Interview with Mike Ashmore

Mike Ashmore, who covers the Trenton Thunder, was kind enough to answer some questions I had about some of the Yankee prospects. Check out Mike Ashmore's Thunder Thoughts for more info on the Yanks and their minor league system.

Here's the Interview

Kevin Seefried: Austin Jackson is supposed to take over in center field for the 2010
season. What kind of stats should we expect from him, and who would be
a comparable major leaguer?

Mike Ashmore: It's hard, at least for me, to project what a guy does at the Double-A
level to what he's eventually going to do at the big league level. He
could progress or regress from then to now, or could become a
different player all together.

With Austin Jackson, I'd say the numbers he put up this year in
Trenton wouldn't be too much different than what you could see him do
in the show. I'd stick him at a .260-275 average, 10-20 home runs and
maybe 70 RBI depending on where you stick him in the order. That
would actually be interesting to see as his game progresses, where he
ultimately will fit in a big league batting order.

In terms of comparing him to a big leaguer...the two that come to mind
are Torii Hunter and Mike Cameron, but Jackson will likely never have
the kind of power that either of those players do. Jackson is a
special player in term of defense, and while I don't know if anyone
can make the kind of highlight reel plays like Hunter did/does, he's
going to be featured on Web Gems sooner rather than later, no

KS: Who are the top 5 Yankee prospects in your opinion?

MA: For the record, I hate prospect lists. There are so many examples of
guys who "didn't make the list" but suddenly shot up the next year
despite the fact that they're the exact same player they were when
they were left off, and so many examples of guys who are rated highly
despite obvious faults in their game and eventually drop like a rock
when those faults are exposed.

Also, I like to base my opinions of players based on what I've seen,
and not necessarily what others have seen or what I've read. And that
goes for what I write as well...just because I like/don't like a
player doesn't mean you should feel the same.

But you asked, so I'll answer...

1) Austin Jackson
2) Jesus Montero
3) Andrew Brackman
4) Zach McAllister
5) Phil Coke

No Betances, I know this. He's in the picture, obviously...but he's
not in my top 5.

KS: Do any of the Yankees that departed in the Rule V draft (Zach
, Reegie Corona, Jason Jones, and Ivan Nova) have the potential
to contribute at the big league level this season? Or should we expect
some of them to be returned?

MA: I think they all have some chance of being able to contribute or else
the respective teams that picked them wouldn't have done so...however,
some will likely have an easier road than others.

Kroenke went to an organization -- the Marlins -- that likes cheap,
young arms. If they need a decent lefty out of the bullpen, he has to
be an option.

Corona has a grand total of zero experience in Triple-A and struggles
playing shortstop. If the Mariners are looking at him to be a utility
, they're likely going to be looking elsewhere.

Jones also went to an organization that wouldn't mind a cheap arm,
Minnesota. I hope he sticks with the Twins, but it would probably
have to be as a long man or spot starter considering the pitchers they
have in their organization who could serve as starters in the big
leagues right now.

Nova...I've never seen him pitch, but the numbers in Tampa weren't
great, and I can't imagine that an A-Ball guy would stick in the show
with anyone.

KS:Any thoughts on the recent signing of Jorge Vasquez? It looks like he
was great in the Mexican league. Have you seen him play at all?

MA:I haven't see him play, but I guess it speaks volumes to the lack of
depth at first base in the Yankees system that they would feel the
need to go out and bring him in. I'd imagine he'll start the year in
Trenton, and I'd imagine he'll put up some pretty nasty numbers while
he's at it,

KS: Jose Valdez and George Kontos had pretty good stats in 08.What do you
think of them?

MA: Someone needs to get Valdez a cheeseburger. He's super thin, but he
still throws pretty hard and has decent secondary stuff. But I can't
see how he'll last in the long run if he doesn't build onto his small

Kontos is a good guy who had a disappointing year. His run support
was terrible, but he still was the pretty clear #4 or #5 at most
points in the year. He'll likely repeat Trenton, and could see a shot
at Scranton at some point by midyear.

KS: What would you say are Mark Melancon's major strengths?

MA: Similar to Phil Coke, Melancon has that attitude where he just wants
the ball. He doesn't care if it's the first inning or the last, he
just wants to get outs. He doesn't go out there like a guy who's
coming off of a major surgery like the one he had. While his arm will
certainly take him far, his makeup will no doubt help him along the

KS: Finally, if you had to pick one Yankee prospect who you think will be
a Hall of Famer some day, but has not yet played at the big league
level, who would it be and why?

MA: The way this question is phrased allows me to answer it, because I'm
not really sure that any of these guys will go on to that kind of
stardom. I guess the somewhat obvious answer is Austin Jackson,
though. He certainly has all the tools to where he can become an
impact player at the next level. However, when you look at the guys I
compared him to who are currently big leaguers, neither one of them
are likely to go to Cooperstown, and I don't see Jackson going either.

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