Awesome find... I'm guessing you have ESPN insider?Nice article from a scout about some of the Tampa Yankees
Level: High Class A Tampa
Law's midseason ranking: 21
The Yankees center field prospect Williams signed for an over-slot $1.45 million bonus out of an Orlando area high school in the 2010 draft. He has raised his profile in pro ball with an emerging all-around tools package and solid performances in Class A Short Season and Class A with a recent promotion to Class A Advanced Tampa. He's had a bit of an adjustment period in his first couple weeks with Tampa, but I also scouted him earlier in the season at Class A Charleston, and Yankees fans have a lot to be excited about.
Being a 20-year-old in Class A Advanced makes Williams among the youngest players in the league and gives his performance a margin for error against competition that is often many years older than he is. Williams has such talent that he needs to be challenged, and he's having some trouble in Tampa while he decides what kind of hitter he wants to be. I've seen Williams driving balls up the middle for stretches, being pull-happy and doing an Ichiro Suzuki impression, trying to slap the ball the other way.
While Williams is a plus-plus runner with some skill at bunting, consistently trying to slap the ball the other way isn't his game. He has the bat speed, direct bat path and quick-twitch strength for average raw power currently, and he needs to use it by driving the ball in the middle of the field. Williams has an average arm and his speed plays well on the bases and in center field, as he gets solid jumps and has good instincts. As another example of his athleticism, a Yankees official told me that if the team didn't draft Cito Culver in Williams' draft class, then Williams would probably still be playing shortstop right now.
I've seen Williams face Dylan Bundy and stay on multiple high 90s fastballs and I've seen him drive good fastballs over the center-field wall. I also didn't see him swing and miss in three games in Class A. This all simply underscores the kind of athlete he is and the bat control and eye-hand coordination he has. His hit tool is at least plus (and closer to plus-plus for me) and these raw tools don't have me concerned about his low walk totals, since he is an aggressive early-count hitter who will hit for average.
The only question for me is how quickly Williams will figure out his approach at the plate since that's what's keeping him from the upper levels. He has a thin, wiry, strong frame with room to fill out and has the type of athleticism that could lend itself to another power spike down the road, similar to a player that I would compare Williams' future to, Jacoby Ellsbury.
Level: High Class A Tampa
Law's midseason ranking: 28
Sanchez, a catcher, is another impressive young prospect at a premium position who was recently promoted to Tampa. The difference is Sanchez plays the most premium of positions and is over a full year younger than Williams. The 19-year-old Sanchez has been considered a top prospect since he signed for $3 million out of the Dominican Republic on July 2, 2009.
While Sanchez was outperforming Williams in Charleston statistically, I could see that he still was a little less advanced at the plate. In batting practice, Sanchez shows you everything you need to see to allow him to hit for average and power: outstanding bat speed and strength, lower hand position, deep load and a high finish. These elements combine to create massive 70 raw power on the 20-80 scouting scale. Beyond the rarity of 70 present raw power in a 19-year-old, Sanchez also shows this power to all fields, giving you an idea of how advanced his swing and tools are.
The inefficient part of his Sanchez's swing is his late hand movement. If you slow down some video, his hands actually change direction three times once his leg kick reaches its peak. The kick and hand movement are less extreme in games, but in games, Sanchez starts with his body in a compact position, so he's forced to lunge forward, making him more susceptible to breaking balls than he already is as an aggressive young hitter eager to show his power.
While Sanchez has the tools to make contact with almost any pitch when he wants to, in Tampa, he has had some trouble with a good fastball above his hands with two strikes. That seems unnecessarily specific, but on three occasions, I've seen Sanchez get to two strikes and not be able to get around on a well-placed pitch with above-average velocity above his hands. Like Williams, Sanchez needs to clean up his approach and game plan at the plate, but also needs to make some mechanical adjustments.
Sanchez shows some raw catching ability with a plus arm and some feel for blocking pitches. He is a well-below average runner who doesn't have great agility behind the plate, and his hands are average at best as he has trouble at times handling velocity to his glove side. His plus arm's utility is muted a bit as he doesn't incorporate his lower half as much as he could. He is far better than Jesus Montero was defensively at the same age, and there's still a chance Sanchez figures it all out, but there are some clear weaknesses to where an average defender is what Yankees fans should realistically be hoping for.
