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Random Minor League Notes: 2014 Edition
8 years ago  ::  Nov 07, 2013 - 4:55PM #91
Posts: 66,015

A look at Brett Gerritse

  • 11/06/13
  • 02:09

Yankees Magazine takes a look at Yankees pitching prospect, Brett Gerritse, who has been selected to play in the Arizona Fall League.

"Leave the gun. Take the cannoli."
8 years ago  ::  Nov 08, 2013 - 6:44PM #92
Posts: 66,015

Minor league and winter ball notes: Nuno on a roll in Arizona

It’s been a couple of weeks since we’ve had one of these. In that time, Baseball American has released it’s annual list of minor league free agents. No one from the Yankees list should come as a surprise. It’s made primarily of guys who were signed as minor league free agents in the first place.

Of this group, Sam Demel might want to come back — kind of like David Herndon — if only because the Yankees have some bullpen jobs legitimately up for grabs, and Demel has both big league experience and strong numbers with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Walter Ibarra might also re-sign to fill his familiar organizational utility role. He’s not a bad defender.

Here are the Yankees minor league free agents, as reported by Baseball America.

RHP: Cory Arbiso (AA), Sam Demel (AAA), Yoshinori Tateyama (AAA)
C: Bobby Wilson (AAA)
1B: Andrew Clark (AA), Randy Ruiz (AAA)
2B: Reegie Corona (AA)
SS: Walter Ibarra (AAA)
OF: Fernando Martinez (AAA), Corey Patterson (AAA)

Vidal Nuno• Through his first two Arizona Fall League starts, it seemed Vidal Nuno was falling apart. Far more advanced than most of his AFL competition, Nuno struggled in his first two outings, but in his past three appearances, Nuno’s gone 13 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 11 K. Suddenly, his Fall League ERA is down to a strong 3.20. It was up to 8.10 at one point.

• Speaking of getting on a roll in the Fall League, Mason Williams has an 11-game hitting streak. Most have been one-hit games, so his overall numbers aren’t overwhelming, but he’s hitting a solid .274/.338/.339 through 62 at-bats. He’s 3-for-4 stealing bases, but he’s had just one extra-base hit in his past nine games (not counting the game when he entered as a pinch runner and didn’t get an at-bat).

• Still a bit of a weird Fall League for Peter O’Brien, who has just 10 hits (a .196 batting average), six of which have gone for extra bases (a .471 slugging percentage). O’Brien continues to split time between catcher and third base, and he’s hit four home runs, but he’s also struck out 20 times in 51 at-bats.

• The infield experiment seems to have ended for Adonis Garcia. The Cuban outfielder is in Venezuela this winter, and it’s been more than two weeks since he got any time at third base (he played there a few times early). He’s basically rotated through all three outfield positions — mostly right field — while hitting .292/.333/.477 in 65 at-bats. He’s had seven hits in his past three games. He could absolutely hit his way into the big league picture this season, especially if Zoilo Almonte stumbles.

• Speaking of Zoilo Almonte, he’s in the Dominican, playing almost exclusively in left field, and hitting .246/.313/.344. He homered in each of his first two games this winter, but he hasn’t had an extra-base hit since. He continues to be much better from the left side of the plate. He’s hitting .300 against right-handers this winter; .143 against lefties.

Mustelier• Winter struggles continue for Ronnier Mustelier. He’s hitting .227/.333/.280 in Mexico, where he was awfully good last winter. The one positive in his numbers comes from the 12 walks against 14 strikeouts in 75 at-bats. He remains a middle-of-the-order hitter for Culiacan, but he hasn’t hit for as much power as expected. He’s coming off a down year in Triple-A as well, and for a guy like Mustelier — an older and largely untouted prospect — there’s not much margin for error. He can fall off the radar rather quickly if things turn south.

• Despite all the prospect buzz, Gary Sanchez is still very young, which means he’s not getting much playing time in Dominican. He’s gotten into seven games — one as a pinch hitter — and he’s hitting .150/.150/.150 with six strikeouts in 20 at-bats. The Dominican Winter League is pretty advanced for him. Shouldn’t expect big things from him just yet, not even in winter ball.

• My inclination is to make very little of it, but it’s certainly worth noting that Jose Pirela continues to rake in Venezuela. Playing both second base and left field, Pirela is hitting .308/.409/.538 through 91 at-bats. He’s started getting a lot of at-bats in the No. 2 and No. 3 spots in the order. Pirela’s been a pretty good Double-A hitter as well, but there’s never been any indication that the Yankees have high expectations for him (as evidenced by keeping him in Trenton for three years). Maybe he can hit his way on the radar, but I’m not sure he’s there yet.

Maruszak• Since replacing Tyler Austin in the Arizona Fall League, Addison Maruszak is hitting .222/.440/.278 through six games. He’s walked seven times in 18 at-bats, which is pretty much the only way to explain such an unusual slash line. Able to play literally any position except pitcher, Maruszak has gotten all of his time at first base, third base and DH which makes sense considering he’s filling in for Austin.

• The other Yankees pitchers in the Fall League: Lefty Fred Lewis has yet to allow a run. He has a perfect 0.00 ERA through nine relief appearances, however he’s allowed eight hits and five walks. Lefties have had more success against him than righties. … You see some ugly Fall League pitching lines every year, and right-hander Brett Gerritse has one at the moment. Through 8.2 innings, he’s allowed nine hits, nine walks and 10 earned runs. He was charged with a blown save in each of his past two appearances. … James Pazos was pitching pretty well in Arizona before back-to-back three-hit outings. He still has a strong 2.45 ERA out of the bullpen, but it’s more telling that opponents are hitting .313 against him. He has a 2.18 Fall League WHIP.

Associated Press photo of Nuno; headshots of Mustelier and Maruszak

"Leave the gun. Take the cannoli."
8 years ago  ::  Nov 08, 2013 - 6:58PM #93
Posts: 32,868

2014 Breakout Candidate: Rookie Davis

Rookie Davis2

The Basics:

Name: Rookie Davis
Age: 20
Draft: 2011 14th round pick out of Dixon High School in Holly Ridge, NC
Size: 6-foot-3, 235-pounds
Fastball: 95 mph
Other Pitchers: Fastball, Curve, Change
BBDP Ranking: 17
Position: RHP

The 2011 draft’s lot of starting pitchers looks better and better with each passing year. The Yankees were able to draft and sign Jordan Cote, Dan Camarena, Matt Tracy, Chaz Hebert, Joey Maher, and Rookie Davis. Imagine if they had managed to sign their 10th round draft pick that year (Jonathan Gray). Anyway, that’s besides the point. While no one from this class has stepped forward and become a star, all are making good progress and seem to be solid picks.

This year might be the year where one guy steps forward and garners top prospect attention. If I had to place a bet on which player that would be, my money would be on Rookie Davis.

Davis didn’t get to play much in 2012. In fact, he had a flu-like illness which sapped him of all of his energy just as the GCL season was about to start. Because of that he only pitched 17.0 innings in his debut season. He did manage 17 K and a 2.65 ERA during that small stretch, but the velocity was down from when he was drafted (low 90′s in 2011) and the secondary stuff took a bit of a hit.

Davis took the off season to work back to full strength and it showed in 2013. As the Penn League Report pointed out, his fastball sat anywhere between 92-95 this season and he was able to locate it on either side of the plate.

Davis was back to his old self and then some, and the statistics bear that out. The Yankees had enough confidence to boost Davis to Staten Island where he boasted a 2.36 ERA on the season. In total, between Staten Island and Low-A Charleston, he had a 1.90 ERA with 47 K in 52.0 innings. He walked just 13 on the season. For the record, his ERA in 10.0 Low-A innings was 0.00.

After that kind of season as a 20 year old, if you don’t know Rookie’s name it’s time you learned it.

The Stuff:

As mentioned above, Davis will sit anywhere between 92-95 with the fastball and has the ability to locate it wherever he wants. He has good, simple mechanics and repeats his delivery well. He gets some solid movement on the fastball.

His second pitch is the change up. He throws it at 82-84 mph and has good fade on his better days. His change up is still a work in progress but he is able to throw it for strikes, which is half the battle at this age.

His third pitch is a curveball, which ranges 70-75. It’s a bit loopy now, but he has worked hard on sharpening it up and it has already seen improvement since 2012. He’ll look to gain some velocity and tighten the spin on that curveball in 2014.


After the uptick in velocity and improvement in stuff in 2013, Rookie’s ceiling has improved vastly to a possible front of the rotation starter. He has the velocity, now all he has to do is refine his secondary stuff and he’ll be sitting pretty as one of the top prospects in baseball.

His floor improved vastly along with his velocity. He now profiles at worst as a late inning reliever provided that he doesn’t get injured and ruin his arm. This is obviously no guarantee in the Yankees hard luck system.

2014 Outlook:

Davis will start the 2014 season in Charleston. From there, as long as he performs well, he should be in High-A Ocala before the end of the season. With his stuff and control, there’s no reason he shouldn’t get that promotion at some point.

Davis has put himself on the prospect radar with his performance in 2013, and now his job in 2014 will be to launch himself into top prospect status. He has the talent, he just has to continue to show it in games. The earliest I could see Davis arriving in the MLB would be 2016.

Rookie is probably the best of the breakout candidates for 2014. If he is able to play to his ability it will go a long way towards elevating the Yankees farm system status.

8 years ago  ::  Nov 10, 2013 - 3:30PM #94
Posts: 32,868

Yankees Prospect Interview: Derek Toadvine


Derek Toadvine was drafted by the Yankees in the 22nd round of the 2013 MLB draft. The right-handed hitting second baseman batted a fairly decent .237/.329/.279 (93 wRC+) with seven stolen bases in his pro debut with the Staten Island Yankees. He committed only nine errors with a .965 fielding percentage over 54 games in the field.

How was your first professional season with the Yankees?

My first professional season with the Yankees was really a great opportunity! It's been a dream of mine to play professionally and now I am.

What was the best part of the season?

The best part of the season was just actually getting to play and making friendships with my teammates.

How has the Yankee coaching staff helped you improve your game? What advice have they given you?

The yankee coaching staff has helped me a lot! They video out at-bats so it's nice to be able to come in and talk with our hitting coach while watching the at-bats.

What is the biggest difference you have noticed between playing in college and pro ball?

The biggest difference between pro ball and college I would say is the grind! We play a lot more games and it's pretty much every day.

What did you improve on the most in 2013?

I feel like my offensive game has improved, I tried to be a really good leadoff hitter and work the count and battle with two strikes.

What are you looking to improve on in 2014?

In 2014 I'm actually looking to switch-hit, I worked all this past pro season drilling it and all this offseason I'm spending a lot of time hitting left-handed and hopefully I can manage to make that a part of my game

What is your offseason work regime like as you prepare for 2014?

I'm spending it at Kent State where I attended college and working out and training with past teammates that are now playing pro ball and, like I said before, trying to perfect my switch-hitting.

Thanks Derek and good luck on your switch to switch-hitting. You can follow him on Twitter @dtoad2KSU while you wait for the 2014 season.

8 years ago  ::  Nov 13, 2013 - 6:49PM #95
Posts: 32,868

Prospect Park: Aaron Judge


The Basics:

Name: Aaron Judge
Position: CF
Handedness: Bats and throws right-handed
Age: 21
Draft: 2013, 1st round, 32nd pick out of Fresno State
Size: 6-foot-7
Best Tool: Power, Arm
BBDP Rank: 18

The Yankees snuck away with three excellent first round draft picks this year. Aaron Judge is the only of the three who didn’t play a single inning this season. He also has more potential than any other pick the Yankees made this year in the draft. It was a difficult path for Judge and the Yankees this year, as he didn’t sign right up until the deadline. When he finally did sign, he had a nagging injury that held him out of the lineup for the entire season.

Despite the tumultuous first season, Judge is still drawing comparisons to players like Giancarlo Stanton. At 6-foot-7 those comparisons were bound to surface. He is physically massive and has a cannon for an arm. He has also shown that he can hit for power in college. Overall he is a high risk, high reward type of player who could end up being one of the best the Yankees’ system has to offer.

Judge had a prolific college career after being drafted and going unsigned in the 32nd round by the Oakland A’s out of high school. As a freshman, Judge hit .358 with a .433 OBP. He had 2 HR, 12 doubles, and one triple. He went through a bit of a sophomore slump, hitting .308/.441 with four homeruns, 14 doubles, and two triples. His junior year he had a breakout season. He hit .373 with a .460 OBP, 12 HR, 15 doubles, and four triples. That was good for a .663 slugging percentage and a 1.123 OPS. These are college numbers so don’t expect them to translate 100%, but it’s safe to say he put up video game numbers in 2013.


Physically, Judge is one of the finest specimens the entire draft had to offer. He also has unmatched raw power. At his size he is most likely going to struggle with contact. He has a large strike zone and it takes him a bit longer to get to the ball than others. That said, for his size he has quick hands.

His power is about as good as it gets in this draft. His batting practice produces majestic bombs left and right. He won the homerun derby in college.

He is a relatively fast runner, although he probably profiles best in RF long term. His range is solid but not great, and he has plus arm strength. His speed is above average and will allow him to steal some bases but he’s no Brett Gardner.

The main question with Judge will be whether he can hit for a good average to supplement his power, and whether the power will show up in games or not. If so, he could be a beast.


The ceiling is Giancarlo Stanton, nuff said. The floor is a low average, high strikeout, power hitter. He has a vast ceiling for the Yankees, and they were lucky to gobble up a guy with that type of ceiling where they got him in the draft.

2014 Outlook:

Judge will likely start out in Charleston. There is speculation by some that he will start in Staten Island because he didn’t play there last year, but I consider that doubtful given his age and his talent level. From there his talent could make him a fast mover. If he does what he should in Charleston he will move up to Tampa right quick. From there it’s anyone’s guess. He could be in the majors as soon as 2016 but could take as long as 4-5 years to reach that point. At this point 2016-2018 would be the ETA.

Judge has a lot of people excited for 2014, including myself. Depending on who the Yankees choose to send to Charleston, it could be packed with possible future stars. Personally, I will be watching closely to see if Judge could be that type of player.

8 years ago  ::  Nov 13, 2013 - 6:51PM #96
Posts: 32,868
Update: Yankees will make no changes to player development staff

By Nov. 12th: Hal Steinbrenner told reporters the team will make no changes to the player development staff, so Newman will remain in his current role. They are making changes to their player development system that Hal called “procedural.” So nothing. They’re doing nothing, basically.

8 years ago  ::  Nov 14, 2013 - 9:23PM #97
Posts: 32,868
Crasnick: Yankees sign Antoan Richardson to minor league contract

By Via Jerry Crasnick: The Yankees have signed outfielder Antoan Richardson to a minor league contract. The Bahamas-born and Florida-raised switch-hitter also received an invitation to Spring Training and will be with the big league squad in camp.

Richardson, 30, hit .285/.402/.371 (126 wRC+) in 523 plate appearances split between Double-A and Triple-A with the Twins this past season. He received a brief cup of coffee with the Braves in September 2011. Richardson is a classic leadoff hitter, drawings lots of walks (15.9%) with not many strikeouts (17.8%) or much power (two homers (!) and .064 ISO) over the last three seasons. He can steal bases (83-for-100 since 2011) and old scouting reports indicate he’s a very good defensive outfielder.

If nothing else, Triple-A Scranton will have one helluva leadoff hitter next season. Richardson could get an opportunity to make the team in a fifth outfielder’s role if the Yankees dump both Ichiro Suzuki and Vernon Wells this winter, but that seems unlikely. If New York manages to sneak back into the postseason in 2014, I suppose Richardson could be considered for the honorary Freddy Guzman role of pinch-running specialist.

8 years ago  ::  Nov 15, 2013 - 1:01PM #98
Posts: 32,868

Predicting the Biggest 2014 Breakout Prospect in Each MLB Team's System

Jose Ramirez, RHP, New York Yankees


After three seasons between both Class-A levels, Jose Ramirez, 23, finally put everything together this past year.

Nobody ever questioned the quality of his stuff or ability to miss bats, but a lack of control and consistency always held him back. This year, however, the 6’3” right-hander was a different pitcher, as his fastball-slider combo proved to be deadly against minor league hitters and he made noticeable strides with the changeup.

Ramirez got off to an excellent start with Double-A Trenton, registering a 2.76 ERA and .192 BAA with a 50-15 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 42.1 innings, and the organization felt good enough about his development to promote him to Triple-A.

Making eight starts for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre of the International League, Ramirez posted a 4.88 ERA and a 28-21 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 31.1 innings before landing on the disabled list in late July. Despite the injury, the right-hander is likely to open the 2014 season back at the level and could reach the major leagues by the All-Star break with a hot start.

8 years ago  ::  Nov 15, 2013 - 1:04PM #99
Posts: 32,868

Yankees prospects gain seasoning in winter ball


Just because the major league season is over doesn’t mean baseball is done. Several of the Yankees’ top prospects are honing their skills in winter ball, both in the United States and abroad. Here are some of the more notable performers and performances:

Vidal Nuno

The 26-year-old lefthander appeared in five games, starting three, for the Yankees in 2013. His calling card is excellent control. Nuno walked six in 20 MLB innings and issued two walks in 25 minor league innings in 2013. He owns a career 1.7 walks per nine innings rate in 428 minor league innings.

Nuno has carried that trademark accuracy into the Arizona Fall League. He’s pitched 19.2 innings (five games, four starts), walking three and striking out 18. He has a 3.20 ERA and 1.17 WHIP.

Tyler Austin

At the outset of 2013, Austin, 22, appeared to be one of the Yankees’ more promising prospects. And while he didn’t totally sink during his first extended taste of Double-A baseball, hitting .257 with a .344 on-base percentage and six home runs in 83 games, he didn’t exactly star either.

Austin has only had 12 at-bats in the Arizona Fall League, but has four hits, including a triple, and has walked twice. He’s struck out just once.

Gary Sanchez

The power-hitting catcher , who turns 21 in December, hit 15 home runs in 2013 at Class-A advanced and Double-A. It was his third consecutive season with a double-digit home run total. Still, his .253 average, .324 OBP and .412 slugging percentage weren’t anything to write home about.

Playing in the Dominican Winter League for Toros del Este, Sanchez has struggled. In 23 at-bats, he’s batting just .130. He has only three hits – none for extra bases – and hasn’t drawn a walk. He’s struck out seven times.

Zoilo Almonte

The 24-year-old corner outfielder received 113 major league plate appearances in 2013, batting .236 with a home run.

The switch-hitter has been playing in the Dominican Winter League for Aguilas Cibaenas. Almonte is hitting .305 with a .352 OBP and two home runs in 82 at-bats.

Mason Williams

Much like Austin, the 22-year-old Williams came into the 2013 season a highly-touted outfielder that ultimately failed to impress. In 117 games split between Class-A advanced and Double-A, Williams hit .245 with a .304 OBP and four home runs. He particularly struggled after his promotion to Double-A.

He’s performed only marginally better in the Arizona Fall League, hitting .267 with a .330 OBP and no home runs in 86 at-bats.

8 years ago  ::  Nov 16, 2013 - 6:25PM #100
Posts: 66,015

Yankees sign infielder Zelous Wheeler


Wheeler should provide some infield depth down in Triple-A for the Yankees.

According to Matt Eddy, the Yankees have signed infielder Zelous Wheeler to a minor league contract. There's no official word if he got an invite to big league camp, but I would have to assume so, though, of course, I could be wrong.

Wheeler, who turns 27 in mid-January, played primarily at third base last year (59 games), but also appeared at second (36 games), DH (13 games), and shortstop (five games) split between Double-A and Triple-A in the Baltimore Orioles' system. Wheeler hit .275/.354/.414 in 461 total plate appearances in 2013 with no real platoon split. Over the course of his seven-year career in the minors, Wheeler is a .271/.366/.414 hitter in 3101 PA's. Wheeler has also yet to appear in the Major Leagues.

