This will be the last MLPW of the year, as the minor leagues wrap up their regular season. Be on the lookout for an updated Top 10 (and maybe more) in the near future.

Minor League Players of the Week (v21):

Pitcher:
Brett Marshall, 20, RHP, A+
11 IP, 12 K, 0 BB, 10 H, 3 ER

Only a little more than a year after going under the knife for Tommy John surgery, Brett Marshall has done everything you could have asked for and more. The young Texan has shown considerable improvement over his injury-shortened rookie campaign, increasing his strikeouts, while simultaneously lowering his walk rate (2009: 15.3 K%, 9.4 BB% 1.62 K/BB; 2010: 20.5 K%, 7.6 BB%, 2.69 K/BB).

He’s also been utilizing his two-seamer to induce weak contact and it’s been very successful: his groundball rate at Charleston was great (49.6 GB%). Brett’s work this past month was good enough to earn him a cameo at Tampa (4 IP, 6 K, 0 BB, 5 H, 2 ER). The funny thing is, even with how good Marshall has been this season, it’s not unreasonable to think he can come out and perform even better next year. As Brett gets farther away from his surgery, his command should continue to improve and he should be getting the feel for his best pitch back — the slider.

Coming into the Yankee organization as a teenager, Brett was taught a curveball and wasn’t allowed to throw his slide piece (we had to pay Joe Morgan in order to use this phrase). The start after he sustained the injury that would eventually lead to his TJ, Nardi Contreras informed him he was able to bust out his old weapon. Such is fate. Hopefully, as Brett continues to get reacquainted with his old friend, we see his strikeouts improve. Maybe Mike Pavlick (Tampa pitching coach) works a little of his magic on Brett’s slider in 2011, as he did with Graham Stoneburner’s this past year. In any case, being able to freely use his old best weapon probably isn’t going to hurt the performance of Brett Marshall.

It’s been a fairly long road back to pitching for Brett, but it’s great to see him come out and pitch the way the Yankees knew he could when they drafted him.

Position Player:
Jesus Montero, 20, RHB C, AAA
.323/.323/.645 in 31 PAs

NoMaas Ranking – Pre-Season Top 10: #1, Mid-Season Top 20: #1
Previous Wins – Week(s): 10, 13, 14, 15, 17, 20 – Month(s): July

Since I’m tired of writing about Montero in long form, let’s bulletpoint him to save us all some time…

- Jesus Montero is the best pure hitter in the minor leagues.
- He will probably play some catcher in the MLB.
- He will not, in all likelihood, stick there for much longer than a couple of half seasons or so, and will end up transitioning to a DH/1B role.
- He’s going to hit in the MLB. At the very least, he should be league-average. He could be a lot, lot better than that if he approaches his ceiling. Like MVP-candidate good.

Honorable Mentions:

Dan Brewer, 22, RHB OF, AA
.400/.455/.500 in 33 PAs
Could be useful to someone, but it’s probably not the Yankees.

Sean Black, 22, RHP, A+
8 IP, 12 K, 0 BB, 8 H, 3 ER
”Meh” start. Pick it up, son.

David Phelps, 23, RHP, AAA
13 IP, 9 K, 2 BB, 13 H, 2 ER
Got better with the competition. Serious Yankee Minor League Pitcher of the Year candidate.

Austin Romine, 21, RHB C, AA
.333/.364/.476 in 22 PAs
Hasn’t had a lot to be happy about in three months (.616 OPS since June 1st).