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Random Minor League Notes: 2014 Edition
6 years ago  ::  Nov 22, 2013 - 10:24AM #111
Posts: 32,868
6 years ago  ::  Nov 22, 2013 - 7:24PM #112
Posts: 32,868

Rule 5 Draft: Three Yankees who could be chosen

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Will the Yankees miss these three?

The Yankees finalized their roster for the Rule 5 Draft, placing Gary Sanchez, Slade Heathcott, Jose Campos, Bryan Mitchell, Shane Greene, and Dean Anna on the 40-man roster. Several players were left off who are eligible for the draft and at least three of them are very likely to get picked up by another team.

Three relief pitchers by the names of Chase Whitley, Dan Burawa, and Tom Kahnle were left unprotected. While none of them are Earth-shattering omissions, they each could still be useful to the Yankees, but could also potentially break camp with a team looking for some young relievers.

Whitley upped his strikeout rate to 8.25 batters per nine innings and showed overall improvement in his first full season at Triple-A. He had an ERA of 3.06 and a FIP of 3.05, both lower than his career numbers. He could have a shot at breaking camp with the team, so it would have made sense for the Yankees to protect him.

Burawa reached Double-A this season, after missing all of 2012 to injury, and had his best strikeout rate (9.0 K/9), but also worst walk rate (5.73 BB/9). He had his lowest ERA (2.59) by far and a good 3.31 FIP, both better than his career totals. Still, he's 25 and hasn't shown a lot of consistency, so he was left unprotected.

In his first full season at Double-A, Kahnle has shown the potential to be a high-strikeout reliever, striking out 11.10 batters per nine innings this season. His 2.85 ERA and 3.85 FIP marked his second solid year in a row, unfortunately, walking 6.75 batters per nine innings is probably what led to him being left off the roster.

Hopefully the Yankees won't miss any of these guys. Whitley is really the one that could be the most useful, at least out of the gate in 2014. If the Yankees are able to keep him, there's a possibility he could find his way onto the major league roster at some point in the season.

6 years ago  ::  Nov 24, 2013 - 6:42PM #113
Posts: 32,868

Yankees Top Five Third Base Prospects


Third base has been a weak spot for the past few years for the Yankees. They haven’t had much in the way of prospects and there isn’t much help on the way at the higher levels. Through the draft and international signings, however, the Yankees have started to develop some depth at the lower levels. In a year or so the Yankees may have as good of depth at the position of third base as they do at any other position in the organization. For the purposes of these rankings, Peter O’Brien is a catcher, but he could just as easily be on this list as well. He would likely rank third on this list. Tyler Austin also played third base briefly in the AFL, and could be there in the near future. For now he will be considered an outfielder. David Adams would rank fifth on this list but he is not eligible.

1. Eric Jagielo – 3B, 6-foot-2, 195-pounds, LHB, 22 – Jagielo hit a respectable .264/.376/.451/.826 with six homeruns in his minor league debut this year. He was their first round pick and currently the best third baseman this system has to offer. He struck out too much in 2013, and he average could have been better, but the Yankees are hoping he will quickly ascend to the major leagues and replace A-Rod at third base. There are questions about whether he can stay at third base long term but for now he will top off this list. Highest level: Staten Island. Will start 2014 at: Likely High-A, but possible Low-A. Estimated arrival: 2016-2017. Ceiling: All-star third baseman, 25+ homeruns, .300+ average. Floor: bench bat.

2. Miguel Andujar – ”Mandujar”: 3B, 6-foot-1, 180-pounds, RHB, 18 – In 2013, he hit .323/.368/.496/.864 with four homeruns and 11 doubles. This was a huge improvement upon last year when he struggled in his first year stateside. The scouting reports say he is a beast with the bat who uses all fields and has some serious developing power. He is similar to Jagielo in many ways but actually has a higher ceiling because he is better defensively. He’s got quick hands, great patience at the plate, and decent athleticism. Believe me when I say the bat is real. Highest level: Rookie GCL. Will start 2014 at: Staten Island or Low-A (if lucky). Ceiling: All-start third baseman with a nifty glove, 25+ homeruns and .300+ average. Floor: bench bat, utility player.

3. Rob Segedin – 3B, 6-foot-2, 220-pounds, RHB, 25 – One of the more underrated prospects in the system, Segedin was in the midst of a breakout year in 2013 when he went down with a serious injury. He will return in 2014 ready to go. He was batting .338/.390/.606/.996 with 3 homeruns in just 18 games to start the year in 2013. He’s known for his bat and if he picks up where he left off he will be back to being a legit top 50 prospect. Highest level: Double-A. Will start 2014 at: Double-A. Estimated arrival: 2015. Ceiling: Major league average third baseman. 15+ HR, .290 average. Floor: Flop.

