-season No. 1 prospect according to Baseball America, but has not pitched since May 18 with what the team has called a bone bruise in his left elbow.

On Monday, Yankees VP of Baseball Operations Mark Newman made it official that the May 18 appearance was Banuelos’ last, telling ESPNNewYork.com that "He's not going to be back this season."

The Yankees were unsure how the injury actually occurred, but GM Brian Cashman had previously said that reports given to him by team doctors over the last two months have been encouraging enough to make him believe Banuelos would return.

Instead, the lefty has been shut down, and while the Yankees don’t believe he will need surgery, they’re hoping he can play winter ball and be ready to go next spring.

-- See complete story at YESNetwork.com

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2012 MLB Futures Game: New York Yankees Represented By Tyler Austin

Tyler Austin will be the lone New York Yankees representative in the 2012 MLB Futures Game, an exhibition between some of the top minor league talent which will be played on July 8 as part of the MLB's All-Star weekend.

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Yankees Minor League News: Tough Years For Manny Banuelos, Dellin Betances

The New York Yankees have high hopes for top pitching prospects Manny Banuelos and Dellin Betances. Unfortunately, 2012 has not gone well for either of the young pitchers.

Banuelos, a 20-year-old lefthander is 0-2 with a 4.50 ERA this season at AAA Scranton Wilkes/Barre. He has pitched just six games and is currently on the disabled list with an elbow issue. Betances, a hard-throwing 24-year-old right-hander, simply has not pitched well at AAA. He is 3-5, 5.92.

Here is Yankees general manager Brian Cashman discussing the disappointing duo recently.

"They're not doing too good. Banuelos is on the DL with an elbow [injury], so he's probably down for another month, and then Betances' stuff is fantastic, [but] the command of his stuff is not fantastic right now, and so he's trying to find a way to harness that command with the big frame he throws at 6-foot-8. It takes a while for these big guys to get their mechanics on a consistent basis on a downward plane. When he can do that, he's got full command and no one can really hit him, but he's been very inconsistent with those mechanics and therefore inconsistent with the command of his stuff. So far one's injured and one's not performing up to his full potential just yet," Cashman said.

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New York Yankees 2012 Minor League Update, 5/21-5/27: Bryan Mitchell Continues To Impress

The top of the New York Yankees farm system isn't in great shape right now – Manny Banuelos hit the disabled list once again last week, and Dellin Betances continued his struggles. However; there is good news. A few lower-tier prospects have performed well this season, emerging as prospects to "keep an eye on". One of those prospects – Bryan Mitchell – continues to be an intriguing pitcher, and he had another great week in Low A. It may be time for him to move up a level soon.

Continue reading for more on Mitchell and a Yankees hitting prospect, who finally appears to be breaking out of a slump, in this week's Minor League Update.

Pitcher Of The Week: Bryan Mitchell (11 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 6 BBs, 13 Ks)

This marks the second consecutive week Mitchell has earned 'pitcher of the week' honors. He's been absolutely lights out in May, going 3-0 in five starts. He's pitched 29 innings, walked 11, and fanned 34, with an ERA of 1.55 and a GO/AO ratio of 2.33.

Here's what I had to say about Mitchell's upside last week:

Command issues, injury issues, and a bout of homesickness have held Mitchell back from reaching his full potential. Based on his stuff alone, he could be a very good number three pitcher, or a low-end number two. It appears he's finally realizing some of his potential this season.

At 21 years old, he's not considered young for his league – Class A, South Atlantic, so given his early-season success and age, it's plausible that Mitchell could get the promotion to High A Tampa fairly soon.

Hitter Of The Week: J.R. Murphy (.385 average, 2 Doubles, 1 HR, 2 RBIs, 3 BBs, 3 Ks, 1 SB)

Murphy is beginning to show signs of life after a horrendous start to the 2012 season. In his last 10 games, he's batting .317, with a BB:K ratio of 5:4, with an OPS of .855 – more than 200 points above his season average.

Here's what I had to say about Murphy's potential earlier in the season:

He probably won't stick at catcher because of his defense, but has a decent enough hitting tool - although he hasn't shown sings of it this season - to at least make it as a major league bench player.

It's encouraging to see Murphy break out of his hitting slump a bit. He has the ceiling of a slightly above average regular on a good team, but he's more likely to become an average player, or even a hitter off the bench.

