The 50 top prospects have been announced and the Yankees placed three players on the list compiled by MLB.com.
Catcher Jesus Montero was ranked No. 9. He hit .289 with 21 home runs and 75 runs batted in at Triple-A Scranton. The scouting report calls him one of best pure hitters in the minors. But it also questions whether he can be an everyday catcher in the majors. He only threw out 23 percent of would-be base-stealers last season and had 15 passed balls. He’s compared to Mike Piazza, who was a poor defensive catcher but great offensive player. The scouting reports lists Montero as major league ready with the chance to be an impact bat ``in the middle of any lineup in baseball.’’
Gary Sanchez, another catcher, was ranked No. 32. Sanchez batted .353 in the Gulf Coast League. He is a better all-around catcher than Montero or Austin Romaine, another Yankee product, with Sanchez having potential All-Star quality behind the plate. Sanchez is projected to make the big leagues by 2014.
Lefthanded pitcher Manny Banuelos was No. 35. Pitching for Tampa in the Florida State League, Banuelos had two poor starts but had a 0.76 ERA in nine others and struck out 51 in 35 1/3 innings. His fastball is said to be in the mid 90s. His curve and change is rated above average, plus at times. He is projected in 2012.
The Angels had the top prospect in outfielder Mike Trout, while Bryce Harper, baseball’s No. 1 draft pick by the Nationals in 2010, came in at No. 3.
To gauge the accuracy of the list, Buster Posey was No. 4 in the top 50 last season and won National League rookie of the year with the Giants. Jason Heyward of the Braves was ranked the top prospect and finished second behind Posey in the rookie vote.
The Mets had no players listed in the top 50.