4. Drew Bridges – 3B, 6-foot-4, 230-pounds, LHB, 18 – This years numbers were awful but they’re really not even worth mentioning because it was a small sample size. He’s got the potential for light tower power, and has a shot to stick at third base long term. His ceiling is as high as anyone in the system but his he’s also just as likely to hit his floor as he is his ceiling. Highest level: Rookie GCL. Will start 2014 at: Rookie GCL. Estimated arrival: 2019. Ceiling: 40+ homeruns, .265 average.

5. Dante Bichette Jr. – “DBJ” 6-foot-1, 215-pounds, RHB, 21 – Still just 21 and still has a shot to turn his career around, but at this point things are looking bleak. He actually took a step back in every respect ecept power this year, slugging a career high 11 homeruns this year. He’s still a first round draft pick but at this point if we are being realistic his chances of even making it to the majors are slim. That said he’s a hard worker and there have been more amazing turnarounds in the past. Highest level: Low-A. Will start 2014 at: Low-A or High-A. Estimated arrival: 2017 if ever. Ceiling: Major league starter. Floor: bust.

6 years ago  ::  Nov 25, 2013 - 10:52AM #114
Posts: 32,868

Yanks have promising outfield prospect in Williams


Williams' RBI single00:00:50

11/2/13: Yankees prospect Mason Williams puts the East on the board with an RBI single

I have struggled with my scouting evaluation of New York Yankees outfield prospect Mason Williams.

I project him to one day be a multiple tool player roaming the outfield in Yankee Stadium. But there is work to be done before that happens.

I don't think the issue will be "if" Williams can play Major League Baseball. It is more a question of "when."

When I watched Williams play center field in the Arizona Fall League, my eyes saw an athlete with an outstanding frame and the type of physicality that translates to "star."

My problem is simple. I kept waiting to see Williams use his wiry 6-foot-1, 180-pound frame as a base for a top-notch hitting tool.

While he hit .267 in the Fall League, I guess I expected to see him drive the ball more. I expected to see more elevation and loft to his hitting. He had no home runs and drove in four runs.

However, while I was confused by his offense, I was enthused and encouraged by his defense. He can really play center field.

The Yankees selected Williams directly from West Orange High School in Winter Garden, Fla. He was chosen in the fourth round of the 2011 First-Year Player Draft.

Athletic genes run in Williams' family. He is the son of former New England Patriots receiver Derwin Williams.

Williams is the No. 2 player on the Yankees' Top 20 Prospects list.

A left-handed hitter, Williams has enough speed to classify as a plus runner. He uses his speed busting down the line from home to first. But he had an on-base percentage of .330. That didn't offer many opportunities to steal. He was successful in four out of six attempts.

His lack of power in the Fall League mirrors his performance to date in the Yankees farm system.

In his career to date Williams has hit 18 home runs. He has 57 doubles and 18 triples, showing his speed and an ability to hit the gaps.

In 2011 during his first full season while playing for Class A Short Season Staten Island, he hit .349 in 298 plate appearances. He struck out only 41 times and delivered a message that he has a potential hit tool.

In 2012 during his age 20-season, Williams played for Charleston in Class A and Tampa in Class A Advanced. He hit a combined .298, spending most of his time hitting .304 at Charleston. That's where he had 311 of his 397 plate appearances for the year.

His season ended early when he dislocated his shoulder making a diving catch.

Incidentally, I saw him make diving catches in the Fall League. He certainly doesn't shy away from that play.

This past season, Williams began the year at Tampa hitting .261, including 21 doubles in 461 trips to the plate. He was promoted to Double-A Trenton in August, where he finished the season hitting .153 in 76 plate appearances while playing in 17 games.

This past season, Williams scuffled a bit more against lefties, hitting only .222 rather than his .257 against right-handed pitching.

Williams has quick hands and good bat speed. He makes good contact with a rather short, direct path to the ball. He hasn't shown much patience at the plate, generally swinging early and often.

In the games I scouted, I saw Williams rely heavily upon his forearms and wrists for his offensive thrust, as opposed to taking advantage of his legs and lower body in his swing. It did result in some line drives and shots through infield holes. But it caused a lack of loft on the ball.

Of all his tools, I feel his outfield defense and plus arm strength and accuracy are the best.

A former pitcher, Williams will cut down runners looking to advance.

