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September 14, 2006

Kind of, Sort of, Flashback
by Fabian

So…I was thinking about which Yankee minor leaguers I would give year end awards to when I realized that while I had done this for the Minor Yankee Blog at the end of ’04, I forgot to do it in ’05. The awards ranged from placement on the Yankee Prospect All Star Team to Breakout Prospect, Comeback Prospect, Hitting Prospect, and Pitching Prospect of the Year awards. So, I’m going to do give the ’05 awards out now and I won’t take ’06 into account. The winners are based purely on a combination of prospect status as of ’05 weighted against performance (you’ll have to trust that I’m being honest). There are minimums of 60 IP and/or 180 PA. Players are listed with their baseball age for the 2005 season, level, and then AVG/OBP/SLG for hitters and ERA/K9/BB9/H9/HR9 for pitchers. Without further ado:

2005 Yankee Prospect All Star Team:

C: Irwil Rojas, 20, A- .281/.345/.336

1B: Eric Duncan, 20, AA .235/.326/.408

2B: Justin Christian, 25, A-/A+/AAA .303/.376/.466

3B: Marcos Vechionacci, 18, A- .252/.314/.348

SS: Eduardo Nunez, 18, SS .313/.365/.427

OF: Tim Battle, 19, A- .259/.335/.455

OF: Brett Gardner, 21, SS .284/.377/.376

OF: Melky Cabrera, 20, AA/AAA .269/.319/.402

LH: Matt Smith, 26, AA/AAA 2.73/10.1/3.9/7.7/0.5

RH: Tyler Clippard, 20, A-/A+/AAA 3.32/10.6/2.0/7.4/0.8

Breakout Prospect: Tyler Clippard

Comeback Prospect: Tim Battle

Hitting Prospect: Tim Battle

Pitching Prospect: Tyler Clippard

Now…this list…is ugly, no bones about it. To some extent, when you think about the playing time constraints as well as the nature of the Yankee system, both then and now it is RHP dominated, this is to be expected. But still…this list is really ugly and much more of a tallest midget contest than anything else. To some, that makes it entirely irrelevant, but I like it as a way of getting an idea of where the system is weak. The ’06 list doesn’t look to be as depressing, but will have some dry spots as well. I’ll give a prize, but not really, to anyone who can correctly the name the winner of each of these positions for the ’06 team. Keep in mind; this list will be less ceiling (Baseball America) and more performance (Baseball Prospectus) than my eventual Top 25.

On the subject of the year-end All Star team, it’s cool to look back and see that 40% of that original team has already had major league impact with Brad Halsey, Dioner Navarro, and Melky Cabrera looking like solid contributors while Robinson Cano has displayed star potential and, in some ways, may already BE a star.