If anything, Zelous has a really cool name. I would suspect Zelous to provide some infield depth down at Triple-A Scranton next year if/when he doesn't break camp with the big league team. Obviously, a lot of things would have to go horribly wrong if Wheeler is the team's Opening Day third baseman on April 1 in Houston.

"Leave the gun. Take the cannoli."
8 years ago  ::  Nov 17, 2013 - 1:01PM #101
Posts: 66,015

2013 AZFL Wrap-Up

The 2013 Arizona Fall League season has wrapped up and it wasn't a very exciting one for the corps of Yankee representatives.  Here's how they all ended up statistically:

- Tyler Austin: .333/.438/.500 in 12 AB
- Mason Williams: .267/.330/.337 in 86 AB
- Peter O'Brien: .190/.212/.413 in 63 AB
- Addison Maruszak: .281/.452/.344 in 32 AB

Rough go for O'Brien, who struck out 26 times in his 63 at-bats.  He did lead the team with 4 HR and 13 RBI though, so the power continues to show through.  Also a disappointing performance for Mason Williams, who continues to show little power and not really enough average or OBP to make up for it.

- Vidal Nuno: 5 G, 3.20 ERA, 18 K/3 BB in 19.2 IP
- Brett Gerritse: 9 G, 9.26 ERA, 12 K/11 BB in 11.2 IP
- Fred Lewis: 11 G, 0.00 ERA, 10 K/5 BB in 11.0 IP
- James Pazos: 10 G, 1.74 ERA, 9 K/7 BB in 10.1 IP

Real strong finish for Nuno after a poor first 2 starts.  His plus command continues to be noteworthy.  Not a bad showing for Lewis either.  He's still way down on the food chain when it comes to Major League lefty bullpen options, but working 11 scoreless innings in a hitters league is not too shabby.
"Leave the gun. Take the cannoli."
8 years ago  ::  Nov 17, 2013 - 5:02PM #102
Posts: 32,868

Top 10 Yankees Pitching Prospects


Rafael Depaula3

1. Rafael DePaula: “RDP” RHP, 6-foot-3, 212-pounds, 21 – Looking forward to seeing what this guy can do now that he finally has a full season under his belt. He tired towards the end of the year last year but that was most likely because he had never come close to throwing that amount of innings. He still has phenomenal stuff but his control faultered towards the end of the year. Look for him to have a much better season in 2014 and to carry his success much deeper into the year.

2.  Jose Ramirez: ”J-Ram”: RHP,  6-foot-1, 185-pounds, 23 – Health is clearly the most important thing for him. That, and showing some consistency with the slider. If he can do those two things he will be an effective major league starter. He really does have front end stuff so he will be a fun guy to watch. He will get a shot at the rotation eventually and he may come out of nowhere to surprise a lot of people with his talent. The slider is key to his success though.

3.  Jose Campos: “J-Cam”: RHP, 6-foot-4, 195-pounds, 20 – Gil Patterson states that his innings will still be limited next year. The main thing that could limit his innings is his health though. He should be primed to throw about 137.0 innings next year if all goes well. That’s basically a full season. His arm seems to be back to full strength since about the second half of the season in 2013. When healthy, he is a top prospect and may end up on some top 100 lists with a healthy, effective season next year.

4. Luis Severino: “Lu-sever” RHP 6-foot-0, 195-pounds, 19 – He finished his first stateside season with a 2.45 ERA in 44.0 innings. He struck out 53 during that time. At just 19 he held his own in Charleston and continued to strike out more than one batter per inning while demonstrating pinpoint control with just 2.0 BB/9. He absolutely has top prospect potential and will likely start next year in Charleston. He has fantastic stuff and will be a forcec to be reckoned with in this farm system going forward.

5.  Manny Banueolos: “ManBan”: LHP, 5-foot-11, 200-pounds, 22 – It seems that Manny has lost his luster to most as a prospect. Not me. I am eagerly anticipating his return to action which will happen next season. Still young for his level, still has ace potential. The guy is a beast when healthy, which will be his main concern going forward. He has great stuff and a great makeup. Control and health will be the major issues going forward.

6. Ian Clarkin: “IC” LHP, 6-foot-2, 206-pounds, 18 years old – He’s a polished young left hander who already sits in the 90′s with his fastball and has some secondary pitches which he of course will need to work on. He disppointed a bit in his limited debut with the GCL, but he’ll have 10 years to erase the memory of his debut, and the sample size means absolutely nothing. Anytime you have a lefty of this caliber in your system it’s a major positive. Now it’s time for their development team to prove they can take raw talent and turn it into an ace.

7. Rookie Davis: RHP, 6-foot-4, 235-pounds, 20 – In 52.0 innings this season, he had 11 earned runs, 13 walks (2.2 BB/9), and 47 K (8.1 K/9). He had a 1.90 ERA. It’s a long road ahead for this kid but he’s only getting better. He truly has front of the rotation potential. Now up to 95 on the velo, and his stuff is legit. The secondary stuff still has some work but has been steadily improving. If he can continue to improve the secondary offerings he will become a guy with front end potential.

8. Nik Turley: “Turley Bird” LHP, 6-foot-6, 230-pounds, 22 –  Finished strong in Double-A and managed to throw a career high 145 innings this year. He has struck out 8.8/9 innings, and got his ERA down to 3.79 by the end of the year. As a 6-foot-6 lefty who sits low 90′s, he’s got a shot to make an impact as a major leaguer. Probably the most major league ready lefty in the system outside of Vidal Nuno, but he also has the size and the stuff to be a third starter.

9. Ty Hensley: RHP, 6-foot-4, 220-pounds, 19 – We were all disappointed to hear about Ty’s season ending surgery, but the good news is that it wasn’t his arm and other pitchers have come back to their baseline after similar surgeries. Hopefully this is the end of his injury bug and he will enjoy a long and healthy career. He apparently lived his whole life with decreased flexibility in that hip, and the surgery will increase that flexibility. It’s possible he could actually be better now than before. I will take a wait and see approach with Ty in the meantime.

10.Daniel Camarena: “DanCam”: LHP, 6-foot-0, 200-pounds, 20 – The Yankees had enough faith in this guy to put in him a full season league at the age of just 20. The reason for that is his polish. He’s a lefty with a low 90′s fastball and extraordinary secondary offerings. His hallmark is superior control. The Yankees are huge fans of this kid and there’s good reason for it. He could be an important piece of the future for this club. If he can go up a few ticks on his velocity like Manny Banuelos did he could be a front end starter, but that’s a big if.

8 years ago  ::  Nov 17, 2013 - 5:06PM #103
Posts: 32,868

2014 Breakout Candidate: Brady Lail


Brady Lail

The Basics:

BBDP Nickname: Brail
Name: Brady Lail
Age: 20
Draft: 2012 18th round pick out of South Jordan, Utah
Size: 6-foot-2, 195-pounds
Fastball: 94 mph
Other Pitchers: Fastball, Curveball, Change up
BBDP Ranking: 35
Position: RHP
Twitter: blail3
Fun Fact: Lail has a tattoo that says “Success stops when you do.”

Drafted in the 18th round of the 2012 draft, Brady Lail is yet another late round find by the Yankees that appears to be panning out. It seems the Yankees are developing a penchant for finding players like him. Just 170-pounds when he was drafted, he has packed on 25 pounds of muscle and now weighs 195-pounds. In addition to the muscle gain, he has also added a few ticks onto his velocity this year. This took him from a promising young athlete to a guy to watch out for in just one year’s time.

Lail, who grew up a Mets fan, has quickly switched his alliance. He’s proven that by being one of the better young pitchers in the GCL this year. Last year, at the age of 18, Lail pitched to a 1.42 ERA in just 12.2 innings. He notched 10 strikeouts along the way, and walked just two batters.

In 2013 Lail really strutted his stuff in the GCL and showed why he will garner some consideration for a spot in a full season league next year. Lail had 61.2 innings this year and had a 2.92 ERA across 12 starts and 14 appearances. He let up just eight walks and had 56 strikeouts. That’s good for a 7.00 K/BB ratio. His BB/9 rate is just 1.2. Take away his two starts in Tampa (at the age of 19), and his numbers look even better. His ERA drops to 2.33, his walk rate goes down to 0.8 BB/9, and his K/BB ratio climbs to 10.2.

The Stuff:

Brady Lail is one of those guys you love to have on your team. He throws strikes, and still will strike out about a batter per inning. He throws four pitches; a four-seamer, a two-seamer, a curveball, and a change up.

The four-seam fastball sits anywhere from 90-93, peaking at 94 mph. The sinker sits closer to 89-91 and he has been able to draw a fair amount of ground balls with that pitch.

The two secondary pitches he is working on are his change up and the curveball. The change up is already above average and the curveball is a knuckle curve. He’s working most on the curveball to try to make it a viable third pitch.


The current version of Brady Lail projects to have a ceiling of a third starter. Should he continue to have an uptick in his stuff he could be a front of the rotation starter, but that obviously remains to be seen. If he can shift his velocity from 91-93 up to 93-95 we could be talking about a guy with ace potential. That, however, is no easy task.

His floor, at this point would be a reliever. Given his superior control and his solid velocity as a starter, there’s no reason he shouldn’t be able to have success as a reliever.

2014 Outlook:

Brady Lail will look to really capitalize on his stuff this year. He managed to throw 60+ innings this year which would put him right on target for a position in Charleston. That all depends on who he is competing with for a spot there. Gio Gallegos, Luis Severino, Rookie Davis, Caleb Smith, David Palladino, Conner Kendrick, Ty Hensley and Cale Coshow will all be competing with Lail for a spot there.

The good money should be on Lail to begin the season in extended spring training. If there is an injury or a promotion, he could end up in Charleston but he will likely pitch for short season Staten Island next year. From there he will be a fun guy to follow up the latter.

8 years ago  ::  Nov 19, 2013 - 11:26AM #104
Posts: 32,868

Also from Rosenthal, rival scouts figure the Yankees will make a big push to sign international talent since they're already over the bonus pool limit for international signings and will be penalized anyway.  It's worth noting that Joe Pawlikowski of the River Ave Blues blog believes Rosenthal may have miscalculated some figures and is actually saying the Yankees will overspend during the next international signing period, which opens on July 2, 2014.

8 years ago  ::  Nov 19, 2013 - 11:34AM #105
Posts: 32,868

Random Thoughts: Rule 5 Draft, IFAs, Payroll

There is nothing special about this Tuesday other than the fact that it’s thoughts day. That’s something special, right? Anyway, here are some random tidbits on my mind that really aren’t worth a full post.

1. The deadline to set the 40-man roster for the Rule 5 Draft is tomorrow and we already know the Yankees will protect RHP Shane Greene and RHP Bryan Mitchell. C Gary Sanchez, OF Slade Heathcott, RHP Tommy Kahnle, RHP Chase Whitley, and RHP Danny Burawa are eligible this year as well, ditto RHP Jose Campos according to Josh Norris. I say this every year around this time, but sometimes the best way to keep a player is to leave them unprotected. Ivan Nova was not big league ready in 2008 and, sure enough, the Padres returned him to the Yankees after he got bombed in Spring Training. Campos is 21 and he threw only 87 innings for Low-A Charleston this season after missing virtually all of last season with an elbow injury. Hiding him as the last guy in a big league bullpen for a full 162-game season will be close to impossible at this point of his career, even for a terrible team like the Astros and Twins. Guys with big arms who are higher up the minor league ladder flop in that role as Rule 5 picks every year. Leaving Campos unprotected is a low risk by Rule 5 Draft standards and the Yankees stand to save a 40-man spot and one of his option years. I suspect they will protect him because they protect just about everyone, however.

2. As Joe wrote yesterday, the Yankees appear likely to spend big on international free agents next summer, meaning they’ll blow past their allotted signing pool and pay the penalties the following year. Those penalties including being limited to bonuses of $500k or less (or $250k or less, depending on how far over they go). I understand the strategy of spending huge one year, landing a whole bunch of prospects, then dealing with the penalties and not signing anyone the next summer, but I also don’t like it. You’re basically eliminating yourself from contention for half the talent pool. I also don’t think it’s possible to say the next year’s talent crop will be weaker than the current year’s — thus justifying the extra spending — because we’re talking about 14 and 15 year old kids. The 18 to 21-year-olds in the draft are hard enough to predict from one year to the next. Doing it with teenagers is impossible. The new spending restrictions really suck and hurt the Yankees immensely, especially since the backbone of their farm system for decades was Latin America. I don’t think the solution is alternating big money years and small bonus years (due to penalties). You eliminate yourself from contention for too many players that way …

3. … but at the same time, I think the Yankees do a really good job of finding super cheap talent in Latin America. By super cheap I mean $250k or less, which is still a ton of cash in the real world. Guys like RHP Luis Severino ($225k), OF Ravel Santana ($145k), RHP Gio Gallegos ($100k), and SS Thairo Estrada ($75k) all signed for less than a quarter-million in recent years. Maybe that ability to find relatively cheap talent means it would make sense to go over the spending pool one year and incur the penalties the next since they’ll still dig up players in the down year. That makes sense to come extent, but again, you are taking yourself out of the running for the top talent in a given year with that strategy. I don’t know the best way to go — it’s probably a combination of both depending on the talent pool and a given year, but again, who can predict that? — all I know is that this new system stinks.

8 years ago  ::  Nov 20, 2013 - 2:38PM #106
Posts: 32,868

Prospect Profile: Aaron Judge



Aaron Judge | OF

Judge is a Northern California kid who was born in Sacramento but grew up a few miles outside Stockton in a small town called Linden. According to the internet, only about 1,800 people live in the eight or so square mile town. Judge was a three-sport star at Linden High School (baseball, basketball, football) and was twice an All-League selection in baseball. He also earned All-American honors as a senior.

Prior to the 2010 draft, Baseball America (subs. req’d) ranked Judge as the 77th best prospect available in California. He was considered a better pitching prospect at the time and was selected in the 31st round by the Athletics. Judge declined to sign and followed through on his commitment to Fresno State, where he moved off the mound and into the outfield full-time. Most colleges recruited him as a tight end but baseball was his favorite spot, so he stuck with that.

Read More→

8 years ago  ::  Nov 21, 2013 - 5:11PM #107
Posts: 32,868

Six players added to Yankees 40-man roster

Last night, the Yankees added five minor leaguers to the 40-man roster (including two of their top prospects), made a very minor trade (and added the new guy to the 40-man), and also outrighted Corban Joseph to Triple-A (taking him off the 40-man, but keeping him in the system). Here’s the announcement from the team.

Bryan MitchellEarlier today, the Yankees acquired INF Dean Anna from the San Diego Padres in exchange for RHP Ben Paullus and added him to the Major League roster. RHP Jose Campos, RHP Shane Greene, OF Slade Heathcott, RHP Bryan Mitchell and C Gary Sanchez were also added to the Major League roster.

Anna, 26, spent the 2013 season with Triple-A Tucson, where he hit .331 (165-for-498) with 90R, 38 doubles, 9HR and 73RBI in 132 games and saw time at second base, shortstop, third base and in left field. The left-handed batter was originally selected by the Padres in the 26th round of the 2008 First-Year Player Draft.

Campos, 21, went 4-2 with two saves and a 3.41 ERA (87.0IP, 33ER) in 26 games (19 starts) with Single-A Charleston in 2013. He was acquired by the Yankees from the Seattle Mariners along with RHP Michael Pineda on 1/23/12 in exchange for C/DH Jesus Montero and RHP Hector Noesi.

Greene, 25, combined to go 12-10 with a 3.38 ERA (154.1IP, 58ER) in 27 games (26 starts) with Single-A Tampa and Double-A Trenton in 2013. He was originally selected by the Yankees in the 15th round of the 2009 First-Year Player Draft.

Heathcott, 23, batted .261 (104-for-399) with 59R, 22 doubles, 8HR and 49RBI in 103 games with Double-A Trenton in 2013. He was originally selected by the Yankees in the first round (29th overall) of the 2009 First-Year Player Draft.

Mitchell, 22, combined to go 4-11 with a 4.71 ERA (145.1IP, 76ER) in 27 games (26 starts) with Single-A Tampa and Double-A Trenton in 2013. He was originally selected by the Yankees in the 16th round of the 2009 First-Year Player Draft.

Sanchez, 20, combined to bat .253 (115-for-454) with 50R, 27 doubles, 15HR and 71RBI in 117 games with Single-A Tampa and Double-A Trenton in 2013. He was originally signed by the Yankees as a non-drafted free agent on 7/2/09.

Additionally, INF Corban Joseph was outrighted to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

The Yankees roster now stands at 39.

8 years ago  ::  Nov 21, 2013 - 7:15PM #108
Posts: 32,868

What Went Right: 2013 Draft

Katoh. (Jeff Gross/Getty)

Katoh. (Jeff Gross/Getty)

Coming into this past season, it was obvious the Yankees needed to add some young, impact talent to the organization. They had none at the big league level and very little in the minors following a down year in the farm system. When Baseball America published their list of the team’s top ten prospects over the winter, it was hard to ignore that six of the ten missed at least a month due to injury in 2012 while two others were still way down in Rookie Ball.

The Yankees had a chance to add talent this summer during the annual amateur draft in June, which is true of every year. This draft was different though — New York had two extra picks after Rafael Soriano and Nick Swisher declined qualifying offers and signed with other teams as free agents. Add in their own first rounder and New York owned three of the first 33 selections. It was the first time they held even two of the first 33 picks since 1978. The opportunity to give the farm system a real shot in the arm was there, and, at this point, it appears the Yankees nailed it.

Three First Round Talents
Having three first round picks — it was really one first rounder and two supplemental first round picks, but whatever — doesn’t automatically mean you’ll get three first round talents. Let’s not kid ourselves here; the Yankees have made some questionable high picks in recent years and grabbing the best available talent was not a given. Rather than go off the board for a player they liked more than the consensus, scouting director Damon Oppenheimer & Co. went big and grabbed arguably the three best players on the board with each pick.

Jagielo. (Robert Pimpsner)

Jagielo. (Robert Pimpsner)

The first of the three was Notre Dame 3B Eric Jagielo, who was the club’s natural first rounder at #26 overall. He signed quickly for a straight slot $1.84M bonus and hit .264/.376/.451 (~152 wRC+) during his 221 plate appearance pro debut. Jagielo is a polished hitter and a good defender at a hard-to-fill position who should climb the ladder very quickly. The second pick was Fresno State OF Aaron Judge (#32), a monstrous (listed at 6-foot-7 and 255 lbs.) slugger with as much raw power as anyone in the draft. He took an above slot $1.8M bonus the day before the signing deadline. California HS LHP Ian Clarkin (#33), a power southpaw with an out-pitch curveball, was the third of the three first rounders.

In a normal year, landing one of those guys with a first round pick would have been a coup for the Yankees. Being able to draft all three — and being willing to exceed the draft pool to sign them, as they did by signing Judge to an over-slot bonus at the last minute — is a major win for a farm system in need of impact talent. All three of these guys are not going to work out, the odds are strongly against it because prospects are made to break hearts, but the more high-end talent they have, they better. These three first rounders were incredibly important given the state of the organization and the Yankees nailed ‘em.

Middle Infield Depth
The Yankees have been blessed with Robinson Cano and (especially) Derek Jeter for a long time, making it pretty easy to overlook just rare quality middle infielders are these days. I’m not even talking about stars, above-average guys are very hard and rather expensive to acquire. New York drafted two true middle infielders in the top four rounds in 2B Gosuke Katoh (2nd round) and SS Tyler Wade (4), both out of California high schools. Both play above-average defense at their positions and Katoh is just a strong arm away from being a shortstop. They both performed well in their pro debuts: Katoh managed 171 wRC+ (12.6 BB%) in 215 plate appearances while Wade had a 137 wRC+ (16.0 BB%) in 213 plate appearances. The performance is nice but the most important this is that both guys have the defensive chops to stay up the middle while also projecting to be something more than zeroes at the plate. These were two very strong picks after the first round.

