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For all the good and not-as-good, there was also some ugly to be found on the farm in 2012.
You know the deal by now. It's not the good, it's not the bad, it's the unfortunate happenings that are somehow worse than that.
Dellin Betances - The poster child of ugly for the farm system this year. Betances was one of the Yankees' top prospects when the season began, but he was demoted to AA after 74.2 brutal innings in AAA to start the year. His 6.39 AAA ERA is even better than the 6.51 ERA he earned in 56.2 innings for Trenton, a level he really should have mastered at this point. The truth is that Betances isn't as young as his Killer B counterpart, so he has less room left to figure things out before he's ruled a complete bust as far as prospects go. People will still drool over his K/9 like that alone will stop his wild ineffectiveness long enough to make him a major league pitcher. If he has a future in the big leagues, and that's a big if, it will probably be in the bullpen unless things dramatically turn around for him.
Manny Banuelos - ManBan had a good chance of just making the bad list, but missing practically a whole year as the system's top prospect put him into ugly territory. And that was before it released that he was to undergo Tommy John surgery on what we were led to believe was a bone bruise for most of the season. Because his injury was misdiagnosed and surgery was not done until yesterday, Banuelos will now miss two full seasons of important development time. It's a pretty crushing blow to the top prospect in the system for 2012. Tommy John surgery is no big thing these days, and ManBan is young enough to bounce back from such a huge setback, but an estimated time for his major league debut just became a lot farther off. I love ManBan as much as anyone, but with the injuries the thought still creeps into my mind that major league pitchers just aren't as small as he is, which is enough reason to worry just a little bit about his future.
Brandon Laird - His successful 2010 season that saw him put up a 135 wRC+ in AA seems like forever ago now, and being DFA'd for Steve Pearce shows just how far out of favor Laird had fallen since that time. Third base is going to be a problem for the Yankees at some point in the near future, and Laird was the guy who needed to hit and field to be able to assume that role when the time came. He could do neither of those things well enough to think he'd be a starter for the Yankees. Maybe he could have been more, or maybe he was just destined to never live up to his 2010 numbers again. Either way, it's just another prospect that seemed like they may have been promising at one point that failed to produce repeatedly enough that the Yankees let them go. Andrew Brackman feels your pain, Brandon.
Pitching depth - ManBan's injury and Betances' continued failure casts a spotlight on the fact that the Yankees don't really have any exciting pitching prospects close to breaking into the majors soon. Adam Warren exists, but he might as well not after the stinker he put up in his major league debut that will have him chained to the bench/AAA for the foreseeable future. D.J. Mitchell was traded. You have to go to AA to find really anyone, and hope that Brett Marshall and Nik Turley can make their way over the last hump of the minor leagues at some point soon. Luckily, it seems like the Yankees will have quite a few options for their 2013 rotation, but the desire for a lower payroll after that will necessitate leaning on the farm system instead of free agent acquisitions. It would help if options presented themselves, especially if the prospects who were at the top are going to be a question mark going forward.
What disappointed you most this season?
Dellin Betances' ineffectiveness (26 votes)
Manny Banuelos' injury (38 votes)
Brandon Laird's release (2 votes)
The lack of major league-ready pitchers in the system (29 votes)
95 total votes