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Random Minor League Notes: 2018 Edition
2 weeks ago  ::  Sep 06, 2018 - 1:56PM #351
Posts: 283

Vote now for the Pinstriped Prospects GCL Yankees Player of the Year:


2 weeks ago  ::  Sep 06, 2018 - 3:43PM #352
Posts: 28,515

Five Baby Bombers who could replace Domingo Acevedo in the Arizona Fall League

New York Yankees top prospect Domingo Acevedo's 2018 season is likely over, the result of the right-hander being placed on the Double-A Trenton disabled list on Sept. 4 with his second occurrence of a right biceps injury this season.

It is the DL stint for Acevedo overall this season, as he missed more than six weeks in April and May with a blister issue, was on the DL for five weeks (July 22-August 28) with his first biceps injury, and had made just one outing back in Trenton before being sent to the DL once again on September 3.

As a result of all that, he threw just 69 1/3 innings between Trenton and a short rehab stint in Staten Island during the regular season, prompting the Yankees to name him as one of seven players assigned to the Arizona Fall League, a list announced publicly on August 30. It would be the second straight AzFL stint for Acevedo, but due to the injury, it is possible the Yankees could decide to bypass that.

Acevedo is the only starting-capable pitcher of the Yankees' contingent, so if the Yankees do replace him, it will have to be with another starter. Who could that be? Well, using the other guidelines of the AzFL in regards to service time and levels achieved, as well as innings counts - no one here has exceeded their career high or 2017 innings totals -- here are five possible names to watch.

Let's get a little crazy to start off, shall we? AzFL rules say anyone with less than one year of MLB service time is eligible, and as of Sept. 1, German fits the bill (146 days, by unofficial count, but well short of the 172 needed to reach a year), so if his rights aren't retained on the reserve list of any winter ball team in the Dominican Republic, the opportunity is there.

Through the end of the minor-league season, German had thrown 90 2/3 innings, 33 shy of the total he threw in 2017; given the AzFL's 30-game schedule, a starter's max workload should be six or seven starts and around 30 innings -- Albert Abreu led the circuit with 27 2/3 last year -- so, even if German ends up in pinstripes at some point in October, perhaps this could be a way to, at worst, get in the extra innings he needs, and at best, keep German stretched out if he's needed in the postseason?

Speaking of Abreu, he threw 101 2/3 innings in 2016, but only 81 last year between the season and Arizona, and then 72 2/3 this year as of the end of the regular season. He might get another handful to a dozen if he remains in Trenton for the postseason, but after injuries once again sabotaged his season, could Abreu head back to Arizona to get to 100 innings and/or see if he's still a viable 40-man roster option for the Yankees going forward?

Semple, a south Jersey native, was the Yankees' 11th-round pick last year and impressed in his first full pro season, posting a 2.95 ERA in 61 innings across three affiliates, mostly Staten Island (45 IP). He did make two starts at Charleston and one at Tampa, though, holding his own in the former and having a rough go in the latter, so he has faced a higher level of competition at times.

Many times, as evidenced even by the two above, AzFL starters are assigned as a means to add some additional innings; Semple threw 111 2/3 last year between college and the GCL, but had just 61 in official ball this season; if his Extended Spring workload was manageable beyond that, Semple could be an interesting addition to the fall staff.

Yes, that is his real name, and this is his second pro season after being a 22nd-round pick out of Seattle in 2017. Junk spent about two-thirds of this season in Charleston, going 7-5 with a 3.77 ERA in 88 innings pitched. His progression has gone from 68 as a college sophomore in 2016 to 88 2/3 between college and the pros in 2017 to that 88 this year, so another 25 or so innings in Arizona would be right on line to building him up for a pretty full season in A-ball next year.

We have to get creative with this pick, as a lot of the sexy names at the upper levels are either injured, well past innings logs, or international players likely to play winter ball in their native country. Sanmartin is neither of the first two and there is no winter league restriction for players from Colombia, so he could be a bit of a wild card here.

Sanmartin was acquired from Texas for Ronald Herrera last winter, and he pitched at four different levels in 2018 -- from Staten Island to Trenton -- and posted a combined 2.81 ERA in 67 1/3 innings, with only one earned run allowed in 17 combined innings at Tampa and Trenton. He was originally signed at 19 years old, so he will be Rule 5 eligible this offseason, and even though his innings totals the last three years have been consistent (from 61 1/3 to 66 to 67 1/3) and he may be in line for a few more with Trenton this postseason, another 20-25 in Arizona could help the Yankees make a decision on his future. 

