What comes to mind when you think about a team’s minor league system?
Especially as Yankee fans, you need to know who is going to uphold their tradition of excellence once the guys like Jeter and A-Rod are gone.
Of course, the Yankees are well prepared with their stacked farm system but why wait a few years from now to see the future stars when you can do it now?
There are two players on the Scranton Wilkes-Barre roster that the Yankees are very high on. And they should be.
One of them is their starting third baseman Brandon Laird. There aren’t many people who know Laird’s name. He’s not one of the players that gets all the hype in the system. He really should though.
Laird so far only has 10 home runs but I can tell you his power is developing. I’ve seen Laird hit some moonshots. Just last year actually he hit 25 homeruns in the minors. Once Laird develops I think that he will definitely be a 30-plus home run guy.
It’s not only the power that is so attractive about Laird though. He can hit for average too. In addition to those 25 bombs, he had a .291 batting average in 2010. I actually think Laird has the ability to hit over .300 but he needs to fix one thing.
Laird has what I like to call Mark Teixeira-itis.
Laird is a great hitter, but in the months of April and May he looks pitiful. It happens every season. Laird looks no better than Cody Ransom did when he filled in for A-Rod in 2009. But like Teixeira, Laird always figures it out and finishes strong. He just needs to find a way to get over that early season hump and he’ll be spectacular.
The next gem in the system I don’t have to preach too much about.
The SWB catcher, Jesus Montero, has his name all over the place. He’s one of the top prospects in all of baseball.
The hype on him isn’t just hype though. Montero can really smoke the ball and he is going to be a tremendous offensive player in the MLB. The real question is going to be his defense.
He really isn’t that pretty on the other side of the ball but the one thing I cannot take away from Montero is that he is constantly working hard to improve.
Montero wants to be a catcher and nothing else. He knows he needs to work a lot there but I think he’s up to the challenge. Many people have said that his size will keep him from behind the plate but I have two words for those critics: Joe Mauer.
As long as Laird and Montero make it through the trade deadline and the offseason still wearing pinstripes, you’ll start seeing them in New York. Montero might even be the starter next year for the big club.
Here’s a side note: over the next few weeks keep an eye out for Alex Rodriguez making a rehab assignment in Scranton. If they’re home, it just might happen.
Tommy Romanelli is a Wyoming Area grad and a sophomore at LCCC. He writes for pinstripesplus.com. His thoughts on the SWB Yankees will appear in The Dispatch throughout the season.