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Random Minor League Notes: 2014 Edition
6 years ago  ::  Jan 17, 2014 - 4:28PM #181
MajorYankFan
Posts: 32,868

Yankees Prospect Profile: Greg Bird


www.pinstripealley.com/yankees-prospects...




Greg Bird preparing to hit a home run for Tanya. Casual. - Tanya who loves Greg Bird



Can this catcher turned first baseman build upon his 100-walk breakout campaign last season in 2014?




Background:


Greg Bird was selected by the Yankees in the fifth round of the 2011 draft out of Grandview High School in Aurora, Colorado. Originally a catcher, Bird drew a lot of interest from scouts as Orioles draftee Kevin Gausman's battery mate at Grandview. Bird was regarded as the best prospect in Colorado heading into the 2011 draft after he'd committed to Arkansas, which he decided to pass up in favor of signing with the Yankees.


Injuries have kept Bird off the field a bit in his young Yankees career, with only four games of Rookie Ball and 28 games between Rookie Ball and Short Season-A Staten Island under his belt until playing a full season in 2013. A back injury forced the Yankees to permanently relocate Bird from behind the plate to first base but his bat has always been his calling card to the Major Leagues. His defense may still be a little rough around the edges as he continues to adjust to his new position, but he has a good arm and the strong work ethic to continue to improve his glove at first base. Charleston's coaches were complimentary of the strides Bird made defensively to improve his range and footwork.


2013 Results:


Low-A Charleston: 130 games, .288/.428/.511, 36 doubles, 20 home runs, 107 walks


A healthy season was a productive one for Bird with the Charleston RiverDogs. He managed to stay on the field for the entire year for the first time as a professional and the results landed him a spot at #8 on Baseball America's Top 10 Yankees Prospects list. Bird led the Minors in walks with 107 and clubbed 20 homers despite Charleston's home ballpark hampering his production. Away from the unfriendly confines of The Joe, Bird hit a spectacular .328/.470/.608 with 15 of his home runs coming on the road in an equal amount (65) of games. He put up a .248/.383/.412 batting line at home.


Bird received South Atlantic League Player of the Week and Post-Season All-Star awards with the RiverDogs. He walked only 25 times less than he struck out and managed to not be neutralized by left-handed pitchers despite being a left-handed batter himself. His OPS against each side (.867 vs. LHP and .959 vs. RHP) being comparable in 2013 is a comforting sign.


2014 Outlook:


Bird should begin the 2014 season in Tampa with the High-A Tampa Yankees, but another season like he had in 2013 could warrant a mid-season promotion if the numbers are there. Having just turned 21 years old in November, it's not unreasonable to think that he could traverse more than one level this upcoming season if he continues his hot-hitting ways in the Florida State League. The big thing for Bird will be whether or not he can stay on the field again in 2014, which will be important for him development, and whether his bat can carry him to the Majors as a first baseman. First basemen have to hit and Bird has done a lot of that in his time with the Yankees. He doesn't have the flashy tools to wow you like some other prospects do, so a lot will ride on how far his bat can take him.


With Mark Teixeira firmly entrenched at first base for the next few years in New York, Bird has some time to develop and continue improving upon on his defense at first base. His lefty swing is pretty much made for Yankee Stadium if he can prove his worth against better pitchers at the upper levels of the Minors. First basemen aren't as highly regarded as other position players because of the mentality that anyone could play first base if given the chance, but Bird's bat has the chance to be special and it's easy to dream on a prospect with his kind of home run power and patience at the plate even at the lower levels of the system.


Fun fact: Did you know that Greg Bird once hit three home runs for me? He did, and you can read about that and an earlier profile I wrote on Bird by clicking right here.


6 years ago  ::  Jan 17, 2014 - 4:32PM #182
MajorYankFan
Posts: 32,868
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Not A Prospect Yet (But Worth Watching): Dietrich Enns


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Dietrich Enns


(Syndicated from An A-Blog for A-Rod)


We continue our slow build towards the start of AB4AR Prospect Week with another look at a young player starting to make some waves in the Yankee MiL system but not enough waves to warrant full prospect status in my eyes.  Today’s player is Dietrich Enns, left-handed A-ball pitcher.  You might remember Enns from my profile post on him last June, and since that post there have been some developments in his development that make him one of the more intriguing fringe guys in the system.


Quick refresher on Enns for those who were too lazy to click the link.  He’s 22 years old, average sized, and was an unheralded 19th round pick out of Eastern Michigan in the 2012 draft.  He boasts a solid 3-pitch mix of a low-90s fastball, plus changeup, and an OK curveball.  He worked almost exclusively as a reliever at EMU and built up a well-earned reputation as a pitcher who will attack the strike zone with all of his pitches and mix up his pitches and speeds well from batter to batter.  After signing in 2012, Enns pitched to a 2.11/2.71 split in 42.2 innings over 22 appearances for SS Staten Island.


He got promoted to Low-A Charleston to start the 2013 season and that’s when things started taking off for him.  Enns was flat out dominant in his 44.1 IP for the RiverDogs, allowing just 3 ER (0.61 ERA), not a single home run, and striking out 69 batters.  What really set him apart from your typical left-handed reliever was his ability to work multiple innings.  Enns didn’t just hold his own pitching multiple innings against both right and left-handed hitters, he overmatched them.  It’s not uncommon for a polished college pitcher to put up good numbers like that against Low-A ball competition, but a 40.6% K rate without the aid of a big time fastball is impressive no matter who you are or where you’re pitching.