2 weeks ago  ::  Sep 07, 2018 - 3:19PM #353
Posts: 283

Voting is now open for the Pulaski Yankees and Staten Island Yankees player of the year honors:

Here are the links:
Pulaski Yankees:

Staten Island Yankees:

2 weeks ago  ::  Sep 08, 2018 - 11:05PM #354
Posts: 283

The next set of Player of the Year polls are up:

Here is the RiverDogs:

Tampa Tarpons:

Trenton Thunder:

Also here is the Draft Poll:

2 weeks ago  ::  Sep 09, 2018 - 3:37PM #355
Posts: 283

The Yankees acquired Luis Gil from the Twins for Jake Cave, and the Right-hander had a successful first year with them.


1 week ago  ::  Sep 13, 2018 - 1:07PM #356
Posts: 283
Ron Marinaccio showed poise in the backend of the bullpen.  Ricky Keeler has the story:

6 days ago  ::  Sep 15, 2018 - 10:49AM #357
Posts: 28,515

Baseball America released their Minor League All-Star Teams today. LHP Justus Sheffield was a First Team All-Star while RHP Mike King made the Second Team. “The 2014 first-round pick keeps getting better every year and now is on the brink of the majors … Sheffield allowed just four home runs all season, and his .195 opponent average ranked eighth in the minors overall,” says the write-up.

5 days ago  ::  Sep 15, 2018 - 2:44PM #358
Posts: 283

We have received a copy of the 2018 Yankees Florida Instructional League roster, here you go:


3 days ago  ::  Sep 18, 2018 - 11:21AM #359
Posts: 283

Kyle Gray might not have had the stats you like to see but he did have a measure of success with the SI Yanks this year.


2 days ago  ::  Sep 19, 2018 - 10:46AM #360
Posts: 28,515

A closer look at the standout seasons from the Yankees’ 2018 farm system

Many Yankees prospects had standout seasons in 2018. How much should we buy in to their performances?

I always get a foreboding feeling l at the close of the Minor League season. It’s the first sign of the rapidly approaching baseball offseason and, for me, the most boring part of the year. Sure enough, that familiar feeling crept up once again when the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders dropped the Governors’ Cup to the Durham Bulls.

With the completion of the Yankees’ minor league seasons, one can assess some of the standout performances from the 2018 season. I’m going to ignore guys like Justus Sheffield, who were highly-touted and gave performances to match. Instead, I’ll focus on recognizable names that faltered or guys who seemingly came out of nowhere to have fantastic seasons.

I’m the kind of person that likes to hear bad news before good news, so let’s start with Chance Adams. The 2015 draft pick took a pretty major step back at Triple-A this season after impressing at the level in 2017. Adams had offseason surgery to remove a bone spur in his pitching elbow, and he never found his stride.

Adams saw a drop in fastball velocity, working around 91-93 mph in 2018 after being at 93-95 mph in prior seasons. Additionally, Adams’ walks and earned runs increased, while strikeouts and home runs increased – not exactly a winning combination. In 11 of his 23 minor league starts, Adams failed to last beyond the fourth inning, and that’s simply because of his diminished post-surgery stuff. Everyone responds differently from surgeries, but Adams’ performance this season definitely has me concerned about his future as a starter. A move to the bullpen could be in order.

The right-hander worked out of the bullpen at the end of the Triple-A season and it went rather well. In five relief appearances, the Dallas Baptist product seemed to find the consistency that had alluded him as a starter. The Yankees will still bring Adams into spring training next season as a starting pitcher, and they absolutely should. Still, that doesn’t mean a move to the bullpen isn’t totally out of the question in the future. Kevin Reese, the Yankees’ Senior Director of Player Development, recently told DJ Eberle that Adams in the bullpen might be an “avenue,” the team could take in the future, but they’re comfortable with Chance the starter for now.

Like Adams, Estevan Florial also dealt with an injury that hindered his 2018 campaign, but even a fractured hamate bone didn’t completely derail his season. Florial put up a triple-slash line of .255/.354/.361, which could certainly be seen as a disappointment, but I would disagree.

The .361 slugging percentage certainly sticks out as the glaring weakness in Florial’s line, but that should be mostly excused. Florial dealt with an injury on his right hand that is notorious for sapping a hitter’s power, and his 2018 slugging percentage is well below his career minor league numbers.

Hamate injuries are relatively common amongst baseball players. Giancarlo StantonJuan Soto, and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. have all dealt with hamate injuries in recent seasons, and they’ve all completely bounced back. It takes a while for a player’s power to return after a hamate fracture, but once it’s back, it’s back. Stanton knocked 59 homers in 2017 after hamate surgery knocked him out of the second half of the 2015 season, for example.

