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.