Jump Menu:
Post Reply
Page 18 of 88  •  Prev 1 ... 16 17 18 19 20 ... 88 Next
Random Minor League Notes: 2014 Edition
6 years ago  ::  Jan 08, 2014 - 9:14PM #171
Posts: 32,868
Yankees sign Bruce Billings, re-sign Yoshinori Tateyama

By Via Matt Eddy: The Yankees have signed right-hander Bruce Billings to a minor league contract. I’m not sure if he received an invitation to Spring Training. The 28-year-old had a 4.31 ERA (3.96 FIP) in 148.1 innings for the Athletics’ Triple-A affiliate last summer. He’s been at that level for four years now. Billings has four big league appearances to his credit, allowing ten runs in seven innings for the Rockies and A’s back in 2011. He’ll be counted on to soak up innings for Triple-A Scranton this summer.

The Yankees have also re-signed righty Yoshinori Tateyama to a minor league deal, according to Eddy. They acquired him from the Rangers for cash in the middle of last season. Tateyama, 38, had a 1.70 ERA (2.18 FIP) in 42.1 innings for Triple-A Scranton after the trade. He has 61 innings of big league experience, posting a 5.75 ERA (4.54 FIP) for Texas from 2011-12. Tateyama’s fun to watch because hes a sidearmer who throws a screwball. Here’s proof. I don’t think either he or Billings will have much of a chance to see time with the Yankees in 2014 unless something goes horribly, horribly wrong. They’re (deep) depth moves.

6 years ago  ::  Jan 08, 2014 - 9:23PM #172
Posts: 32,868

Is Jose Pirela a legitimate option for the Yankees at second base?


Robinson Cano, the Yankees' best homegrown player in the past decade, is no longer with the organization. He has signed his 10-year mega contract with theMariners and now the Yankees need to find a way to make up for him. They signed Jacoby Ellsbury, Carlos Beltran, and Brian McCann to replace their best hitter in the lineup, but what about replacing his production at second base?

They have brought Kelly Johnson, Brian Roberts, and Dean Anna in, but it's likely that the Yankees are still open to other options. The organization suffers from a lack of impact prospects, especially at the top levels, and especially when it comes to infielders. Perhaps one of their top in-house candidates is nothing but a fringe prospect at best and someone who might never end up reaching the majors. Can Jose Pirela be the replacement the Yankees are looking for?

Who he is

Pirela is a 24-year-old right-handed hitting second baseman who was signed out of Venezuela for $300,000 before the 2008 season and, though he's been playing pro ball since he was 17, he still has only 24 plate appearances at Triple-A, a level he finally reached this past year after six years, and three full seasons in Double-A.

He made an underwhelming debut in rookie ball with a 5.8% walk rate, a sub-.300 OBP and a wRC+ of 66, but he showed potential the following year, hitting .295/.354/.381, while upping his walk rate to 8.3% and putting up a promising 114 wRC+ for Staten Island. Pirela took a slight step back in 2010 with the Charleston RiverDogs, but he still showed promise. He hit .252/.329/.364 with a 102 wRC+, raised his walk rate again to 9.9%, managed to swipe 30 bases on the season, and hit 13 triples

In 2011, he moved up to Double-A and that's when the bottom fell out. He hit a disappointing .239/.292/.353, his walk rate bottomed out at 4.8% and his strikeout rate lifted to a career-high rate of 16.9%. His 76 wRC+ proved that it wasn't his worst year, but it was definitely a bubble-bursting season. He got another shot in 2012 and had possibly his best offensive season to date, hitting .293/.356/.448 with a 123 wRC+. He recovered some of his plate discipline, but didn't see more than 82 games of action.

This year Pirela played his third season at the Double-A level, and still remained solid with a .272/.359/.418 batting line and a 118 wRC+. He had the highest walk rate (10.6%) and lowest strikeout rate (11.5%) of his career, stole 18 bases, and hit a career-high 10 home runs. He finally got the chance to play for Scranton over five games in July, where he collected seven hits in 24 at-bats before getting sent back down to Trenton.

To add to his resume, Pirela has routinely demolished winter ball, hitting .306/.372/.441 in the Venezuelan winter league over the last four years. The 2013-2014 season has brought the most success as he has hit .332/.415/.514 with six home runs and seven triples.


As a right-handed batter, he also adds some value for the Yankees at the plate. The 2013 team hardly managed an 85 wRC+ against southpaws, which was only better than theWhite Sox and Marlins. This year's lineup still lacks right-handed options to bat against left-handed pitchers. In six seasons, Pirela has a .278/.335/.372 batting line against them, though his line against righties isn't too far off at .257/.324/.370. He gets on base more frequently against lefties, but he has significantly more power against righties, hitting 27 of his 33 career home runs against them. Pirela likely won't be an incredible asset against one handed pitcher over another, but he's not necessarily a platoon player either.

