We continue our countdown to Feb. 12, the day pitchers and catchers report to Yankees spring training camp in Tampa. Each day between now and then, Wallace Matthews, Mark Simon and I will present a list dealing with a specific issue facing the Yankees this season. Today, we take a peak at minor leaguers who could help the Yankees on the major league level in 2013.
10 MINOR LEAGUERS WHO COULD HELP IN THE MAJORS THIS YEAR
1.) Mark Montgomery
Position: Relief Pitcher
Starting Level: Triple-A
Montgomery is a 5-foot-11, 205-pound, right-handed reliever who has a unique slider that makes him comparable to the Yankees' Houdini.
"He is David Robertson-ish," said Mark Newman, the Yankees' VP of player development. "There is a chance that people in New York will see him this year. He could get their quick."
2.) Austin Romine
Staring Level: Triple-A
If Romine hadn't been out most of 2012 with a back injury, he might be the favorite to the be the franchise's big league catcher. As it is, the Yankees have him slated for Triple-A, but if Francisco Cervelli and/or Chris Stewart falter or get hurt, Romine will have a good chance to be called up.
At the least, with a good and healthy minor league season, Romine could be the Yankees' starting catcher in '14.
3.) Adam Warren
Position: Starting Pitcher
Starting Level: Triple-A
Warren, a righty, could be the swing man in the Yankees' pen to begin the season, or at some point during it. He had one disastrous start in his major league debut in '12 against the Chicago White Sox, lasting just into the third inning and allowing six runs. Still, the Yankees think he might be able to help on the big league level.
"We think he could maybe do what David Phelps did last year," Newman said.
The Yankees could choose to put the loser of the Phelps/Ivan Nova battle to be the fifth starter at Triple-A to stay stretched out, opening room for Warren.
BEST OF THE REST:
Ronnier Mustelier, 28, can hit, but has trouble finding a position. Considered an outfielder, the 5-foot-10, 210-pound Cuban had an .859 OPS between Double-A and Triple-A in '12. Fellow Cuban outfielder, Adonis Garcia, who turns 28 in April, also can hit a little, sporting a .735 OPS between Class A and Double-A in his first season in the Yankees' system in '12. Both are right-handed batters.
Corban Joseph, 24, is a utility guy who plays second and third. The lefty hitter could be up if the Yankees have injuries in the infield. He had an .840 OPS between Double-A and Triple-A. Infielder David Adams, most famous for being in one version of the proposed Cliff Lee deal, is now 25 and hit .305 at Double-A Trenton in '12.
Dellin Betances could make himself a candidate. The former top prospect, a likeable giant from Grand Street High School, will be used as a starter, but if he can find his control he could possibly earn a call-up as a reliever. In '12, he was so wild, he was demoted from Triple-A to Double-A.
"We'll see," Newman said. "He put himself back on the map. He had a pretty nice run in the Fall League. We'll see. I think down the road he could be a reliever, but right now we have him as a starter."