Williams follows the flight of the ball off the bat extremely well. He closes fast on balls hit in all directions and takes charge in the outfield.

Williams is a fine athlete with a hitting tool waiting to explode. That could happen at any time.

6 years ago  ::  Nov 27, 2013 - 12:48PM #115
Posts: 66,015

Contract snafu leaves lefty Omar Luis exposed in Rule 5 Draft

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Last year, the Yankees signed 21-year-old Cuban left-hander Omar Luis to a $4M signing bonus, their last big money international pickup before the new spending restrictions were implemented. A visa issue kept him in Haiti for several months, but the southpaw made it to the United States this summer and pitched for one of the team’s two Rookie Gulf Coast League affiliates. He is one of their better pitching prospects at the moment.

According to Ben Badler, a contract snafu leaves Luis exposed in next month’s Rule 5 Draft even though he signed his first contract just last year. Players typically are not eligible for the Rule 5 Draft until they’ve played at least four and usually five years professionally. It’s complicated, so I’ll let Badler explain:

The Yankees signed Cuban lefthander Omar Luis last year for a $4 million bonus, with an official contract date of July 1, 2012, the day before the inaugural $2.9 million international bonus pools went into effect.

However, Luis and several other Cuban players also represented by Praver Shapiro Sports Management who were claiming permanent residency in Haiti ran into visa issues and were unable to get into the United States. When Luis arrived in the U.S. this year after spending eight months in Haiti, an unknown issue popped up in his physical, which led the Yankees to void the contract.

Luis signed a new contract with the Yankees for a reduced bonus—$2.5 million—on April 9, 2013. Since Luis signed his second contract with his original team and the Yankees did not place him on their 40-man roster, he is available in the Rule 5 draft, which is Dec. 12.

The timing of Luis’ two contracts also forced MLB to make a decision regarding whether his contract would be subject to the international bonus pools. While his April 2013 contract falls within the 2012-13 signing window where every team had a $2.9 million bonus pool, because his initial agreement came just before the new system kicked in, MLB determined that Luis’ new contract was exempt from the bonus pools.

Badler notes this is not unprecedented. The Brewers, Reds, and Mariners have had players go through similar situations in recent years.

The immediate impact is negligible. Luis had a 5.68 ERA and 43/29 K/BB in 31.2 innings at lowest level of the minors this past season, so even if a team loves his stuff grabs him in the Rule 5 Draft, it’s extremely unlikely he’ll stick in the big leagues for all of next season. Jumping from the rookie ball to the big leagues almost certainly will not happen, at least not successfully.

This is a problem long-term, however. Luis will be Rule 5 Draft eligible every offseason from here on out, so even though he won’t be able to stick in MLB right now, that might not be the case next year. The Yankees will likely have to add him to the 40-man roster and start burning through his minor league options sooner than expected. That means they might have to try to develop him pretty quickly.

Furthermore, if Luis is selected in the Rule 5 Draft and returned to the Yankees at any point, he will have been outrighted off the 40-man roster. The first time that happens is no big deal, but the second time will allow him to elect free agency over returning to New York. He could leverage that into a new contract, which two-time Rule 5 Draft guys have done before (though none were as good a prospect as Luis). That too could force the club to add Luis to the 40-man sooner than they would like.

This sounds like a really unique and unfortunate set of circumstances. I suppose the Yankees could have kept him on the original $4M deal rather than negotiate a lower bonus, but if there’s something in the physical they didn’t like, then they should protect themselves. We’re talking about a ton of money here. It sounds like their options were either deal with the contract/40-man headache or not get the player. Seems like an obvious choice to me.

"Leave the gun. Take the cannoli."
6 years ago  ::  Nov 28, 2013 - 6:38PM #116
Posts: 66,015

Yankees Prospects: MiLB.com's organizational All-Star team

MiLB.com looked at every organization in baseball and picked out the best players at each position to represent an All-Star team for each. The Yankees' team included top prospects, middle-tier players, and fringe major leaguers, with commentary provided by Mark Newman, the Yankees' vice president of baseball operations. What did he have to say about some of the best minor league players in the system?

Catcher - Gary Sanchez

The top prospect in the system, Sanchez had another solid season hitting .253/.324/.412 with 15 home runs between two different levels. He projects to start the 2014 season in Double-A, but could honestly become trade bait after the signing of Brian McCann, if the right deal presents itself. Having Francisco Cervelli, Austin Romine, and J.R. Murphy could give the Yankees enough backup options over the next few years to warrant trading away their best prospect for something they really need.

