Staten Island Yankees Season In Review

Peter O'Brien has plus power potential

The Staten Island Yankees had a very disappointing season in 2012, finishing the year with a 30-45 record and a remarkable 21.5 games out of first place. The team still has some solid prospects though. We take a look at where was the team's greatest depth, which prospects stood out, which ones could be 'sleeper' prospects down the road, and more.

The Team

As bad as their season was, it could have been a lot worse when considering the fact that they finished the season going 14-6 in their last 20 games and finally started playing the type of baseball that was expected from them in 2012. An eleven game losing streak from July 27th through August 7th ruined their season, as did a 1-17 overall mark during the same stretch..

They finished ninth in the 14-team league in team batting average [.239] and sixth in runs scored [317], but were fourth in home runs [39] and fourth in OPS [.665]. Pitching though is where they really struggled as a team, finishing 12th in ERA [4.16], 13th in WHIP [1.44], 13th in strikeouts [505], and allowed the most home runs [42].

The Greatest Depth

It's a bit of a toss-up. As bad as the cumulative team pitching stats were, however, the ironic fact is the team's best depth of prospects might just be on the mound if you include some of the potential of their relief pitching prospects.

Top Prospects On The Mound

Throwing out the likes of Nick Goody and Corey Black [both of whom will qualify on other teams], there is a consensus top pitching prospect from the Staten Island club and that's left-hander Evan Rutckyj.

Forgetting the fact he led the starting pitchers in ERA, innings pitched, and strikeouts, his stuff was easily the most consistent. It's just inconsistent command holding him back from becoming one of the top pitching prospects in the organization.

Right-hander Gabriel Encinas had the inconsistencies of a 20-year old pitcher but he showed glimpses of being a quality pitching prospect with an above average fastball, and two secondary pitches that can be above average offerings at times. His numbers [3-7, 4.97 ERA] don't accurately reflect his long-term potential.

On the starting front, Taylor Morton battled injuries and that had a lot to do with his about-face production-wise in Staten Island. His brutal numbers should be thrown out the window because he's a much better prospect than his performance indicates and he battled a nagging injury. And both Derek Varnadore and Andrew Benak have some organizational value, and Varnadore in particular could be a solid relief pitching prospect down the road.

Throw in quality southpaw reliever Dietrich Enns and right-hander Taylor Garrison -- while they won't be top prospects -- they offer some long-term bullpen potential.

The Biggest 'Sleeper'

The 'sleeper' of the pitching staff could very well be lefty reliever James Pazos. He sits 92 mph with his fastball, shows a slider with above average potential, and the kind of quality changeup that could force the organization to think twice about possibly moving him into a starter's role to see how he could develop there.

The Bats

The Staten Island club boasts some quality position prospects too, despite a poor performance from several of their regulars.

Top Position Prospects

A big reason for the better late-season depth in the field was the addition of former catcher turned first baseman Greg Bird. He switched positions after dealing with some back issues and not only hit .400 in his eleven games with the team, but showed good power too.

He, along with the likes of catcher Peter O'Brien [ten home runs], and yes, even the disappointing seasons turned in by Ravel Santana [.216, three home runs] and shortstop Claudio Custodio [.253, 13 stolen bases], gives the Staten Island club four legit position prospects going forward.

The Biggest 'Sleeper'

The Staten Island team has two position prospects who are not top prospects yet but do offer some long-term intrigue in the form of third baseman Matt Duran and first baseman Matthew Snyder. Both don't exactly have the type of plus power potential a team like the Yankees would like, but Duran has shown good power in stretches. He hit .288 in his last 21 games with all three of his home runs and Snyder, who has three brothers in pro ball including one in the big leagues, could be the type to hit his way to the big leagues.

Not Just Yet

Like Snyder, outfielder Taylor Dugas can flat-out hit and he has one of the best strike zone judgments around. A great defensive player too, he has some long-term reserve outfielder potential but he'll need to improve his rather average speed. Outfielder Daniel Lopez has great speed but the bat needs more work, shortstop/second baseman Jose Rosario needs a more consistent bat, and catcher Isaias Tejeda needs more time to develop on both sides of the ball. All four have some long-term potential but enough question marks to keep them out of legit prospect discussions right now.

On the pitching side an eye should be kept on left-hander Evan DeLuca and right-hander Mariel Checo, both of whom have above average big league stuff but major command issues that are really holding them back. Should either gain more control of their pitches they could get into the legit prospect category.

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