Still, there could be an argument made that he would benefit from playing in Yankee Stadium over PNC Field or Arm and Hammer Stadium. In 2013, the park factors for right-handed home runs at the Stadium was 122, while it was a below-average 95 in Scranton and a power-engulfing 76 in Trenton. While park factors for right-handed doubles and triples were a bit lower in Yankee Stadium, with a 94, it's easy to see how much of a benefit Pirela could get hitting there instead of Trenton, where they reached an 85 in 2013. Even though playing in New York heavily favors left-handed hitters for its short right field porch, batting in hitter-friendly Yankee Stadium, regardless of their handedness, is much better than the environments Yankee prospects consistently hit in the minors.


Jose Pirela began his career has a shortstop, committing 107 errors in five seasons (that's like 21 errors a year!) before permanently being moved to second base, where he has made 31 errors over seven seasons (that's only like 4.5 errors a year!). He played second all season for the first time in 2013 and made 16 errors, which would have nearly led the position in MLB.

Baseball America reported one scout saying at the time of the signing "he's got all the raw tools to stay in the middle of the diamond. The range is exceptional, the hands are soft, the arm strength is slightly above average." There was some belief that his arm strength needed to improve to stick at short, but given his trouble with his glove work, along with his bulky physique, it seemed that the transition to second had to happen.


Thrusting Pirela into the majors might be risky, but it's not unheard of. Looking at his projections next to his competition might help show what the Yankees would be in for in 2014. I averaged their projections between Steamers and Oliver to get the average, where applicable.

2013 Cano .314 .383 .516 9.5 12.5 .384 142
2014 Cano .294 .365 .476 9.2 13.3 .476 130
Johnson .235 .312 .407 9.5 25.0 .316 95
Anna .253 .324 .459 8.5 16.0 .305 92
Pirela .256 .316 .390 6.6 14.4 .311 92
2013 2B .257 .316 .376 7.3 16.6 .305 91
Roberts .243 .307 .361 8.2 15.5 .296 83

Obviously, none of the options are going to do better than Cano last year or this year. Compared to Anna, Johnson, and Roberts, Pirela will lead in batting average and have the lowest strikeout rate. He beats Roberts in every category, other than walk rate, and his strikeout rate will be much more manageable than Johnson's, but the competition between he and Anna might be the most evenly matched, as both project to be about in line with what all second basemen hit in 2013.

So the potential is there, but he might not project to be much more than a league-average player in a reserve role. Removing Cano from the equation and looking at Oliver-specific stats, Pirela might look a little better.

Player WAR Def HR SB
Pirela 2.2 -1.5 12 11
Anna 2.0 6.4 6 4
Johnson 1.2 -7.1 23 10
Roberts 0.7 2.4 10 7

He leads his competition by WAR and stolen bases, while playing second fiddle in home runs. His defense could be a problem, but it might not be as bad as Johnson's who is going to be counted on regularly in the field.

It had been believed that Pirela never had a place with the major league team because of the presence of Derek Jeter and Robinson Cano, but the best second baseman in the game is gone and the position is still kind of wide open. Pirela could squeeze himself into the equation, if the Yankees choose to believe in him. But should they? There's definitely an argument to be made that he belongs on the major league team, especially if Brian Roberts is getting a job, but he's not replacing Cano anytime soon.

6 years ago  ::  Jan 09, 2014 - 10:17PM #173
Posts: 32,868

Prospect Park: Peter O’Brien


Peter O'Brien

The Basics:

Name: Peter O’Brien
Position: C, 3B
Handedness: Bats and throws right handed
Age: 22
Draft: 2nd round in the 2012 MLB draft.
Size: 6-foot-3, 215-pounds
Best Tool: Power
BBDP Rank: 15


Drafted out of the University of Miami in the second round, expectations were high for Peter O’Brien going into the 2012 season. O’Brien didn’t quite live up to expectations his first season, although the power bat was as advertised. Recovering from a wrist fracture, O’Brien hit a paltry .212/.256/.401/.656. He still managed to hit 10 homeruns in just 52 games though, and those in the know were aware that he was not physically at his best. Experts close to the situation expected a breakout season in 2013.

A breakout season is exactly what they got. O’Brien went straight to the full-season leagues in 2013 and hit a combined .291/.350/.544/.893 with 22 homeruns, 96 RBI, 39 doubles, and four triples between Low-A and High-A. The only blemish on his otherwise fantastic season was his 134 strikeouts in just 119 games. There was also a dip in his production when he moved up to High-A. Regardless of that, his statistics projected over a 150 game season are pretty impressive.

The Tools:

Power is the name of the game for Peter O’Brien. It was the reason he got drafted so high, and it will be the reason he makes the majors some day if he is lucky enough to get that far. He puts on impressive displays in batting practice day after day, and has consistently put up good power numbers even when he was in college. Given the premium value put on right handed power in the majors, his value is likely much higher than he’s getting credit for right now.

