Some really good stuff courtesy of Lisa Winston at MLB.com
A quick look at a few of the many arms percolating down below:
Jeff Marquez, RHP: A supplemental first-round pick in 2004 with a lively low-90s fastball, changeup and curveball, Marquez had a breakthrough season at Trenton in 2007, when he went 15-9 with a 3.65 ERA. But 2008 turned out to be something of a lost season for him as he struggled to a 6-7 record and 4.69 ERA in just 14 starts at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. A tired arm limited him to 80 2/3 innings in which he gave up 93 hits and fanned 33 while walking 24.
Zach McAllister, RHP: The 20-year-old McAllister, a 2006 third-round pick out of high school, combined to go 14-9 with a 2.09 ERA (seventh-best in the Minors) at Charleston and Tampa. In 151 innings, he walked only 21 while striking out 115, and he posted a 1.83 ERA in 15 games after his promotion to Advanced Class A. In 2007, he had a roller-coaster season at Staten Island, with his 5.17 ERA actually better than his last few starts indicated. His sinking low-90s fastball is complemented by a good changeup
Dellin Betances RHP: An 2006 eighth-rounder out of high school in Brooklyn, the 20-year-old Betances posted a 1.16 ERA in seven Gulf Coast League games that summer. A tender arm limited him to six starts at Staten Island in 2007, prompting speculation about a possible need for Tommy John surgery. Well-rested for 2008, he went 9-4 with a 3.67 ERA in 22 starts at Charleston, striking out 135 while allowing only 87 hits in 115 1/3 innings. His 10.53 strikeouts per nine innings ranked fifth among all full-season Minor League starters. Thanks to a mid-90s fastball and good curve, he was second in the Yankees system in strikeouts.
Mark Melancon, RHP: Of three Yankees prospects recovering from Tommy John surgery, this 2006 ninth-round pick out of Arizona is closest to a full-time job in the big leagues next year, thanks to a tremendous comeback season. Breaking camp with Tampa, Melancon posted a 2.84 ERA there, then a 1.81 ERA in 49 2/3 innings at Trenton and finally a 2.70 ERA at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, combining for a 2.27 ERA. Over 95 innings, he walked 22 and fanned 89. When healthy he's a true closer with a fastball in the low to mid-90s.
Eric Hacker, RHP: Hacker, a 2002 23rd-round pick who missed the 2004 season following Tommy John surgery and 2006 with shoulder trouble, made a strong impression in 2008. His combined 2.43 ERA for Tampa and Trenton ranked 13th in the Minors, and he was even better in the postseason with a 2-0 record and 1.54 ERA in two starts. Hacker's ERA was second only to McAllister in the Yankees system.
Jonathan Ortiz, RHP: Ortiz, a 22-year-old from the Dominican Republic, finished third in the Minors in saves while recording a 2.03 ERA, 87 strikeouts and only 13 walks in 62 innings at Charleston. At Staten Island in 2007, he posted a 1.80 ERA and 13 saves and limited opponents to a .173 average.
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