I know I've mentioned a lot of negatives on Sanchez, but he's already in rarified air as far as the raw tools and age versus competition. The track record of players who are elite in those two regards is very good, and there isn't a player I can think of that is a precedent, so I'm optimistic he will become an impact big league bat. That said, he's always been the best player on the field and thus hasn't really had to make a lot of adjustments to his game. Like Williams, Sanchez is being challenged, and he's now in a position to show if he's going to become the player he was paid to be.
Other Tampa prospects
The next best prospect in Tampa is outfielder Tyler Austin, who was promoted with Sanchez and Williams from Charleston to Tampa for the second half. Austin was hit in the head with a ball in batting practice soon after his promotion and just got back on the field last night. I also saw a little of Slade Heathcott in the DH spot, but he didn't get on the field until recently. I'll see them both this weekend and write them up next week.
The next best prospect on the field for Tampa was righty Jose Ramirez. Ramirez is a power-armed Dominican who's had some trouble staying healthy but sat in the 94-97 mph range with late life in a combined no-hitter. Considering his injury-plagued past, a skinny 6-foot-1 frame and below-average slider at 84-85 mph, he doesn't look like a slam dunk as a reliever but a good one. Ramirez's 83-85 mph changeup flashed plus potential with great arm speed and late sink, and he threw it to both sides of the plate versus righties and lefties. The comparison here is Fernando Rodney, and if Ramirez stays healthy, he could move quickly.
Three other starters for Tampa also showed some big league upside. Righty Caleb Cotham sat 91-93, touching 94 mph, with a fringy 86-88 mph slider and 78-80 mph curveball but an above-average 85-87 mph changeup Lefty Nik Turley is 6-foot-6, possesses an average 89-91 mph fastball that will touch 92 and a fringy 74-75 mph curveball. He also will flash an above-average 79-82 mph changeup with solid feel Righty Shane Greene lacks the feel to start long-term but sat 92-94, hitting 95 mph, with an 82-84 mph slider that flashed plus and an 83-85 mph changeup that was above-average at times.
There were also a few lesser, but still interesting arms in the Tampa bullpen. Righty Brandon Pinder sat 92-96 mph and flashed an above-average 86-88 mph slider, while fellow righty Tom Kahnle sat 93-96 mph with an above-average 82-84 mph changeup and solid-average slider at 86-87 mph. Righty Mark Montgomery rightfully gets attention for his consistently above-average 82-86 mph slider that flashes plus potential and a 90-92 mph fastball that touches 94, along with theatrical huffing and puffing and some big league guile.
The group of prospects in Tampa speak to the job done by Yankees scouting director Damon Oppenheimer and his staff. Getting Williams in the fourth round, Austin for $130,000 and the preceding list of power arms all drafted with lower-round picks were excellent values. Opposing clubs' scouts covering this Tampa squad were simultaneously commending the Yankees for their deep staff and wondering why their teams didn't draft these talents.
I thought that was a pretty fair and accurate scouting report about the Williams and Sanchez. Also so pretty high praise and expectations, If Williams really turns into that Ellsbury comp we'll all be very very happy. I just really hope the Yanks don't do something stupid and trade either Sanchez or Williams for anything short of a legit young superstar or try to make changes to their games when they get to the upper levels
Also nice to see some of our lesser know pitching prospects getting some recognition. About the only thing i disagreed with was his assessment of J Ram, I'm higher on him than most but a guy that throws that hard and has a change up that good and a average SLer that he just learned this yr should end up alot better than Fernando Rodney. If he continues to improve his SL, i think he has a chance to be a pretty good starter or at least a elite reliever. I also thought he was a little weak om Turley but he has kind of come out of no where this yr.
I ve also crucified Oppenheimer and the Yankee scouts but this guy made a solid point that most of the guys mentioned were a result of good scouting and signings not high draft picks. Maybe their better than i ve given them credit for
I always thought the Yankees did a great job scouting and developing, but you know that. The upper levels are a bit barren as far as pitching goes right now though, pending Brett Marshall and Vidal Nuno promotions.