Other than his power with the bat, O’Brien also has a cannon for an arm. The Yankees have tried him at catcher and third base, and don’t be surprised if he gets some time in right field as well. Scouts say he is just nimble enough to possibly handle the position, and the arm would be plus in right field. Being realistic though, defensively it would be a coup if he was able to be an average defender at any position. He could be an Evan Gattis type who contributes by being versatile on defense, and hitting for power offensively.

Behind the dish O’Brien has some work to do, but he flashes some serious potential. His arm plays up at catcher, but as a physically large man he has more difficulty with movement behind he dish. There are times, however, when he shows Matt Wieters-like ability with framing pitches. It will be hard for him to stick long term as a catcher, but he should be able to carve out a role as at least a part time catcher.

At third base he’s a bit more raw since he is brand new at the position. He had quite a few throwing errors this season because he failed to harness the flamethrower he has hanging from his right shoulder. In due time, he projects to be average or above average at the position depending how much time he spends there.

Offensively he showed himself to be an excellent line drive and power hitter this season. His main flaw is the strikeouts he piled up this season. He is a patient hitter though and had a respectable .350 OBP in 2013. A major goal for him going forward has to be to limit the strikeouts more. He’s still relatively young so it’s not too late for him to improve.


O’Brien’s ceiling is an all-star catcher. If he can become an average defensive catcher and hit the way he does he will get there. His floor will pinch-hitter bench player who can play multiple positions.

The likelihood of reaching his ceiling is low, mainly because he’s unlikely to stick at catcher. There’s a good chance he could be an above average third baseman who hits for power though. Overall his chances of making it to the majors are pretty good relatively speaking.

2014 Outlook:

Peter O’Brien will likely start the season at High-A Tampa again, although it’s possible he’ll be in Double-A. If things go well for him in High-A, he’ll be in Trenton pretty rapidly. The only problem with that is Gary Sanchez, who will take most of his reps away at catcher. With his new position though, he should also be able to get reps at third, and possibly even first base. At bats will never be hard to come by for him with the way he is capable of hitting the ball.

At his current rate he could be in Triple-A by 2015, and from there the majors are only a phone call away.

Overall O’Brien is a useful player to have in the system. Long term he could be a bruiser in the MLB if things break right, but college players like him often tail off as they get closer to the majors. Only time with tell with O’Brien, but he certainly has the power and talent to make it if he’s able to figure a few things out.

6 years ago  ::  Jan 09, 2014 - 10:18PM #174
Posts: 32,868

Unsigned draftees: What happens to them?

Jonathan GrayTonight I was bored so I did a quick “where are they now?” of the unsigned 2010-2012 draft picks. By and large, the guys who went unsigned are either still out of baseball or have since been drafted by another team and haven’t done anything impressive so far.

There are six exceptions to that. Let me preface this by saying this is not a post whining about who the Yankees should have signed, but rather just data. It’s interesting to look at the guys the Yankees passed on, but we should all know quite well that every team passes on a gem every now and then.

1. RJ Hively, RHP – 26th round in 2010 – Re-drafted by the Diamondbacks in the 19th round of the 2012 draft, Hively has been quite impressive so far in his career as a reliever. He threw 59.2 innings this year and had 68 strikeouts and 33 saves. He pitched in both Low-A and High-A in 2013. Hively could be a guy we hear about in the near future, although he will already by 25 starting next season.

2. Kyle Hunter – LHP – 43rd round in 2010 – He was also drafted by Tampa Bay in the 33rd round in 2008. He was finally signed in 2011 after being drafted by the Seattle Mariners. He has been quite consistent for them. He’s thrown a total of 201.2 innings for them and has now reached Double-A. This season he threw 70 innings and had a 1.80 ERA over two levels with 55 K. He doesn’t seem to be much of  strikeout pitcher, but it’s always good to have another consistent relief arm in your system. Hopefully he’ll get a shot in the majors in a year or so and we’ll all get to see what could have been. Probably not hurting the Yankees too bad on this one despite his success.

3. Jonathan Gray, RHP – 10th round in 2011 – He went on the be the third overall pick in 2013 by the Rockies. A little known fact about him is that he was also drafted in 2010 by the Kansas City Royals. He did not disappoint in his first season, although brief. He pitched 37.1 innings and had a 1.93 ERA, eight walks, and 51 strikeouts. He spent most of his time in High-A, where he had a 0.75 ERA and 36 K in 24.0 innings after a brief stint in rookie ball to shake the cob webs. It sure would be nice to have him in the system now.

4. Jeremy Rathjen, OF – 41st round pick in 2011 – He went in the 11h round of the 2012 draft to the LA Dodgers. His first season he played in rookie ball and looked like a monster, but that’s likely because he was literally a man amongst boys. He was 22 years old playing against 18-19 year olds. He stole 16 bases and had nine homeruns in just 68 games. He hit .324/.443/.500/.943. Then as a 23 year old he was placed in Low-A, where he struggled more but still had some bright spots. He hit seven homeruns and stole 33 bases. His quad slash was .232/.337/.349/.686. He does appear to have a lot in the way of tools though, and I’m sure the Yankees wouldn’t mind having him in their system as a guy who has some good combined speed and power. No big loss here though.

