The future of the New York Yankees is up in the air.
Unlike the past decade, or since the infamous Core Four, the Yankee brass wants to depend on the farm system to produce the team’s future stars. The last homegrown star to come up was Brett Gardner back in 2008.
Here are four of the Yankees top prospects that I think have serious potential. I only picked one will make the 2013 Opening Day roster, but the others should not be far behind.
THIS GUY WILL MAKE THE 2013 OPENING DAY ROSTER :
(pending ST is disaster-free)
Mark Montgomery, RHP - At only 22 years old, he is a promising relief pitcher with a plus slider. Due to the loss of Rafael Soriano, and if David Robertson should repeat his shoddy 2012 season, the Yankees will be calling on some young talent to help out in the bullpen. Also, if God forbid Mariano Rivera‘s age starts to show or if he needs more time than allotted, Monty gives the Yankees a solid option. But just to clarify, nothing compares to having Soriano in pinstripes like last season.
Montgomery has proven so far that he has the stuff to get hitters out. All he has to do to get into the pinstripes this upcoming season is prove himself.
Montgomery has an outstanding slider, and a good fastball. He can control his pitches, and is consistent in his delivery. Overall, Montgomery has excellent make-up and I would love to see him in Yankee Stadium bullpen come Opening Day.
NOT QUITE READY BUT SOON:
Before running into serious injury issues, the righty displayed an arsenal of pitches and has a very high strike rate.
At just 20 years old, Campos already flaunted a mid-90s fastball with a lot movement; a devastating curveball and an above average change-up.
Prior to an elbow injury that was diagnosed as a bone bruise, in his the four starts in Tampa, Campos dazzled. He posted a 3-0 record, an ERA of 1.23, with 23 strikeouts, and a 0.818 WHIP.
Though the injury showed no structural damage, Campos missed the entire 2012 season as the injury was not healing, as it should have.
Overall, Campos’ natural raw talent is indisputable, but with the injury the Yankees will watch him closely.
Campos will be at Spring Training, but you can be sure the Yankees plan is to send him to Double-A Trenton even if he looks like the pitcher before the injury.
This guy could be a future ace.
Slade Heathcott – OF - Deemed to be an upgraded version of Brett Gardner, but Heathcott can hit for power. A lefty, like Gardner, Heathcott is also a speedster on the base pads. The only aspect he still lacks and that Gardner has perfected is having an eye at the plate,
Heathcott is a solid defender with a wicked good throwing arm.
His downside is injuries have hampered his playing time, which impedes his growth. In his four-seasons in the minors, Heathcott has had two major shoulder surgeries with most recent labrum tear that sidelined him for some of 2011 and almost all of 2012.
This has limited Heathcott to playing in a total of 197 games, which is the equivalent of just over a full season.
In 2012, Heathcott posted a .302 batting average, 41 runs, 18 doubles, two triples, five homeruns, 29 RBIs and 19 stolen bases in 232 at-bats. His 70 strikeouts is proof that he needs to see the ball better and this should improve as he gets more experience.
Overall, Heathcott has all the makings to become a super star in the Majors. And even with all the talk of his off-the-field issues should not be worrisome, as the Yankees will fix that.
Adam Warren - RHP - With the return of the entire rotation from last season, Warren might not get a shot in 2013.
Last September, Warren gave up six runs in 2.1 innings in his début in the Bronx and was immediately sent back down to Triple-A. So a few more months in the minors might actually benefit him, as he knows what to expect more.
In 2012, Warren posted a 3.71 ERA in 26 starts and threw two complete games playing for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
So, for know I will chalk up his first time pitching at Yankee Stadium to just nerves.
LadyLovesPinstripes.com will continue to feature different top Yankees prospects (four at a time) for the rest of Spring Training.
Time to see what the future beholds.