Power Arms
Under Oppenheimer, the Yankees have used the middle and late rounds to draft power arms who could someday help out of the bullpen. With the new spending restrictions and Collective Bargaining Agreement all but eliminating the ability to give big money to players who fall due to bonus concerns, there’s not much more you can do late in the draft. Dig up some hard-throwers for the bullpen and focus on positions players with that one high-end tool. Not much more is available.

This summer’s crop of hard-throwers includes Texas JuCo RHP David Palladino (5), LSU RHP Nick Rumbelow (7), San Diego State RHP Phil Walby (12), and Oklahoma Christian RHP Cale Coshow (13). All four guys offer mid-90s heat while Palladino has good enough secondary pitches to start. Sam Houston State LHP Caleb Smith (14) has shown 94-95 in short outings. The Yankees have had trouble developing players overall the last few years, but they generally go a great job of unearthing these power arms and getting them far enough up the ladder that they at least serve as trade bait, if nothing else. These five guys are the newest members of the pipeline.

Late Round Gambles
The big money late-round picks don’t really exist anymore, but there is always going to be talent that slips into the late rounds. Not every “signability” guy will cost seven figures. New York paid over-slot for Georgia HS OF Dustin Fowler (18) and Missouri HS 3B Drew Bridges (20) after saving pool money by taking cheap college seniors in rounds six through ten. Fowler is the better prospect as an athletic outfielder with speed and a sweet lefty swing, but Bridges has some power potential and a knack for getting the fat part of the bat on the ball from the left side.

I think the Yankees had their best draft in several years this summer and that’s not only because of the extra first round picks, though those certainly helped. I’m talking about the quality of the players they landed with their picks. The added impact guys at the top of the draft, some important middle infield depth after that, and a lot of interesting late-round guys who could play roles down the roa

8 years ago  ::  Nov 21, 2013 - 9:15PM #109
Posts: 32,868

Yankees Top Five Catching Prospects

peter o'brien2This isn’t a difficult list to make, but there are some really intriguing names on the list. Keep in mind Romine is not qualified because he played in the major leagues this year. He would probably rank fifth on this list if he was eligible. Catching has been an area of great depth for quite a while now, and this year is no exception.

1. Gary Sanchez -”the Sanchize” C, 6-foot-2, 220-pounds, RHB, 20 – .253/.324/.412/.736 line with 15 homeruns this year. He has all the power to be a top of the line backstop. If he can hit for average he will put it all together and be a star. His defensive game is catching up with his offensive game and there are not many more questions that he will be able to stick behind the dish. Highest Level: Double-A. Will start 2014 at: Double-A. Estimated arrival: 2015. Ceiling: All-star catcher, 30 homeruns annually, .300+ average.

2. J.R. Murphy – “Murph”: C, 5-foot-11, 195-pounds, RHB, 21 – His season line is .269/.347/.26/.774 with 12 homeruns in Double and Triple-A. He is a solid defensive backstop and can hit well for his position. He managed to hit for decent average and above average power this year, and there could be more where that came from. He has done a great job adjusting to each level, and has a great makeup. Highest Level: Triple-A. Will start 2014 at: Triple-A. Estimated arrival: 2014. Ceiling: Borderline all-star, 20 homeruns annually, .285 average.

3. Peter O’Brien – C, 6-foot-3, 215-pounds, 22 – His stat line this year was an impressive .291/.350/.544/.893 with 22 homeruns. Overall he easily had one of the best seasons of anyone in the system. He is a great hitter but has yet to find his niche in the field. It’s questionable at best whether or not he can stick behind the dish, however there’s a good change he plays a role similar to Evan Gattis. He could play third base, corner outfield, and catcher serviceably and serve as some serious right handed power in the Bronx in the meantime. Highest level: High-A. Will start 2014 at: High-A. Estimated arrival: 2016. Ceiling: 30 HR, .280 average, versatile yet below average fielder.

4. Luis Torrens – “Torr-nado” C, 6-foot-0, 171-pounds, RHB, 17 – It was not a dream year for Torrens with the bat. He his .241/.348/.299/.647 in his first year stateside as a 17 year old. He is ahead of the game defensively though and at just 17 he was the youngest player in the GCL last year. He’ll have to improve upon those numbers if he wants to get himself on the prospect radar, but he could easily follow in the footsteps of Miguel Andujar. Highest level: Rookie GCL. Will start 2014 at: Rookie GCL. Estimated arrival: 2019. Ceiling: All-star catcher, 20+ homeruns, .300+ average. Floor: bust.

5. Alvaro Noriega – C, 6-foot-0, 198-pounds, RHB – He’s just 18 years old but had a much better performance in the GCL than Torrens this year. His stat line was .295/.337/.389/.726 with one homerun and six doubles. His fielding is more average than anything else and will need to improve along with his bat to make it up the ladder. He is known as a hit first catcher so his bat will have to be even better than it was this year to keep his prospect status. Highest level: GCL. Will start 2014 at: Staten Island. Estimated arrival: 2018. Ceiling – Above average starting MLB catcher.

8 years ago  ::  Nov 22, 2013 - 9:56AM #110
Posts: 32,868

New York Yankees Prospect Profile: Dean Anna

Lost in the shuffle of yesterday’s huge trade between the Detroit Tigers and Texas Rangers, was the news that the New York Yankees acquired minor leaguer Dean Anna from the San Diego Padres. Despite being relatively unheard of up to this point by Yankees fans, Anna looks as though he can fit in quite nicely.

Did Cashman find another diamond in the rough? (Image: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)

At 26 years old, Anna was drafted by the Padres in the 26th round of the 2008 draft. His minor league career got off to a slow start as he spent three years bouncing between low and high-A baseball. However, since that time, Anna has been as hot as can be in the minor leagues. This warranted a promotion to playing Triple-A ball in 2013.

There, Anna flourished. In 132 games for the Padres AAA affiliate, the Tucson Padres, he hit .331 with nine home runs and 73 RBI, while accumulating 165 hits. He was named to the Pacific Coast League All-Star Game in recognition of his incredible play.

Anna has shown that he can be a very versatile player, spending time at second and third base, as well as shortstop. This versatility can prove to be extremely useful for a Yankee team that will see its regular starters from the left side of the infield get plenty of DH days. The scouting report on Anna tells us that he has a pretty solid glove, so he might come in handy should he find himself on the big league squad in the 2014 season.

Anna was the unfortunate victim of a logjam in the Padres organization, thus stunting any call-up that may have been planned for him. The Padres were pretty much set in the infield with Chase Headley, and Yasmani Grandal, so there was little to no room for Anna to be played. This is likely a big reason that the Padres traded him away for Ben Paullus.

A solid bat, a useful glove, and the possibility of multiple roster holes to fill may work out in Anna’s favor. Do not be surprised if he is one of the Yankees’ utility players straight out of Spring Training. Should that happen, along with the re-signing of defensive wizard Brendan Ryan, one has to wonder if Eduardo Nunez is on his way out.

The offseason has just begun for the New York Yankees, and this may just be a blip on what could be a huge winter-time radar

8 years ago  ::  Nov 22, 2013 - 10:24AM #111
Posts: 32,868
8 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.

8 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.

8 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.

8 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."
8 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."
8 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)

8 years ago  ::  Nov 30, 2013 - 10:57AM #118
Posts: 32,868
8 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.

8 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.

8 years ago  ::  Nov 30, 2013 - 2:57PM #121
Posts: 32,868

Yankees’ Prospect Scouting Report: Peter O’Brien


8 years ago  ::  Dec 01, 2013 - 8:09PM #122
Posts: 32,868

2013 Yankees Top 15 Outfield Prospects

Tyler Austin3

Over the past few years the Yankees have been able to accumulate outfielders in their system who could have a major league future. In addition to what they already have in their system, they will have more talent coming over from the DSL next year. They also recently signed one of the best Latin American players on the market, Leonardo Molina, who is said to be a major talent.

There are a few guys who may come over from the DSL to patrol the GCL outfield. Frank Frias seems to be the most likely candidate, hitting .305/.434/.433/.867 with four homers, eight doubles, three triples, and 26 stolen bases this year as an 19 year old. Others who could come include Pedro Urena, 18, and Wilmer Romero, 19, who both had six homers this year in the DSL. A dark horse candidate would be Aussie Adam Silva who is 19 and projected to have some power.

All in all none of the five above players will factor into these rankings, but will be interesting to follow next season. Zoilo Almonte is also not included here because he played significant time in the majors this year. Otherwise he’d be fifth on this list.

1. Tyler Austin – “3:16″ – RF, 6-foot-2, 200-pounds, RHB, 22 – Suffered a setback in the AFL with his wrist injury which is concerning to say the least. The Yankees are officially saying it just started to bother him and is not a significant injury. He just needs to rest it. I “officially” don’t believe them, but that doesn’t change the fact that Austin is a possible impact player in this system who’s already in the upper minors. If he comes back healthy in 2014, look for him to mash and possibly compete for a spot on the roster in 2015. He was playing third base in the AFL, so a position change is still a possibility but for now he is a good defensive outfielder who can play multiple positions and hits for some power and average when healthy. He hit a respectable .254/.344/.373/.717 with six homeruns but was fighting injuries all season. Highest level: Double-A. Will start 2014 at: Double-A. Estimated arrival: 2015. Ceiling: 25+ homeruns, .300+ average, all-star right fielder. Floor: fourth outfielder, or worse yet injury bust. Likelihood of hitting ceiling: intermediate.

2. Slade Heathcott – CF, 6-foot-1, 190-pounds, LHB, 23 – Although many called his season a flop, he actually batted .261/.327/.411/.738 with eight homers and 15 stolen bases. Not too bad for the first season in Double-A, and his second half was much stronger than his first half, showing that he made an adjustment. He played in 108 games, which is progress for him. He missed a lot of development time from injuries, so he still has some catching up to do. Slade is the most athletic player in the entire system, including speed, strength, and hand-eye coordination. If he realizes his full potential he is going to be scary good. Think homeruns, steals, and defense. Basically the three most important things in an outfielder. Highest level: Double-A. Will start 2014 at: Double-A or Triple-A. Estimated arrival: 2015. Ceiling: 20+ homers, 20+ steals, stellar defense, all-star center fielder. Floor: High risk of being an injury bust. Likelihood of hitting ceiling: Low.

3. Mason Williams – CF, 6-foot-0, 180-pounds, LHB, 22 – It’s amazing how quickly things can change. He was seen as the best outfielder in the system, and widely thought to be the best overall player in the system less than a year ago. Now all of that has changed because of one lousy season. Mason dealt with many issues this year, including a DUI, maturity issues, and ineffectiveness. Overall it was a trying season for Williams, but it’s still only one season and he has a chance to learn from it and become a better player. Athletically, he’s still got a heap of physical talent. The story with Williams is that he has to learn to harness it. Next year will be huge in determining his future. Another .245/.304/.337/.641 season with four homers and 15 stolen bases just isn’t going to cut it. Highest level: Double-A. Will start 2014 at: Double-A. Estimated arrival: 2016. Ceiling: 15+ homeruns, 40+ stolen bases. Floor: Flop. Likelihood of hitting ceiling: low.

4. Aaron Judge – RF, 6-foot-7, 230-pounds, RHB, 21 – He’s big. He’s strong. He’s athletic. He can hit. He can throw. Aaron Judge is a massive man and he appears to be a good athlete on top of that. He has shown plus power in college and the ability to hit for average. If everything goes right, Judge could be a Giancarlo Stanton type player with a massive ceiling. He’s all projection at this point though because no one has seen him play against professional competition. Highest level: N/a. Will start 2015 at: Low-A Charleston. Estimated arrival: 2017. Ceiling: 40+ homeruns, .280+ average, all-star. Floor: bust. Likelihood of hitting ceiling: very low.

5. Ramon Flores – “Ray-Flo”: OF, 5-foot-11, 190-pounds, LHB, 21 – He is yet another of the big name outfielders who was disappointing overall last year. That said he was just 21 years old and he came on like a madman towards the end of the season. He finished the season .260/.353/.364/.717. He managed 37 extra base hits in 2013 but his power regressed for the second year in a row as he hit just six homeruns and less doubles than the last two years. All of that said he is an incredibly patient hitter who plays a solid left field. When he’s at his best he can hit for average and doesn’t strike out much. If he could just develop serviceable power he would be a valuable major leaguer. Highest level: Double-A. Will start 2014 at: Double-A or Triple-A. Estimated arrival: 2015. Ceiling: 15+ homeruns, 10+ SB, .300+ average, solid outfielder, above average major leaguer.

6. Ben Gamel – OF, 5-foot-11, 180-pounds, LHB, 21 – Same story as Flores, but different name. The only difference is that Gamel significantly increased his power output from 2012 to 2013. He doubled him homerun output, hitting four homeruns, and hit nine more doubles (32) than he did in 2013. He has excellent patience at the plate and will look to turn some of those doubles into homeruns as he moves up the latter. If he is able to do that he will be a valuable commodity for the Yankees going forward. He was able to steal 22 bases this season and has above average speed. He can play all three outfield positions well, but profiles best in left field. Gamel got a taste of Double-A towards the end of 2013, and will look to hit the ground running next season. Highest level: Double-A. Will start 2014 at: Double-A. Estimated arrival: 2016. Ceiling: 10+ homeruns, 20+ SB, .300+ average, .380+ OBP, above average fielder.

7. Jake Cave – OF, 6-foot-0, 179-pounds, LHB, 20 – He’s a lefty, hit .282/.347/.401/.748 in his first full season, and is a plus defender. He hit two homeruns and had a whopping 37 doubles along with six triples. Extra base hits were the key to his success this year. Cave was also able to steal 18 bases. Overall he is a major sleeper going into next season, especially if he can bulk up a bit and turn some of those doubles into homers. He has good patience at the plate and a sweet stroke from the left side. Highest level: Low-A. Will start 2014 at: High-A. Estimated arrival: 2016. Ceiling: 15+ homeruns, 20+ SB, .300+ average, plus fielder.

8. Ericson Leonora – OF, 5-foot-11, 174-pounds, RHB, 21 – Now here’s a guy you haven’t heard of who could make a splash next year. Leonora ended the season in 2013 with Low-A and he hit .302/.340/.496/.836 in 38 games at the level. He was just 20 years old so he is age appropriate for Low-A, and he managed to hit four homeruns in just a short period of time. He also hit 13 doubles and one triple. He has power, speed, and is a hard worker who goes about his work in a quiet way. Because of his low key nature, he has stayed under the radar. Highest level: Low-A. Will start 2014 at: Low-A or High-A. Estimated arrival: 2017. Ceiling: 20+ homeruns, 10+ steals, .300+ average, good defender.

9. Brandon Thomas – OF, 6-foot-3, 180-pounds, Switch hitter, 22 – Thomas was one of my favorite picks in this draft by the Yankees. They managed to get him in the 8th round. He had a bout of mononucleosis in 2013 which held him out for a few weeks. In addition, mono has been known to seriously sap a player’s power. He still managed to hit six homeruns in Staten Island, although he batted just .214. He also stole nine bases, and is a potential 5-tool player. Any time you can get a guy with this many tools this late in the draft, it’s a steal. In 2014 he will be full strength and could have a Peter O’Brien type year for the Yankees.  Highest level: Staten Island. Will start 2014 at: Low-A. Estimated arrival: 2018. Ceiling: 20+ homeruns, 20+ steals, .275+ average, above average fielder. Floor: bust. Likelihood of hitting ceiling: Low.

10. Taylor Dugas – OF, 5-foot-8, 170-pounds, LHB, 23 – In terms of tools, there’s not much there for Dugas. He has above average speed but so far hasn’t been able to do much in terms of turning that into stolen bases. He does not have much in the way of power. What he does to an excellent job of is getting on base. In fact, he is a machine in that respect. He also has a great hit tool and rarely strikes out. His career OBP is .427. He’s a bit old to learn new skills, but if he can somehow learn to hit for more power or steal more bases, he could lift himself into legitimate prospect status. Highest level: High-A. Will start 2014 at: High-A Tampa. Estimated arrival: 2016. Ceiling: 4th outfielder. Floor: Quadruple-A player. Likelihood of hitting ceiling: Intermediate-low.

11. Michael O’Neill – OF, 6-foot-1, 195-pounds, RHB, 21 – It wasn’t a banner year for third round draft pick Michael O’Neill, nephew of Paul O’Neill. He did, however, draw a lot of praise prior to the season as a good draft pick for the Yankees and one who could turn into a legitimate outfielder long term. The fact is he did not adjust well to pro ball this season, but he’ll have plenty of time to make adjustments beginning next year. He’s got above average speed and average power. If he can just make more frequent and better contact next year he could make us all forget about his bad first year in Staten Island. Highest level: Staten Island. Will start 2014 at: Charleston. Ceiling: 15 HR, 15 SB, .270 average, good defender. Floor: bust. Likelihood of hitting ceiling: long-shot.

12. Dustin Fowler – OF, 6-foot-0, 185-pounds, LHB, 18 – Dustin Fowler is an athletic outfielder with a sweet swing. He held his own in his first season of rookie ball as an 18th round draft pick. He’s a raw athlete but the Yankees have plenty of time to develop him since he is just 18. He has the potential to hit for power and average. Next year will be a big year for him but given his athleticism he could be one of those guys who really begins to take off now that he has a little bit of experience and top notch coaching. Highest level: Rookie ball. Will start 2014 at: Rookie ball. Estimated arrival: 2019. Ceiling: Lots of steals, homeruns, and defense. Floor: Flop. Likelihood of reaching ceiling: long-shot.

13. Nathan Mikolas – OF, 6-foot-0, 200-pounds, LHB, 19 – At the age of 19, he’s still young, and he really picked up his game in 2013. He hit .256/.355/.405/.760 on the season with five homeruns and even contributed six stolen bases. Showing improvement is the most important thing at this age, so continuing to do that will be big going forward. He’s got good long term power potential and a sweet left handed swing. Next year he should get an opportunity at Staten Island which will be a good test for him. Highest level: Rookie Ball. Will start 2014 at: Staten Island. Estimated arrival:  2018. Ceiling: 30+ homeruns, .260+ average, .350+ OBP. Floor: bust. Likelihood of hitting ceiling: Low.

14. Kendall Coleman – RF, 6-foot-4, 200-pounds, LHB, 18 years old – Coleman only had 28 at bats in 2013, and was the Yankees 11th round draft pick in the draft. As you can see, he is a big kid. Coleman has below average speed and arm strength, but when he connects he can really drop some bombs. At his size with a lefty swing he was definitely worth taking a chance on in the 11th round. He is more of a long term project at this point but all it will take is one big season to put him on the map. Highest level: Rookie ball. Will start 2014 at: Rookie ball. Estimated arrival: 2019. Ceiling: Big time power. Floor: Bust. Likelihood of hitting ceiling: Long-shot.

15. Jordan Barnes – CF, 5-foot-11, 180-pounds, RHB, 19 – At this stage in his career, Jordan Barnes is all about speed. Drafted in the 15th round of the 2013 draft by the Yankees he certainly has a great deal of speed and athleticism. The problem is he his little to nothing in the way of power. His first season was a bit disappointing and the sample size wasn’t small, so he’ll have a lot to work on if he wants to make an impact here. Highest level: Rookie ball. Will start 2014 at: Staten Island. Estimated arrival: 2018. Ceiling: Brett Gardner. Floor: never reaching full season ball. Likelihood of reaching ceiling: long shot.

8 years ago  ::  Dec 02, 2013 - 9:43PM #123
Posts: 32,868
Eddy: Yankees sign Russ Canzler to minor league deal

By Via Matt Eddy: The Yankees have signed first baseman/left fielder Russ Canzler to a minor league contract. I assume he received an invitation to Spring Training as well. Canzler was with the Yankees briefly last winter — they claimed him off waivers from the Indians on January 4th and lost him on waivers to the Orioles on February 5th.