There wasn’t much left for Enns to learn at Charleston, so he was bumped up to High-A Tampa in mid-June and that’s when things really started to get fun.  Because of his ability to mix pitches well and work his way through multiple innings effectively, the Yankees decided to experiment with him as a starter.  7 of the 9 appearances he made for Tampa last season were starts, and while the overall results don’t look very good (5.63 ERA/4.11 FIP, 21 BB in 38.1 IP), there were some encouraging points.  He did maintain solid K rates (24.9%, 10.10 K/9) and struck out 35 batters in 29.1 innings as a starter and he did pitch 3 outings of 5+ innings and 2 < ER allowed, including a 5.0-inning, 2 ER, 8 K performance in his first start and a 6.0-inning, 2-hit, 0 ER performance in July.


There’s still a lot of work that Enns needs to do to become a consistent, good starting pitcher, but the tools are clearly there and the Yankees have clearly taken notice.  He was shut down for the season after a 4+ inning relief appearance on August 7th, possibly to limit his workload and not put too much stress on his arm.  Enns pitched a total of 82.2 innings in 2013 and if the Yankees are serious about converting him to a starter they would be wise to ease him into it.


I don’t know what the plan is for Enns in 2014, but I have to imagine the Yanks will at least stay committed to the starter experiment to start the season.  If he shows improvement in his command and maintains his ability to miss bats, he could start to make some real noise as a prospect.  If not, he still has that “super effective lefty reliever who can work effectively against righties and lefties” thing going for him.  Either way, another strong year in 2014 should have Enns forcing his way onto a few top prospect lists.

6 years ago  ::  Jan 17, 2014 - 5:45PM #183
BigGuy
Posts: 66,015

Minor league notes: Expected assignments, injury updates, winter standouts



Big league camp opens in four weeks, but the Yankees minor league complex is already busy. Some of the organization’s prospects are already showing up for pre-spring workouts. Most of the big names have yet to arrive — Slade Heathcott is supposed to be there next Monday, Manny Banuelos and Michael Pineda aren’t scheduled for another two weeks or so — but there’s work being done. Tyler Austin is already down there. So is Aaron Judge. Things are getting started.

Over the phone, Yankees vice president of player operations Mark Newman provided a few updates from the complex.


Expected assignments for 2014


JagieloHeathcott


I only asked Newman about the assignment plans for handful of minor leaguers. There are many more to be curious about — I realize I touched only only a fraction — but the minor league season is still two and a half months away, and it’s hard to expect the team to give much concrete assignment information this early. That said, here are a few things to keep in mind.


· Newman said it’s entirely possible both Eric Jagielo andAaron Judge will open the season in High-A Tampa. Could very well be in Low-A Charleston as well, but the Yankees are considering High-A for each of their top two picks in last year’s draft. That’s particularly meaningful for Judge, who didn’t play at all for the Yankees last year. “Big guy,” Newman said. “Nice kid. Just an outstanding kid.”



· Plans seem less aggressive for second-rounder Gosuke Katoh. Even after a terrific debut in the Gulf Coast League, Newman said it’s likely Katoh will go to the New York-Penn League — not Charleston — this season. The Yankees are awfully high on Katoh, though. “He can run. He’s got some pop. He can really play second base,” Newman said.



· Still undecided whether Slade Heathcott will open in Triple-A or Double-A. Newman said either one seems possible. After having relatively minor surgery at the end of last season, Heathcott is rehabbing. If he’s not 100 percent by the start of spring training, “It’ll be close,” Newman said. Also, Heathcott just got married.



· Newman said he’s not sure where Ian Clarkin or Ty Hensley — first-round pitchers draft the past two years — will start the season. “We’ve got to see how spring training goes,” Newman said. Hensley is healthy after missing all of last season.



· No assignment plans here, but it’s worth noting that Newman specifically said that Manny BanuelosMichael Pineda and Jose Campos — three guys with some medical issues the past two years — spent the winter doing “just their basic offseason (throwing) program.” All three are expected to be ready to pitch.


Winter league impressions


WilliamsPIrelaAlways hard to know what to make of winter league stats. Some guys have raked in the winter and been complete non-factors during the season. Others have done the opposite. A few of the offseason numbers that stood out to Newman, beginning with a name that he mentioned unprompted.


· I believe I started talking winter ball by asking about Adonis Garcia’s time in the infield, but Newman very quickly brought up the name Jose Pirela all on his own. Kind of a fringy prospect most of his career, Pirela’s strikeout-to-walk ratio has significantly improved the past two years, as have his power numbers. This winter, he hit .332/.415/.514 during the Venezuelan regular season. Newman said those numbers are meaningful. “I think so,” Newman said. “He’s still just 23 (actually, 24). He’s been around or a while, but he’s not old. … He’s really made strides in the last couple of years. He’s really improving offensively he’s really made a lot of progress.”



· Of the guys in the Arizona Fall League, Newman said it was center fielder Mason Williams who stood out. “His numbers were so-so,” Newman said. “But he really swung it well.” Williams hit .267/.330/.337 in Arizona.



· Also, Newman said, lefty James Pazos made a strong impression in the Fall League. “Looks like he could be a left-handed reliever in the big leagues,” Newman said.