5. Raph Rhymes, OF – 30th round pick in 2012 – Rhymes was drafted in the 15th round by the Tigers in 2013. He was able to amass a .296/.412/.379/.791 stat-line over two levels (Low-A and High-A) in 2013. He didn’t hit any homeruns and had seven stolen bases and was caught seven times. He did have 38 walks in 58 games though. I’m sure the Yankees don’t regret losing him too badly, reminds me a lot of a Taylor Dugas type.

6. Sherman Lacrus, C, OF – 40th round pick in 2012- Lacrus was drafted in the 27th round by the Texas Rangers in 2013. As a 19 year old in rookie ball, he was impressive. He hit .330/.440/.413/.854 with three homers, four doubles, and eight SB in his first year in the minors. He played in rookie ball. He’s young and versatile, although he’s a bit small at 5-foot-11. It will be interesting to see where his career goes for him. Hopefully he doesn’t make the Yankees regret overlooking him.

6 years ago  ::  Jan 13, 2014 - 12:13PM #175
Posts: 32,868

Yankees Prospect Profile: Miguel Andujar


The Yankees have a lot of prospects, not a lot of top prospects, mind you, but a lot of players who happen to drift around in their minor league system, making a living while playing professional baseball. Very few of them are likely to have much impact at the major league level, but they do have some players that show a spark of hope. Many of them currently sit in the lower levels of the system, too young to project and too inexperienced to properly rank. Miguel Andujar is just such a prospect, but that doesn't mean he shouldn't be on your radar.


The Yankees signed the six-foot, 175 pound third baseman out of the Dominican Republic to a $700,000 signing bonus before the 2012 MLB season. Instead of starting his career in the Dominican Summer League, like many international free agents do, Andujar began his career in America with the Gulf Coast Yankees.

The Yankees made him a priority that offseason after seeing just how well he hit everywhere he played. Ben Badler of Baseball America noted that he has "plenty of game experience, and it's evident in the way he plays." The way he described Andujar made it seem like he has some great potential, commenting that "he doesn't have one knockout tool, but he has a good swing, good bat speed and advanced feel for hitting for his age. He has quick hands and a good swing path, with the potential to hit for average and power."

2013 Results:

Gulf Coast (Rk): 34 G, 144 PA, .323/.368/.496, 11 2B, 4 HR, 4 SB, 1 CS, 21 K

Andujar made his debut in 2012, hitting an unimpressive .232/.288/.299 in 191 plate appearances over 50 games. He compiled a 6.8% walk rate and a 19.4% strikeout rate, while hitting one home run and collecting one stolen base, though he was caught a total of three times. He drastically improved his game in 2013, hitting .323/.368/.496 in 144 plate appearances across 34 games. His walk rate dropped slightly to 5.2%, but his strikeout rate improved to 15.7%. He also showed more power, hitting four home runs and stealing four bases against only one caught stealing.

Despite being a right-handed hitter, Andujar has hit right-handed pitchers better than left-handed pitchers. He has batted .281/.335/.418 against righties, with all five of his professional home runs coming against same-sided pitchers. Meanwhile, he has hit .266/.309/.348 against lefties over the last two seasons.

Described as being "solid in the field as well, with the ability to handle third base and a strong arm" at the time of the signing, he has shown to be at least serviceable. In 2012, he committed 14 errors in 50 games for a .907 fielding percentage, but he had a worse season in 2013, when he had 11 errors in only 26 games, for a .869 fielding percentage. Despite the backtrack, he's still only 18, so he has plenty of time to improve.

2014 Outlook:

Unfortunately, Miguel Andujar doesn't rank very highly in the overall Yankee system, but after his 2013 season, he's likely to move up to some degree. It's obvious that he wouldn't have shown up on any list after a single disappointing season, but he did show up in Bronx Baseball Daily's top 50 Yankees prospects this year. He was ranked at No. 38 in June before the MLB Draft, but moved down to No. 49 in July, after the likes of Eric Jagielo, Aaron Judge, Ian Clarkin, and Gosuke Katoh joined the organization.

He has hit a combined .271/.322/.384 over his two-year career, and even a batting line similar to that level would make him one of the more impressive Yankee prospects in the system. It's likely that Andujar remains in extended spring training before moving over to the Staten Island Yankees to play third base. Eric Jagielo, the system's top third base prospect, should be out of short season by then, whether he starts the season in Low-A Charleston or is promoted there by midseason. Andujar has yet to play any other position, but if he maintains 2013's level of success, the Yankees might try him out elsewhere on the diamond just to add to his versatility and value. Before we get ahead of ourselves, though, we need to see what he does in 2014.

