It is easy to turn your nose up to the Yankees and scoff at their ability to spend big.
But prepare to be impressed by the players they have coming up the pipeline. The Yankees have done a fine job drafting and developing players that could have a major impact in the next two to three years.
While most of the attention is on their mythical status, a lot of attention is also paid to their top prospect, catcher Jesus Montero. The debate about his future at catcher is endless, but it's only a piece of what makes their farm system so impressive and intriguing.
Pitchers Manny Banuelos, Andrew Brackman, Dellin Betances, as well as Adam Warren, have all developed at a healthy pace. Banuelos made MLB.com's Top 50 Prospects list, revealed earlier this week. He ranked 35th.
Brackman did have to undergo Tommy John surgery in 2007. That was a roadblock in the former first-rounder's progress, but look at his 2010 campaign and you'll see why the righty is highly regarded. It was technically only his second full season at the minor league level.
Though he struggled with some issues in 2009, Brackman made a terrific 2010 comeback finishing up with a 3.01 ERA in 80 innings of work for the Double-A Trenton Thunder. Brackman had been bothered by the mental aspect of being a Yankees player and the pressure that entails. 2010 was about coming back from everything he felt held him back.
"The whole thing of being a Yankee, I don't look at it like that anymore," he said. "I'm a very competitive person and when things don't go right, I try to do more. And that's not exactly the right thing to do."
Thunder catcher and top Yankees prospect Austin Romine saw many differences in Brackman.
"He's getting more confident. He has a lot more command. He's just getting people out," Romine said.
Brackman and Betances spent time with the Yankees in a learning capacity in 2010 after being added to the 40-man roster in September.
It's hard to say if the Yankees see Warren as a future part of their rotation. The 24-year-old has good fastball command and works both sides of the plate well. Warren was faced with the challenges of making the jump from Class-A to Double-A, where the top of every lineup has a bit more power and hitters are talented from top to bottom.
In 2010 he completed his first Double-A stint with a 3.15 ERA, allowing just 2 home runs in 54 innings. Between Class-A Tampa and Trenton he surrendered only 4. His walks were an issue and one he addressed before the end of the season.
"I just have to go right after them and not try to change anything," Warren said. "I have to get ahead of hitters."
Thunder manager Tony Franklin talked about Warren's demeanor and approach.
"He seemed very sure of what he wanted to do in his plan of attack. And he's a strong guy," Franklin said.
But Warren has a lot of work to do to get his shot at making the big league roster. His changeup is still a work in progress. He needs to have better breaking pitches to get guys out, something that was clear in his time at Trenton and that pitching coach Tommy Phelps worked with him on.
Betances was an 8th round pick for the Yankees in 2006 and has moved up and down the levels, with the exception of Triple-A, but underwent ligament surgery in 2009. He fired back at the setback with commanding results between Tampa and Trenton.
Before his promotion to Trenton, the 22-year-old right-hander went 8-1 and posted a 1.44 ERA at Tampa. He finished the season with the Thunder posting a 3.77 ERA.
Banuelos appears closest to the majors, but even with a successful 2010 campaign he needs a full season of Double-A. The 19-year-old lefty pitched just 15 innings for the ELDS champs (putting up a 3.52 ERA), but he'd made an impressive jump from GCL to Tampa to Trenton, developing at a more rapid pace than even expected.
The Yankees have a solid group of young pitchers set to make their mark. All that's left is wondering who will be catching them.