Many people have been claiming that the Yankees are buying themselves another championship and spend their money wildly. Buster Olney writes a great article seen here, explaining how well the Yankees are doing because even though they are spending big bucks, they are keeping their young prospects. This got me thinking about just how good the Yankees farm system is and I've realized that developing their young players is a priority in the organization again. Lets take a look at some of the future stars in their system.
Phil Hughes- Hughes was the Yankees first round pick a few years ago. Drafting him right out of high school, the Yanks have been grooming him for stardom. Most of you have already seen Hughes in pinstripes already and although I don't feel he is ready quite yet, he has shown glimpses of what he can do. Hughes took a no hitter into the 7th inning against the Rangers before getting hurt 2 years ago. His mid 90's fastball is good enough to strike people out and he has a great curveball. Hughes also doesn't walk many batters and still is only 22 years old. I expect Hughes to start this year in the minors and be a call up if anything happens anyone in the rotation, but a few years from now I can see Hughes being a #1 starter.
Austin Jackson- Jackson was an eighth round pick by the Yanks in 2005. He is the Yankees top position player prospect. After struggling in A Ball for a while, Jackson has been putting it together ever since. In his last 128 games in the minors he has hit .304, 88 runs, 21 doubles, and 33 stolen bases. He is also a stellar defensive player and could be seen on the Yankees as early as mid-season 2009.
Brett Gardner- Gardner saw some action during the 2008 season, and showed that he can cover some ground in Center and absolutely fly on the base paths. Gardner is a solid contact hitter and if he can add some more pop in his bat and put up a solid on base percentage, he can be a part of the Yankees quest for the World Series in 2009. He is well liked by manager Joe Girardi. Garnder's biggest contributions came from swiping bases and applies a ton of pressure on the defense when he is on base. I can see Brett being a part of the team next year and expect him to emerge into a Johnny Damon type player if he can put it all together.
J. Brent Cox- Many of you probably know him from his days when he was closing out games for the University of Texas. He followed Houston Street and posted many collegiate records while he was there. Cox has had success so far in the minors and is still only 24 years old. He has a great fastball and slider, and does well against both righties and lefties. Expect J. Brent Cox to be talked about either during the 2009 season if the Yankees bullpen is struggling or maybe a call up to the 40 man roster in September.
Like Buster Olney mentions, the Yankees were going to have to pay Santana a boatload of money last year on top of giving up prospects. Instead they were patient, still spent a lot of money this off season but have not given up any of their young guns. I like the fact that they are trying to develop their own players instead of trading them away for veterans. With the Yankees recent signings of Sabathia and Burnett and still looking to land Teixera or Manny, Yankee fans have a lot to look forward too, especially now that they held onto their young talented players.