The biggest knock on Florial since he came onto the scene was his aggressive approach and propensity for striking out, and in 2018, the Yankees’ top positional prospect took a step forward in correcting those issues. In 2017, Florial spent a majority of the season with Low-A Charleston and posted a 31.9% strikeout rate and a 10.5% walk rate. This season he struck out at a 25.7% clip and brought his walk rate up to 13%. While there’s certainly still plenty of room for improvement in Florial’s game, his season wasn’t completely tanked by the injury, and his prospect stock is still just as high as it’s ever been.

Another player with prospect stock as high as it’s ever been was Florial’s Tampa teammate, Deivi Garcia. The 19-year-old right-handed starter has been a revelation for Yankees fans this season, and with the season he had, he’s been worth all the praise. Garcia spent time at three levels this season. The bulk of his season was spent at Low-A Charleston, was even better with Tampa, and got one final start with Double-A Trenton at the end of the season.

Despite Garcia’s diminutive stature, his stuff is nasty. His fastball sits in the low-to-mid 90’s, but strong spin rates allow him to overpower hitters. Similarly, Garcia’s curveball possesses an optimal spin rate, which according to MLB Pipeline, “generates plus grades on a regular basis and serves as his best pitch.” If Garcia stays healthy and can continue to improve his changeup, his future is as bright as any in the farm system right now. But even if the third pitch doesn’t develop, Garcia’s plus fastball and curve could help him carve out a role in the bullpen.

A promotion to Double-A for a 19-year-old pitcher is no small feat. A Yankees pitching prospect hasn’t reached that level at that age in a quite a few years. Manny Banuelos spent time with Trenton in 2010, but that’s pretty much it. Luis Severino wasn’t at Double-A at 19, neither was Phil HughesDellin BetancesJoba Chamberlain, or Ian Kennedy. Deivi Garcia could have a very bright future ahead of him, and his 2018 campaign might have been the first real steps towards something really special.

Speaking of real breakout years, starting pitcher Mike King really came out of nowhere to burst onto the scene this season. King came to the Yankees via the Marlins in a trade that netted the Yankees international bonus pool money and sent Garrett Cooper and Caleb Smith to Miami. Admittedly, I completely forgot about this trade until a couple months into the season, but it could be one that pays dividends to the Yankees as early as next season.

King, like Garcia, spent time at three levels this season and absolutely dominated at all of them. He not only led all Yankees minor leaguers in innings but posted a 1.79 ERA while increasing his strikeout rate from 6.4/9 in 2017 to 8.5/9 this season. To increase one’s strikeout rates while simultaneously climbing the organizational ladder is no small feat.

There’s no doubting King had a great year, but does he actually profile as a quality starter moving forward? I think so, but he’s most likely not going to dominate the big leagues like he did the minors in 2018. John Sickels of Minor League Ball says: “King stands out for his fastball control and the movement on his sinker. Reports on his secondary pitches are mixed and it is uncertain if he starts or relieves in the long run, but I can see him as a workhorse in either role.”

So while King certainly has some quality tools, he still needs to refine his secondary offerings if he wants to translate his minor league success into big league success. King finished his season at Triple-A Scranton, so he should definitely get a look at a rotation spot in spring training next year.

That leaves Brandon Wagner. The lefty-swinging, righty-throwing first baseman put together a very strong 2018 season seemingly out of nowhere. The Bombers drafted Wagner as a second baseman in 2015 during the sixth round, but the Yankees quickly made him a first baseman primarily. After being assigned to Tampa to begin the 2018 season, Wagner started making headlines.

In 87 games with the Tarpons, he slugged 20 homers, tying him for second place in the Florida State League for the whole season. Wagner also showed an advanced eye, posting a .376 OBP and a 12% walk rate for High-A. After being named a Florida State League All-Star, Wagner was promoted to Double-A Trenton.

At Trenton, Wagner still showed some of the tools that got him to that level, but his performance evened out as well. Like many hitters before him, he fell victim to the cavernous Arm & Hammer Park and only knocked one homer with Trenton. Although Wagner was still a serviceable player, his offensive effectiveness definitely took a hit with the promotion.

Wagner has a little bit of defensive versatility. He saw most of his action at first base this year, but he spent some time at second, third, and in left too. Wagner’s breakout season was great, but I’m skeptical of his big league future. At six-foot, 210 pounds, he’s not a behemoth over at first, but he likely won’t have the foot speed to really be a serviceable option at third or second moving forward. Without some solid power skills, it’s hard to see how he can crack a big league roster. Time will tell if his 2018 season was just be a mirage.

This is by no means an exhaustive list. There were plenty of other guys who put up great numbers or had injury-riddled campaigns that could’ve easily been included in the article too. These were five names from guys in the upper levels of the minor leagues that really stuck out to me this season, and I’ll definitely continue to keep a very close eye on the Yankees’ farm system.

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