· Newman seemed happy but not surprised by Zoilo Almonte‘s .316/.343/.454 slash line in the Dominican Winter League. Newman noted that the parks down there are huge, making home runs difficult. Almonte had four of them. “He’s done a nice job this winter,” Newman said. “And the Dominican’s a good league.”


The guys who can — but might not — play third base


MurphyAustinFor whatever reason, the Yankees have a bunch of legitimate prospects who primarily play some other position — outfielder and catcher, mostly — but have at least a little bit of time at third base. The Yankees like to add defensively flexibility when guys are in the minor leagues, and Newman indicated these guys are likely to stick with their primary positions rather than becoming full-time third baseman


· Tyler Austin was scheduled to get some time at first and third in the Arizona Fall League, but the Yankees pulled him out because of ongoing wrist problems. Austin’s healthy again and working out in Tampa, and Newman said he’s still considered a right fielder first and foremost. “He’s predominantly a corner outfielder,” Newman said. “(But) we’re going to maintain some of that flexibility with him.”



· Similar story with Peter O’Brien, the power-hitting catcher who got a bunch of time at third base in the second half of last season, and played there some more during the Arizona Fall League. “He’s a catcher,” Newman said. “Trying to see if he can do some other things, but he is a catcher.”



· As for all that third base time Adonis Garcia got in winter ball, Newman said that could carry into this season. Although he’s been almost exclusively an outfielder with the Yankees, they signed him as a guy who could play second, third and all three outfield positions. Newman said it’s entirely possible Garcia could get some infield time this year. “Oh yeah, there’s always a chance,” Newman said. “He can do it. … That happens to be where he got a lot of innings this winter, and that’s great.”



· Despite all the emails I’ve gotten about it, you can probably forget about J.R. Murphy getting much third base time going forward. The Yankees have been extremely impressed with his improvement behind the plate, and they want to keep him there. “He’s a high caliber defender at a premium position,” Newman said. “He was a conversion catcher in high school, and we weren’t sure when we drafted him how good of a catcher he was going to be. We liked his offensive potential, and he’s turned out to be a very good catcher.”


"Leave the gun. Take the cannoli."
6 years ago  ::  Jan 17, 2014 - 5:46PM #184
BigGuy
Posts: 66,015

Jan 17, 2014 -- 4:32PM, MajorYankFan wrote:

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Not A Prospect Yet (But Worth Watching): Dietrich Enns


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Dietrich Enns


(Syndicated from An A-Blog for A-Rod)


We continue our slow build towards the start of AB4AR Prospect Week with another look at a young player starting to make some waves in the Yankee MiL system but not enough waves to warrant full prospect status in my eyes.  Today’s player is Dietrich Enns, left-handed A-ball pitcher.  You might remember Enns from my profile post on him last June, and since that post there have been some developments in his development that make him one of the more intriguing fringe guys in the system.


Quick refresher on Enns for those who were too lazy to click the link.  He’s 22 years old, average sized, and was an unheralded 19th round pick out of Eastern Michigan in the 2012 draft.  He boasts a solid 3-pitch mix of a low-90s fastball, plus changeup, and an OK curveball.  He worked almost exclusively as a reliever at EMU and built up a well-earned reputation as a pitcher who will attack the strike zone with all of his pitches and mix up his pitches and speeds well from batter to batter.  After signing in 2012, Enns pitched to a 2.11/2.71 split in 42.2 innings over 22 appearances for SS Staten Island.


He got promoted to Low-A Charleston to start the 2013 season and that’s when things started taking off for him.  Enns was flat out dominant in his 44.1 IP for the RiverDogs, allowing just 3 ER (0.61 ERA), not a single home run, and striking out 69 batters.  What really set him apart from your typical left-handed reliever was his ability to work multiple innings.  Enns didn’t just hold his own pitching multiple innings against both right and left-handed hitters, he overmatched them.  It’s not uncommon for a polished college pitcher to put up good numbers like that against Low-A ball competition, but a 40.6% K rate without the aid of a big time fastball is impressive no matter who you are or where you’re pitching.


There wasn’t much left for Enns to learn at Charleston, so he was bumped up to High-A Tampa in mid-June and that’s when things really started to get fun.  Because of his ability to mix pitches well and work his way through multiple innings effectively, the Yankees decided to experiment with him as a starter.  7 of the 9 appearances he made for Tampa last season were starts, and while the overall results don’t look very good (5.63 ERA/4.11 FIP, 21 BB in 38.1 IP), there were some encouraging points.  He did maintain solid K rates (24.9%, 10.10 K/9) and struck out 35 batters in 29.1 innings as a starter and he did pitch 3 outings of 5+ innings and 2 < ER allowed, including a 5.0-inning, 2 ER, 8 K performance in his first start and a 6.0-inning, 2-hit, 0 ER performance in July.


There’s still a lot of work that Enns needs to do to become a consistent, good starting pitcher, but the tools are clearly there and the Yankees have clearly taken notice.  He was shut down for the season after a 4+ inning relief appearance on August 7th, possibly to limit his workload and not put too much stress on his arm.  Enns pitched a total of 82.2 innings in 2013 and if the Yankees are serious about converting him to a starter they would be wise to ease him into it.