"He's just all sorts of talented, both offensively and defensively. He started in the U.S. when he was just 17, so he's got [1,522] plate appearances under his belt now. He's been around some, and it's showing. It's just not the kind of package you see too often in catchers."

First Base - Greg Bird

He probably put up the best season of any Yankee prospect, hitting .288/.428/.511 and leading the minor leagues in walks with 107. He stayed in Low-A Charleston for the entire year, in what was his first full season of pro ball, but he could move up to High-A Tampa in 2014 and then shoot through the system if he continues his hitting ways. The Yankees have no other first base prospects, so he can go as far as his bat takes him in 2014.

"He's got great discipline and power and is able to hit the ball well to both sides of the field, which you don't see that often, especially from first baseman. He was actually a catcher, too, before making the move. Our scouts thought the move was something that could happen, but it wasn't a guarantee. He's certainly done well with it so far."

Second Base - Rob Refsnyder

Refsnyder had a surprisingly great season, hitting .293/.413/.413 between Low-A and High-A in 573 plate appearances. He was certainly better than the system's top second base prospect, Angelo Gumbs, who hit .214/.265/.302 before being demoted to Charleston and allowing Refsnyder to play at second regularly. Unfortunately, his fielding didn't match up to his hitting, as he made 25 errors in the field. A natural outfielder, it might make sense to move him back and hope his bat carries him quickly through the system.

Third Base - Eric Jagielo

Jagielo was just drafted in 2013 and already he finds himself the king of third base in the Yankees' minor league system. Drafted for his polished bat, he hit .264/.376/.451 with six home runs in his first season of pro ball, outshining previous first round pick, Dante Bichette, who hit a disappointing .214/.292/.331 in his second full year with Low-A Charleston. Jagielo also only committed three errors in 42 games, while Bichette committed 18 in 112. In 2014, Jagielo will likely start in Charleston, with Bichette being pushed up to Tampa and probably continued to be pushed out of the way.

"He's certainly got some power," Newman said. "What he did was reflective of what our guys saw in him before the Draft. ... He's got a lot of at-bats under him and is off to a solid start after building off the great year at Notre Dame."

Shortstop - Abiatal Avelino

It's slim pickings at shortstop in the Yankee system. This season Cito Culver hit .248/.322/.362 between Charleston and Tampa with 21 errors, though he did have an .878 OPS after his promotion. That basically brings Avelino into the picture after his second season in the organization. He hit .303/.381/.399 between Rookie-ball and Short Season-A. However, he did hit only .243/.303/.271 in Staten Island with 15 errors in 2013, so his All-Star status doesn't mean much just yet.

Outfield - Thomas Neal

Neal hit .325/.391/.411 in 297 plate appearances in Triple-A and represented the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders in the International League All-Star Game. Unfortunately, at the age of 25, he didn't accomplish much in his limited time with the Yankees and was soon designated for assignment.

Outfield - Ben Gamel

The constantly under the radar Ben Gamel hit .267/.342/.387 between High-A and Double-A, which was essentially just as good as top prospects Slade Heathcott and Tyler Austin. He will likely open the season with the Trenton Thunder if Ramon Flores and Heathcott move up to Scranton. He is likely to find his way onto some top 20 lists if he has another season in 2014, like he did in 2013.

Outfield - Zoilo Almonte

As the tenth best prospect in the Yankees' system, he hit .297/.369/.421 in Triple-A before making it to the majors. He only hit .236/.274/.302 until spraining his ankle and missing a good portion of the season. He struggles against left-handed pitching, despite being a switch hitter, with only a .255/.305/.287 line against them in Triple-A. If Almonte doesn't make the team this spring, it might make sense for him to give up his right-handed swing. Otherwise, his ceiling is going to be a platoon fourth outfielder.

"He was hitting well at the time in Triple-A and had done well at Double-A [21 homers in 2012] before that, so it was kind of a natural progression to call him up. He did OK, got hurt, but overall did fine; he certainly wasn't overmatched. I think we all know he has some work to do at the Major League level."

"Most players, when they get to the big leagues there's a period where they have to learn about Major League pitching and make those sorts of adjustments. It's natural. We expect that development is going to continue for about three years after a callup."

Utility - Peter O'Brien

O'Brien had one of the best seasons in the Yankees' system, but he didn't really have much of a position. He started off as a catcher, then, after being promoted, he was stuck at third base where he committed 18 errors. Still, he hit .291/.350/.544 on the season, and could find his way onto prospect lists if he ever establishes himself at a position. His future is not likely behind the plate, but third base might not hold much promise either. He could ultimately end up as a first base/designated hitter and then his value will fall.

