Monday, April 18, 2011

Yankee farm system has catchers but lacks position players -Nalbone

4/17/11, "Yankees farm system is short on position players," Trenton Times, John Nalbone
  • "The contributions of homegrown players Derek Jeter, catcher Jorge Posada, Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte and Bernie Williams helped the Yankees win five World Series championships from 1996 to 2009.

This season, with Brett Gardner off to a dreadful (.150) start and Eduardo Nunez on the bench as a utility infielder, All-Star second baseman Robinson Cano is the only

  • everyday position player developed by the Yankees’ farm system.

Years of neglect in the draft and far too many resources directed toward high-priced free agents in the waning years of George Steinbrenner’s stewardship of the franchise were to blame for the dearth of major league-ready talent in the minor-league system.

From 1997 to 2005 the Yankees drafting and player development was among the worst in baseball, with only 10 position players produced and those players combining for less than 900 major league at-bats.

Cano became a full-time player in 2005, but he was an undrafted amateur free agent from San Pedro de Marcoris in the Dominican Republic.

  • In 2006, general manager Brian Cashman began overseeing the player development system and things began to change, albeit slowly.

It is an area that has lagged somewhat,’’ senior vice president of baseball operations Mark Newman said of the lack of top-tier position players at the higher levels of Yankees system. “But Nunez is there now and Gardner is one of the better young outfielders in the game. The young catchers we have are some of the best in the business, and we’ve got some quality young guys lower in our system right now.’’

The Yankees boast four minor-league catchers they think will one day play at the highest level in Jesus Montero at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Austin Romine with the Thunder and Class-A backstops Gary Sanchez and J.R. Murphy.

Romine is the top-rated and highest-round player (second round, 94th overall in 2007) selected by the Yankees on the Double-A Trenton roster, but with the exception of center fielder Melky Mesa (undrafted/amateur free agent)

NOTES: Yesterday’s Thunder game with Harrisburg at Waterfront Park was postponed by rain and will be made up as part of a doubleheader today beginning at 1 p.m.

Craig Heyer and former major leaguer Kevin Millwood will start for the Trenton ... The Thunder scored four runs in the second inning and three more in the fourth to record an 8-1 victory over the Senators Friday night. Addison Maruszak, Romine and Austin Krum each drove in two runs for Trenton (3-5). Graham Stoneburner (1-1) allowed just four hits and one earned run over six innings to get his first Double-A win and lower his ERA to 1.64."

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