PinstripesPlus.com analyzes the Yankees' starting pitching prospects. Which ones are the sleepers?…
Five Needing Breakout Seasons
The recently turned 21-year old does have a remarkable 22 home runs over his past 555 at-bats, an amazing number for a rookie league hitter, but that's more of a dubious achievement at this point. He needs to finally show the plate discipline he had in his two seasons in the Dominican Summer Leagues and be a consistent hitter, and he needs to do it in the long-season leagues immediately as it seems his days with the Yankees will be very much limited if he doesn't.
RHP, Taylor Morton: This isn't about the former 9th round pick's disastrous 2012 season that saw him post a 9-plus ERA with the Staten Island Yankees and it really isn't about his age either because he just turned 21 years old in December -- this is more about turning things around in order to avoid the onslaught of lower level pitching prospects currently nipping at his heels.
Once thought of as a possible shoe-in for the Charleston rotation at the start of the 2012 season, something which did not happen, he now finds himself as one of many potential candidates for the same spot heading into 2013 and he isn't even one of the favorites at this point. He needs to rediscover his low-90s velocity, resurrect his former pinpoint command, and get that slider going in a hurry or else he'll get surpassed by younger pitchers like Ty Hensley, Giovanny Gallegos, Angel Rincon, Chaze Hebert, etc, etc, etc.
1B, Reymond Nunez: While Calderon was part of the 2008 International free agent signing class, Nunez was part of the '07 group, although he did not sign until November of that year. He did not spend four years at the rookie league levels like Calderon has, but he hasn't exactly been tearing it up at a much higher pace either.
Blessed with some of the best raw power around and easily one of the quickest bats, the behemoth first baseman has yet to translate those tools into actual statistical production and that's a problem for the recently turned 22-year old. He will still be relatively young for his league when he plays for the Tampa Yankees in 2013, but the time is definitely now for him to finally put up the consistent numbers he is very much capable of posting.
OF, Rob Segedin: The third round pick in 2010 is clearly at a crossroads in his young career already. A former third baseman who was recently switched to the outfield, he is better known for his offensive prowess than his defensive abilities and he couldn't have picked a worse time to experiment with his swing, something that helped him finish his 2012 season hitting a meager .188 in 48 games with Double-A Trenton.
He just turned 24 years old and is still at a solid age for the level he's at, but the fact is he has a quartet of hard-charging outfield prospects coming up right behind him in the form of Mason Williams, Slade Heathcott, Tyler Austin, and Ramon Flores, all of whom will be getting some Double-A time in 2013 -- and that's where Segedin is headed back. If he starts the new year as slow as he finished last season, he could be in real trouble for playing time.
RHP, Graham Stoneburner: It wasn't all that long ago -- two years in fact -- that the former 14th round pick out of Clemson University was easily one of the better pitching prospects in the Yankee farm system. He had just come off of a 2.41 ERA, 137-strikeout season between the two A-ball affiliates and was on his way to Double-A, and that's when injuries began to pile up.
A nerve injury in his neck wrecked his 2011 season and then a nagging groin injury set him back again in 2012. In fact the past two seasons have not only limited his development time and wreaked havoc on his slower developing slider, but it's cost him some zip on his once plus fastball. He turned 25 years at the end of the season and the once highly thought of prospect has seen his stock slip greatly, so much so that he doesn't have a true long-term role anymore. He needs to get back to being healthy again because he has shown he can be dominant when he is 100 percent.
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