FIFTY THOUSAND MOONS

Monday, January 25, 2016

In John Sickels' grading of Yankee 2016 prospects, we are a Yoan Moncada light year below Boston

A constant lament across the Yankiverse is that our prospects always get dissed by the Gammonites at ESPN and other dog-and-pony-show rating services. "If Austin Romine was in the Redsock system," the line goes, "he'd be a number one!" That the Yankees over the last 30 years have projected Number Ones such as Eric Duncan, Brien Taylor, Ruben Rivera, Drew Henson and Jesus "Ice Cream" Montero - none of which beat Luis Polonia in service time - doesn't matter. The Yankees get screwed, and it just ain't fair.

Well, today, John Sickels named his top 20 Yankee prospects. He's a former gopher for Bill James, an ex-ESPN columnist with a 1990 degree in philosophy from a place called Northwest Missouri State University. Unlike other sites and services, which simply rank Top 10s, Top 20s, or Top 50s, Sickel painstakingly grades each prospect. This must be grueling, like painting uniforms on a miniature Civil War diorama made of toothpicks. It's completely arbitrary, and it's actually pretty stupid, but it's one of the rare opportunities to compare the Yankees' system to others. (We get so excited about the arrival of Andrew Brackman, while the Rays have a nobody named Chris Archer.)

So here's where we stand.

Under Sickels' analysis, we don't have a Grade A prospect. We have four B+ players - Gary Sanchez, Jorge Mateo, Aaron Judge, and James Kaprielian (our top pick last year). After that, it's Bs and Cs. We wouldn't make the Dean's List. Again, this is ridiculously arbitrary, the kind of work you'd expect from a philosophy degree at Northwest Missouri State. But today, let's play along, as a parlor game. Here are Sickels' Yankee Top 20 prospect grades, compared to Boston's.

Yankees v. Boston
A+: 0 - 0
A:  0 - 1
A-: 0 - 2
B+: 4 - 1
B: 0 - 2
B-: 5 - 2
C+: 13 - 12

You can argue the systems are too close to call. But you cannot argue the Yankees are winning. No way. And here's our turd in the lemonade: Boston's A prospect, the one that sets them ahead of us - perhaps for years - is Yoan Moncada, the Cuban free agent that Food Stamps Steinbrenner couldn't afford last winter. Of Moncada, Sickels writes:

... Hit .310/.415/.500 in last 56 games. Needs to reduce errors, may not stay at second base, but I totally believe in the bat. Power, speed, strike zone judgment, switch-hitter, complete package.

We have nobody like Moncada. And when people wonder why the Yankiverse seems in such a malaise, chinzy decisions like the one last winter always rise to the forefront.

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