I don’t know what the plan is for Enns in 2014, but I have to imagine the Yanks will at least stay committed to the starter experiment to start the season.  If he shows improvement in his command and maintains his ability to miss bats, he could start to make some real noise as a prospect.  If not, he still has that “super effective lefty reliever who can work effectively against righties and lefties” thing going for him.  Either way, another strong year in 2014 should have Enns forcing his way onto a few top prospect lists.




I saw Enns pitch a 6  inning no hitter last year against the Blue Jays A team down in Tampa.  His  changeup and control were very impressive in that game. He struggled in a number of starts after that though.  

"Leave the gun. Take the cannoli."
6 years ago  ::  Jan 18, 2014 - 8:47PM #185
MajorYankFan
Posts: 32,868

Minors Notes: Heathcott, Hensley, Banuelos




Heathcott before he ran into something, I assume. (Presswire)

Heathcott before he ran into something, most likely. (Presswire)



Pitchers and catchers are not due to report for another 27 days, but pre-spring workouts are already underway at the team’s minor league complex in Tampa. Based on their Twitter feeds, a whole bunch of prospects are already in Florida preparing for the upcoming season. Here are some minor league notes courtesy of Chad Jennings. These are the major points, so make sure you click the link for all the info.

  • OF Slade Heathcott had minor knee surgery earlier this offseason and may not be ready for the start of Spring Training. It has not yet been decided if he will return to Double-A Trenton or move up to Triple-A Scranton this year.
  • Two of last year’s first rounders, 3B Eric Jagielo and OF Aaron Judge, could start the year with High-A Tampa or Low-A Charleston. No decision has been made yet. 2B Gosuke Katoh will be held back in Extended Spring Training before joining Short Season Staten Island in June.
  • RHP Ty Hensley (hips) and LHP Manny Banuelos (elbow) are both healthy and ready for Spring Training. They were on normal throwing programs this winter. It is undecided where Hensley and LHP Ian Clarkin will open the season.
  • C J.R. Murphy is staying behind the plate and will not see time at third base this year. “He’s a high caliber defender at a premium position … he’s turned out to be a very good catcher,” said VP of Baseball Ops Mark Newman.
  • OF Tyler Austin, meanwhile, will spend time at both infield corners in addition to his usual right field this season. “We’re going to maintain some of that flexibility with him,” said Newman.
  • C/3B Peter O’Brien is considered a catcher and will remain there. He played third base quite a bit last year, but that was experiment that didn’t really work.
  • All of the minor league affiliates announced their coaching staffs in recent weeks. Rather than repeat them all here, I’ll just link you to the press releases: Triple-A, Double-A, High-A, Low-A. If you’ve been following the farm system long enough, some names will be familiar. Lots of ex-prospects are coaches now.

6 years ago  ::  Jan 18, 2014 - 8:49PM #186
MajorYankFan
Posts: 32,868

The Yankees' inability to develop infielders should haunt the team in 2014


www.pinstripealley.com/yankees-analysis-...


For years, Yankee fans have complained about the team's inability to produce starting pitching from their farm system, and rightfully so. Since 2005, the Yankees' system produced three good years of Chien-Ming Wang, Ian Kennedy (who was only good for about two years with the Arizona Diamondbacks, but helped fetch Curtis Granderson), two league-average years of Phil Hughes (2010 and 2012), one league-average year of Joba Chamberlain (2009), two separate good, half-seasons of Ivan Nova (2011 and 2013), and a little bit of David Phelps mixed in. You think that's bad? The Yankees have produced nothing from infielders in that same span.


When Robinson Cano emerged out of the Yankees' system, he gave the team nine incredible years from 2005-2013. He hit .309/.355/.504 with a 126 wRC+ in nearly 5800 plate appearances. His 37.1 fWAR from 2005-2013 was the ninth-highest total in all of baseball and second to only Chase Utley among second baseman. Now, he's gone. To help try to fill the hole at second with Cano in the Pacific Northwest, the Yankees will turn to the likes of Brian Roberts, Dean Anna, or even some guy named Yangervis Solarte.


During Cano's tenure with New York, the team produced next to nothing in terms of infielders. Once Cano made his debut, the best infielders the Yankees produced were Eduardo Nunez (career -1.9 fWAR); Brandon Laird (-0.2 fWAR), who had trouble finding playing time for the friggin' Houston Astros; and David Adams (-0.2 fWAR), who somehow got a guaranteed Major League deal from the Indians after looking over-matched last summer in the Bronx. Add it all up and those three players have produced a -2.3 fWAR in 366 games and 1117 PAs of pure awfulness. You can argue that C.J. Henry, a shortstop the Yankees drafted in 2005 and used to help acquire Bobby Abreu in 2006, has given the Yankees the most value among their homegrown infielders since '05, and Henry never reached the majors and was last seen playing for the Evansville Otters in the Independent League. Let that one sink in for a moment.


Now, of course the Yankees didn't necessarily need infielders from, say, 2005-2012. With Cano at second, the Yankees still had Derek Jeter at short and Alex Rodriguez at third base, with Jason Giambi and some Doug Mientkiewicz and whatnot mixed in up until 2009. It was then in '09 when the Yankees signed Mark Teixeira to complete, possibly, the greatest single-season infield in the history of baseball, with Rodriguez, Jeter, Cano, and Teixeira combining for a 19.7 fWAR that season. The quartet continued to provide plenty of value from 2010-2012, producing a 46.6 fWAR. The team was in no need for infield help from the minors, though it would have been nice if they came up with a decent infield prospect or two just to use as trade chips for other needs.