Canzler, 27, has a 91 wRC+ with 102 big league plate appearances. He has punished Triple-A pitching over the years, putting up a .277/.358/.466 (~128wRC+) line in over 1,600 plate appearances at the level. That includes a .307/.390/.531 line against left-handed pitchers. Canzler is a cheap right-handed bat who offers a tiny bit of verstility, so he’s a nice guy for the Yankees to have in Triple-A as insurance. Heck, there’s a good chance he’ll be a better bench option that Vernon Wells next season

8 years ago  ::  Dec 04, 2013 - 6:05PM #124
Posts: 66,015

Yankees minor leaguer suspended for refusing to take drug test

ph_544367Here’s a kind of weird one.

Yankees minor league catcher Ryan Baker is pretty far from the prospect radar. In fact, he might have spent more time on the phantom DL than in the batters box in recent years. This season, he was used twice as an emergency pitcher in Triple-A, but never once as a starting or replacement catcher. I’ve covered minor league guys who were going through stuff like that — just bouncing around system, filling roles as asked, given very little hope of actually advancing in the organization — and I’ve always felt bad for them. It’s a frustrating situation for a guy who clearly has some skill or he wouldn’t be in pro ball in the first place.

Basically, if you’ve never heard of Ryan Baker, it’s hard to blame you. Yet his name popped up today because Major League Baseball announced that Baker has been suspended 50 games without pay for refusing to take an offseason drug test. That’s a violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.

Baker is currently on the Low-A Charleston roster, and his suspension will be effective at the start of the 2014 season.

"Leave the gun. Take the cannoli."
8 years ago  ::  Dec 04, 2013 - 9:29PM #125
Posts: 32,868


The New York Yankees‘ signing of Jacoby Ellsbury is a great deal for the present time. The Yankees are clearly not looking at what the lineup is going to look like five or six years down the road. however. For some fans that want championships, that could be okay, but for those who are shaking their heads wondering what the future holds for this team, they have a right to be a bit perturbed.

In New York’s farm system, the team possesses three outfielders that are in their early 20s and by the ages of 24 or 25, could be ready to come up to the major league level and make an impact. Mason Williams, Slade Heathcott and Tyler Austin are the players that are waiting behind Ellsbury’s seven-year deal, two more years of Alfonso Soriano and another possible year or so behind Brett Gardner.

Right now, the trio do not have any place on the roster and may not have one for the next four or five years.

There is a choke hold on the Yankees’ farm system. To make matters even crazier, Brian McCann will have five years at the catcher spot before the Yankees decide to bring up its No. 2 prospect Gary Sanchez. Sanchez is only 21-years-old, but if he continues to drive in runs and slug the way he has in the minors, McCann could impede his progression.

It is interesting to see where the prospects lie with the Yankees, because they clearly do not view these players as the future of the club, but rather as trade chips for the future big-name acquisitions.

Read more at www.rantsports.com/mlb/2013/12/04/new-yo...
8 years ago  ::  Dec 06, 2013 - 10:50AM #126
Posts: 32,868

Zoilo Almonte, OF, New York Yankees

2013 DWL Stats: .312/.345/.428, 10 XBH (3 HR), 6 SB, 29/7 K/BB (35 G)

If it feels like Zoilo Almonte has been in the Yankees’ system forever—and it’s probably because he has been.

Signed by the Yankees out of the Dominican Republic way back in 2005, Almonte didn’t graduate to the Double-A level until his 2011 breakout campaign.

The following year, Almonte spent the entire season back at the level and proved that his 2011 production wasn’t a fluke by batting .277/.322/.487 with 21 home runs in 106 games.

The 24-year-old continued to develop into a more complete player this past season, and he finally reached the major leagues in his eighth year in the Yankees’ system.

Almonte got off to a hot start after receiving the call-up, collecting seven hits in his first 12 at-bats. However, the switch-hitting outfielder gradually cooled off at the plate and spent time on the disabled list with an ankle injury.

Overall, he batted .236/.274/.302 with five extra-base hits in 34 games with the Yankees.

Almonte showed last season that he’s valuable as either a fourth or fifth outfielder, given his ability to play multiple outfield positions and swing the bat from both sides of the plate. So, the fact that he’s batting .312/.345/.428 through 35 games in the Dominican Winter League should only help his chances of cracking the Yankees’ Opening Day roster as a reserve.

8 years ago  ::  Dec 06, 2013 - 5:47PM #127
Posts: 32,868

Why I’m Bullish on the Yankee Farm System


Yesterday, I decided to jot down a quick ranking of Yankee prospects. I was trying to think about how good Greg Bird was. Bird is an interesting prospect. People often (overly) fixate on his high on base percentage at Charleston this year, and write his skill set off as a walking machine. But given the ballpark (90 run factor, 92 home run factor), and his age (20, with less than a full season of experience), Bird’s 20 home runs in 127 games is pretty impressive. He is only going to get stronger, and there aren’t a lot of tougher power environments than Charleston. Bird is a very solid prospect with lots of major league potential.

But where is he in the Yankee farm system? Here are the players that I knew clearly ranked above Greg Bird: Sanchez, Heathcott, Austin, Williams, Murphy, Judge, Jagielo, Clarkin, Banuelos and Hensley. On top of them, I could see a case that I’d rather have any of DePaula, Andujar, O’Brien, Ramirez, Katoh and Turley over Greg Bird.

Put differently: Greg Bird is a very solid prospect with lots of major league potential, but you could argue that the Yankees have between 10 and 16 better prospects in their system than him.

That’s pretty good! There is no doubt that the current Yankee farm system has less top end talent than previous generations of Yankee prospects. Gary Sanchez is the only top-100 prospect of the group, and he hasn’t truly broken out in a big way yet. But behind Sanchez are an intriguing, high-ceiling group of prospects.

Two or three years ago, that 8-16 group of prospects would have included names like Adam Warren, Graham Stoneburner, David Adams, Brandon Laird, or David Phelps. There was a much larger drop off between the top-8 and the middle tier. Now, there really isn’t much of a middle tier. All of those 16 guys are a whole lot better than Graham Stoneburner was in 2010, or Adam Warren was in 2011.

I’d love to have a few more A prospects in the system, but the Yankee farm system has a whole lot of B- to B+ guys right now. Even going back to the Yankee system heydays of 2005-2007, I don’t think you’ll find a deeper system. I think there’s 4-5 major league players in this group, easy. Are there any stars? Probably not. Guys like Sanchez, Heathcott and Williams have the tools, and the young pitchers definitely have the stuff, but we can’t really call them potential stars until they put everything together.

But would anyone be surprised to see the 2018 Yanekes carry 5 of those players, say, Eric Jagielo, Manuel Banuelos, Tyler Austin, Greg Bird and Gary Sanchez, all in starting roles? I don’t think that is all that implausible. And there are lots of interesting players below that group as well, including Culver, Montgomery, Marshall, Mitchell, Torrens, Severino, Flores, Custodio, Refsnyder and Gumbs, among others.

The road to a long term winning Yankee team has always run through the farm system, and the Yankees are in a stronger position than people are giving them credit for.

8 years ago  ::  Dec 06, 2013 - 9:17PM #128
Posts: 1,468

Okay Major... Now that Cano is gone, do you see a prospect in the system that has a chance in the future ? Refsnyder, Gumbs, Toadvine, Katoh ? Any seem like they may be MLB candidates in  '15 and beyond ?

Life is better when the Yankees win !
8 years ago  ::  Dec 07, 2013 - 5:53PM #129
Posts: 32,868

Dec 6, 2013 -- 9:17PM, cookback444 wrote:

Okay Major... Now that Cano is gone, do you see a prospect in the system that has a chance in the future ? Refsnyder, Gumbs, Toadvine, Katoh ? Any seem like they may be MLB candidates in  '15 and beyond ?

One never knows...........There was a time the Yankees were actively shopping

Cano for pitching.  In fact, the Rangers could have him in the Rodriguez trade.

His scouting reports indicated that he would hit be a .280 hitter with no power

or speed with an average glove as his ceiling.

Based upon what little I know, I like Gosuke Katoh the best: a shortstop glove and

looks like a pesky hitter.  Refsnyder has a bat but needs to improve his fielding.  Gumbs

is very toolsy, but that is not translating on the field.


22nd Round, 674th Overall: Derek Toadvine, 2B, Kent State, Year: JR, Bats: Right, Throws: Right, 5-foot-10, 175-pounds

D-Toad hit .297/.382/.339 with seven extra-base hits and 29 stolen bases in 239 at bats. He also had 26 walks and 50 strikeouts. So he’s a typical little second baseman. He’s quick, will steal some bags, has decent patience at the plate (50 K’s is a bit much for 239 at bats though), and no power. He also committed 14 errors this season (errors are a bit overrated as far as evaluating defense goes though).

Right off the bat I can say that this guy isn’t going to be much of a prospect. But you never know and the minor league teams do have to fill out their rosters with somebody. Maybe he surprises us.

8 years ago  ::  Dec 07, 2013 - 7:59PM #130
Posts: 1,468

Thanks for the reviews... I guess it just proves the old cliche about prospects being suspect. You never really know until they are given the chance I guess. Given the projection for Cano, we can only hope there is another diamond in the rough among the guys you talked about. I like Gosuke as well. He is an intriguing kid who performed above expectation already.

Life is better when the Yankees win !
8 years ago  ::  Dec 09, 2013 - 1:59PM #131
Posts: 32,868

Baseball America’s Top Ten Yankees Prospects


Sanchez. (Star-Ledger)

Sanchez. (Star-Ledger)

Baseball America published their list of the top ten Yankees prospects today, and the list is free for all. The scouting reports, however, are not. You’ll need a subscription to read them. The name atop the list won’t be a surprise, but things are pretty wide open after that. They could have gone in any number of directions. Here’s the top ten:

  1. C Gary Sanchez
  2. OF Slade Heathcott
  3. OF Mason Williams
  4. C J.R. Murphy
  5. 3B Eric Jagielo
  6. OF Aaron Judge
  7. LHP Ian Clarkin
  8. 1B Greg Bird
  9. RHP Luis Severino
  10. 2B Gosuke Katoh

The feature also includes a list of the organization’s top 15 players under the age of 25 and none of the 15 are big leaguers. Can’t say I’m surprised. Those ten guys up there are the top ten and are followed (in order) by LHP Manny Banuelos, SS Abi Avelino, RHP Jose Ramirez, RHP Jose Campos, and RHP Rafael DePaula. I suspect those guys will be prospects 11-15 when the Prospect Handbook comes out in a few weeks. The notable omission is OF Tyler Austin, who had an okay year but dealt with injury problems, specifically a bone bruise in his right wrist. It forced him from the Arizona Fall League after only four games. His stock took a hit this summer.

Heathcott. (Presswire)

Heathcott. (Presswire)

Sanchez, who has “effortless, well-above-average raw power and an above-average hit tool,” is an easy call for the top spot, especially now that his defense has improved. After him? I don’t see how there could be a consensus. I think it’s somewhat interesting that the top three prospects all have some kind of makeup concern — Sanchez was suspended for insubordination in 2011, Heathcott has had drug an alcohol problems, Williams was arrested for DUI earlier this year and has had run-ins with coaches — despite the team’s renewed emphasis on character. In the end, talent always reigns supreme. Can’t teach it.

A few things from the write-ups stand out. Williams “adopted an Ichiro-style slapping approach” this year and didn’t show the same tools as he had last year. Like Austin, he took a step back. The Yankees project Murphy as a “potential future .280 hitter with 10-12 homer power” while Sanchez is regarded as more of a “.260-.270 hitter with at least 20 home runs annually.” Both profiles fit just fine behind the plate. As for Bird, “some scouts and SAL managers questioned his future power” despite his awesome year. The plate discipline and everything else is fine, but low-power first baseman aren’t exactly a hot commodity. Severino is said to have “raw stuff that is as good as any Yankees farmhand” with a fastball that “sits between 93-95 mph and touches the upper 90s often.” His slider was his best secondary pitch when he signed but his changeup has since surpassed it. Neat.

Heathcott and Murphy are the only players in the top ten slated to open next season with Triple-A Scranton, and I suppose there’s a chance Heathcott will be sent back to Double-A Trenton to start the year. That’s unlikely though. The Yankees didn’t have any big league ready help this past season and for the most part, that will be the case again in 2014. Their farm system took a slight step back overall but not as big as it would have been without those three first rounders. The team needed to add some impact talent and it did with that draft. Most of their highest ceiling prospects are in the low minors — the short season leagues — and will need time to develop.

8 years ago  ::  Dec 09, 2013 - 2:01PM #132
Posts: 32,868

Trapped in the minors: Dean Anna

Dean Anna is the most underrated player in all of professional baseball.

In my last installment of “Trapped in the Minors,” I talked about Brock Bond, a ridiculously underrated on-base machine in the Giants' system. And it’s true—Bond has yet to get a shot in the big leagues, despite being good enough to start for numerous major league teams. But Dean Anna makes Brock Bond look famous.

Before we get into just how crazy underrated this guy is, I should probably establish who, exactly, we are talking about. Eight things to know about Dean Anna:

1. He is a 26-year-old shortstop/second baseman in the Padres' system.

2. The Padres took him in the 26th round of the 2008 draft, out of Ball State.

3. His career line in the minor leagues is .276/.380/.420.

4. He didn’t even get a shot at playing every day (in the minors) until he was 24.

5. He made the Texas League All-Star team last season.

6. Despite high on-base percentages at every level, he only reached Triple-A this year.

7. Before this season, the Oliver projection system projected him to hit .249/.328/.375 in the major leagues—basically the same as the projections for Jimmy Rollins and Marco Scutaro.

8. At this writing, he’s hitting .332/.400/.527 at Triple-A Tucson.

9. Anna was not included in John Sickels’ 2013 Prospect Book.

Let me reiterate that last point, because it’s kind of amazing. Sickels is arguably the best prospect analyst in the business. His 2013 book profiles 1,210 players, including 40 who were born in 1986 (Anna’s birth year) or earlier. So it’s not like Anna missed some sort of age cutoff—he’s just so underrated that he didn’t make it into the book.

And please don’t think I mean to pick on Sickels. I searched the Baseball America website for “Dean Anna” and got two hits—both from before the 2008 draft. Bottom line: nobody knows who this guy is—not even John Sickels or Baseball America.

The reasons why Anna has gone completely unnoticed aren’t surprising. His batting average has been between .271 and .280 every year since 2009— totally unexciting. His career high in home runs is 10. He’s not fast, doesn’t steal bases. He’s not a glamorous fielder. He’s not a big guy, and there is no one thing about his game that really stands out. Even his name—Dean William Anna—is modest and unassuming. Basically, nobody ever expected anything of Dean Anna, so nobody has paid attention even though he’s turned into a very solid player.

Anna is no defensive savant, but he gets the job done, and his combination of versatility and competence are both highly valuable and easy to underrate. He splits most of his time between shortstop and second base, but he’s also put in time at third base, the outfield corners, and first base. He’s even tried on catcher’s gear, although he has yet to get into a game behind the plate. Anna is the sort of player who will do anything you ask him to do—and he’ll do it well enough that you’ll soon forget he’s even there. He’s a picture-perfect super-utility man.

In that way, Anna is a lot like Mark DeRosa, another ultra-versatile player who put up high on-base percentages but didn’t get a real major league opportunity until his mid-20s. Like DeRosa, Anna could end up with a long career in the big leagues, assuming someone gives him a chance.

8 years ago  ::  Dec 09, 2013 - 3:03PM #133
Posts: 32,868

Yankees Prospects: Baseball America's 2014 top 10

Baseball America as released their 2014 top 10 prospects list and it's a little different than we have normally seen.

1. Gary Sanchez, c
2. Slade Heathcott, of
3. Mason Williams, of
4. J.R. Murphy, c
5. Eric Jagielo, 3b
6. Aaron Judge, of
7. Ian Clarkin, lhp
8. Greg Bird, 1b
9. Luis Severino, rhp
10. Gosuke Katoh, 2b

Sanchez is obvious, but after that Heathcott overtakes Williams. J.R. Murphy ranks highly, since he is considered major league-ready. Having Jagelo, Judge, and Clarkin so high when two of them haven't had much time in pro ball either shows just how good the Yankees' 2013 draft was or how bad the system has been. After them come a trio of new names. Greg Bird finally gets some recognition after his incredible year, Luis Severino had a solid year in Charleston at the age of 19, while Gosuke Katoh surprised everyone with a great season in rookie ball right out of the draft.

Ranking the organization's top 15 prospects under the age of 25 amounts to the same players because the Yankees don't have any older prospects. As part of the team's top 15 prospects, Manny Banuelos, who should be returning from Tommy john surgery this season, makes it at number 11. Abiatal Avelino of rookie-ball represents the Yankees' best shortstop, Jose Ramirez, Jose Campos, and Rafael De Paula round out the top 15. This all makes me wonder what happened to Tyler Austin?

Giving out the best tools superlatives:

Greg Bird is the organization's best hitter for average and has shown the best strike-zone discipline.

Mason Williams is the fastest baserunner, the all-around best athlete, and best defensive outfielder.

Cito Culver won best defensive infielder and best infield arm.

Jose Ramirez has the best fastball and the best changeup in the system.

Gary Sanchez is the system's best power hitter.

Nik Turley possesses the best curveball.

Mark Montgomery owns the best slider.

Vidal Nuno has the best control in the system.

J.R. Murphy is the Yankees' best defensive catching prospect.

Slade Heathcott owns the best outfield arm.

8 years ago  ::  Dec 09, 2013 - 3:08PM #134
Posts: 32,868

Baseball America: Yankees’ farm system has “major deficiencies”

Baseball America (worth the full read):

All of this highlighted the major deficiencies at the upper levels of the Yankees system, evident even though Double-A Trenton won the Eastern League title. If there were viable internal options, acquisitions such as past-prime vets Vernon Wells or Mark Reynolds wouldn’t have been necessary.

The Yankees haven’t produced an everyday player since the 2005 draft, which yielded Brett Gardner and Austin Jackson…

…nearly all of the Yankees’ potential impact prospects took a step back. Outfielder Mason Williams struggled with weight gain and poor performance. Outfielder Slade Heathcott was just getting going before knee tendinitis ended his season. Outfielder Tyler Austin missed significant time at Double-A with a wrist injury.

And naturally, the proper way to remedy this problem is to bring back the two people most responsible for this calamity.

But hey, we’re just being overly critical.

8 years ago  ::  Dec 10, 2013 - 6:37AM #135
Posts: 32,868

Yankees OF prospects no longer valued on trade market

Modal Trigger

8 years ago  ::  Dec 10, 2013 - 6:38AM #136
Posts: 32,868
  • Bill (NYC): Were would you rank the yankee farm system overall

Josh Norris: Between 20-30

8 years ago  ::  Dec 10, 2013 - 6:39AM #137
Posts: 32,868

John Manuel@johnmanuelba51s
Thanks for the kind words. Didn't get much good feedback on DePaula in FSL, 1-trick pony w/FB, lack of secondary. so no.

8 years ago  ::  Dec 11, 2013 - 4:28PM #138
Posts: 66,015

Dellin Betances has a fourth option and can be sent to the minors in 2014

Dellin Betances was moved to the bullpen in 2013 after seasons of struggling to find his way in the rotation at the Triple-A level. The Yankees obviously felt like Betances' best shot at sticking with the team long-term came from a move to the bullpen to try and minimize his struggles. The team was running out of options on Betances and was in danger of losing him if he wasn't able to stick on the major league roster.

Brian Cashman announced today, much to the surprise of most, that Betances has a fourth option and can be sent to the minors for one more season. This fourth option stems from a rare rule that allows a player that has five or fewer professional seasons who has already used up three options to have one additional option year.