"It's not driven primarily by Gary -- we've got some pretty substantial catching talent all around with J.R. Murphy too," said Newman, adding that O'Brien might also be a fit in right field. "Looks, Pete's a great athlete. He does a good job behind the plate. We just want to see if he plays other positions well enough, and that might provide him with a better route to the big leagues. It's all about positional flexibility to get as many of these guys in the lineup as we can."

Right-Handed Starter - Shane Greene

The Yankees don't have a lot of promising pitchers in their system, but they have plenty of pitchers with more upside than Greene. In 2013, he had his best season in his professional career, finishing the season in Double-A with a 3.38 ERA and 3.03 FIP. The Yankees must have been impressed because they added him to the 40-man roster to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft, while leaving the likes of Chase Whitley, Tom Kahnle, and Dan Burawa unprotected. He will likely start the 2014 season in Triple-A, but I would have given Rafael De Paula the All-Star nod, even though he struggled in High-A. That doesn't mean Greene doesn't deserve praise, though.

"It was the biggest single leap I've seen in some time," Newman said of Greene, who was added to the 40-man roster earlier this month. "Some of that has to do with our pitching coaches helping him with his delivery and pitch selection. But another part is him deciding to be more aggressive in attacking instead of throwing the ball at the fringes of the zone. Once that happened and he started to get results, some of it is confidence that he can do it and can continually do it."

Left-Handed Starter - Nik Turley

Turley had a decent season in Double-A, where he pitched to a 3.88 ERA in 139 innings. Unfortunately, his 4.73 BB/9 left him with a 4.18 FIP. That is sadly what is considered tops for left-handed starters in this system with Manny Banuelos still recovering from Tommy John surgery. Turley could end up being valuable, whether as a backend starter or a lefty out of the bullpen, and will likely spend significant time in Triple-A this season before maybe getting a chance in the majors.

"He has some interesting characteristics," Newman said. "His curveball is really good and has a pretty high rate of swings and misses. But he's not a one-trick pony. His fastball is solid and his changeup is above-average. He's got three different ways to attack you."

Reliever - Dellin Betances

After converting to a full-time reliever, Betances dominated hitters, keeping them to a .185/.286/.282 batting line, with a 2.06 ERA and 12.7 K/9 in 65.2 innings. He spent time with the Yankees, but only pitched in five innings while striking out 10 batters. It would have been a good idea to give him more playing time because he's out of options and will be needed in 2014. If Betances can't provide good value, the Yankees will be lacking in cost controlled relievers.

"It's hard to say what the difference was," Newman said. "It's still 60 feet, 6 inches. It's the same mound, just a different role. Obviously, in shorter stints, he pitched more aggressively out of the bullpen and just seemed less concerned about locating pitches as compared to controlling them. ... Right now, he's going to pitch out of the bullpen for the foreseeable future. I hate to make terminal statements like that, but it's where he's had the most success, so that's where he'll be."

"Leave the gun. Take the cannoli."
6 years ago  ::  Nov 30, 2013 - 10:55AM #117
Posts: 32,868

2014 Top 10 New York Yankees Prospects

Our review of the 2014 New York Yankees Top 10 Prospects is now available.  You can see the Yankees 2013 Prospect list here.

1. Gary Sanchez (C)

2. Slade Heathcott (OF)

3. Eric Jagielo (3B)

4. Tyler Austin (OF)

5. Mason Williams (OF)

6. Rafael De Paula (RHP)

7. Aaron Judge (OF)

8. Greg Bird (1B)

9. Manny Banuelos (LHP)

10. J.R. Murphy (C)

2014 Emerging prospect:

Luis Torrens (C)

6 years ago  ::  Nov 30, 2013 - 10:57AM #118
Posts: 32,868
6 years ago  ::  Nov 30, 2013 - 2:15PM #119
Posts: 32,868

2013 Yankees Top 6 Shortstop Prospects

cito culver1

The Yankees had a serious infusion of shortstop talent in 2013. Last year at this time five out of the six people on this list were either injured or not with the organization. Better yet, even Cito Culver, the second best shortstop in the organization now, was not worth mentioning at this time last year. The Yankees in one season went from absolutely nothing at shortstop to having reasonably good depth at the position. That’s not even the best part though.