6 years ago  ::  Jan 14, 2014 - 11:22AM #176
Posts: 32,868

Yankees Prospect Profile: Tyler Austin


Will Tyler Austin bounce back from his down 2013 campaign? - USA TODAY Sports

After breezing through the low minors, Tyler Austin got his first taste of adversity in Double-A Trenton in 2013. How will he rebound in 2014?


Tyler Austin was originally drafted by the Yankees as a high school catcher in the 13th round of the 2010 draft. He’s since made his way down the defensive spectrum, moving to third base and then to right field, where he’s played almost exclusively the last two seasons. As a 13th round pick, Austin was by no means a blue-chip prospect. Nonetheless, by putting up crooked offensive numbers from the get-go, he soon became one of the most promising prospects in the Yankees' system. Across 47 games in the low minors in 2011, Austin hit an impressive .354/.418/.579. His hot hitting continued in 2012 when he hit .332/.400/.459, mostly in A-ball. Additionally, despite his lackluster speed, he managed to swipe 41 bases in 43 attempts in 167 games between 2011 and 2012.

2013 Results:

Trenton (AA): 83 G, 366 PA, .257/.344/.373, 17 2B, 1 3B, 6 HR, 4 SB, 0 CS, 79 K, .333 wOBA, 103 wRC+

In 2013 however, Austin experienced his first taste of adversity as he advanced to Double-A Trenton. A bone bruise on his right wrist limited him to just 85 games and he didn't perform particularly well when on the field, only mustering a .257/.344/.373 batting line. The most concerning part of Austin’s 2013 campaign was that his power basically disappeared. About 6% of Austin’s plate appearances resulted in an extra-base hit in 2013 compared to 12% in 2011 and 2012.

2014 Outlook:

Austin clearly took a step back in 2013, but his wrist injury probably contributed to his struggles. It’s also worth noting that while his power fell off a cliff, his strikeout and walk numbers were on par with his 2012 stats. I would put more stock in those numbers for two reasons: 1) They are not as fluky as power numbers in small samples and 2) are probably less likely to be influenced by his wrist injury.

2014 should be a telling year for Austin. It will be up to him to prove if his tepid 2013 campaign was a result of his wrist injury, or if his body of work in the low minors was an aberration. Austin might break camp with the Trenton Thunder again, but he will probably find his way to Triple-A Scranton before long. If things go well, he may even push for playing time in the Yankees' outfield before the year is out. But 2015 seems like a more likely ETA, especially considering the Yankees have plenty of outfield depth on the 40-man roster.

As a corner outfielder who doesn’t run particularly well, Austin’s near the bottom of the defensive spectrum, meaning he’ll need to hit to have any sort of prolonged big league career. Mike Newman of FanGraphs compared Austin to Ryan Ludwick -- not the sexiest of comparisons, but still a solid big leaguer. This comp feels about right to me if Austin can recoup a good chunk the power he showed two years ago. Otherwise, he’s probably nothing more than a platoon or bench player going forward.

6 years ago  ::  Jan 15, 2014 - 11:07AM #177
Posts: 32,868

Yankees Prospect Profile: Abiatal Avelino


Avelino is far away from the majors, but could he be a future answer to the Yankees's problems at shortstop?


You're probably older than Abiatal Avelino, who was born on February 14, 1995, just four months before Derek Jeter's MLB debut (and the exact same day as fellow Yankees prospect Ian Clarkin). Hailing from the baseball hotbed of San Pedro de Macoris in the Dominican Republic, Avelino signed with the Yankees for just $300,000 in 2012, and he spent that summer at home in the Dominican Summer League. Although he was just 17, the righthanded hitter made an immediate impression by batting .302/.398/.374 with 11 doubles and 20 steals in 57 games. He was caught on the bases just twice, demonstrating some notable baserunning abilities.

In the field, Baseball America noted that "He’s an instinctive fielder who turns double plays well, has a good internal clock and a plus arm with solid-average speed." Such acclaim was enough to negate too much concern about his .934 fielding percentage; almost all players make their share of errors while young. The scouting reports are more reliable than fielding percentage here, especially in the low minors, so Avelino established a nice reputation as a strong defensive player with agility on the bases.

2013 Results:

Staten Island (SS-A): 17 G, 76 PA, .243/.303/.271, 2 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 2 SB, 0 CS, 6 K, .280 wOBA, 79 wRC+
Gulf Coast (Rk): 34 G, 148 PA, .336/.422/.469, 7 2B, 5 3B, 0 HR, 26 SB, 4 CS, 11 K

Avelino began the season in the Rookie League with one of the Yankees' two Gulf Coast League teams. He switched to the other Gulf Coast League team during the seas, but for simplification, I just used his combined numbers from the Rookie League. In mid-August, he earned a call-up to short-season Staten Island, where his season ended with 17 games and his first taste of baseball in the north. Avelino continued to show off his speed on the bases, stealing 28 out of 32 on the season, a very nice 87.5% success rate. He also further developed his bat in Rookie Ball, as his slugging percentage jumped from .374 in 2012 to .479 in 2013 until slightly superior pitching in the New York-Penn League stymied him during his stint with Staten Island.