This means that Betances doesn't necessarily have to stick with the Yankees out of spring training this year, which is very different from want was believed before today's revelation. The Yankees can send him back to Triple-A to continue to work in relief, or even possibly give his chances at the rotation one more go. Considering how well he did in relief with the RailRiders last season, it seems pretty ridiculous to try and move him back to the rotation. Relievers are less valuable than starters, but a strong reliever is much more valuable than a starting pitcher who walks the park and has little idea where the ball is headed.

If Betances is not in the bullpen as the long reliever to start the 2014 season, the job could fall to Adam Warren for a second season. Warren could also make some noise in the battle for the fifth starter position with David Phelps, Michael Pineda, and Vidal Nuno. Those who miss out on the rotation spot will likely be split between heading back to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and working out of the big league bullpen.

"Leave the gun. Take the cannoli."
8 years ago  ::  Dec 14, 2013 - 1:30PM #139
Posts: 32,868

Prospect Park: Joey Maher


Joey Maher2

The Basics:

Name: Joey Maher
Position: SP
Handedness: Right handed
Age: 21
Draft: 2011, 38th round out of New Hampshire
Size: 6-foot-5, 200-pounds
Best Tool: Sinker
BBDP Rank: 38

When you draft a player in the 38th round there are not much in the way of expectations for that player. In the end, you’re pretty happy if they become organizational filler that stays in the system for four or five years. There’s not much in the way of high upside talent at this point in the draft. Joey Maher was drafted out of high school as a long shot to become something more than organizational filler. Not only has Joey Maher done just that, but he has actually become a legitimate prospect in the system and a guy to really keep an eye on in the coming years as his body matures.

Maher comes from a cold weather upbringing in the Northeast. He’s the type of player that screamed long term project when he was drafted. In stead he has come along a lot quicker than expected and could begin to make some real noise in this system as soon as next season. The scouting report on Maher when he was drafted was that he was a 5th starter at best. He had an upper 80′s sinking fastball and a breaking ball which was a work in progress. At his size though, there was always a chance he could add strength and power, and he has.

In his first season in the minors, Maher’s numbers look pretty bad. He had a 5.64 ERA in 22.1 IP with 17 K and an 0-3 record. I hope it’s obvious to all who read this blog by now though that 22.1 IP is nothing but a small sample size. Moreover, most of the runs came in a single two inning outing where he got shelled while suffering from shoulder tendonitis in his first season. This is an extremely common issue in the rookie leagues.

In 2013 he came around with a season that you would expect from a proficient sinker-baller. He pitched 58.0 innings, struck out 29, an had a 3.10 ERA while generating a ton of ground balls. His stats were negatively skewed by one start he made for High-A Tampa where he let up eight runs in 1.1 innings. Without that outing his ERA was 1.91 on the season. The success was great, however the one thing that jumps out is the low strikeout rate. Even as a successful sinker-baller, he is going to have to start figuring out how to get some more strikeouts as he moves up the latter. Overall it was a successful season for Maher though, as he continued to work on his curve and changeup while continuing to have success with his four-seamer and a two-seamer.

The Stuff:

Maher is not a guy who’s stuff is going to jump out at you, but he is a different kind of pitcher than any of the flamethrowers you hear about. His ceiling may not be as high as some, but he has the potential to be a valuable player in his own right down the line. He projects as a guy who should be able to eat up innings in the future, and you will see why.

Maher’s current success begins and ends with his sinker. He has other pitches but none are yet at a point where they would grade out as plus, although his curve and changeup are coming along rapidly. His sinker lives in the low 90′s and tops out at 92. His four seam fastball is a tick or two faster in the 92-93 range with the occasional 94. The sinker has a ton of movement and is a definite plus pitch for him right now.

He also throws a curve and a changeup. The curve is a true work in progress. He was able to use it successfully this year but control has been the main issue. He has plenty of time to tackle that problem though. As a tireless worker control should not be an issue for him long term. The changeup is already an above average pitch and generates soft contact regularly. If he can develop either of these pitches into a plus offering, he will be tough to hit. Better yet, if the curve becomes a strike out pitch, we are talking about a legitimate third starter candidate here.

In terms of pitch-ability, Maher is the type to attack hitters, and will need to continue to do that going forward to be successful. He is well aware of that and control is always his number one priority. In addition, at his size he still has the potential to add one or two more ticks onto his fastball. If that were to happen, we’re talking about a guy who could be a major factor in the system.


With his current velocity and some improvement in the secondary stuff, his ceiling is currently that of a third starter. As is always the case with young pitchers, there is always the potential for an uptick in velocity. This is especially true of players with the type of size that Maher has. With an uptick in stuff his ceiling would obviously rise.

The floor is still pretty low at this point. His current stuff should allow him to ascend at least to Double-A. From there he will have to improve his secondary offerings and pitch-ability to make it to the show. If not, he could be a bust.

The likelihood that he reaches his ceiling is low after repeating the GCL this year. That said, he is poised for a breakout season in 2014. Much like Jordan Cote, this is the year the Yankees should start to see a return on their long term investment.

2014 Outlook:

He will likely start out in Staten Island, but when promotions occur he could easily spend a fair amount of time in Charleston before the season is over. More than likely I would predict the Yankees will take it slow with him and give him one more extended Spring Training to hone his craft and really hammer down that curve ball.

If he continues to improve, his likely arrival time to the major leagues would be either 2017 or 2018.

Overall Joey Maher is still a wait and see proposition. At this point, however, he has a lot more now talent to build on and could work his way into the Charleston rotation if things go really well for him in 2014.

8 years ago  ::  Dec 14, 2013 - 5:43PM #140
Posts: 32,868

Director! How do you fix the Yankees farm system?


Slade Heathcott - The Star-Ledger-USA TODAY Sports

You woke up today and discovered that you are now in charge of the New York Yankees farm system. After making an appointment with your psychiatrist to update your xanax prescription, you come across today's article from John Manuel at Baseball America, describing the current problems in the organization.

Manuel points out some success with pitchers but notes the lack of hitting prospects as a particular problem. So how do you solve this?

A) What's your approach in the upcoming draft? Hitting? Pitching? A balance? College guys? High schoolers? Don't just say "best player available."

B) What type of international players will you look for? Would you rather spend big bucks on a few guys, or spread the bonuses out?

C) You're the Yankees, so money for signing players and farm operations shouldn't be a problem. Would you think about spending beyond the draft and international bonus pools and just eat the extra penalties for going over?

D) The trio of outfield prospects that got such attention last winter, Mason Williams, Slade Heathcott, and Tyler Austin, all scuffled. Do you have particular hope for them to rebound?

Your goal is to have John Manuel write a very different article three years from now, about how the Yankees farm system has been rebuilt. Have at it.

8 years ago  ::  Dec 15, 2013 - 11:47AM #141
Posts: 32,868

2014 Breakout Candidate: Abiatal Avelino

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abiatal avelino


Name: Abiatal Avelino
Position: SS
Handedness: Bats and throws right handed
Age: 18
Signed: 2012 for $300,000 out of the Dominican Republic
Size: 5-foot-11, 186-pounds
Best Tool: Defense, contact
BBDP Rank: 12

Abiatal Avelino is a great example of a top notch signing for the Yankees at a minimal cost. To spend $300,000 on a player of Avelino’s caliber is highway robbery. It has been a developing trend for the past 2-3 years that the Yankees have done an excellent job with international scouting and have been fortunate enough to sign some high quality players for low bonuses. This has given the lower minors an infusion of talent that is about one year away from bolstering this system.

Abiatal started his Yankee career in the DSL in 2012. As a 17 year old he hit .302/.398/.374/.772 with 20 SB in 57 games. He had 11 doubles, a triple and a homerun in that stretch. He developed a reputation as a slick defender and Baseball America took notice. He was ranked as one of the top 20 DSL players in 2012.

Here is a quote from their write-up at that time; “His actions are clean, his hands and feet work well and he has good body control. He’s an instinctive fielder who turns double plays well, has a good internal clock and a plus arm with solid-average speed.”

They also noted that he has a line drive swing which is short and compact, and he is able to barrel the baseball well. He is noted to have good patience at the plate and a game centered around getting on base.

These observations turned out to be quite accurate, as his appearance stateside confirmed most of the scouting report. In his first stateside season he hit .303/.381/.399/.780 with 28 SB and 4 CS in 51 games. He played 34 games in the GCL and 17 in Staten Island, his first experience playing under the lights. He hit nine doubles and five triples. He spent 2013 proving that the scouting reports were accurate.


Avelino’s biggest strength is his defense. He is smooth, has good hands, and excellent arm strength. He has plus range and quickness as well. Defensively there is little question that he can not only stick, but will excel at shortstop. This is a key in the major leagues.

Offensively Avelino’s game is already quite polished. He has good patience at the plate, and excellent instincts to go with solid speed on the base paths. He is a very good contact hitter and sprays line drives throughout the field. He has the potential to continue to hit for a high average going forward.

The one aspect of his game which has yet to develop is power. This will not be a necessary tool for him to make it to the majors but if he is able to develop it he could take the leap from prospect star to prospect superstar. His small frame would indicate that he may never hit for power, but his swing is good enough that as he develops and matures he could hit for average power.


Avelino has an immense ceiling. He has star potential with his skill set and ability to implement it in games. He could be an all-star shortstop if all goes well who steals 40 bases and hits for a .300+ average every year.

His floor is already a backup shortstop used as a defensive replacement late in games.

The likelihood that he will hit his ceiling is above average, as he has an excellent work ethic and drive to succeed to go along with superior tools.

2014 Outlook:

Avelino should start this season in Charleston. Given that it is his first season in a full season league, the Yankees tend to move slow. He’ll likely stay in Charleston for his first year and look to move two levels at a time after that.

He could be in the major leagues as soon as 2016 if he is as good as advertised.

8 years ago  ::  Dec 16, 2013 - 12:09PM #142
Posts: 32,868

Yankees Prospect: Baseball Prospectus 2014 top ten


Baseball Prospectus has released their list of the top ten Yankees prospects going into the 2014 season. It's more traditional than Baseball America's list, but it's not overly optimistic about any of their chances to make it.

No. 1: The top prospect in the system is, of course, Gary Sanchez, though Jason Parks believes his stock fell a little bit in 2013 due to mix reviews of both his offense and defense. He still has the potential to be a first-division player as a catcher, though his more realistic future is as a major league regular first baseman/DH type.

While he's still a top 101 prospect in the game, his stock has slipped, and several scout sources continue to question his baseball makeup, and the likelihood that he reaches his tool-based ceiling.

I have concerns about his actual abilities behind the plate. We were told that he was a good defender, but then there were reports that he was just as bad (or even worse) than Jesus Montero. The Yankees kept saying Montero could stay at catcher, but it was obvious that he was horrible when he went to the Mariners. Now I'm worried that the organization is trying to pump Sanchez's value up too.

No. 2: This is the highest I've seen Jose Ramirez place. Parks believes that his health is a major concern after two injury-shortened seasons in a row. He has a plus fastball and his changeup is described as his "money pitch," however, his inconsistent command is going to hurt his potential. If everything goes right for him, he could be a No. 2-3 starter in the majors, but his more realistic future is as a late-inning reliever

If he can stay healthy (big if) and take steps forward with his delivery and overall command, Ramirez could develop into a high leverage reliever, perhaps even a closer if it really comes together. The arm is that good.

For me, injury is still a very big concern for Ramirez. He definitely has the ability to pitch, but he struggled when he made it to Double-A this season and then he got hurt again. He seems to be destined for the bullpen.

No. 3: J.R. Murphy had a breakout season in 2013, and it has paid off with his inclusion on many top prospect lists. Overall he projects to be a very quietly good player, with the ceiling of a major-league regular and a floor as a quality backup catcher. He lacks impact tools, however, he has shown enough with the bat and the glove that he could be a solid hitter and receiver.

His likely role will be as a backup, he has the potential to develop into an average major-league regular at a premium defensive position, and despite a lack of loud tools, the sum of his parts could make him a very valuable player.

I think Murphy could have been a major-league option in 2014, but he will likely get the majority of his playing time in Triple-A. I'm not entirely sold on his bat just yet, but another solid season like 2013 will make it obvious that he belongs with the Yankees.

No. 4: Playing in over 100 games for the first time in his pro career, the oft injured Slade Heathcott continued to show his toolsy potential. He has high-end physical tools, showing plus-plus athleticism and running, with a plus arm and above average glove, however his reckless style of play will hurt him in the field and at the plate. He has the potential to be a first-division player, but his more realistic role will be as a below-average major leaguer in a bench role.

His game lacks nuance, with an all-or-nothing approach and a highly contagious but often reckless style of play that limits his ability to stay healthy. If he can put the bat to the ball with enough consistency, he can bring his legs into the equation and possibly hit for a respectable average.

I don't think Heathcott will ever be a starting-caliber player. He's just lost too much time to injury and he lacks power and the plate discipline to make up for it. I do think he can be a solid fourth outfielder that can add some speed in the field and on the base paths, though I will continue to hope he builds on his decent 2013 season.

No. 5: Tyler Austin followed up his breakout 2012 season with a disappointing injury-plagued 2013, but the promise is still there. Parks sees him as a major-league regular with good bat speed and advanced approach at the plate, though his more realistic role will be as a platoon player off the bench with, at best, average defense at the corners.

Austin has natural bat-to-ball ability, with a short stroke that produces bat speed and allows him to make hard contact. That contact has yet to manifest itself as over-the-fence power, at least against upper minors pitching, but it has a chance to play to average, and the hit tool and approach could push it beyond that in a perfect world scenario.

I think Austin has the best chance out of the Yankees' three outfield prospects, but that depends largely on how much of 2012 was for real. He lacks home run power for someone who has very little defensive value, but he's still valuable if he can prove to be a good right-handed bat off the bench.

No. 6: Parks didn't seem overly impressed by Mason Williams, who was once the best/second best prospect in the system. He believes Williams is an impact athlete with excellent range in center field with a plus glove, solid arm, and above-average speed. While he does possess good contact ability at the plate, that contact is often weak and his power will be well below average. He has the potential to be a first-division player, but he is more likely to be a below-average option off the bench.

The defensive profile in center will give him value even if the bat falls short of the mark, but the concerns about his work ethic and overall baseball makeup don't offer a lot of confidence that he will reach his potential, much less overachieve his projections.

I really don't see where Mason Williams is going anymore. The 2014 season is going to be make or break for his prospect status going forward. He's struggled, and with that, questions about his makeup have emerged. He's very hard on himself, which is important to see, but it's possible he isn't taking that and being productive with it. This is where coachability issues come in. If the organization thinks it will be impossible to fix his problems, it's best to trade him now before his value completely flatlines.

No. 7: Greg Bird arrives on another prospect list for the first time after his breakout season in 2013. Parks believes he has an advanced approach at the plate with an excellent eye, often taking counts deep. He profiles as a major-league regular, but his bat is what will take him through the system, so he could end up as a platoon player.

Several industry sources were very high on Bird, including one front office (NL) source who said he would take the 21-year-old bat over every position player in the Yankees system other than Sanchez. The makeup gets positive reviews, which is encouraging, but the swing is what really matters, and Bird can hit, with bat speed and strength and the potential to bring legit power into game action.

I love Greg Bird. He led all the minors in walks and it's good to see that not only does he have power potential, but he has an excellent approach at the plate. You have to temper your expectations when it comes to prospects, but if he has another big season in 2014, I think he deserves to be one of the top two in the system, despite his defensive limitations.

No. 8: While many were impressed by Eric Jagielo's professional debut, Parks was more cautious, as he was striking out against only average pitching. Still, he believes he has a good swing and approach with some power potential. He has the arm to play third, though he's probably below-average in the field right now. Jagielo has the ceiling to be an above-average player, but he also has the floor of a below-average player, it all comes down to how he develops.

Jagielo was drafted for his polish and offensive potential, which means he should be facing an accelerated developmental plan and high expectations for immediate production. It was small sample, but I wasn't blown away with Jagielo's bat in the New York-Penn League; the bat speed wasn't special and he was often behind average stuff located over the plate. But it was the end of a long season, and several sources think the 21-year-old product of Notre Dame is going to hit, for both average and power, and if he shines in his full-season debut, he could be sitting atop this list next season.

I have to agree with Parks on this one. He wasn't overly impressive, but then again, in this system even average looks good. I still have high hopes going forward and I hope he shows that he can handle an accelerated workload.

No. 9: Ian Clarkin is one of the Yankees' pitching prospects who actually projects to stick in the rotation. Right now he has a complicated delivery and below-average command, velocity, and movement, but his fastball projects to be a future plus pitch, while his curveball could be his "money pitch." He could be a No. 2-3 pitcher in the rotation, but realistically he could be as low as a No. 4 instead.

The secondary stuff will get there eventually, as the curveball already shows legit plus potential, but the first developmental steps will likely be taken through a heavy dose of four-seam fastballs. Clarkin's a long-term project, but an athletic lefty with a promising and projectable three-pitch mix is worth the developmental patience.

It's nice to see a pitcher in the system that is actually expected to remain a starter. Everyone seems to have high hopes for Clarkin, but until I see him pitch more than five innings, I have to conserve my judgement and potential excitement.

o. 10: Despite his monstrous size, Aaron Judge has shown he's an excellent athlete with solid speed and a strong arm. He has tremendous power potential, but it needs to be harnessed with a refined swing. Judge probably has the greatest difference between potential and realistic future, as he could fall anywhere from a first-division player to a career minor leaguer.

Judge has the potential to be a middle-of-the-order power monster, but he also has the potential to flame out before he reaches the highest level.

Yes, his power potential could have us all salivating, but right now it seems to be more hypothetical than actually in-game. I fear that he could end up completely flaming out if the power doesn't develop. Even then, I don't know how good of an overall hitter he will end up being. It sounds like he could be a home run or nothing player, yet strangely has the athleticism to play the outfield.

Aside from the top ten, three other players were also set aside as prospects on the rise. Luis Severino, a right-handed pitcher who played for Low-A Charleston in 2013, could have been included in the top ten, though he might end up as a reliever down the road. Luis Torrens, another Venezuelan catcher, made his professional debut in rookie ball this year and could hone his raw tools to make big strides in 2014. Jose Campos, who normally makes these lists, has been stunted by injury, but if he's healthy he could be one of the best in the system.

I think it's fitting that Campos fell off the top ten. He has the potential, but until he can prove that he is healthy, it's best to not expect much from him.

Parks also identified three players who could find themselves contributing at the major league level in 2014: Manny Banuelos, once he overcomes any rust from missing a full season, Rafael De Paula, if he's moved to the bullpen and accelerated through the system, and Bryan Mitchell, as a starter or, more likely, a reliever.

Personally, I find De Paula and Mitchell to be very unlikely. De Paula won't be converted to a reliever just yet and Mitchell has yet to really match his results with his potential. I would love to see ManBan up in the majors, but unless he suddenly figures out his control issues, I say he stays in Triple-A until September.

Jason Parks really summarizes the system in one sentence:

It's Gary Sanchez and a list of interchangeable prospects with reliever profiles or bench futures, although the lower levels of the system might be able to put a much-needed charge into a lifeless system in the coming years.

8 years ago  ::  Dec 18, 2013 - 10:21AM #143
Posts: 32,868

Let’s Talk About Some Prospects


Bryan Mitchell

I have a confession.  I’m bored.  I’m bored talking about mediocre second and third basemen and I’m bored waiting around for the Rakuten Golden Eagles president to just embrace the inevitable and agree to post Masahiro Tanaka.  I’m bored pondering which righty reliever the Yankees will overpay to “compete” with D-Rob for the closer role next year and I’m bored wondering how or if they are going to be able to move Ichiro.

Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus have both recently released their annual top 10 Yankee prospects lists, and both have their strengths and weaknesses.  That means prospect ranking season is right around the corner, if it isn’t here all ready, so I’m saying the hell with the Major League issues this morning and going with the prospects.  I still have to put the finishing touches on my top 30 ranking for this season, but for the sake of conversation and debate here’s a peek into my mindset.

Prospect I Value More Than I Probably Should- Tyler Austin

Austin slid down the rankings on both BA and BP’s lists.  BA didn’t even have him in the top 10.  I don’t get that.  I look at Tyler Austin and I see a guy who just played the bulk of the 2013 season as a 21-year-old in Double-A and managed to put up a decent .333 wOBA despite battling a wrist injury for almost the entire season.  I see a guy with a polished approach at the plate who drew 41 walks in 366 plate appearances and has generally improved his BB rate as he’s advanced from the lower levels.  I see a guy who’s a gamer, who’s not afraid to step up and lead the charge in big games.

The reality of Austin’s numbers is that he hasn’t had a truly monster offensive performance since A-ball and the wrist problems could diminish what was already expected to be average Major League power at best.  He may eventually profile as nothing more than a 4th OF, but right now I could still see him being an above-average starting corner OF and a run producer and that makes him a no-brainer top 5 prospect.

Prospect I Value Less Than I Probably Should- Bryan Mitchell

Every year his name pops up on top organizational lists and every year he gets the same type of write-up: “Big kid, dynamite stuff, huge upside, needs to work on consistency.”  Something like that.  And every year he goes out and basically turns in the same performance.  He was inconsistent and walked too many guys at Staten Island, he was inconsistent and walked too many guys at Charleston, and he was inconsistent and walked too many guys at Tampa.  I value performance over upside and in my world Mitchell’s performance hasn’t come close to matching his reported upside.  That said, he did look pretty good in his 3 late-season starts for Double-A Trenton and I’m not dumb enough to not recognize that the stuff is there.  I have him way down in my rankings right now, and if he puts it together this year and gets bumped up to Triple-A, he’s going to rocket up a lot of lists and I’m going to look a bit stupid for being so down on him.

Prospect I Really Hope Returns to Form This Year- Mark Montgomery

Coming into the 2013 season, most people expected to see Montgomery make the move into the Major League bullpen sometime in the late summer or early fall.  The way he stampeded through the MiL system, it only made sense to think that way.  His numbers through Double-A in 2012 were FILTHY.  His workload was also a heavy one and I cautioned that it could come back to haunt him in 2013.  It did, he struggled with shoulder problems, his performance suffered (4.00 FIP in 40 IP), and Montgomery ended the season on the DL.  He should be back to full strength for the start of next season and it’d be nice to see the life come back to his fastball and slider.  If he can regain his dominant form from 2012 or something close to it, he could end up being that extra arm that the Major League bullpen needs.

Prospect I Can’t Help But Feel Like I Was Right About All Along – Angelo Gumbs

When the Yankees drafted Angelo Gumbs, everybody raved about his tools.  I said let’s see him actually play more than 7 GCL games first.  When he tore up SS Staten Island in 2011, everybody rushed to put him in their top 10 lists.  I said let’s wait and see how he handles a full-season league first and I didn’t even put him in my top 30.  When he had a pretty good year in Charleston in 2012 I moved him into my top 20, but I still wasn’t sold on just the tools.  Gumbs was a complete disaster in 2013, bad enough that he was demoted from Tampa back to Low-A ball halfway through the year.  After the demotion he didn’t hit much better, .213/.261/.351 compared to the .214/.265/.302 he was hitting in Tampa, so if it was a motivational tactic it’s hard to say it worked.

In fairness to Gumbs, he did battle injuries this season and I’m sure they had something to do with his struggles.  Those injury problems were present in 2012 as well though, and to me they’re part of a prospect profile that’s more flash and unrealistic potential than substance and meaningful results.  Tools are all well and good, but everybody’s tools look good in rookie league.  It’s about what you can do with them at the higher levels that really matter and so far Gumbs hasn’t shown me anything.  He needs a big bounce back year in 2014 to re-establish his prospect value, maybe more than anybody in the Yankee system.

Prospect I’m Not Even Close to Sold On Yet- Aaron Judge

Big guy, big swing.  Could be a strikeout machine if he doesn’t have the smart approach and plate discipline you need against pro pitching.

Prospect I Wish Would Stay Healthy- Jose Ramirez

115.0 IP in 2010, 103.1 in 2011, 98.2 in 2012, 73.2 in 2013.  Not exactly the trend you want to see from someone who’s supposed to be one of the top pitching prospects in the organization.  He impressed in Major League spring camp this year and made his way up to Triple-A, but if he can’t hold his body together he’s going to end up in the bullpen.  That would be a major waste of his talent.

Prospect Who’s Not Actually a Prospect But I Wish He Was- Matt Tracy

Big dude, big stuff, lefty, already working up at Double-A.  He’d be a great guy to point to as a potential future starter or a really useful trade piece.  He just hasn’t been pitching that long, he hasn’t established much control of his pitches let alone command of them, and he’s always banged up.  He also just turned 25, so the click could already be running out on his prospect timeline.

Prospect I Think More People Need to Pay Attention to- Ben Gamel

I look at him and what he’s done in the last 3 years and I see Brett Gardner 2.0.  I’m probably way off there but I can’t help it.  I’m a Ben Gamel fan.

So there’s a little taste of the prospect thoughts that are rattling around in my head right now.  There will be more to come when I get tired of the “who else can the Yankees bring in to platoon at second base?” talk again.

8 years ago  ::  Dec 18, 2013 - 3:15PM #144
Posts: 32,868

Prospect Profile: Shane Greene


(The Patriot News)

8 years ago  ::  Dec 18, 2013 - 5:47PM #145
Posts: 32,868

Yankees release 16 minor league players

The Yankees did some serious housecleaning that fell under the radar. The organization released a total of 16 players in mid-December, all but one of them being international free agent signings. The lone draftee was Jose Diaz, a lefty drafted in the 29th round of the 2012 MLB Draft.

Everyone else was an international signing that the Yankees evidently were unhappy with. Right-handed pitchers Joaquin Acuna, Daury Aquino, Erick Canela, Edixon Mejia, Edwin Rodriguez, and Wilton Rodriguez, lefty Hector Bello, catchers Ignacio Chevalier and Jose Lopez, third baseman Fu-Lin Kuo, and outfielders Wilson Agramonte, Jorge Alcantara, Sandy Brito, Freite Marte, and Eladio ****ta were all let go. Of those 15, only Wilton Rodriguez and Fu-Lin Kuo saw any extended time playing above rookie ball.

Obviously no one will miss them, but I wonder if they plan to add fresh talent into the system through more international signings or if this is just in preparation for the 2014 draft. It's amazing how some of these kids don't get more than a few games to impress before they're cut loose. Of course, a lot of them are probably just showing no progress and are just too old.

8 years ago  ::  Dec 19, 2013 - 10:11AM #146
Posts: 32,868

Looking at some Yankees prospect rankings

J.R. Murphy, Derek Jeter

First, a quick announcement: We’re going to do a chat tomorrow at noon. It was quite obviously a late decision, but I’m flying home to Missouri on Friday — my family is celebrating the holiday a few days early — and I wanted to get in one last chat before the end of December. So, let’s talk tomorrow. Stop by at noon. If you’ve been there before, you know the drill. Noon. Chat. Right here on the blog. See ya then.

For now, let’s rewind a few days.

Prospect rankings are far more interesting as discussion points rather than definitive judgments. Team-by-team Top 10 lists are popular for obvious reasons, mostly the fact that they’re interesting. Agree or disagree, they’re an interesting way to look at, evaluate and discuss a team’s farm system. During the Winter Meetings, Baseball America released its Yankees Top 10 list (compiled by our old friend Josh Norris, who’s brought his usual fine work to BA). Earlier this week, Baseball Prospectus released its Yankees Top 10.

You’ll have to pay — and should pay — to get the full scouting reports and details of each list, but the names and numbers are fair game without a subscription. Here are the rankings (I’m focusing on these two if only because they’re two of the better known prospect-related sites out there), along with a few thoughts of my own.

1. Gary Sanchez, C
2. Slade Heathcott, OF
3. Mason Williams, OF
4. J.R. Murphy, C
5. Eric Jagielo, 3B
6. Aaron Judge, OF
7. Ian Clarkin, LHP
8. Greg Bird, 1B
9. Luis Severino, RHP
10. Gosuke Katoh, 2B

The first thing that stands out are Nos. 5 through 10: Four guys who were drafted in 2013, one guy who made his U.S. debut in 2013, and another guy who just played his first year of full-season ball. That’s the Yankees farm system in a nutshell. A lot of low-level upside, but the upper-level talent is both thin and uncertain. With guys like Judge and Clarkin and Severino, the ranking is all about upside. Judge has yet to take a pro at-bat, Clarkin has three pro games, and Severino has pitched in 10 regular season games in the States. Sanchez feels like an obvious and easy choice at No. 1, but Baseball America remains fairly bullish on Heathcott and Williams. Either that, or they’re acknowledging the risk that comes with the younger guys at the bottom of the Top 10. Maybe a little of both.

1. Gary Sanchez, C
2. Jose Ramirez, RHP
3. J.R. Murphy, C
4. Slade Heathcott, OF
5. Tyler Austin, OF/3B
6. Mason Williams, OF
7. Gregory Bird, 1B
8. Eric Jagielo, 3B
9. Ian Clarkin, LHP
10. Aaron Judge, OF

Prospectus is bullish on Ramirez, who dazzled in spring training but had some injury problems during the regular season. Even so, his stuff makes him the system’s top upper-level rotation prospect (with the possible exception of Manny Banuelos). Interesting that both BP and BA agree on Murphy as a top five prospect in the Yankees system. That’s a credit to his improvement behind the plate and the belief that he’ll be a solid hitter. He’s the safest pick on either of these lists. Prospectus also gives a nod to Tyler Austin — coming off injury and disappointment in Triple-A — before venturing into those low-level guys with significant upside and massive hurdles to clear. Both Baseball Prospectus and Baseball America agree that the Yankees top three draft picks from 2013 immediately belong in the team’s Top 10 prospects. That’s not necessarily a good thing. Indicates just how few sure things the system has.

I think I might have come up with my own Top 10 Yankees prospects back when I was in Scranton, but I don’t think I’ve ever done it since I came to New York. There’s a good reason for that: I don’t see these guys or talk about them nearly as much as I did when I was covering Triple-A, but that doesn’t keep me from having a few thoughts on who stands out and who doesn’t in the Yankees farm system.

Banuelos• During a Baseball America chat, Norris revealed that he has Manny Banuelos at No. 11. I really haven’t tried to come up with a list of my own, but I’m thinking I might have had Banuelos in my top 10. Which is more risky, an upper-level pitcher coming off Tommy John or a first-year pro with hardly any professional experience? Both bring considerable uncertainty, but if I had to pick one to have in the system, I think I’d prefer Banuelos to Clarkin. That’s not at all an indictment of Clarkin, it’s just that we’ve seen Banuelos pitch well against Double-A hitters, and Tommy John has a pretty solid success rate these days. I wouldn’t rule out Banuelos as a Top 10 Yankees prospect, but that’s just another opinion in an exercise full of them.

• If you’ve never heard of Severino, that’s perfectly fine. I know him by name only. I was surprised to see him in Baseball America’s Top 10, but that’s not at all to say I disagree. I know his stuff is supposed to be good, and in this system, a guy with limited experience isn’t necessarily overshadowed. That said, I rarely pay attention to guys until they get much higher in the system. If he’s the real deal, he’ll force you to learn his name over time.

• No Rafael De Paula on either list. Another one that surprised me, but also one that leaves me with no real disagreement. He was overwhelming in Charleston this year, then he bumped up to Tampa and was very clearly exposed. Yet another reason I don’t pay too much attention until guys get to Double-A. Those low-level numbers can be deceiving. I know the Yankees like De Paula a lot, but there’s a lot of development to go.

Bird• Not allowed to post his rankings as they’re entirely behind a pay wall, but I will say that my old friend from the minor league complex, Patrick Teale, is a big believer in Greg Bird. Teale posts his own Top 50 Yankees prospects every year at Pinstripes Plus, and he tends to lean toward those high upside guys in the lower levels, generally preferring potential ahead of polish (that’s my assessment anyway, I think he would agree with that). Patrick’s list as Bird very high. I’m also pretty bullish on Bird if only because of the way he handled himself in big league camp this year. Incredibly young, but went about his business with no sense of being starstruck or overwhelmed. That impressed me. The jury is out on whether he’ll develop the kind of home run power expected from a first baseman, but he has an advanced hitting approach for a kid his age.

• I’ve had numerous people email me this winter asking about Eric Jagielo as a solution at third base in either 2014 or 2015. While Jagielo has far surpassed Dante Bichette Jr. in the organization’s third base pecking order, I’d urge a little more patience than plugging him into your big league expectations for the next two years. He’s a college bat, so he could move fairly quickly, but 2015 would be warp speed. If it happens, that’s terrific for the Yankees — means Jagielo has raked and forced their hand — but to set that as the expectation is a bit much.

• Before putting them in a Yankees Top 10, we have to … 1. Find out whether Peter O’Brien can play the field. 2. See Abiatal Avelino produce in a full-season league. 3. Get a full, healthy year out of Jose Campos. 4. Get a significant bounce-back performance from Tyler Austin. 5. See actual results and not just raw potential out of Bryan Mitchell.

8 years ago  ::  Dec 22, 2013 - 11:43AM #147
Posts: 32,868

Looking for short-term depth: The Triple-A roster as it might be today

Taking a stab at a Yankees 25-man roster — based strictly on the players currently under contract — led me to think about who’s next in line for big league jobs. So, why not give the Triple-A roster a shot? Just like with the big league roster I posted earlier today, this isn’t really a prediction, just a look at who could slide into these roles based on who’s currently under contract. It’s more about getting a sense of the Yankees depth rather than trying to guess who will be in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre next season.

Zoilo AlmonteLINEUP
Slade Heathcott CF
Dean Anna 2B
Zoilo Almonte RF
Russ Canzler 1B
J.R. Murphy C
Ronnier Mustelier LF
Austin Romine DH
Corban Joseph 3B
Yamaico Navarro SS

This is assuming Heathcott shows enough in spring training to prove he’s ready to move up to Triple-A after 399 Double-A at-bats last year. If that’s not the case — if the Yankees want him to at least start the year back in Trenton — there are a couple of guys listed below who can play center field. This lineup also assumes that Nunez will be in New York, which seems unlikely. He might be there if the season started tomorrow, but ultimately I expect him to be crowded out. Anna and Romine could go the other way and ultimately earn big league jobs this spring, but again, I’d bet against it right now. It’s also worth noting that the details of the Yankees Triple-A lineup could be subject to change on a day-to-day basis. There are a lot of guys here who will need to play multiple positions in preparation for a potential big league role. Same goes for the guys on the bench. Also, experienced utility infielder Navarro could be traded to a team in Korea. The Yankees will lose some experienced versatility in the deal, but really, the smart money seems to be on Nunez eventually being the Triple-A shortstop anyway.

Adonis Garcia OF
Antoan Richardson OF
Addison Maruszak UT
Jose Pirela UT

Every team goes into spring training with more Triple-A possibilities than they really need. Ultimately, the Yankees will probably add even more than this, allowing for the fact that some planned minor leaguers will be needed in the big leagues, and for the fact that a handful of spring injuries are inevitable. That’s my way of saying that a guy like Garcia could and probably should play fairly regularly, even with this mix of players.

Manny Banuelos
Jose Ramirez
Vidal Nuno
Brett Marshall
Nik Turley

Just guessing, but I’d say there’s a good chance the Yankees will have Manny Banuelos open the year down in Florida to avoid the cold weather in his first outings back from Tommy John surgery. That said, the point of this exercise is to get a sense of the Yankees Triple-A depth, and it makes little sense to do that and leave out Banuelos. Also, I’d say there’s a strong chance Shane Greene is going to open the year in Triple-A, having impressed the Yankees with his improved command last season. He made 13 Double-A starts last year and might not have to go back. Also, there’s still the chance that Chase Whitley will be moved out of the bullpen and into the Triple-A rotation; and there’s a chance Michael Pineda will have to return to the minors; and a chance that Ramirez will become a big league bullpen option. Given the uncertainty of the Yankees major league pitching staff, trying to predict a Triple-A pitching staff is kind of absurd, but at least it gives some idea of who’s out there.

Mark Montgomery
Chase Whitley
David Herndon
Jim Miller
Danny Burawa
Brian Gordon
Fred Lewis

Cesar Cabral is a little bit like Nunez. Based on the Yankees current 40-man roster, he might have a spot in the big leagues. But, eventually, I think he’ll be crowded out and dumped back to Triple-A. So, really, I think he’s more likely to fit here than in New York out of spring training. Preston Claiborne and Dellin Betances could be here as well. Herndon and Miller have returned to the Yankees on minor league deals, and they seem like natural fits on the Triple-A roster assuming they don’t make a surprising charge into the big league mix. There’s really no good way to predict a Triple-A bullpen this time of year, but again, this is primarily a exercise to look at the immediate depth in the Yankees organization. Tommy Kahnle could be in his mix as well if he’s returned from Rule 5 duty with the Rockies. There are plenty of others who could easily slide into this mix, including a handful of potential Triple-A starters.

8 years ago  ::  Dec 23, 2013 - 10:33AM #148
Posts: 32,868

Prospect Park: Bubba Jones



Name: Bubba Jones
Position: 1B
Handedness: Bats left, throws right handed
Age: 21
Drafted: 2011 in the 7th round
Size: 6-foot-1, 205-pounds
Best Tool: Power
BBDP Rank: Unranked
Twitter: @ItsBubbaJones

Bubba Jones was drafted in 2011 with high expectations as a high schooler in the seventh round. The Yankees were able to snatch him away from the University of Arizona and sign him. Since then he had advances slowly but made progress each year. He grew up in Washington and while he played catcher and outfield in high school he was drafted as a first baseman.

So far in his career the power has not shown up statistically, but he is still expected to develop real power in due time. As an 18 year old in the year he was drafted, he hit .260/.327/.280/.607 in 15 games. 2011 was just a year to get his feet wet.

Then in 2012 he had another poor statistical season, batting .223/.307/.287/.605 in the GCL rookie league. He did manage to hit 11 doubles in 46 games but didn’t hit a single homerun, and his slugging percentage was a paltry .287.

This year Jones finally showed that he is trending upwards. He hit a career best .284/.348/.393/.741. Bubba hit two homeruns and had 17 doubles in 60 games. It was his best season as a pro by a long shot and an important step in the right direction. Next year as a 21 year old he will really have to start stepping it up with the power if he wants to be taken seriously.


Jones has a good, short swing and a patient approach at the plate. He sprays the ball throughout the field which bodes well for his future as a hitter. He hasn’t yet tapped into his power potential, but his size and his swing would suggest that it could be coming soon. In the end though, without much in the way of speed and being a first baseman the power must come at some point or he will find himself a career minor leaguer.

As said above, Jones doesn’t have much speed. He’s not going to steal any bases for you.

Defensively he is pretty slick with the glove. He doesn’t have the best range but he makes all of the picks. There’s no reason that he won’t stick at the position and he shouldn’t ever end up being a DH.

For Jones it will all come down to power.


Bubba’s ceiling is a 25+ homerun major league first baseman who can also hit for average. The main obstacle he faces in becoming that is learning to harness some of his power. His floor is a career minor leaguer. The likelihood that he reaches his ceiling is pretty low at this point, but that could change if the power comes along as it is expected to. There are a lot of ifs in his development.

2014 Outlook:

He’ll start 2014 at Charleston. He’ll likely spend a full year at the level.

As of right now he’s probably a one level a year guy, putting his estimated arrival time at 2018.

