Yankees Prospect Over/Unders

What is the over/under for Brandon Laird's homers?

In Las Vegas fashion, we set various over/under marks for various Yankees prospects in 2008 and will continue the discussion in our subscribers-only forum. What is the over/under for Brandon Laird's home run total? How low will Jairo Heredia's ERA be this upcoming season? How many levels will Abraham Almonte move up in 2008? We discuss all this and more.

Over/Unders

Home Run Total For Brandon Laird - 17: This total would have placed him third in the farm system in home runs last year, behind Shelley Duncan [25] and Seth Fortenberry [18]. Laird hit eight home runs and collected 14 doubles in just 168 at-bats in his professional debut season with the GCL Yankees last year. We believe he should eclipse the 17 mark in 2008. OVER.

ERA Mark For Jairo Heredia - 3.00: One of the key international signings in the summer of 2006, the Dominican native went 2-2 with a 2.72 ERA in his professional debut season with the Gulf Coast League Yankees last year. While there is a huge learning curve making the jump from the rookie level, we believe his game is polished enough to post another sub-3.00 ERA in 2008. UNDER.

Number Of Levels For Abraham Almonte - 1.5: Signed in 2005, the former second baseman has been on a one level per year track over his career thus far. Making the move to the outfield in the second half of the Gulf Coast League last season, he quickly impressed everybody with his smooth transition to centerfield. He seems like a lock to begin the 2008 season with the Charleston Riverdogs and we believe he will finish his first full-season in the Florida State League. OVER.

ERA Mark For Zach McAllister - 3.50: The Yankees third round pick in 2006 was cruising through the NY-Penn League, a level filled with much older competition, until he struggled mightily in his last five games when he went 1-3 with a 10.80 ERA. Posting a 2.98 ERA in his first eleven games, we believe he has learned from his late-season swoon and put together a full season in 2008. UNDER.

Stolen Base Total For Damon Sublett - 25: An on-base machine [.426] for the Staten Island Yankees in his professional debut season a year ago, how he only stole ten bases was arguably the only disappointment from what was otherwise a tremendous year. He has a lot more speed than that total suggests and we believe he will more than double that number in 2008. OVER.

ERA Mark For Ivan Nova - 3.50: Overlooked by many was the jump Nova made from the Gulf Coast League to the South Atlantic League last season, a jump that some pitchers with equal or perhaps even more talent than Nova didn't make. He went just 6-8 with a 4.98 in his first taste of the long-season leagues last year. We believe his stuff is just way too good to not have a big bounce-back season in 2008. UNDER.

Home Run Total For Mitch Hilligoss - 12: Finishing in the top ten in the South Atlantic League in batting last season, and leading Charleston with 35 stolen bases, some walked away very disappointed with Hilligoss' four home runs. He has a lot more power than some critics realize and we believe he'll start showing it in 2008, so much so that he could have the chance to more than triple last season's total. OVER.

Number Of Strikeouts For George Kontos - 150: Only two Yankees farmhands eclipsed this total last season - Ian Kennedy [163] and Alan Horne [165]. And while Kontos struck out just 101 batters with the Tampa Yankees last season, he did miss two months of the season and that cost him nearly ten starts last year. We believe he should surpass this over/under with relative ease in 2008. OVER.

Batting Average For Eduardo Nunez - .280: Nunez, just a career .245 hitter, has hit .240 or below at four different minor league stops thus far. Struggling to hit from the left-side, the former switch-hitter began hitting just right-handed late in his stint with the Charleston Riverdogs last season and finished his year hitting .285 with the Tampa Yankees. We believe he'll start resembling the .313 hitter he was with the Staten Island Yankees back in 2005 more than the .245 hitter he has been overall. OVER.

Number Of Walks For Kevin Whelan - 40: The power reliever walked 54 batters last season, disguising what was otherwise a very solid year for the former Detroit Tigers farmhand. Learning a new delivery, better mechanics, and incorporating some new pitches into his repertoire led to some overall discomfort on the mound. We'll chalk up his command issues as a learning lesson with a return to better control in 2008. UNDER.

Home Run Total For Juan Miranda - 22: The Cuban defector tied for third in the farm system last year with 16 home runs, this coming off of a two-year hiatus from playing baseball. Finally finding his timing by the end of the season last year going into the Arizona Fall League, he hit five home runs in just 78 at-bats with the Peoria Javelinas and we think that will carry over into the 2008 season. OVER.

Strikeout Total For Alan Horne - 150: It would seem the Eastern League Pitcher of the Year, who struck out 165 batters last season, would easily obliterate our over/under here in 2008. But with the possibility he could serve as bullpen help for the Yankees at some point this coming season, it's not the lock some may think it is. With that in mind, we're going to go under the total as he could see some time in New York this year. UNDER.

Batting Average For Brett Gardner - .300: His critics were widely disappointed with his .272 average in Trenton in 2006 after hitting .323 earlier in the year with the Tampa Yankees. And then despite hitting an even .300 in the first half of the 2007 season with Trenton, they point to his .260 average with Triple-A Scranton as further evidence of not being a good hitter. Moving away from his slap-and-run style earlier in his career and finally getting more comfortable with his developing line-drive swing, not to mention getting more aggressive earlier in the counts, we're expecting a return to his normal high batting average self. OVER.

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