However, 2013 happened, and we got a first-hand look of how ugly it can get when you have nothing coming from the minor leagues to help fill needs around the infield. Aside from yet another awesome season from Cano, the Yankees got almost nothing from their infielders as a whole, which included only 76 games from Jeter, Rodriguez, and Teixeira, thanks to injuries. They had to search under every last rock and crevice to find anything they could use infield-wise, including signing Lyle Overbay, who ended up being the team's primary first baseman, three days prior to Opening Day. Guys like Chris Nelson, Luis Cruz, Brent Lillibridge, and Alberto Gonzalez were brought in during the year to replace the regular backups, Eduardo Nunez and Jayson Nix, after they got hurt.


If you're impatiently waiting for infield help to come from the minor leagues in 2014, like I am, you'll have to wait a little longer. Non-first base infielders, including third baseman Eric Jagielo, second baseman Rob Refsynder, and shortstop Abiatal Avelino, are all several years away from reaching the majors. Jagielo will perhaps start in High-A Tampa (and he should, given he spent three years at a pretty big baseball program at Notre Dame); Refsynder could begin 2014 in Double-A after his solid 2013 in High-A, but he still needs to improve defensively at second base; and Avelino might start 2014 in Low-A, but he'll only be 19 years old in February, so it wouldn't come as a surprise if he were sent to Staten Island in June instead.


In the meantime, the Yankees will have to go dumpster diving. They've done a lot of that this off-season, in fact, by signing Roberts and Kelly Johnson to help fill out second and third base, respectively. They've also made a flurry of minor league signings/trades, including Scott Sizemore, Zelous Wheeler, Russ Canzler, Anna, and that Solarte fellow. We even have fans suggesting the team to sign Chone Figgins for crying out loud. This is the very definition of dumpster diving, at least in baseball terms.


As for actual infielders who were already in the Yankees system and are relatively close to the majors, there's Ronnier Mustelier and Jose Pirela. Last season, Mustelier got hyped up by the fanbase following his strong showing in spring training and could have made the team on Opening Day if not for a knee injury he suffered late in camp. He had a couple of big hits (including a walk-off home run off noted rapist Josh Lueke), has some versatility, and has a cool name, so of course he becomes a fan-favorite. Unfortunately, he isn't much of a prospect at all. He turns 30 in August, and when he returned from his knee injury last season, he hit just .272/.319/.398 with a 101 wRC+ in Triple-A and never got a chance to show himself in New York, even after all of the injuries.


As for Pirela, his name has caught fire this off-season thanks to him hitting .332/.415/.514 down in the Venezuelan Winter League. However, it took him three separate seasons and 334 games just to get out of Double-A. To his credit, he did hit a solid .272/.359/.418 with a 118 wRC+ last year in his third go-around in the Eastern League. Unfortunately, Pirela doesn't have much power at all (career .118 ISO in the minors) and is pretty rough around the edges defensively at second base and shortstop. To me, both Mustelier and Pirela might end up being just organizational players and I would be happy even if they ended up being halfway useful utility players in the majors, if they even get that far.


Sadly, this is the current state the Yankees are in, infield-wise. The days of A-Rod, Jeter, Cano, and Teixeira anchoring down the infield while still in their primes are over and are never coming back. There is very little/no help whatsoever coming from the farm system to solve the team's woes, and the interesting players they do have in the system are still years away from even reaching the majors. You can absolutely assign blame for these failures.


This is something that has gone on for nearly a decade; it isn't "bad luck" or "not having high draft picks." This is about as clear as an organizational flaw as it gets. You can blame Mark Newman for failing to develop any infielders over the last eight years. You can also blame Damon Oppenheimer for failing to draft any useful infielders as well, and that includes his complete whiffs on Dante Bichette Jr. and Cito Culver, who were both questionable-at-best picks to begin with.


Both Newman and Oppenheimer were under fire this winter and both could be shown the door at the end of the 2014 season if the farm continues to make very little strides. For now, though, the Yankees will have to try to stay afloat by searching for every last infielder available off the street, because the farm system won't provide much at all in 2014, and potentially in the years that follow.

6 years ago  ::  Jan 18, 2014 - 8:52PM #187
MajorYankFan
Posts: 32,868

Yankees Hot Stove: How do Corban Joseph and Addison Maruszak stack up to their competition?


www.pinstripealley.com/yankees-analysis-...




Jason Miller






Corban and Addison vs. the garbage pickups


The Yankees are going to need a lot of infield help this year. They lost Robinson Cano to the Mariners, Alex Rodriguez to a 162-game suspension, and Derek Jeter and Mark Teixeira are coming back from injury, so they might need some reliable backups. They signed Brian Roberts, Kelly Johnson, and Brendan Ryan, but that isn't really enough to fill out the entire infield, and since there are no other options left to sign, the Yankees will have to rely on the players they have picked off the scrap heap throughout the offseason.


The Yankees have added Scott Sizemore, Dean Anna, Russ Canzler, Zelous Wheeler, and Yangervis Solarte into the fold to compete for roster spots. Only Sizemore possesses significant major league experience, and by that, I mean he's the only one among them that has played over 100 games in a season before. Canzler is the only other one that has actually played in a major league game. While Sizemore is more in line with the Yankees' method of signing players off the scrap heap, Anna, Wheeler, and Solarte are completely unproven, potential Quadruple-A players that might provide the team with absolutely nothing.