Most notably, Avelino proved damn near impossible to strike out. Incredibly, he fanned just 17 times all year in 224 plate appearances, a 7.6% strikeout percentage. For a rough comparison, only two MLB regulars had a lower K% than that. Obviously, superior pitching will slow down that K%, but his tremendous contact rate is promising anyway. Although his hitting cooled down upon his promotion to Staten Island, it's just a 17-game sample size. The Yankees need to see plenty more games above Rookie Ball before they should start getting concerned that Avelino cannot handle minor league pitching.

2014 Outlook:

Avelino was basically everything the Yankees could have hoped for in 2013, as he hit well enough in Rookie Ball to earn a promotion, albeit a brief one. At shortstop, he plays a premium position that the Yankees desperately need to fill soon. He's understandably far away from the majors and Cito Culver is a prime example of why one needs to actually be able to hit a little bit to advance through the minors.

He'll only be turning 19 on the day pitchers and catchers report though, so he has plenty of time to work out the kinks and increase his hitting potential. Avelino showed flashes of extra-base power with relatively equal platoon splits during his 34 games in Rookie Ball this year, so it certainly would not be a shock to see him play better above Rookie Ball than he did in his Staten Island cameo last year.

It's unclear where Avelino will begin 2014, as the low minors are crowded with young shortstops of some note. 2013 draftee Tyler Wade also played well in the Rookie League last year while another 2013 draftee, John Murphy, was a complete disaster at the plate in 37 games with Staten Island. Something has to give and all three players are unlikely to be on Staten Island at the same time. Therefore, Avelino could end up anywhere, really, be it full-season Low-A Charleston, Staten Island, or maybe even the Rookie League again. My random guess is Charleston, but the bottom line is of course that no matter where he plays, if he makes a positive impression, he'll be promoted anyway. Keep an eye on this wonderfully named 19-year-old in 2014.

6 years ago  ::  Jan 16, 2014 - 9:45PM #178
Posts: 32,868

Yankees Prospect Profile: Manny Banuelos


Christian Petersen

After missing all of the 2013 campaign due to an elbow injury, can he reestablish himself as the top pitching prospect in the organization?


Manuel "Manny" Banuelos was signed by the New York Yankees in 2008 with four other players out of the Mexican League, including former Yankee Alfredo Aceves. He may appear unimposing at five feet and eleven inches tall, but this southpaw's arm certainly has life. As of 2012, Baseball America described his velocity as "91-94 mph and touched 96" with good tailing action, a "sharp curveball... and a tumbling changeup"; so, he has some serious weapons. By 2011, Banuelos was considered the top pitching prospect in the Yankees organization; FanGraphs described him as having "number two starter" potential, and that he was so good that it was believed he could get a major league call up by midseason 2011. That never happened, obviously. Even though he was lights-out in High-A (1.71 FIP in 44.1 IP), he couldn't translate that into Double-A and Triple-A performance, as he finished the 2011 season in Scranton/Wilkes Barre with a 4.19 ERA and 3.90 FIP in 34.1 IP.

2013 Results:

Scranton (Triple-A): Did Not Play

Banuelos did not pitch at all in the 2013 season and has not pitched period since May of 2012 due to: a minor back issue, a bone bruise on his elbow, then a torn ligament due to rehabbing said bone bruise, and then a subsequent Tommy John surgery. Because he did not actually have his surgery until October of 2012, he spent the whole of 2013 rehabbing. These injuries combined with a lackluster 2012 (4.50 ERA and 3.83 FIP in 24.0 IP) have caused his stock to decrease, but it is still a good sign that his strikeout rate remained high in Triple-A in 2012 at a rate of 8.25 strikeouts per nine innings.

2014 Outlook:

According to Vice President of Baseball Operations Mark Newman, Banuelos will be healthy and ready to go for spring training and has stated that his velocity and stuff are back to pre-injury levels. If that is the case, then Banuelos will likely begin 2014 in Triple-A and, depending on his performance, could get a call-up to the major league club midseason or in September. While there is always the chance that he will be but a fraction of the pitcher he was before Tommy John (the possibility always exists), many expect him to continue his growth. Considering that he is a left-handed pitcher with velocities in the mid-90s and is also only 22, there's still plenty of upside to be had. If all of what made him a top pitching prospect in 2011 checks out come this spring, then expect him to make a run at the fifth rotation spot at some point during the season.

6 years ago  ::  Jan 16, 2014 - 9:48PM #179
Posts: 32,868

Sorting out the projected Triple-A Scranton roster

Almonte is likely to anchor the RailRiders' lineup. (Presswire)Almonte is likely to anchor the RailRiders’ lineup.