-- For more Yankees coverage, check out Pinstripe Alley. For in-depth analysis of all the Major League farm systems, as well as the MLB Draft, check out Minor League Ball.

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New York Yankees Minor League News: Manny Banuelos, Eduardo Nunez On DL

Wondering if there is any help down in the farm system for the floundering, last-place New York Yankees, just 21-21 on the 2012 season to date? Well, not from two of the bigger names at Class AAA Scranton Wilkes-Barre -- at least not in the near future.

The Yankees have placed prized pitching prospect Manny Banuelos and infielder Eduardo Nunez on the seven-day disabled list. Banuelos has a sore pitching elbow and Nunez a thumb injury.

This is the second trip to the DL this season for the 20-year-old Banuelos, 0-2 with a 4.50 ERA in six starts for Scranton. There has been some hope that Banuelos might be able to help the Yankees later this season, but he pitched only 129 innings last season, has logged only 24 this season and now has an elbow issue. That is not encouraging.

The Yankees optioned Nunez to AAA after growing impatient with his defensive shortcoming earlier this season. The 24-year-old is still considered one of the organization's bright young players.

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New York Yankees 2012 Minor League Update, 5/7-5/13: Angelo Gumbs Steals 11 Bases

It was a good week for New York Yankees prospects, because the two pitchers at the top of their farm system – Dellin Betances and Manny Banuelos – both pitched well. The duo, likely to be cogs in the Yankees' major league rotation down the road, have had bad starts to the season, for different reasons. Betances hasn't been able to throw strikes and Banuelos was injured for a month, so it's nice to see them both pitch well in the same week.

Find out what other Yankees prospects performed well in this week's minor league update.

Pitcher Of The Week: Dellin Betances (8 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 7 Ks, Win)

The big right-hander finally put it together Wednesday night for, by far, his best start of the season. The two walks were his lowest total since his first start, and well below his average of seven walks per nine innings. The seven strikeouts represented a season-high, and he was able to keep the ball on the ground throughout the game.

Betances' gem came against the Columbus Clippers – one of the best-hitting teams in the International League.

Hitter Of The Week: Angelo Gumbs (.464 average, 1 Triple 1 HR, 5 RBIs, 1 BBs, 5 Ks, 11 SBs)

That is not a typo – Gumbs stole 11 bases this week, adding to his total of 19 on the season. He's only been caught once.

The 20-year-old middle infielder was a second-round pick by the Yankees in 2010, straight out of high school. He's a man without a position defensively, as he played shortstop and outfielder in high school, but was moved to second base in Staten Island to make room for 2010 first-round pick, Cito Culver, who plays short.

Despite raw tools, Gumbs remains unpolished, both at the plate and in the field. He showed a decent amount of pop last season in the New York Penn League, slugging .406, but was unable to completely harness his speed on the basepaths, as he was caught on seven of 18 stolen-base attempts.

This season is a different story – he already has 19 steals in 30 games, caught only once. His power numbers are slightly down – slugging .383 – but he's caught fire in his last 10 games, sporting an impressive .364/.396/.477 trip-slash.

Because of his rawness, Gumbs is one of the Yankees middle-tier prospects, but could shoot up prospect lists with a big season, his first full season in pro ball. Keep an eye on him.

Top 10 Prospect Spotlight: Manny Banuelos

Banuelos entered the season as the Yankees best prospect – post Jesus Montero trade – but a miserable start to the season and time spent on the disabled list had a few people down on Manny. Pre-injury, he started two games for a total 5.1 innings, allowed six runs, seven walks, and struck out only two. In three starts post-inury, he's pitched 14.2 innings, with 15 strikeouts, zero walks, and only one earned run allowed.

There's not much left for Banuelos to prove in the minors, but he'll likely remain in Triple A for the entire 2012 season, with the possibility of a September call-up. However; he should start the 2013 season in the Yankees rotation, where he'll be a two or three starter for many years to come.

Top 10 Prospect Spotlight: J.R. Murphy

This week's update has been chalk-full of positive reports on the Yankees prospects – this one is far from it. J.R. Murphy – a catcher and third base prospect – is having an absolutely dreadful start to the 2012 season. His current slash line is as follows: .214/.281/.282, and over the last 10 games, he's hitting .108.