Other than these four, the organization also has a limited supply of internal prospects that could be included in the coming competition. Those prospects include Corban Joseph and Addison Maruszak, and I believe they should at least be given a shot, if it's an open tryout. Joseph's inclusion rests entirely on the status of his shoulder. We all remember him making his major league debut this year and then subsequently disappearing. He underwent season-ending shoulder surgery only a few months into the season, so he needs to be healthy first.


Maruszak, on the other hand, is essentially minor league cannon fodder as a player who can play anywhere on the field with most of his time spent at first, third, and shortstop. At 27 years of age I doubt he ever makes it to the majors, but then again, the Yankees are putting a lot of faith into a few other candidates who haven't either.


If these two Yankee prospects joined this ragtag band of Merry Men, which players would the Yankees be best off taking with them to start the season? To compare their production, I looked at their Steamer projections to see what we might be in store for.

Player AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ WAR
Scott Sizemore .254 .334 .397 .324 101 0.9
Dean Anna .263 .334 .379 .317 96 0.5
Corban Joseph .252 .323 .390 .315 94 0.2
Russ Canzler .240 .309 .384 .305 94 0.0
Zelous Wheeler .246 .316 .383 .309 90 0.0
Yangervis Solarte .266 .311 .386 .306 85 0.0
Addison Maruszak .243 .300 .363 .294 80 0.0

As you can see, it's pretty ugly. Sizemore is the only one among them who projected to produce at a league-average rate with the bat, though several also hover just below. Of this group, Joseph is technically the third best option out of all seven with the best slugging percentage, while Maruszak projects to offer the least at the plate. Sizemore and Anna could potentially be more useful with the bat, but that doesn't mean it all comes down to offense. What the Yankees like to see is versatility, given that Johnson and Ryan can fill in at multiple positions. All of these potential garbage can heroes can play several different positions, so it also might be a matter of finding the best bat to go along with the most flexibility.


To figure out who brings the most defensive versatility, I took at look at each player's fielding history, and if they played at a certain position for more than 10 games I gave them credit for that position. Sure, it's a little unscientific, but plenty of players have added depth after only a handful of games of experience. However, not all positions are created equal, so I looked to Bryan Grosnick's post on Beyond the Box Score to determine each player's McEwing Score. Grosnick developed "McE" as a junk stat to determine which major league players were the best utility players in a single season. Even though I'm looking across multiple seasons, I used this guide because I like the simple point system he used based on Tom Tango's positional adjustments.

Position Points
C +19
SS +17
2B +15
3B +15
CF +15
RF/LF +11
1B +9

Right off the bat you can see that the positions considered to be harder are given more value while the positions considered to be easier are given less value. None of these players can offer help behind the plate or in center, but the rest of the positions are represented.

Player First Base Second Base Third Base Shortstop RF/LF Total
Addison Maruszak X X X X X 67
Dean Anna X X X X 58
Yangervis Solarte X X X X 58
Zelous Wheeler X X X 47
Scott Sizemore X X X 47
Russ Canzler X X

X

35
Corban Joseph X X 30


Being able to play almost every position on the field makes Addison Maruszak the versatility champion. Meanwhile, Corban Joseph, mainly a second baseman all his career, has the least. Maruszak and Canzler are the only two that can play first, though you can probably make the argument than anyone could play first. Still, they need someone who can back up Tex, and it might as well be someone with experience.


Judging by their standings, Sizemore and Anna are probably considered the favorites going into spring training. That doesn't mean that Sizemore's knee will be healthy all year or that Anna will be able to hit at the major league level. And then there's the probability that Roberts gets hurt at some point. The Yankees have room for two infielders at the moment, maybe a lefty bat and a righty bat, so even if Joseph and Maruszak get passed over now, that doesn't mean they can't be useful later.


If the Yankees suddenly need a full-time second baseman, it might be worth letting Joseph play every day. If they need someone on the bench who can play all over the field, then Maruszak, the 27-year-old rookie, could happen. They won't be sexy, they certainly won't be sexy, maybe not even good, but given the options the Yankees have, every little advantage counts.

6 years ago  ::  Jan 20, 2014 - 9:34AM #188
MajorYankFan
Posts: 32,868
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Yankees Prospect Profile: Ian Clarkin



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Chung Sung-Jun



Get to know the only pitcher of the three Yankees first round picks from 2013, Ian Clarkin. How will the prep lefty do in his first full season as a professional?


Background:


Ian Clarkin was the third and final first round pick of the Yankees in 2013, being drafted at 33rd overall out of James Madison High School in San Diego, California. The 6'2" prep lefty had what was regarded as the best curveball of high schoolers in the 2013 draft with top of the rotation potential and a fastball that topped out at 94 mph. Clarkin is not one of the high schoolers scouts find to be overly projectable but with plus command of his curve and an average changeup, it's easy to dream on his potential as a starting pitcher in the majors.


Before agreeing to terms with the Yankees, Clarkin was committed to San Diego State University. An injury delayed the start to his professional career, but he ultimately joined the Gulf Coast League Yankees before the end of the season to kick off his time with the Yankees.