Every offseason I put together a post looking at the projected Triple-A Scranton roster even though it’s almost completely unpredictable. So much can and will change between now and the start of the season that it’s impossible to pin down more than a few spots. At the same time, the Triple-A club is just an extension of the MLB club, so I think it’s important to look at. We’ll see a lot of these guys in the show next summer.

From the looks of it, the Yankees are planning to hold three competitions in Spring Training: one for the fifth starter’s spot, one for the extra infielder, and one for the bullpen in general. That last one will be a bunch of smaller competitions, really. Injuries could open up even more spots, as we learned last year. For now, here’s an early breakdown of who figures to head to Northeast Pennsylvania at the end of camp:

Russ Canzler Zoilo Almonte LHP Manny Banuelos RHP Jim Miller
Corban Joseph Slade Heathcott RHP Bruce Billings RHP Mark Montgomery
Zelous  Wheeler Antoan Richardson LHP Nik Turley RHP Y. Tateyama
ST Comp. Loser 1 ST Comp. Loser 1 RHP Chase Whitley
ST Comp. Loser 2 ST Comp. Loser 2 ST Comp. Loser 1
Utility Guys
ST Comp. Loser 2
Catchers Ronnie Mustelier ST Comp. Loser 3
J.R. Murphy Jose Pirela
Austin Romine Yangervis Solarte

Barring injury, Frankie Cervelli will back up Brian McCann this summer, leaving Murphy and Romine for Triple-A. Murphy should get playing time priority but they’ll both get plenty of at-bats, including some at DH. I wouldn’t be surprised if Murphy sees some time at third base, as he has in the past. I also wouldn’t be surprised if the team carried a third catcher (Jose Gil?) if the plan is to regularly DH those guys on the days they aren’t catching. If so, Solarte or Wheeler could wind up with Double-A Trenton or released.

The infield is pretty straight forward. Canzler, Joseph, Pirela, and Wheeler will get an opportunity to win that last bench job with the big league team but they are at a disadvantage for various reasons. Eduardo Nunez, Scott Sizemore, and Dean Anna seem to have the best chance of winning that spot. The other guys will be there for show. The two losers of that competition (ST Comp. Loser 1 & 2) will wind up with the RailRiders. If I had to bet, I’d bet on Nunez and Anna landing in Triple-A with Sizemore in the big leagues. That’s just a guess though.

The outfield is mostly set. I do believe both Tyler Austin and Ramon Flores will return to Trenton to at least start the year. Midseason promotions are always possible, but Austin has to stay healthy and Flores has to hit before moving up becomes a realistic possibility. The biggest outfield wildcard is Almonte, who is the odds on favorite to take over as the MLB team’s extra outfielder should Ichiro Suzuki get traded. If not, he’ll play everyday in Triple-A and await the inevitable call-up due to injury. Mustelier, Solarte, and Pirela are utility men with experience all over the field, so that position player crop features quite a bit of versatility.

Billings was picked up last week to be the team’s veteran innings guy. Every minor league team needs one. That non-prospect you can run out there for 110 pitches every five days just to save the bullpen and lighten the load on the actual prospects. Turley pitched well enough last year to move up from Double-A and Banuelos is finally healthy after missing close to two full years. It’s possible he may start the season down in Tampa with the warm weather, however. The organization could ease him back into things that way, and no, I do not think he has a realistic chance of winning the fifth starter competition. He missed too much time and wasn’t a finished product before blowing out his elbow anyway.

(Tod Shapiro/Flat Iron Hot! News)

Pineda. (Flat Iron Hot! News)

That fifth starter competition will feature David Phelps, Adam Warren, Vidal Nuno, and Michael Pineda. Maybe David Huff as well, though I think he’s more likely to be removed from the 40-man roster in the coming weeks than anything. I think Phelps and Warren have to be considered the favorites in that competition and I expect both to be on the Yankees’ Opening Day roster. One as a starter and one as a long reliever. That would leave Nuno and Pineda for Triple-A, though Pineda could start the year in Tampa like Banuelos. After two missed years, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to bring him along slowly.

Miller, Montgomery, Whitley, and Yoshinori Tateyama are Triple-A holdovers without much of an opportunity to win a big league bullpen job. Getting passed over in the Rule 5 Draft tells us not a single team thinks Whitley can help at the MLB level right now. Montgomery needs to rebound from his injury-plagued year before getting a chance to become a big league factor. I suspect we’ll see him at some point in 2014, probably in the second half. He just hit a little developmental speed bump, that’s all. The slider is still nasty.