The 21-year-old was a second-round pick of the Yankees in 2009. He's a career .274 hitter in 182 minor league games and has a decent amount of pop. He probably won't stick at catcher because of his defense, but has a decent enough hitting tool – although he hasn't shown sings of it this season – to at least make it as a major league bench player.

He's still relatively young for his league, but he has to improve as the season progresses.

-- For more Yankees coverage, check out Pinstripe Alley. For in-depth analysis of all the Major League farm systems, as well as the MLB Draft, check out Minor League Ball.

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New York Yankees 2012 Minor League Update, 4/30-5/6: Manny Banuelos Returns; Mark Montgomery Dominates

One of the New York Yankees top prospects returned to action this week after spending most of April on the disabled list. Manny Banuelos started his first game in almost a month, pitching 3.2 shutout innings with no walks and five strikeouts. He allowed only two hits. For what it's worth, the Rochester Red Wings are one of the worst hitting teams in the International League.

Banuelos' start was an encouraging sign for Yankees fans, because his first two starts of the season were abysmal. He pitched 5.1 innings in April, allowing 14 hits, seven walks and six runs while striking out just two batters. He'll likely spend all of 2012 in Triple A and open 2013 in the Yankees starting rotation. He projects as a number two starter in the big leagues.

Find out what other Yankees prospects performed well in this week's minor league update.

Pitcher Of The Week: Mark Montgomery (5 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 8 Ks, Win, Save)

The 2011 11th-round pick is a one-pitch – a devastating slider – pitcher, which is why he projects as a late-inning reliever in the Majors. His slider is already a good enough pitch to get big leaguers out, which is why he could move through the system quickly. His fastball is average, sitting at 91-92.

Last season between rookie ball and low A, Montgomery pitched 28.1 innings and struck out 51, while sporting an ERA below two. This year he's in the Florida State League, which he's still fairly young for, at 21 years old (the average pitcher's age in the Florida State League is 23) yet he's been flat-out dominant as the Tampa Yankees primary closer. Another great thing about Montgomery's 2012 season is his 4.25 GO/AO ratio – which is amazing, but unsustainable. It should be noted that the FSL is the worst-hitting league of all the high A leagues in the minors.

Montgomery is one of my favorite lower-tier prospects in the Yankees organization and should be in Trenton by season's end.

Hitter Of The Week: Ramon Flores (.419 average, 4 Double, 1 RBIs, 5 BBs, 3 Ks, 2 SB)

There weren't too many great hitting performances this week, but Flores gets the nod for his high average, BB:K ratio and modest speed.

It's nice to see Flores string together a few good games, because he was nothing short of awful in April – a month in which his trip slash line was .207/.276/.230. In six games this month his trip slash is at.400/.484/.560, so there are signs of improvement.

Flores had a nice 2011, hitting 11 homers and stealing 13 bases – while only getting caught twice – in 125 games for the Charleston RiverDogs. He's one of the more polished hitters in the system and possesses a great eye at the plate. Problem is, he doesn't have a ton of upside and projects as a solid MLB player, but nothing special.

Top 10 Prospect Spotlight: Dante Bichette Jr.

Son of former all-star, Dante Bichette, junior is one of the top prospects in the Yanks system. He was selected in the supplemental first round last year and won the 2011 Gulf Cost League MVP, but has gotten off to an extremely slow start this season.

In 2012, Bichette's triple slash is a terrible .215/.305/.247 and he's yet to hit a home run. The good news: at 19 years old, he's still young for the South Atlantic League, and his 12:18 walk to strikeout ratio remains impressive for such a young hitter.

Right now he plays third base, but might move to the outfield in the future. With good power and a good approach, he projects as an above average hitter, regardless of what position he plays. Although he's only batting .132 in his last 10 games, I expect him to turn it around eventually.

Top 10 Prospect Spotlight: Mason Williams

Williams was in our spotlight last week, but he's worth mentioning again this week, and probably every week. He's the Yankees top hitting prospect and arguably their top prospect, period. The 20-year-old outfielder was a fourth-round selection in 2010 and possesses the most athleticism in the entire system, which also helps make him the best defensive outfielder. Even if he doesn't live up to his potential, he should at least make the big leagues as a fourth outfielder.