Bubba Jones has a ton of potential as a first baseman. He’s got a long way to got and some things to improve, but with the right guidance and hard work he could end up being a top prospect if everything breaks right for him.

8 years ago  ::  Dec 23, 2013 - 2:33PM #149
Posts: 66,015

Cubs claim Brett Marshall off waivers from Yankees


Via Chris Cotillo: The Cubs have claimed right-hander Brett Marshall off waivers from the Yankees. He had been designated for assignment last week to clear a 40-man roster spot for Carlos Beltran. Marshall, 23, had a disappointing 5.13 ERA (4.62 FIP) in 138.2 innings for Triple-A Scranton in 2013, though he did make his big league debut over the summer. I ranked him as the team’s 13th best prospect prior to the season but his stock had since come down.

"Leave the gun. Take the cannoli."
8 years ago  ::  Dec 23, 2013 - 2:34PM #150
Posts: 66,015

Christmas glitter graphics

"Leave the gun. Take the cannoli."
8 years ago  ::  Dec 23, 2013 - 5:08PM #151
Posts: 32,868

Merry Christmas and Happy 2014 Big Guy.


New York Yankees’ Dismal Player Development Picture
Read more at www.rantsports.com/mlb/2013/12/23/new-yo...

New York Yankees’ Dismal Player Development Picture
Read more at www.rantsports.com/mlb/2013/12/23/new-yo...
8 years ago  ::  Dec 24, 2013 - 3:57PM #152
Posts: 32,868

Meet the homegrown 2018 Yankees: The reserves

With a young team, a versatile bunch is needed on the bench

In our world, catching Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte's swan songs won't be J.R. Murphy's only pinstriped memories.(AP)

As we investigate what a 2018 Yankees team made up of only homegrown talent still under team control would look like, we've already revealed a starting lineup that contains the top four position-player prospects in the organization heading into 2013, a former College World Series MVP, two recently-drafted lefties with huge power potential and a man who idolized Derek Jeter well before he earned a shot to become the heir apparent. But as fan or coach alike can tell you, having a strong, versatile bench is just as key as having a packed starting lineup. Only six Yankees played in even 100 games last season but the team still finished 85-77, proving that quality depth is a must at every position.

We intentionally left the designated hitter out of our 2018 starting lineup, because as you'll see, the bench is so versatile that if one of them isn't the DH on any given day, any one of them can step in and "play the matchup" depending on which of the starting eight is getting the "half day off."

There is one thing we can spoil for you, however, and it is this: with the starting lineup containing a 50/50 balance of lefties and righties, the entirety of the reserve squad hits right-handed, so that any (or all) can step in against a tough lefty and give someone a rest.

With that, here are five projected reserves for our 2018 all-team control Yankees:

C/3B Peter O'Brien: Drafted as a catcher, O'Brien began taking reps at third base in Tampa and then again in the Arizona Fall League, gaining some versatility that can help him down the line. In just two seasons in the organization he's proven he can hit (.291 average last year, 32 homers and 130 RBIs in 659 total pro at-bats), and if he even adds maybe the ability to play first base to his repertoire, he could be well on his way to the Bronx -- if not already there -- when he gains Rule 5 eligibility after the 2015 season.

C JR Murphy: O'Brien is a catcher, but with his versatility, the team also needs a true backup backstop, and Murphy fits our bill. Because he reached the Majors and was placed on the 40-man roster last September, the 2018 season would be Murphy's second arbitration-eligible year at worst and second year of team control at best, so he might be one of the costliest on the team but also one of the "veteran" leaders. He's a solid hitter, showed a little bit of pop last season, and is very strong defensively, so he fits the mold of a backup catcher to a tee -- and because O'Brien can catch, he's a guy that could be used as a solid pinch-hitter at times as well.

OF Adonis Garcia: His right-handedness gets Garcia the nod over lefty options like Ramon Flores, Jake Cave or Ben Gamel, but that doesn't mean he's a slouch; in fact, Garcia might actually be the prototypical bench player and fourth outfielder. He's not necessarily strong in any one offensive category, but he's solid across the board, can play all three outfield positions and even a little second base in a pinch, and will be 33 shortly after Opening Day 2018, so he might work best in a reserve role. In reality he may not project to earn a 40-man spot prior to reaching Rule 5 eligibility in November 2015, but in our scenario, he's a guy that could have been a fourth outfielder for a few years by the time we reach 2018.

UTIL Addison Maruszak: He's already Rule 5 eligible, seen multiple looks in Major League spring camp, and will be a grizzled veteran of 32 by April 2018, but Maruszak would be a solid choice for our 2018 Yankees in a Jayson Nix-type utility role. Maruszak hit .254 with 32 RBIs in his first extended look (94 games) at Triple-A last year, and played every position but center field and catcher; these 2018 Yankees of ours don't need either, but they do need a guy who can fill in behind Cito Culver and Rob Refsnyder. Add in the fact that he could be a fifth outfielder, man a corner in a pinch, or maybe even knock one out of the park at times (he did hit 16 homers in Trenton in 2012), he seems like a perfect fit on this bench.

SS Abiatal Avelino: The final spot on our bench was a hot debate, but in the end, we wanted a true middle infielder with a righty bat and a speed element; our choice came down to Thunder stalwart Jose Pirela and Avelino, who got the nod simply because he's younger (barely 23 on Opening Day 2018) and much more of a natural shortstop (Pirela was moved off the position after making 37 errors at Trenton in 2011). Avelino stole 28 bases and hit .303 in 53 games between the GCL and Staten Island in his first season in America, putting his name on the map early; if he continues that progression, he could be a name to watch somewhere around 2016 in "real time," but for now, he gets the final nod as the 25th man in our fantasy 2018.

Follow us on Twitter @YESNetwork for more.

8 years ago  ::  Dec 24, 2013 - 3:58PM #153
Posts: 32,868

Yankees Prospects: Rankings from around the internet


The offseason is the perfect time to rank prospects based on their 2013 season and what we expect from them in 2014. Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus have both released their prospect lists, as have we, but there are plenty of other rankings around the internet that could deserve some attention as well.

Prospect 361 | Rich Wilson:

1. Gary Sanchez

2. Slade Heathcott

3. Eric Jagielo

4. Tyler Austin

5. Mason Williams

6. Rafael De Paula

7. Aaron Judge

8. Greg Bird

9. Manny Banuelos

10. J.R. Murphy

Baseball Instinct | Thomas Belmont:

1. Gary Sanchez

2. Mason Williams

3. Tyler Austin

4. Jose Campos

5. Slade Heathcott

6. Ty Hensley

7. Manny Banuelos

8. Rafael De Paula

9. Mark Montgomery

10. Angelo Gumbs

Pinstripe Pundits | Chris Mitchell and Derek Albin:

1. Gary Sanchez

2. Eric Jagielo

3. Mason Williams

4. J.R. Murphy

5. Slade Heathcott

6. Rafael De Paula

7. Greg Bird

8. Tyler Austin

9. Jose Campos

10. Ty Hensley

Double G Sports | Gregg Snyder:

1. Gary Sanchez

2. Slade Heatchott

3. Mason Williams

4. J.R. Murphy

5. Eric Jagielo

6. Aaron Judge

7. Ian Clarkin

8. Greg Bird

9. Luis Severino

10. Gosuke Katoh

Top Prospect Alert | J.P. Schwartz:

1. Gary Sanchez C

2. Mason Williams OF

3. Eric Jagielo 3B

4. Rafael DePaula RHP

5. Tyler Austin OF

6. Greg Bird 1B

7. Manny Banuelos LHP

8. Ian Clarkin LHP

9. Aaron Judge OF

10. Slade Heathcott OF

By averaging out these five prospect rankings we can get a more definitive look at their lists and see which prospects really are the best:

  1. Gary Sanchez
  2. Mason Williams
  3. Slade Heathcott
  4. Eric Jagielo
  5. Tyler Austin
  6. Rafael De Paula
  7. Greg Bird
  8. J.R. Murphy
  9. Aaron Judge
  10. Manny Banuelos

Once every major (and minor) outlet releases their prospect list we can compile them all and hopefully get as close as possible to how good these prospects are.

8 years ago  ::  Dec 26, 2013 - 11:32PM #154
Posts: 32,868

Prospect Park: Jose Campos

Jose Campos1The Basics:

BBDP Nickname: J-Cam
Name: Jose Campos
Age: 21
Signing: 2009 out of Venezuela, signed by the Seattle Mariners
Size: 6-foot-4, 195-pounds
Fastball: 93
Other Pitches: Curve, Changeup, Slider
BBDP Rank: 6
Position: RHP

You can’t mention Jose Campos’ name without mentioning the now infamous trade that brought Michael Pineda (and Campos) to New York for Jesus (the second coming of Babe Ruth) Montero and Hector Noesi. So far, the trade has netted a whole lot of nothing for either side. With Pineda finally healthy and Jose Campos ready to take of the training wheels, that could all change after this season.

Jose’s career trajectory has been a bit rocky. He started off with the Mariners in the Venezuelan Summer League (the equivalent of the DSL for the Mariners). There he learned the ropes and as a 16 year old had a 5.73 ERA in 33.0 innings with 23 strikeouts. The following year he proved he was ready for the United States by posting a 3.16 ERA and 59 strikeouts in 57 innings. He also had a 3.0 BB/9.

As an 18 year old Campos made it stateside in 2011. Seattle placed him in their Short Season Low-A affiliate, where he had his coming out party. He pitched 81.1 innings, had 85 K, and a 2.32 ERA. He was ranked by Baseball America as the third best prospect in the league he played in. He was seen by many as the best pitching prospect in the Short Season leagues.

Then he was traded to the Yankees, where he pitched 24.2 innings in his first season and then succumbed to elbow problems which kept him out the rest of the season. He had a 4.01 ERA in that time period and struck out 26 batters.

Almost full strength by the start of the season in 2013, Campos was a 20 year old in Charleston and had an effective season. He built his strength throughout the season but never got quite back to the guy the Yankees thought they traded for in terms of stuff. That said, he had excellent numbers. He threw 87.0 innings, had 77 K, and had an astoundingly low 1.7 BB/9 rate. His ERA was 3.41 on the season.

After the 2013 season Campos was eligible for the rule 5 draft, and he was protected by the Yankees on the 40-man roster, which shows how highly they think of him.

The Stuff:

There are three versions of the Jose Campos story you will read about on the internet. There’s his scouting report with the Mariners, his scouting report after he came to the Yankees, and his scouting report after the injury. It’s unclear why the scouting report was different almost immediately after being traded to the Yankees, but it could have involved anything from the elbow injury to an anti-Yankees bias in the media.

In general, Campos was known prior to the trade to the Yankees as a guy who sat 92-95 mph and reached 98 mph on occasion. He was known to have a slider and curve with plus potential and a change which was early in development at that time. He was known to have good pitch-ability and control though.

On arrival with the Yankees it became clear that Campos was more of a 91-94 guy who could pop a couple of 96 readings on the radar gun. His curve was an 82-84 mph offering and good command.The changeup graded out as a decent third pitch. He has good control of all of his offerings.

Last but not least, we can look at Campos’ stuff now. Campos sits mostly at 92-93 mph. He will throw some 89-91 mph pitches throughout the game though. His fastball is relatively straight at this point in his career. His curve ranges between 72-78 mph but inconsistent. It does have plus potential if he is able to stay more on top of it and keep it in the high 70′s to low 80′s.

He is accurate with his changeup, and it sometimes has good fade, but is inconsistent at this point. He will have to work on all of his pitches to continue to ascend going forward. It also wouldn’t hurt if he was able to regain some of that lost velocity. That in and of itself would bring him back to the top prospect radar.


With the current stuff, Campos has to be viewed as more of a potential late inning reliever. It’s tough to pigeon-hole him into that category though because no one knows if he will have more in the tank next season when he will hopefully have all of his arm strength back. If he does, and his off-speed pitches take a step forward then his ceiling immediately goes to a second starter.

His floor is pretty obvious. With the near disastrous elbow injury last season, he could end up being an injury bust. That said, without an injury his floor is actually pretty high. There’s a reason the Yankees had to protect him this year, because he is talented enough already to contribute to a major league bullpen. Even if he did go in the rule 5 there would have been a high likelihood of a team returning him to the Yankees.

The likelihood of hitting his ceiling at this point is low, but no one really knows how his arm will rebound next year. We will have a much better idea of where Campos stands after the 2014 season.

2014 Outlook:

Campos will start out in High-A Tampa. The Yankees will still limit his innings since the most he’s ever thrown was 87 last year. That likely means he’ll be due for somewhere between 117-127 innings next year. After that the training wheels will be completely taken off. Now that he’s on the 40-man roster. The Yankees will have to burn an option on him every year until he reaches the majors. He has three options now. This means that he will have to be on the major league team in 2017 or be passed through waivers.

That still places him on track to be in Triple-A in 2016 if he moves one level at a time, however if he moves faster it will give the Yankees more flexibility with him. He could be in the majors as soon as 2015 depending how fast he moves and how quickly his stuff comes along.

Admittedly I was probably a bit more bullish in my ranking of Campos than I should have been in my End of the Season Top 50. Six is a bit high given all of the other high end arms in the system and given where his arm is right now. To be fair though I didn’t have the most updated scouting information at my disposal at that time. His ranking will probably drop a bit in the preseason Top 50 for 2014, but he’ll have a chance to change that pretty quickly if he comes to camp throwing fireballs.

8 years ago  ::  Dec 29, 2013 - 1:31PM #155
Posts: 66,015

Almonte and Pirela wrap up strong winter ball seasons


First, two quick notes:

  • The Yankees have released a total of 33 minor leaguers over the last few weeks, according to Matt Eddy. The most notable are RHP Sean Black, LHP Jose Diaz, LHP Tim Flight, IF Fu-Lin Kuo, and OF Shane Brown.
  • Enrique Rojas reports IF Yamaico Navarro has agreed to a contract with the Samsung Lions in Korea. He gets $300k guaranteed plus incentives. The Yankees signed Navarro to a minor league deal a few weeks ago and agreed to let him out of the contract so he could head to the KBO.

Now, for the stats. This will be the final update of the year and I don’t just mean that because New Years’ is right around the corner. The various winter league seasons are either over or end tomorrow, so these stats are as good as final. I’ll be sure to post any minor league notes and what not, but as far as actual stat updates go, this is the last one until the regular season resumes in April.

Arizona Fall League (season is over, so these stats are final)

  • OF Tyler Austin: 4 G, 4-12, 2 R, 1 3B, 3 RBI, 2 BB, 1 K, 1 HBP (.333/.438/.500) — left the league with a wrist injury
  • UTIL Addison Maruszak: 10 G, 9-32, 8 R, 2 2B, 2 RBI, 10 BB, 5 K, 1 SB, 1 CS (.281/.452/.344)
  • 3B/C Peter O’Brien: 16 G, 12-63, 5 R, 2 2B, 4 HR, 13 RBI, 2 BB, 26 K (.190/.212/.413)
  • OF Mason Williams: 22 G, 23-86, 11 R, 6 2B, 4 RBI, 8 BB, 18 K, 4 SB, 2 CS (.267/.330/.337)
  • RHP Brett Gerritse: 9 G, 11.2 IP, 12 H, 12 R, 12 ER, 11 BB, 12 K, 2 HR,1 WP, 1 HB (9.26 ERA, 1.96 WHIP)
  • LHP Fred Lewis: 11 G, 11 IP, 8 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 5 BB, 10 K, 1 WP (0.00 ERA, 1.18 WHIP)
  • LHP Vidal Nuno: 5 G, 4 GS, 19.2 IP, 20 H, 10 R, 7 ER, 3 BB, 18 K, 1 HR (3.20 ERA, 1.17 WHIP)
  • LHP James Pazos: 10 G, 10.1 IP, 13 H, 5 R, 2 ER, 7 BB, 9 K, 2 WP (1.74 ERA, 1.94 WHIP)

Dominican Winter League (season is over)

  • OF Zoilo Almonte: 43 G, 55-174, 22 R, 10 2B, 1 3B, 4 HR, 20 RBI, 7 BB, 36 K, 6 SB, 2 CS (.316/.343/.454) — he’s what, seventh on the outfield depth chart right?
  • IF Dean Anna: 9 G, 8-34, 1 R, 2 2B, 2 RBI, 4 BB, 7 K (.235/.316/.294)
  • IF Eduardo Nunez: 5 G, 3-20, 2 K (.150/.150/.150)
  • C Gary Sanchez: 12 G, 5-28, 1 R, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 3 BB, 18 K, 4 SB, 2 CS (.267/.330/.337)
  • LHP Francisco Rondon: 2 G, 2.1 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 2K, 1 WP (3.86 ERA, 2.56 WHIP)

Mexican Pacific League (season ends tomorrow)

  • OF Jose Figueroa: 42 G, 5-40, 8 R, 2 2B, 1 3B, 4 BB, 15 K, 1 SB (.125/.205/.225)
  • UTIL Ronnie Mustelier: 53 G, 51-189, 25 R, 7 2B, 2 3B, 2 HR, 27 RBI, 28 BB, 34 K, 3 SB, 1 CS, 1 HBP (.270/.386/.360)
  • 3B Zelous Wheeler: 65 G, 62-233, 35 R, 6 2B, 10 HR, 38 RBI, 32 BB, 47 K, 3 SB, 4 CS, 3 HBP (.266/.357/.421)
  • RHP Manny Barreda: 8 G, 8.2 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 7 K (2.08 ERA, 1.15 WHIP)
  • RHP Gio Gallegos: 5 G, 6.1 IP, 9 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 2 WP (4.26 ERA, 1.74 WHIP)
  • SwP Pat Venditte: 9 G, 8.2 IP, 10 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 12 K, 2 HR (5.19 ERA, 1.38 WHIP)

The Yankees did not have any players in the Roberto Clemente Professional Baseball League (Puerto Rico). The season ends tomorrow.

Venezuelan Winter League (season ends tomorrow)

  • C Francisco Arcia: 20 G, 15-52, 7 R, 2 2B, 1 HR, 7 RBI, 5 BB, 15 K, 2 HBP (.288/.367/.385)
  • IF Ali Castillo: 36 G, 27-100, 14 R, 3 2B, 7 RBI, 5 BB, 11 K, 3 SB, 1 CS (.270/.302/.300)
  • OF Ramon Flores: 3 G, 0-6, 1 BB (.000/.143/.000)
  • OF Adonis Garcia: 53 G, 75-231, 38 R, 15 2B, 1 3B, 8 HR, 39 RBI, 7 BB, 30 K, 3 SB, 2 HBP (.325/.347/.502) — he’s also grounded into 11 double plays, which is a helluva lot for 53 games
  • C Jose Gil: 36 G, 32-111, 18 R, 6 2B, 1 3B, 4 HR, 23 RBI, 22 BB, 21 K, 1 SB, 3 CS, 3 HBP (.288/.416/.468) — nice winter for the long-time organizational backstop
  • OF Ericson Leonora: 1 G, 0-4, 1 K (.000/.000/.000)
  • UTIL Jose Pirela: 61 G, 80-239, 57 R, 13 2B, 7 3B, 5 HR, 41 RBI, 33 BB, 28 K, 5 SB, 2 CS, 5 HBP (.335/.419/.510) — excellent winter, now let’s see if it’s enough to finally get him out of Double-A
  • OF Antoan Richardson: 36 G, 34-134, 19 R, 6 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 14 RBI, 16 BB, 33 K, 6 SB, 2 CS, 5 HBP (.254/.353/.336)
  • RHP Jose Campos: 1 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 1 HR (9.00 ERA, 3.00 WHIP)
"Leave the gun. Take the cannoli."
8 years ago  ::  Dec 29, 2013 - 1:32PM #156
Posts: 66,015

Ex-Yankee Melky Mesa signs with Kansas City Royals

Ex-Yankee prospect Melky Mesa has signed a minor league deal with the Kansas City Royals. He was released, not designated for assignment, by the Yankees back in September to remove him from the 40-man roster. It seemed possible that that they were looking to re-sign him, since they had previously done the same with David Adams before re-signing him, but alas.