The group of guys expected to compete for a bullpen gig in camp is really long. I count eight pitchers in the running: Dellin Betances, Cesar Cabral, Preston Claiborne, Robert Coello, Matt Daley, Brian Gordon, David Herndon, and Jose Ramirez. We can include Huff in this mix as well, but again, I don’t think he is long for the roster. Realistically, there are three bullpen spots open in Triple-A and three open in MLB behind David Robertson, Shawn Kelley, Matt Thornton, and Phelps/Warren. I’d love to see the Yankees sign two starters and push both Phelps and Warren down the depth chart another notch, but I’m not going to hold my breath.

Eight pitchers for six spots means two guys are going to be left hanging, but that’s not worth worrying about now. Ramirez could step into the Triple-A rotation if Banuelos and/or Pineda start the year in Tampa and chances are someone will get hurt at some point. There are too many guys listed here to think they’ll all make it through Spring Training healthy. Spots will open in the coming weeks, guaranteed. Others like Danny Burawa (42 walks in 66 Double-A innings in 2013) and Pat Venditte (coming off shoulder surgery) figure to return to Trenton to open the year.

Unlike that fifth starter competition, I’m not sure we can handicap the bullpen competition right now. Betances, Cabral, Claiborne, and Daley may seem like they have a leg up, but Coello was pretty awesome before getting hurt last year and Ramirez could show up in Tampa and blow everyone away. Maybe Claiborne is at the front of the line after logging a decent amount of big league innings last summer, but otherwise I don’t think there’s much of a pecking order in the bullpen. Whoever impresses the most in camp will probably get the job, but either way, I’m willing to bet we’ll see a whole bunch of these guys in 2014.

As I said before, this is just a snapshot of the Triple-A Scranton roster. We learned last year just how much things can change during camp. For now it seems like a good chunk of the RailRiders roster is set aside from those competitions, which are vast and numerous. The Triple-A team is basically a taxi squad for the big league club and that will be especially true for the 2014 Yankees. Those competitions are not limited to Spring Training, remember. Those spots will be revolving doors all summer.

6 years ago  ::  Jan 17, 2014 - 3:05PM #180
Posts: 32,868

Prospect Park: Dan Camarena


Dan CamarenaThe Basics:

Name: Dan Camarena
Age: 21
Position: LHP
Draft: 20th round of the 2011 draft out of San Diego, CA
Size: 6-foot-0, 200-pounds
Fastball: 89-92 mph
Other Pitches: Curve, Change, Slider
BBDP Rank: 27

Dan Camarena can be basically be summed up as a pitcher in two words. Advanced pitchability. He’s one of the rare prospects who has such plus secondary offerings that he can still be a legitimate prospect with average velocity at best. He may not light of the radar gun but he has pinpoint control of all three of his pitches, with excellent complementary offerings to the fastball.

Statistically, Camarena’s numbers are deceiving. As a 19 year old he had some nagging injuries and only ended up throwing 17.2 GCL innings. He did dominate there though with 15 K and a 1.02 ERA.

As a 20 year old, he skipped Staten Island and went straight to the full season leagues. That in and of itself is impressive given the players he competed with for that spot and his young age. He got off to a horrific start when he made it there. After five bludgeonings, however, he turned things around. From that point on he had a 3.34 ERA.

He finished the season with a 4.42 ERA in 112.0 innings, with 82 K  and just 19 walks (1.5 BB/9). The fact that he finished with those numbers after his insanely bad start is impressive. If he can hit the ground running in High-A Tampa in 2014, he’s gonna be a guy who makes a lot of noise.

The Stuff:

As mentioned above, Camarena does not boast a fastball in the mid 90′s. What he does do, however, is get good deception on his fastball with pinpoint location. Those qualities, coupled with the ability to throw any pitch in any count make his fastball play up in a big way. If he is ever able to gain a few ticks on the fastball he will be nearly impossible to hit.

The secondary stuff is what makes him as a pitcher. His curve is 12 to 6 and it has good break. He can locate it anywhere in any count.

The change is also a force to be reckoned with. Again he can locate it anywhere in any count. He gets good fade and depth on it. The slider is a work in progress and he just recently added it. If he can fine tune that pitch he will have yet another tool to keep batters off balance.


Camarena’s ceiling right now is a mid to late rotation starter. If he elevates his velo a few ticks that ceiling becomes much more immense, approaching second starter levels. At his size, however, it would not be reasonable to expect such a jump in velocity. The floor is a lefty specialist out of the bullpen. The likelihood that he will reach his ceiling is fairly high for a guy at his age and level. His pinpoint control will carry him close to whatever ceiling his stuff allows him.

2014 Outlook:

Camarena will start 2014 at High-A Tampa. If he starts 2014 where he left off at the end of 2013 then look for him to make High-A hitters look like chumps. He could be in Double-A by midseason if all goes as well as hoped. His estimated time of arrival to the MLB is 2016. He’ll always be a fun guy to watch because he throws nothing but strikes.

Page 18 of 88  •  Prev 1 ... 16 17 18 19 20 ... 88 Next
Jump Menu:
    Viewing this thread :: 0 registered and 1 guest
    No registered users viewing

Yankees Forum