2013 Results:


Clarkin was only able to make three starts in Rookie Ball after recovering from an injury that delayed the start to his first season as a professional. In an extremely small sample size of five innings, Clarkin pitched to a 10.80 ERA but he managed to keep right-handed batters in check by allowing them to only bat .167 off him. There's not a whole lot that could be gleaned from such a small sample size and seeing how Clarkin performs in his first full season with the Yankees should be much more telling.


2014 Outlook:


Yankees vice president of player operations Mark Newman believes that Clarkin will begin the 2014 season at Short Season-A Staten Island. It's possible that a strong performance in spring training might convince the team that the soon-to-be 19-year-old is ready to be sent to Low-A Charleston right out of the gate. If Clarkin does indeed start the season with the Staten Island Yankees it's reasonable to assume that he might be able to find himself in Charleston by the time the season is over. He's so young that there is likely no rush on the part of the Yankees, but strong performances can change a lot of minds.


Despite the Yankees' inability to really develop a pitching prospect recently, there's a lot to like about Clarkin's potential. Left-handers generally fare pretty well in Yankee Stadium and scouts were absolutely enamored with his curveball right out of high school. All three of the most recent first round picks have the potential to be special players and Clarkin could end up being a huge part of the future of the Yankees' rotation in a few years if he lives up to all his potential.

6 years ago  ::  Jan 20, 2014 - 3:05PM #189
MajorYankFan
Posts: 32,868
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Top Ten Young Latin American Yankee Prospects


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It’s difficult to keep track of young IFA prospects. The Latin American pipeline is paramount to the future of the MLB Yankees. Somewhere, on some team’s DSL team, the next Robinson Cano or Mariano Rivera is playing baseball. History suggests that the higher profile, big money signings are less important than the dozens of small-to-midsize signings that rarely find their way even into a Baseball America roundup of IFA news. Trying to figure out what 16 year-old players will be major league baseball players is a giant crapshoot.


My instinct is that this group of players, particularly the top-4, are more talented than previous generations of Yankee IFAs, although they lack the presence of an automatic blue chip guy like Jesus Montero or Gary Sanchez. A similar list circa 2008 or so would go something like this: Jesus Montero, Jose Tabata, Abe Almonte, Jairo Heredia, Marcos Vechionacci, Carlos Urena, Eduardo Nunez, Zoilo Almonte, Prylis Cuello, and Manuel Banuelos.


Here are ten players to watch:


1. Luis Severino, 20, RHP


Severino qualified as an “old” Latin American signing by inking just before his 18th birthday for just over $200,000. Baseball America rated him the #9 Yankee prospect this year, and 2nd best pitcher (Behind Ian Clarkin) in the organization. While I think you’re crazy to take either over Manuel Banuelos, that ranking should be considered high praise for an unheralded mid-dollar IFA with just 17 innings above rookie ball. He’s got a mouth-watering scouting report: great control, two solid-or-better offspeed pitches, and a fastball that sits in the mid-90s. His stat line reflected that scouting report this season: 44 innings between the GCL and Charleston with a 2.45 ERA, 10.8 K/9, 2.0 BB/9, and just 1 HR allowed. If you wanted to pick a sleeper to break out in 2013 and become not only the #1 Yankee prospect, but also a top-20 prospect in all of baseball, he’s it.


2. Abiatal Avelino, 19, SS


Avelino isn’t far behind Severino. A $300,000 signing, Avelino flew under the radar until his U.S. debut this year. Between rookie ball and Staten Island, he hit .303/.381/.399. Early scouting reports expect him to stick at shortstop, hit decently well, and steal some bases. He’s a ‘baseball sense’ type of prospect, who scouts like above and beyond its tools.


3. Miguel Andujar, 19, 3b


Miguel Andujar was the top Yankee IFA signing in 2011. The Yankees gave him $750,000, and quick pushed him to North America. A lot of people were excited that he could become the next Sanchez/Montero to come out of the system. Then, he had a terrible professional debut, hitting .232/.288/.299. He improved in 2013, hitting .323/.368/.496 with solid reviews on defense. It seems like every 3rd base prospect you read about fits the, “Strong all around hitting skills, solid defensive skills, average athlete, 20-25 HR” type, and Andujar is no exception.


4. Luis Torrens, 18, C


Torrens was the top Yankee IFA in 2012. He signed for $1.3 million. BA had him as the #2 IFA of his class, and the top Yankee in the GCL. He only converted to catcher after signing last July, and it is unclear if his permanent home is behind the plate. In a sense, he comes from the same tradition as Gary Sanchez and Jesus Montero: a bat-first defensive work in progress. However, while Jesus Montero and Gary Sanchez were considered power hitters right out of the gate, Torrens doesn’t even show home run power in batting practice. He’s definitely a strong IFA-type prospect, but he’s missing something before you can call him a real blue chipper. We have no idea where he is going to end up defensively (although he is more athletic than the other Yankee catchers), and he isn’t yet a standout on offense.


5. Leonardo Molina, 17, CF


I’d be lying if I said knew much about Molina. BA had him at #5 in the 2013 IFA class, and the Yankees devoted nearly their entire budget ($1.4 million, out of $1.9 million total) to signing him. He’s a big, strong center fielder with plus-plus speed. Reports put his hitting skills at average-or-better. He is not related to the Molina brothers.


