Better Know a Prospect: Yankees

Wondering which young players could have an impact in the majors this year? Let MLB FanHouse guide the way in Better Know a Prospect. In this edition we look at three players from the New York Yankees who could help the bullpen this season.

Mark Melancon,RP: A first-round talent with questions about the health of his arm, Melancon fell to the Yankees in the ninth round of the 2006 draft. He wound up needing Tommy John surgery, but has recovered his velocity and command. He throws hard and has an above-average curveball, which he used to strike out 22 batters in 20 Triple-A innings in 2008. He's unlikely to break camp with the Bombers, but could provide a boost to the bullpen around mid-season. If all breaks right, Melancon will be in the mix to replace Mariano Rivera as the team's closer one day, if not, he should still be an effective relief pitcher.

Phil Coke, RP: Unless something goes wrong in Tampa, Coke should be part of the Yankees' Opening Day roster. That's unbelievable given where he was in early 2008. Coke struggled in Double-A out of the gate and, at 25, had to be thinking about another line of work. It all came together, though, and Coke moved to Triple-A and then was originally included in the list of players sent to Pittsburgh for Damaso Marte and Xavier Nady. The official deal was made without Coke, though, and it paid off for the Yankees. Coke allowed one run in 14 2/3 big league innings, flashing a good fastball and slider that will come in handy. Alfredo Aceves, RP/SP: Aceves is a true out-of-nowhere success story. He spent six years in the Mexican League before signing with the Yankees in 2008. He cruised through three minor league levels before hitting the Bronx at the end of August and taking a spot in the rotation. He did an OK job, although, at 26 and without special stuff, his future is as a middle reliever. He and Coke will be key members of the Yankee 'pen this summer, not bad for two guys who no one thought would make it this far.

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