Williams injured his shoulder on the first day of the week and was removed from the game after only one at-bat, but returned to the startling lineup four days later and picked up right where he left off.

He went 5-for-15 this week this week, with two doubles, one HR, one BB, zero Ks and three SBs (caught once). Ideally, he'd walk more often, but his low strike out rate makes partially makes up for his low walk rate.

-- For more Yankees coverage, check out Pinstripe Alley. For in-depth analysis of all the Major League farm systems, as well as the MLB Draft, check out Minor League Ball.

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New York Yankees 2012 Minor League Update, 4/23-4/29: Tyler Austin Hits Five Home Runs

Tyler Austin, a 20-year-old outfield prospect, continues to knock the cover off the baseball for the Charleston RiverDogs – the New York Yankees Low A ballclub. He began the season ranked somewhere between 15-20 on most 'Yankees Top Prospects' lists, but the raw power he's shown early in 2012 make him an prospect to keep an eye on.

Let's take a closer look at Austin's week, as well as a few other Yankees top prospects in this week's Minor League Update. Last week's 'pitcher of the week', D.J. Mitchell, was called up to the Majors on Sunday.

Pitcher Of The Week: Bryan Mitchell (5 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 7 Ks, Win)

There weren't many great pitching performances from Yankees farmhands this week, so Mitchell's win over the Lexington Legends earns him this week's pitcher of the week honors.

Unlike last week's pitcher of the week, D.J. Mitchell, Bryan won't be called up to the Majors any time soon. The 21-year-old was drafted in the 16th round in 2009, but 2012 marks his first season as a full-time minor leaguer. The last two seasons he was limited to rookie ball and short season ball.

He's a lower tier prospect in the Yankees organization, but possesses above average stuff. His problems have been consistency and control. He's had two good starts this season – this week's performance and his first start of the season – along with two bad ones. His good starts show the potential he has when he's on: 11 IP, 3 hits, 0 ER, 3 BBs, 13 Ks. And his bad starts show how far he is from putting it all together: 3.2 IP, 5 hits, 4 ER, 8 BBs, 2 Ks.

Hitter Of The Week: Tyler Austin (.280 average, 1 Double, 5 HRs, 12 RBIs, 0 BBs, 7 Ks)

Austin continues to rake, as he earns 'hitter of the week' honors for the second consecutive week. Last week he hit .375 with 2 doubles, 1 triple, 1 homer and 2 steals. This week, his batting average dropped to .280, but he belted 5 home runs in 6 games, to go along with 12 RBIs.

The downside to Austin's big week was his 0:7 BB:K ratio, which brings his ratio to 4:18 on the season. He's batting .358, and he's hit well everywhere he's played in the Yankees farm system. However; his extremely high BABIP, paired with his low LD percentage suggest his high batting average may be unsustainable as he reaches the upper levels. His raw power is intriguing, but he's going to have to cut down on the Ks and increase the walks as he progresses through the system.

Top Prospect Spotlight: Dellin Betances

Betances, whose struggles we spotlighted last week, had a bounce-back week with one of his best starts of the season. He went 5 innings against the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, allowing only one hit and one run, while striking out three. Although he earned the win, his control problems continued, as he issued 4 walks. Lehigh Valley is also one of the worst-hitting teams in the International League.

With the decent start, Betances' ERA dropped to 7.25 on the season. He still has more walks (21) than strikeouts (19) in 2012. As one of the Yankees top prospects coming into the season, his stock is way down until he figures out his control issues.

Top Prospect Spotlight: Mason Williams

With Betances struggling and Manny Banuelos on the DL, Williams is arguably the Yankees top prospect at this time. The 20-year-old outfield prospect – a fourth round pick in 2010 – has as high of upside as any position player in the Yankees system. He's a stud athlete, who's known for his defense and speed.

In six games this week, Williams hit .320 with 2 doubles, a homer and 2 walks. His trip slash on the season is .319/.347/.462. He has 8 steals in 9 attempts and an impressive BB:K ratio of 4:4. This will be his first full season in pro ball, and he's extremely raw in most areas of the game, so he's a ways away from the bigs. Regardless, he's a must-follow for any Yankee-prospect enthusiast.

-- For more Yankees coverage, check out Pinstripe Alley. For in-depth analysis of all the Major League farm systems, as well as the MLB Draft, check out Minor League Ball.

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