It’s a small sample size, but so far Jesus Montero has been exactly what we thought he would be offensively. Last night, he was the only guy in the lineup who did anything against a very good pitcher. Seeing Montero thrive makes me happy (obviously) but it also frustrates me because his success once again exposes the Yankees’ conservative approach with their prospects.

The thing that frustrates me about their approach is that they have been greatly rewarded the majority of the time when they did turn to a prospect. Think of Robinson Cano and Chien-Ming Wang in 2005, Joba in 2007 or Nova this year. It hasn’t always worked, see Kennedy and Hughes in 2008, but more times than not, the Yankees have been rewarded when looking within the organization- like the past few years with David Robertson.

This year Montero has been the guy we have all been focusing on, but I wonder about some other names. David Phelps put up a 3.19 ERA in AAA this year and Adam Warren put up a 3.60, but neither one saw the big leagues. Kevin Whelan pitched 52 innings in AAA, striking out 54 and is on the 40-man, but he didn’t even get a September promotion.

We keep hearing about the Yankees’ prospects and the potential of the farm system, but none of that matters if the Yankees don’t use the players in the system. Prospects have a shelf life, sort of like milk. At some point they go from being prospects to “organizational players”. If the Yankees aren’t going to use these players themselves they need to trade them to an organization that will.

Next year, the Yankees will probably have a number of open spots in their rotation. Before they run out and sign free agent pitchers or bring in fringe players from other organizations, the Yankees should think about the guys already in their system.