They have two more players coming stateside from the DSL in 2014 who will take the depth from good to phenomenal. They won’t be described in depth here because they both have yet to play an inning in the United States. Suffice it to say both are major talents. Most have heard of Yancarlos Baez, the high profile signing in 2012. He’s 6-foot-2, switch hitting, and will be 18 to start 2014. Most, however, haven’t heard of Jorge Mateo, the 18 year old who dominated DSL pitching with nine doubles, six triples, and seven homeruns while stealing 49 bases in just 64 games last year. He has a similar scouting report to Abiatal Avelino with slightly less speed and slightly more power. He is going to be a big deal next year. Adding those two to this list next year will make the depth significantly better.

1. Abiatal Avelino, “Abi” – SS, 5-foot-11, 186-pounds, RHB, 18 – Stole 28 bases in just 51 games this year, and had a .303/.381/.399/.780 batting line. He dominated the GCL and held his own in Staten Island last year. If he can improve his power output he is a star in the making. He hit nine doubles and five triples this year, and will look to expand on that in 2014. He has elite athleticism and enormous, soft hands. He makes good contact and when the ball is hit on the ground the opposition has trouble throwing him out. Defensively he is a whizz. He is quick, has soft hands, and has an excellent arm. Everything about this kid screams top 100 prospect. I’d be surprised if after next season he hasn’t hit that mark. Highest level: Short Season Staten Isand. Will start 2014 at: Low-A Charleston. Estimated arrival: 2017-2018. Ceiling: Perennial All-star shortstop, 50 steals per year, 10 homers per year, gold glove defense. Floor: Pinch runner, defensive replacement. Likelihood of reaching ceiling: intermediate.

2. Cito Culver – SS, 6-foot-0, 190-pounds, RHB, 21 – Last year Cito was not even on my top 50, this year he was top 25. It’s amazing how much can change in a year’s time. Cito Culver changed the trajectory of his career in 2013. He was on a downward spiral, culminating in his horrific 2012 season. Then in the offseason he abandoned switch hitting and began to hit only right handed. It took an adjustment period but towards the end of the season he completely turned his career around. He ended the season with nine homeruns, and hit .248/.322 overall. Where the surprise came was towards the end of the season when he caught fire. After about 15 games of being on fire he was promoted to High-A Tampa, where he continued his dominance. In 16 games with High-A Tampa, he hit .355/.394/.484/.878. This is leading many to believe he is on the brink of a breakout season in 2014, including myself. He’s still an excellent defensive shortstop with a great arm, and he has above average speed. He doesn’t have the tool set of Avelino, but if he starts to kick his game into another gear he could be a bigtime coup for this system. Highest level: High-A. Will start 2014 at: High-A. Estimated arrival: 2015-2016. Ceiling: All-star, 20+ homers, .280+ average, 20+ steals, gold glove defense. Floor: Flop. Likelihood of reaching ceiling: Low.

3. Tyler Wade, “T-Wade” – SS, 6-foot-1, 180-pounds, LHB, 19 – Overall he ended the season .291/.412/.349/.761. He had 11 SB to just one CS. He did hit 10 doubles on the season. He’s got good size and room to fill out, so it’s not inconceivable that he could develop some power as time goes on. He’s quick and he is an excellent contact hitter. For where they got him in the draft, he was a big time pickup. Only time will tell if he can develop into a top prospect, but he has all the tools at his disposal to make a run at it. He’s an above average fielder already who should only get better. The key to his development will be his bat. Highest level: Short Season Staten Island. Will start 2014 at: Short Season Staten Island. Estimated arrival: 2019. Ceiling: 30 SB, 7-8 HR, .300+ average. He could increase that ceiling as he develops if he fills out though. Floor: bust. Likelihood of hitting ceiling: intermediate-low.

4. Thairo Estrada, “Estrada-sphere” – SS, 5-foot-10, 154-pounds, RHB, 17 years old – I can hear John Sterling’s homerun call now… “He hit one to the Estrada-sphere.” Given his slight build and game geared towards contact and speed, it’s unlikely that we will hear that homerun call too often. That said, at 17 years old and already stateside, Thairo Estrada has a long time to develop. Scouts like his gritty play and his swing. He is an above average fielder and a good contact hitter. He had 11 doubles, five triples, and two homeruns his first year stateside, which isn’t half bad. He also stole seven bases while being caught twice. Expectations are not high on Estrada, but he has an advanced approach already and a mature attitude and game. If things break right, he could be a major player in this system in due time.  He already hit .278/.350/.432/.782 as a 17 year old in rookie ball. Highest level: Rookie GCL. Will start 2014 at: Rookie GCL or Staten Island. Estimated arrival: 2019. Ceiling: 10 HR, .290+ average, 20 SB, solid defender. Floor: bust. Likelihood of reaching ceiling: low.

