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September 8, 2006

The End
by Fabian

Though the minor league regular season ended this past week, there is still lots of prospect action to be currently followed and more to arrive in the coming months. As has been previously detailed on this blog, Trenton is in the midst of an Eastern League title run. Their best of 5 series with the Portland Sea Dogs, Boston’s AA affiliate, is currently tied at 1 a piece following a Phil Hughes gem in game 1 and Tyler Clippard choosing a bad time to have his first mediocre game in a long time. Despite this, I’m fairly confident that they should be able to advance to the finals as they are the better team, though anything can happen in a 5-game series. As far as prospect action, the compelling reason to pay attention to the playoff exploits are the duo of Hughes and Clippard at the front of the rotation, as well as Brett Gardner hitting out of the leadoff spot and playing CF. Eric Duncan, also a member of the team, appears to be done until the Arizona Fall League, if that, with a late season recurrence of his back problems, contributing to deflating his seasonal line. Oh yeah, they also have some guy named Hideki Matsui DHing, though at 32-years-old his age-relative to league is pretty awful.

The other Yankee affiliate to make the playoffs is the Staten Island Yankees of the New York Penn League. Their first round opponent will be the Brooklyn Cyclones, the Mets short-season affiliate, and their series is a best of 3. Compelling player personnel reasons to keep an eye on this team’s playoff run are Ian Kennedy, Tim Norton, George Kontos, Wilmer Pino, Colin Curtis, Mark Melancon, Mitch Hilligoss, Jose Gil, Francisco Castillo, and Francisco Cervelli. The length of that list of names is somewhat surprising to me as I did not think this would be a very talented team at the beginning of the year, but having seen them play and having talked to others about their play, they were in fact an intriguing group this year. Repeating as NYPL champions would be a nice finishing touch.

In other affiliation news, Columbus sucked this year and finished well out of a playoff position in the International League while the Tampa and GCL Yankees made nice late season runs only to miss the postseason by a hair. Charleston had a good year, but unfortunately there were a few too many gaudy W-L records in this year’s SAL and they were left out in the cold.

Further down the line, when the MLB playoffs begin, the AFL will also just about be kicking off. This year’s AFL team won’t be THAT exciting as it will star Darrell Rasner, J.B. Cox, Brett Gardner, and Eric Duncan with Jeff Kennard and Sean Henn playing supporting roles. Henn is there to work on his bullpen transition. Kennard is there to make sure the improvements he’s made this year are real. Rasner is there to make up for time lost to injury, as is Duncan. Brett Gardner is there to see if the AFL will provide him with ample enough offensive push to perform less like Jason Tyner II. Cox is there because it is Yankee organizational philosophy to rape bullpen arms. I guess, technically, compared to some of the recent AFL editions, this is semi-talented Yankee group, though I would have loved to see the Yankees use the A-ball exception to get either Christian Garcia of Jeff Marquez some extra time.

While I don’t know the full details of which Yankee prospects will be heading to winter ball, I’m already fairly certain that will be more exciting to follow as Jose Tabata is scheduled to play in the Venezuelan Winter League.

So, the minor league regular season is over, but there’s still lots of prospect action to go before I decide who makes my organizational all star team as well as Top 25, though I have the preliminary lists done.

As far as the majors:

  1. I really, really, really hope that Wang wins 20.

  1. I can’t decide whether I would rather Cano or Jeter win the batting title, what say you, loyal RLYW readers?