According to Peter Abraham, seven young Yankees will attend the Arizona Fall League:
RHP Phil Hughes
1B Juan Miranda
RHP Humberto Sanchez
RHP Jeff Marquez
RHP Kevin Whelan
INF Kevin Russo
The players we’re going to want to pay specific attention to, are Phil Hughes, Austin Jackson, Juan Miranda and Humberto Sanchez considering they’re going to be competing for a spot during Spring training. Jeff Marquez could also, possibly, make some sort of impact on the 2009 team. And where is Ian Kennedy?
Hughes goal is to throw 35-40 more innings, in order to reach his projected pre-2008 Season mark. He also has his change up, and newly developed cut fastball to improve on. I believe this is vital to Hughes progression as a pitcher, and it’s imperative he continues to build on his late-season success at both the Minor and Major League level.
I believe Humberto Sanchez is attending the fall league, in order to build arm strength and stamina. We saw him make a couple of appearances with the Yankees in September. In one appearance he was throwing a very heavy mid-90’s fastball and knee-buckling overhand curve ball. In another appearance, his fastball was flat in the upper 80’s and his Hook looked more like rainbow. He obviously is still strengthening the elbow in which Tommy John surgery was performed.
Austin Jackson, I believe, is attending the AFL so he can face top-notch talent. He has never competed above the AA level, so in order for him to have any consideration for an out field position with the Yankees, he’s going to have to post monster numbers in both the AFL and Spring Training. Austin is absolutely a black horse candidate for Center Field and could make Spring Training much more competitive and interesting. Being the super-human athlete he is, and his ability to deliver in the clutch, I believe Jackson is going to make a case for himself.
Jaun Miranda simply has to continue to work on his First Base defense, and continue to hammer out that almost-pretty swing he has. Is it only me that sees a ton of potential in this guy? He’s got a good a good idea of what he wants to do at the plate, has power, has the ability to hit the ball to all fields and has a decent eye. A man with a plan. If you read a previous post of mine, I list the moves I would make if I was Brian Cashman. Having a first base platoon of Miranda/Ransom is one of them, and should absolutely be taken into consideration if he rakes in the AFL and Spring Training. Miranda absolutely mashes right-handed pitchers.
Another player we should follow, is Jeffery Marquez. Scouts like his delivery, they like his stuff, they like his consistency. For some reason though, all of these attributes have not translated for Marquez. As a Sinkerballer, he will give up his fair share of hits; perhaps he needs to refine his breaking pitchers, or develop a cut fastball in order to give him the scissor effect.