5. Carmen Angelini – SS, 6-foot-2, 185-pounds, RHB, 25 – Looks there’s no sugar coating it. Angelini is 25, he’s had several injuries, missed an entire year in 2012, and is not a guy you would describe as “toolsy.” He is an average defender, he has an average arm, has an average hit tool, and his patience at the plate is… you guessed it, average. He does have one tool working for him, and that is power (relative to others at his position. He did hit nine homeruns this season in addition to 17 doubles and two triples. His season line in 98 game (the most he’s played since 2008) was .252/.306/.385/.741. It was his best season by a long shot, and his healthiest too. That being said, he is a complete long shot to make the majors. This year will be big for him, as it’s basically his last chance to prove himself. After that he has a whole line of shortstops ready to surpass him. Once he made it to Double-A last season his statistics really came back down to Earth. That said 2013 was a huge rebound season for him and there is some renewed hope that he could still be a useful MLB player. I’m skeptical, but only time will tell. Highest level: Double-A. Will start 2014 at: Double-A. Estimated arrival: 2015. Ceiling: Every day shortstop, 15+ homeruns, .250/.320 average. Floor: busts as soon as 2014. Likelihood of hitting ceiling: Long shot.

6. John Murphy – SS, 5-foot-11, 185-pounds, LHB, 22 – Murphy was the Yankees’ 6th round pick in 2013. He was taken out of Sacred Heart University, where he hit .367/.442/.565 with 29 stolen bases, 4 HR, 13 doubles, and eight triples. He was also highly successful in the Cape Cod League in 2012, which is a league we know the Yankees love to scout. He struggled in 2013 for the Yankees, hitting just .173, but he is a solid fielder and I would expect his numbers to improve quite a bit next season if he gets some opportunities to play. Highest level: Short Season Staten Island. Will start 2013 at: Low-A or High-A. Estimated arrival: 2017. Ceiling: 10+ homeruns, 20+ SB, .300+ average. Floor: Bust. Likelihood of hitting ceiling: Long shot.

6 years ago  ::  Nov 30, 2013 - 2:18PM #120
Posts: 32,868

2013 Yankees Top 7 Second Base Prospects

Robert Refsnyder1

The Yankees have had solid depth at second base for a few years now. David Adams and Corban Joseph have served as the cornerstone of that depth. Now that Adams has had significant time in the majors and Corban Joseph suffered from an injured, ineffective 2013, the prospect landscape has changed a bit for the Yanks. They drafted Robert Refsnyder in the 5th round of the 2012 draft. So far he seems to have been a steal. Then, in 2013 they drafted Gosuke Katoh and Derek Toadvine, again increasing their depth.

In the wake of Robinson Cano’s already controversial free agency, there may soon be a significant organizational vacuum at the position. The Yankees do have a couple of in house options to take over at second base, but all have question marks and flaws. David Adams had a rough go of it in his first MLB season, and Corban Joseph has been hurt. Beyond that, Jose Pirela is still looking to make a name for himself.

1. Gosuke Katoh, “G-Kat,” 2B, 6-foot-2, 180-pounds, LHB, 18 – A thin, wiry, tall frame with some now power and great patience. He’s also one of the best defensive second basemen in the entire draft. He had a .310/.402/.522/.924 slash line with six homeruns, five triples, and 11 doubles in 2013. He has even been worked out at SS for the Yankees but it remains to be seen if his arm will become strong enough to move across the diamond. Regardless of that he is already a fan favorite and will look to build upon his fantastic first season as a pro. Highest level: Rookie ball. Will start 2014 at: Staten Island. Estimated arrival: 2018. Ceiling: Excellent fielding, 13+ HR, .315+ average at second base. He could increase this ceiling if he bulks up some. Floor: Flop. Likelihood of reaching ceiling: Low-intermediate

2. Robert Refsnyder, “The Ref,” 2B, 6-foot-0, 195-pounds, RHB, 22 – Finished the season with a .293/.413/.413/.826 quad slash and had 6 HR and 21 SB. He hasn’t showed much power so far in his career but he has shown great patience and the ability to hit for high average. The only players on this list above him in terms of level are Jose Pirela and Corban Joseph. Both are solid but if Refsnyder really starts to tap into his potential this year he should be able to eclipse them. He is a high contact hitter who can also impact the ball well. In addition Refsnyder has some speed which has so far resulted in some stolen bases. He’s got great instincts so there’s a good chance he could continue to steal based at higher levels. His fielding was a bit rough this year but he really picked it up in the second half. Most believe he should be able to stick at second base. Highest level: High-A. Will start 2014 at: Double-A. Estimated arrival: 2015. Ceiling: 10+ HR, .300+ average all-star second baseman. Floor: Backup second baseman, fourth outfielder. Likelihood of reaching ceiling: Intermediate.

