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Random Minor League Notes: 2017 Edition
2 hours ago  ::  Mar 01, 2017 - 10:51AM #441
MajorYankFan
Posts: 20,920
2 hours ago  ::  Mar 01, 2017 - 10:58AM #442
MajorYankFan
Posts: 20,920

Yankees Miguel Andujar Reminds of a Young Adrian Beltre


The world is finally getting its first real look at Yankees third base prospect Miguel Andujar. And already, people are wondering if his emergence will stop the team from pursuing Manny Machado after the 2018 season.


If you follow me on Twitter, then you know I’ve been driving the Miguel Andujar bus for the past six months. Last summer, all I had to go on was a few YouTube videos of Andujar’s Minor League performances and a scouting report or two. But then the No. 7 Yankees prospect according to MLB Pipeline made the Arizona Fall League All-Star Game.


Not even a week after debuting in Spring Training with a triple and a double, fans and media alike want to know how long until Andujar unseats Chase Headley as the everyday third baseman.


Andujar is about to turn 22 — the prime age for a prospect. Coming off a superb 2016 season at Single-A Tampa and Double-A Trenton, he well exceeded offensive expectations (.273 BA, 12 HR, 83 RBI).


If you’ve watched Andujar play at all this spring, you’ve witnessed his electric ability. The way he whips the bat through the strike zone. How he hustles out of the box — stretching a double into a triple. But you’ve also spotted that he’s a bit overzealous on defense.


His quick feet allow him to gracefully reach balls in play, yet his cannon for an arm needs to be calibrated for better accuracy. Last Friday, Andujar made a terrible overthrow that led to two runs scoring against fellow prospect Jordan Montgomery. Then on Monday, he was bailed out twice by leaping grabs by the first baseman.


I get it — the kid is wound up. And rightfully so. But if he keeps this up we’ll be calling him Miguel ‘Wild Thing’ Vaughn. In the minors last season, Andujar combined to make 22 errors, though he curtailed his mistakes from 15 down to seven after his promotion to Trenton. In five seasons down on the farm, Andujar has made a total of 99 errors. That’s a lot.


Overall, Andujar’s ability, demeanor, and recklessness remind of another third baseman — Adrian Beltre. I have no idea if Andujar doesn’t mind being touched on the head or not — but if the kid who grew up idolizing Alex Rodriguez can be half as good as the future Hall of Famer, then the Yankees may not need to spend an excess of $200M on Machado after all.


Beltre’s throwing accuracy has always been a bit suspect, having made 296 errors in 19 seasons for a .959 fielding percentage — yet he’s won five Gold Glove Awards. More times than not, Beltre makes the brunt of the routine plays — surprises with a dazzling grab here and there — and flat-out rakes. The ball explodes off the bat of the four-time Silver Slugger. And at age 37, there doesn’t appear to be any drop off in his game.


If I were the Yankees, this is the player I’d have Andujar emulate. Yankees vice president of baseball operations Tim Naehring told Mike Mazzeo of the New York Daily News that Andujar is “one of his favorite players to watch.”


“He can do things at third base,” Naehring continued. “Is he a finished product? No. But he’s got the tools to be impactful on the defensive side. And obviously if you watch him taking batting practice and you look at his physical size, I think he’s a guy that can hit for average, hit for power and use the whole field, so I’m really excited about him.”




2 hours ago  ::  Mar 01, 2017 - 11:05AM #443
MajorYankFan
Posts: 20,920

Meet the Yankees' pitching prospect you've never heard about


The Yankees got a first look at two of the best arms in their farm system Tuesday.


Righty Chance Adams and lefty Justus Sheffield looked the part during a 5-4 split-squad win over the Boston Red Sox.


So did an unheralded right-hander who isn't part of big-league camp.


Unless you're really hard core on Yankees' minor leaguers, you probably don't know the Pitt alum/die-hard Penn State football fan (say what???) who looked good pitching between Adams and Sheffield.


Matt Wotherspoon is making himself into a prospect, too, despite the Yankees taking him all the way in the 34th round of the 2014 draft.


The 6-foot-1, 210-pounder from Mountain Top, Pa. -- that's near Scranton and two hours east of Happy Valley -- impressed in his first big-league spring game by pitching a scoreless third while facing the top of the Red Sox lineup.


Wotherspoon walked leadoff hitter Brock Holt, but still retired Boston in order.


Andrew Benintendi, baseball's No. 1 prospect, lined to left, Holt was caught stealing for the second out, then Red Sox star Hanley Ramirez flied out to center on a 3-2 pitcher to end the inning.


"It's exciting, but you can't make a team on one day," Wotherspoon said.


Wotherspoon, 25, won't make the Yankees' season-opening roster, but debuting in the big leagues sometime in 2017 seems possible. He great numbers last season: 4-2 with a 2.66 ERA in 26 games, 2 starts, for Double-A Trenton, then 2-0 with a 2.01 ERA in 10 games, 1 start, for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.


Wotherspoon wound up with the Yankees as a late-round pick after he was drafted the year before a lot higher by Detroit, and opted to return to Pitt for his senior year.


Initially, his decision seemed to backfire because the Tigers took him in the 20th after he was 9-3 with a 3.70 as a Pitt junior. He wound up slumping to 5-6 with a 4.44 ERA as a senior, and thus dropped 14 rounds in the '14 draft.


"I didn't have a great year," Wotherspoon said. "I think it was more mental than anything. I had a decent game and then two rough games, then I kind of let it snowball a little bit. But honestly I'm thankful for struggling my senior year every day because for the first time in my life I struggled."


Wotherspoon is on the rise now ... just like hyped super prospects Adams and Sheffield.


Adams worked two shutout innings, allowing one hit with a walk and strikeout, while Sheffield had his moments (like retiring Ramirez on a grounder) while allowing a run over 1 2/3 innings.


Adams, who was 13-1 with a 2.33 ERA for high-A Tampa and Double-A Trenton last season, probably will open 2017 in Triple-A. Sheffield, who along with outfielder Clint Frazier is a big return from Cleveland in last July's Andrew Miller trade, will probably open in Tampa after making 19 low-A starts and five high-A starts last season.


"They all looked good," star of the day Greg Bird said after a two-homer game. "We've had a lot of young guys here today and they all I thought stepped up. Good arms. That's exciting."


As for Wotherspoon in 2017, he's likely to be a spot starter and reliever in Triple-A ... unless he pitches his way to Yankee Stadium.


"No matter where I end up I'm going to try to take it day by day and try to get better every day," he said. "If I keep throwing well, good things will happen."

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