6. Omar Luis Rodriguez, 21, LHP


Luis is a weird one. He was intially signed out of Cuba for $4 million dollars, but the bonus was reduced following visa issues (and presumably something else) to $2.5 million. I wouldn’t read too much into the big dollar figure, since Cuban players were signing at a huge premium right before the new CBA IFA rules were about to take effect. He has a low-90s sinking fastball with lots of developing (but not standout) secondary pitches. He’s a little small at 5’11″, and could end up in the bullpen. He didn’t do himself any favors in his pro debut this year when we walked 29 players in 31 innings. His left-handedness and solid stuff will earn him a lot of chances, and we shouldn’t be too offput by a small sample size. Solid prospect.


7. Yonauris Rodriguez, 17, SS


Rodriguez is first and foremost a defensive shortstop. After blowing most of their 2013 IFA budget on Molina, they committed close to every remaining cent to Rodriguez, who got $550,000. I know less about him than Molina. He has a very strong defensive reputation. Presumably, his bat isn’t as developed. We’ll see.


8. Thairo Estrada, 18, SS


Estrada is the biggest out-of-nowhere prospect on the list. He signed for just $49,000 last year. However, he showed up as BA’s #20 GCL prospect on this year’s list, following a strong .278/.350/.432 debut. He is described as having strong all-around hitting skills, although nothing seems to stand out. Baseball America lists are essentially ordinal representations of the conventional wisdom of the scouts and baseball people following a particular league. That a guy who just recently signed for $49,000 made this list, even at #20, is saying something. Estrada is a real sleeper.


9. Alexander Palma, 18, OF


I couldn’t find much information on Palma. He signed alongside Torrens in 2012 for $800,000. He was the #4 ranked IFA in his class. He can play defense and has some hitting skills. He should end up stateside in 2014.


10. Yancarlos Baez, 18, SS


I’ve got a little bit more on Baez, who signed for $650,000 alongside Palma. Since it all comes from one source, I’ll quote DPL Baseball here:



“Baez is the most projectable of the Dominican infielders and has a higher ceiling defensively than any of them. He’s a wiry athletic body type, he’s long and rangy at 6-foot-2, 165-pounds. He was developed by Academia Josue Mateo in San Cristobal, DR, which is one of the more notable programs in the region.


Baez runs a 6.7 60-yard dash and should get faster as he gains some body strength, you can really see his speed and athletic ability on defense. He has an exceptional ability to accelerate through balls hit in front of him to cut off bad hops and shorten the distance on his throws. He is sometimes too quick on his release and can look a bit frenetic at times, but when he stays back and shows his arm strength it shows plus potential with a present 87 mph gun reading.”


6 years ago  ::  Jan 20, 2014 - 3:08PM #190
MajorYankFan
Posts: 32,868

Yankees Prospects: MLB ranks Greg Bird and Gary Sanchez top 10 among their positions


MLB.com will be releasing their top 100 prospects for the 2014 season later this week, but in the meantime they are publishing their top 10 prospects at every position. So far they have released the lists for first base, catcher, left-handed pitcher, right-handed pitcher, and shortstop, with the Yankees' Greg Bird making the list for first baseman and Gary Sanchez making the list for catchers. While the lists for third, second, and outfield have yet to be released, it is unlikely that any Yankee prospect ranks in the top 10 at those positions.


Greg Bird ranks 7th on the list of top 10 first base prospects after leading all the minors with 107 walks. This year's first base class isn't considered as exciting as seasons past, but Bird ranks behind Jonathan Singleton of the Astros, Dominic Smith of the Mets, C.J. Cron of the Angels, Dan Vogelbach of the Cubs, Matt Olson of the Athletics, and Kyle Parker of the Rockies. On the 20-80 tool scale, where 80 is well above-average, 50 is average, and 20 is well below-average, Bird scored a 55 Hit, 50 Power, 30 Run, 45 Arm, and 45 Field, while scoring a 50 overall.


Basically what this means is he is an average-to-above-average hitter while providing below-average defense. These marks don't exactly make Bird a slam dunk, but MLB explains that "scouts like Bird's hitting ability more than his raw power, but he could wind up being solid in both categories." After a great year, the 21-year-old will likely start the 2014 season in High-A Tampa. If scouts think he will only get better from here then there's a chance he will rank higher overall and by position this time next season.


Gary Sanchez ranks as the 4th best catching prospect in baseball after another solid year at the plate, sitting behind Travis d'Arnaud of the Mets, Austin Hedges of the Padres, and Jorge Alfaro of the Rangers. On the 20-80 scale, he scored a 55 Hit, 65 Power, 30 Run, 70 Arm, and 50 Field, scoring a 60 overall.


It means Sanchez is an above-average power hitter with a cannon for an arm and at least average defense. MLB says "He's always had a huge arm, and while his overall defense has made strides, it's still a work in progress. Sanchez's best improvement may have come in terms of his attitude, something he used to get knocked for." It's good to hear that his defense is actually making some strides, since reports of his defense have been mixed depending on the source you're listening to. He's already in Double-A at the age of 21, so he's well ahead of the curve and has plenty of time to work on his game. If he's become easier to work with then it can only help him reach the majors in a year or two.


The only Yankee prospect expected to be among the top 100 is Gary Sanchez, though the likes of Mason Williams, Tyler Austin, and Slade Heathcott could end up towards the back of the list. Bird could also reach the top 100, though I would be pleasantly surprised if he did.

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