3. Angelo Gumbs, ” Gumbsy,” 2B, 6-foot-0, 175-pounds, RHB, 21 – He’s now 21 years old and he’s still at Low-A and not producing. He has shown some promise in years past but has had difficulty staying healthy. Finally healthy in 2013, he did not show the same promise anymore. That said he still has tools galore and if he can put them all together he will rocket through this system. He is number three on this list for sheer potential. He’s still only one season removed from a .272/.320/.432/.752 season with seven homeruns, so it’s not out of the realm of possibilities that he could have a rebound season in 2014. Highest level: High-A. Will start 2014 at: High-A. Estimated arrival: 2017. Ceiling: 25+ homeruns, 30+ SB, .270+ average, dynamic fielder. Floor: Flop. Likelihood of hitting ceiling: Long-shot.

4. Jose Pirela, 2B, 5-foot-11, 210-pounds, RHB, 24 – You’ll be hard pressed to find a guy with a better tool profile and performance who goes as unnoticed as Pirela. This year as a 23 year old in Double-A and Triple-A Pirela hit an impressive .274/.358/.413/.771 with 10 HR, 27 doubles, and 5 triples. He destroyed the Venezuelan Winter League this year and will look to capitalize on that next year in Triple-A. Beware though, as he is a minor league free agent at the end of every season. As soon as he sees an opportunity elsewhere that the Yankees won’t give him, he’s gone. The Yankees also don’t appear too willing to give him that opportunity with recent trades and free agent signings of some middle infielders. Highest level: Triple-A. Will start at: Triple-A. Estimated arrival: 2015. Ceiling: 10+ HR, 20+ steals, solid defense. Floor: Utility infielder. Likelihood of reaching ceiling: Low, he’ll most likely end up a utility infielder.

5. Corban Joseph, “CoJo,” 2B, 6-foot-0, 180-pounds, LHB, 25 – CoJo’s time is running out at this point. He had a series of injuries which limited his opportunities in 2013. When he was healthy he wasn’t particularly effective. Hopefully next year he can get completely healthy and then we’ll see what he’s really got. Other than that though he has some solid players coming up behind him and if he does not shape up quickly he could easily be passed. At his best he is a relatively powerful second baseman who has the patience of a saint at the plate. He’ll hit in the .270′s and have an OBP which is close to 100 points higher than his average. Obviously the type of player the Yankees like. He also is a lefty swinging second baseman which is relatively rare. Highest level: Brief stint in the majors. Will start 2014 at: Triple-A. Estimated arrival: 2014. Ceiling: 15+ homeruns, .270+ average, .350+ OBP, adequate second baseman. Floor: Quadruple-A. Likelihood of reaching ceiling: low-intermediate.

6. Bryan Cuevas, 2B, 5-foot-10, 179-pounds, RHB, 20 – Cuevas is an interesting player. He was an international free agent signed prior to 2012, and quickly made a name for himself in the DSL by hitting .315/.350/.465/.816 with 3 HR, 14 doubles, and eight triples in 2012. That was enough to bring him stateside in 2013, where he hit .269/.324/.387/.711 in his first season stateside. He also stole six bases. He’s more of a long term project but he has solid tools, great defense, and if he is able to develop some power he could become a legit prospect. Highest level: Rookie. Will start 2014 at: Rookie/Staten Island. Estimated arrival: impossible to tell/2019. Ceiling: Every day second baseman. Floor: Never hear from him again. Likelihood of reaching ceiling: Long shot.

7. Derek Toadvine. 2B, 5-foot-10, 175-pounds, RHB, 21 – Speed is the name of the game for Toadvine, although his numbers don’t yet show it in the minors. In 2013 he hit just .237/.329/.279/.608 with seven SB and six CS. Not the best debut for him but it’s a small sample size and most believe he could perform better. His speed is elite and if he can translate that into more stolen bases he will move much quicker in this system. It also wouldn’t hurt if he started getting more extra base hits. He is an excellent fielder. Basically he’s a guy with some excellent tools but has some things to work on. Highest level: Staten Island. Estimated arrival: 2017. Ceiling: 45+ SB, 5 HR, .300+ average, slick fielding second baseman. Floor: bust. Likelihood of approaching ceiling: Low.

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