As we lead up to both the start of the 2008 season and our “Diamond Cutter” top 100 prospects list, I will be taking a look at the top five prospects from every single Major League team. Each team will have its top five prospects along with a brief scouting report on each player that I have pulled from my scouting notes. Today we will continue on with our journey around the American League East by checking up on the deep, rich and prospect-replenished New York Yankees organization. As always, let me know how you feel about the rankings in the comments section below or via email.
1.) Joba Chamberlain, RHP: Chamberlain has already proven to be a big time Major League pitcher coming out of the bullpen for the Yankees last season and causing Joba-fever everywhere. He has a mid to upper-90’s fastball, a sharp moving plus slider, and an improved changeup. The righty has plus stuff and plus command with a big frame that he uses for his power pitches. Has also learned to incorporate his secondary pitches more rather than relying strictly on fastballs. Looks to be moved to the rotation in 2008.
2.) Ian Kennedy, RHP: Kennedy is yet another great young pitching prospect in the Yankees organization. He has a four seam (88-94 mph) and two seam (a newer pitch at 89 mph) fastball, great command of a plus-changeup, as well as a curve and slider. Kennedy is a very intelligent pitcher choosing to set-up hitters and attack their weaknesses rather than try to overpower them. He has great mechanics and uses this and control to his advantage.
3.) Jose Tabata, OF: With some debate over who is the best Yankee outfield prospect, Tabata takes that honor thanks to his great hitting prowess. Tabata is an excellent hitter and hits the ball hard all over the field. Due to this and his great plate discipline, he looks to have the makeup to be a potential batting champion competitor someday. He has developing power that has been hampered by his lingering wrist injury so it will be interesting to see how he develops into a slugger once he heals. Is above average defensively and will round out at a corner outfield position.
4.) Austin Jackson, OF: Jackson is another shining star that the Yankees have waiting in the wings. Jackson is a good contact hitter with some good power potential. Needs a little more polishing at the plate to really establish himself (already started this by cutting down his strikeouts). He is a strong athlete who will be a very nice base stealer someday with his plus speed. Also transfers his speed well in the outfield and is also plus defensively.
5.) Alan Horne, RHP: After battling back from Tommy John surgery, Horne has now begun to regain his velocity. Horne posses a low to mid-90’s fastball (finally reaching back to about 95 mph), a hard 12-6 curve that drops out of nowhere, and a nasty hard slider all with great movement on them. Has developed nicely with his control and command but still has some bouts of inconsistency with his delivery. Due to this he can get into some ruts on the mound and can sometimes have troubling digging out. Looks to be a middle of the rotation guy someday in pinstripes.
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