Mesa made his major league debut in 2012 and joined Yankee history when he missed third base while racing home. It seemed like a quirky beginning to maybe a longish career as a replacement-level player on the bench. Yeah, ok, he wasn't exactly promising, but it's a big deal any time the Yankees bring up someone from the farm system. He has been in the organization for eight year, since 2006. That's a loooong time.

In only five games this season, Mesa accumulated three singles and two doubles before being sent back down. Unfortunately, though he's been an above-average hitter in the minors, he's also collected a tremendous amount of strikeouts over the years. He had a 32.3% strikeout rate in 2012 and it only got worse when it jumped to 33.7% in 2013. That's 230 strikeouts in two seasons. Yikes. Also, he's never had a walk rate higher than 9.0% at any level. That combination will definitely be a problem.

Maybe his his right-handed bat would have been useful at some point, but he's almost 27 and really won't be amounting to much.

"Leave the gun. Take the cannoli."
8 years ago  ::  Jan 03, 2014 - 11:35AM #157
Posts: 32,868

Aaron Judge, OF


Position: OF

DOB: 04/26/1992 (Age: 21)

Height/Weight: 6’2”, 255 pounds

Bats/Throws: R/R

Drafted: First round, 2013 (Fresno State)

ETA: 2016


2013 Stats


Scouting Report

At 6’7”, 255 pounds, Aaron Judge is an absolute physical specimen with surprising athleticism and loud tools; right-handed hitter boasts 80-grade raw power to all fields and showcased it more consistently in games last spring; easy 25-plus home run potential at maturity; strikeouts will always be part of his game, like most long-limbed sluggers; swing can get long at times, and he struggles to drive pitches at the bottom of the strike zone; fringy hit tool projection; compensates for a lack of impact bat speed with sheer strength.

Defensively, Judge’s above-average range and plus arm are ideal for a career in right field; some concern that his monster frame will lead to injuries with age; lacks the finesse and glove to move to first base.


Ceiling: First-division player


Risk: High

8 years ago  ::  Jan 03, 2014 - 12:29PM #158
Posts: 32,868

Ian Clarkin, LHP


DOB: 02/24/1995 (Age: 18)

Height/Weight: 6’2”, 186 pounds

Bats/Throws: L/L

Drafted: First round, 2013 (Madison HS, Calif.)

ETA: 2017


2013 Stats


Scouting Report 

A lot of moving parts in delivery; starts by moving back with a high leg kick and brings hands up high around his head before moving toward the plate; good extension out front; big stride toward the plate; release point tends to change from pitch to pitch, though not an uncommon trait in high school arms; clean arm action and ability to release ball late helps velocity play up.  

Fastball command is below-average at present but will flash at least average in spots; inconsistent command and release point; needs to stay on top of it more consistently; sits 90-92 right now with ability to add another 1-2 miles at peak. 

Breaking ball has hard, late bite; 12-6 shape on pitch with depth that can buckle knees; doesn't always finish well out front, leading to pitch bouncing in front of the plate; future plus offering that should miss bats; doesn't trust changeup in game situations; will occasionally show flashes of being an average offering; above-average movement on the pitch; good arm speed.


Ceiling: No. 3 or 4 starter


Risk: High

8 years ago  ::  Jan 03, 2014 - 1:32PM #159
Posts: 32,868

Greg Bird, 1B


Position: 1B

DOB: 11/09/1992 (Age: 21)

Height/Weight: 6’3”, 215 pounds

Bats/Throws: L/R

Drafted: Fifth round, 2011 (Grandview HS, Colo.)

ETA: 2016


2013 Stats


Scouting Report

Physically strong player at 6’3”, 215 pounds; he gets billed as a Three True Outcome hitter but is more than that; bat speed is slightly above-average; employs a mature and consistent approach from the left side of the plate; works deep counts thanks to solid pitch recognition and a feel for the strike zone; present extra-base machine with the upside of 20-plus home runs in his prime; drives the ball with backspin carry to all fields; hit tool could surprise people in 2014 and translate favorably in the Florida State League.

A back injury in 2012 forced Bird from catcher to first base full time this past season; below-average runner; possesses decent range, but his lack of athleticism and quickness will prevent him from becoming a top-notch defender; still learning specifics of the position; overall value will always be tied to his bat.


Ceiling: Second-division regular/platoon player


Risk: Medium

8 years ago  ::  Jan 03, 2014 - 1:33PM #160
Posts: 32,868

Eric Jagielo, 3B


Position: 3B

DOB: 5/17/1992 (Age: 21)

Height/Weight: 6’3”, 215 pounds

Bats/Throws: L/R

Drafted: First round, 2013 (Notre Dame)

ETA: 2015


2013 Stats


Scouting Report

Upright stance; sets up with high hands and loads deep; hand positioning has been lowered slightly since summer; some length to swing; stays inside the ball well; has become more comfortable using entire field; showcases shorter swing on inner-half offerings; tends to extend arms early with pitches on the outer half; streaky hitter with patient approach; sees a lot of pitches; goes through periods where he expands the zone; can strike out in bunches.

Two-handed swing with high finish is geared toward driving the ball; derives power from strong lower half; easy power, especially to the pull side; should be able to showcase more opposite-field pop as a professional with a shorter bat path.

Below-average runner; lacks quickness; may lose another step as he continues to mature physically; average defensive third baseman; makes the plays; some athleticism; decent instincts but lacks overall quickness; fringy range; arm is strongest defensive asset; suitable for the hot corner; would also play as a left fielder or first baseman if he's forced off the position.


Ceiling: Second-division regular


Risk: Medium

8 years ago  ::  Jan 03, 2014 - 1:39PM #161
Posts: 32,868

Mason Williams, OF


Position: OF

DOB: 8/21/1991 (Age: 22)

Height/Weight: 6’0", 180 pounds

Bats/Throws: L/R

Drafted/Signed: Fourth round, 2010 (West Orange HS, Fla.)

ETA: 2015


2013 Stats


Scouting Report 

6’0”, 180-pound frame is loaded with athleticism; underwent season-ending surgery on his left shoulder in 2012; endured significant regression at the plate last season; left-handed hitter employed a weaker swing, trying too hard to slap the ball in play rather than make adjustments; struggled mightily to keep weight back against secondary offerings; too much swing-and-miss to his overall game; speed has lost a grade over the last year, partially a result of his lack of on-field hustle.

Still offers above-average to plus defense in center field; struggles to track balls over his head; good reads and routes; athletic, fluid actions; average arm strength is ideal for center field.


Ceiling: Second-division outfielder


Risk: High

8 years ago  ::  Jan 03, 2014 - 1:41PM #162
Posts: 32,868

Tyler Austin, OF


Position: OF

DOB: 09/06/1991 (Age: 22)

Height/Weight: 6’2”, 200 pounds

Bats/Throws: R/R

Drafted: 13th round, 2010 (Heritage HS, Ga.)

ETA: 2014


2013 Stats


Scouting Report

Physically strong player who drives the ball across the entire field; majority of power is to right-center field; works to stay inside the ball; good plate coverage and bat-to-ball ability; hit tool should be at least serviceable in the major leagues; nagging wrist injury limited his power in 2013; should showcase more over-the-fence pop when healthy; still learning to turn on the ball; potential to hit 15-20 home runs at maturity; strong track record against left-handed pitching gives him upside as a platoon option.

Swing has some length that could make him vulnerable to elevated velocity at higher levels; has strong track record against quality pitchers over last two seasons; employs a patient approach; doesn’t waste many at-bats; overall intelligent hitter capable of making in-game adjustments.

Actions look natural in outfield, despite background as a corner infielder; above-average arm is ideal for a corner spot; moves well for his size and showcases range that’s better than expected; defensive skill set plays up thanks to high baseball IQ; only an average runner but has sneaky speed and athleticism; instinctual baserunner who picks his spots to run; 45 stolen bases in 47 attempts during professional career.


Ceiling: Second-division regular/reserve outfielder


Risk: Medium

8 years ago  ::  Jan 03, 2014 - 1:43PM #163
Posts: 32,868

J.R. Murphy, C


Position: C

DOB: 05/13/1991 (Age: 22)

Height/Weight: 5’11”, 195 pounds

Bats/Throws: R/R

Drafted: Second round, 2009 (The Pendleton School, Fla.)

ETA: 2014 (Debuted in 2013)


2013 Stats


Scouting Report

Murphy turned in a breakout performance in 2013 and was rewarded with a 16-game stint with the Yankees in September; 22-year-old has always possessed a mature approach and feel for the strike zone; both his strikeout and walk rates have improved in the face of advanced competition; consistent right-handed swing with solid bat speed, but some question his ability to square-up velocity; works to get extension after contact; learned to lift the ball last year and posted career-best power numbers.

Defense has improved considerably over the last two seasons; well rounded defensive profile, despite lack of a carrying tool; average receiver with room to improve; footwork will be an area of focus as he prepares for 2014 season; compensates for average arm strength with a quick release and good catch-and-throw skills; poised for a career as a solid backup with the potential to play his way into a more serious role.


Ceiling: Second-division regular/backup catcher


Risk: Low

8 years ago  ::  Jan 03, 2014 - 1:46PM #164
Posts: 32,868

Slade Heathcott, OF


Position: OF

DOB: 9/28/1990 (Age: 23)

Height/Weight: 6’1”, 190 pounds

Bats/Throws: L/L

Drafted: First round, 2009 (Texas HS, Texas)

ETA: 2015


2013 Stats


Scouting Report

Leadoff hitter-type who gets down out of the box in a hurry; best athlete in the system; quick hands but slashy swing that lacks leverage; above-average bat speed but needs to keep barrel in the zone longer; inconsistent bat path; plus speed makes him a constant extra-base threat at the plate; potential for 20-plus stolen bases annually; tendency to rip open and pull off with front side, which limits the use of his hands; could develop moderate over-the-fence pop with better use of lower half; unnecessary pre-pitch movement causes a lack of fluidity in swing; fringy pitch recognition.

Hard-nosed, high-energy player; does everything at 100 percent; worrisome injury history due to playing style; good defensive center fielder with above-average range and impressive closing speed; tracks the ball well; impressive arm strength; shows impressive closing speed on balls in the gaps; takes direct routes.


Ceiling: First-division regular


Risk: Medium

8 years ago  ::  Jan 03, 2014 - 8:11PM #165
Posts: 32,868

Jose Ramirez, RHP


Position: RHP

DOB: 01/21/1990 (Age: 23)

Height/Weight: 6’3”, 190 pounds

Bats/Throws: R/R

Signed: 2007 (Dominican Republic)

ETA: 2014


2013 Stats


Scouting Report

Durable frame at 6’3”, 190 pounds; low-three-quarters arm slot; delivery involves some effort; quick arm but inconsistent release point.

Plus fastball that works consistently in the mid-90s with sink; fringy command of pitch; throws a hard slider that registers in upper-80s with depth and tilt; at least average potential; changeup has outstanding fade in the mid-80s and flashes plus-plus potential.

Overall command can get away from him at any point; history of shoulder and arm problems; big upside out of the bullpen if starting doesn’t work out.


Ceiling: No. 2 or 3 starter/late-inning reliever


Risk: High

8 years ago  ::  Jan 03, 2014 - 8:12PM #166
Posts: 32,868

Gary Sanchez, C


Position: C

DOB: 12/02/1992 (Age: 21)

Height/Weight: 6’2”, 220 pounds

Bats/Throws: R/R

Signed: 2009 (Dominican Republic)

ETA: 2014


2013 Stats


Scouting Report

Has improved plate discipline and contact rate this season; above-average power potential from a well-balanced swing; plus bat speed; feel for striking the ball; has some serious thump in bat; overaggressive approach; ability to control strike zone is better but still has plenty of room to improve; impressive young hitter; bat will play, regardless of future position.

Defense and work ethic has significantly improved since start of 2012; possesses underrated athleticism and agility; blocking and receiving skills leave room for improvement; arm strength is biggest asset; game-calling and leadership improving with experience; not a guarantee to remain behind the plate.


Ceiling: First-division regular


Risk: Medium

8 years ago  ::  Jan 04, 2014 - 12:34PM #167
Posts: 32,868

New York Yankees To Spend Big Internationally This Year

When the international free agent pool opened up to teams during the 2013 season, the Chicago Cubs took advantage of a loophole in the signing rules to land all of the top players. One year later, the New York Yankees are prepared to do the same.

The Yankees are willing to spend $20-25 million next year during the negotiating period, which will likely be more than enough to land many of the top, budding stars.

The drawback will come in the following two years when the Yankees will not be allowed to sign any international free agent for more than $300,000. The majority of these players come from countries like the Dominican Republic and Venezuela, but players from countries such as Taiwan have been signed in the past.

Signing a few top free agents will – hopefully – replenish the Yankees farm system which has come under fire recently for not being as strong as it should be, with many prospects not being MLB-ready. However, a few plus-talent players with very cheap contracts can help the Yankees field a cost-effective team, says sbnation.com.

The players signed might not be noteworthy until they let their skills develop within the minor league system, but the tools that they possess make them can’t-miss talent worth signing. Last year, the Cubs signed six players from the international pool, all of whom are on the radars of Cubs’ fans and management.

The Yankees have had past success in the international pool, as in 2001, they signed a young player from the Dominican Republic by the name of Robinson Cano, and well, we know how that one turned out. Before Cano, there was also a player named Alfonso Soriano who was signed by the Yankees from this pool, and years later, he still continues to play in MLB at a high level.

Not every player signed turns out to be a Cano or a Soriano, but sometimes they do, and that is why most of the time, signing these international players for such a small amount of money is worth it.

The next international free agent negotiation period begins on July 2, 2014.

8 years ago  ::  Jan 07, 2014 - 2:39PM #168
Posts: 32,868

Which Yankee prospects could break camp with the team?



Even though the Yankees will, once again, be a team filled with aging veterans, which prospects could make the team following Spring Training?

Although pitchers and catchers are set to report to the team's complex in Tampa, Florida in a little over one month, the Yankees still have a few spots on the roster up for grabs. Some of these spots will be filled with veterans/potential Masahiro Tanaka signings, but others could be filled with (gasp!) younger players from the farm system.

An area of need for the Yankees, although it wasn't the team's biggest, was strengthening the bullpen following the retirement of Mariano Rivera (as well as Boone Logan's departure to the Colorado Rockies). So far, they've only replaced Logan with the signing of Matt Thornton. This is a decent start, but as of now the Yankees' bullpen is David Robertson-Shawn Kelley-Thornton-Preston Claiborne(?)-Cesar Cabral(?)-?-Adam Warren/Vidal Nuno. The team could certainly do better. At the same time, relievers are flying off the market, so it wouldn't be too much of a surprise at this point if they do decide to stay in-house to fill out their bullpen.

If this is the route the Yankees choose to take, there are a few prospects the team has at their disposal they can go to. First, there's Chase Whitley. Whitley had yet another solid season with Triple-A Scranton, pitching to a 3.06 ERA and 3.05 FIP in 67.2 innings. This comes a year after pitching to a 3.25 ERA and 3.70 FIP with Scranton. Whitley possesses a good fastball, an improving cutter, and a very good change up as his main go-to out-pitch.

The 24-year-old right-hander can do a little bit of everything. He can soak up some innings in the middle of the game, pitch late in the game, and even start here and there. Whitley was left off the Yankees' 40-man roster and will need to be added, but that shouldn't be a problem. There are plenty of DFA/trade candidates even after the respective Thornton and Brian Roberts deals are made official.

Next is Jose Ramirez. Even though Ramirez has been pretty solid as a starter over the years, there are still injury concerns that could push him to the bullpen long term. Last season he had numbers (3.67 ERA and 4.63 FIP split between Double-A and Triple-A in 73.2 innings) that didn't quite match up to his stuff. Ramirez boasts a fastball that can reach the high 90's; sits in the mid-90s, a wipeout change up that is easily a plus offering, and an improving slider.

There's obviously the makings of a potential number two or three starter here, but if the Yankees really feel he won't stick as a starter, they can put him in the bullpen and they could all of a sudden have, if everything goes right, a legit late-inning option to a thin bullpen. At the same time, I expect the team to keep him in the rotation to begin the season considering they gave Dellin Betances, who was a complete disaster for a 32-start stretch from 2012-2013, chance after chance before mercifully pulling the plug in the middle of the year.

As of now, I see the Yankees with 11 position players set to make the team (Jacoby Ellsbury, Brett Gardner, Carlos Beltran, Alfonso Soriano, Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira, Brian Roberts, Kelly Johnson, Brendan Ryan, Brian McCann, and Francisco Cervelli) with guys like Ichiro, Vernon Wells, and Eduardo Nunez potentially getting traded/DFA'd/sent to Triple-A, respectively. For those scoring at home, that's four outfielders, five infielders, and two catchers. Normally, there are 13 position players who make the 25-man roster cut, so the Yankees have two spots open here. Even if Alex Rodriguez's suspension gets reduced to 50 games, they'll still need another infielder for the time being as well as another outfielder.

This is where Dean Anna comes into play. Anna plays up the middle, mostly at second base, and can hold his own defensively, unlike Nunez. Anna has also shown some good on-base ability in the minors, as he has a career minor league OBP of .386 in over 2200 plate appearances while posting a .410 OBP last year in close to 600 Triple-A PA's. This is something Nunez never showed even while down in the minors. Although Anna has yet to reach the majors, there is some upside here for a decent utility man, which is something Nunez has yet to prove in 270 games at the big league level. Obviously Anna isn't an actual "prospect," but, believe it or not, he's the closet thing the Yankees have to one as an infielder who is Major League ready. Anna is also on the 40-man roster, so having him make the 25-man roster out of camp wouldn't require any maneuvering.

If the Yankees do end up jettisoning Ichiro, which may or may not eventually happen, the team could use an extra outfielder given Soriano's and Beltran's respective advanced ages and declining outfield skills. Out of all the outfielders the Yankees have in the minors, prospect or not, Zoilo Almonte is first in line to claim an outfield spot if needed. He hit just .236/.274/.302 with a 55 wRC+, but it came in a limited 113 PA sample. Almonte, a switch-hitter, is better from the left-hand side. It would be better, given the construction of the roster, if he hit better from the right-hand side, but alas. Anyway, Almonte could be used as a defensive replacement given the aforementioned respective struggles of Soriano and Beltran. But, with this in mind, you can make a case for the Yankees to actually keep Ichiro if Almonte would be just a defensive replacement that doesn't get very many at-bats, but we'll see.

Finally, there's Ronnier Mustelier. Mustelier had a golden opportunity to break with the team following spring training, but injured his knee during a game while racing after a foul ball. Unfortunately, despite all the injuries to the Yankees' infield, Mustelier was never able to reach the Bronx in 2013. He hit an underwhelming .272/.319/.398 with a 101 wRC+ last year for Triple-A Scranton and will be 30 in August. Mustelier primarily played third base and corner outfield last season, so if he can hit like he did in 2012 at Scranton (128 wRC+), he could be given the opportunity with the Yankees, but it's a longshot.

I've used the word "prospect" pretty freely since Jose Ramirez is the only true "prospect" on this list, but there are a few other fringy kind of utility players the Yankees have at the upper levels of the minors (Adonis Garcia, Jose Pirela, etc.), but they may be just organizational players more than anything. A common theme in this post is the lack of true impact type prospects, especially in the infield. Since Robinson Cano debuted in 2005, the last infielder the Yankees have developed is Eduardo Nunez. Seriously. You can't make this stuff up.

Maybe Rob Refsnyder will figure out second base and Eric Jagielo may turn out well and become options down the road, but I won't hold my breath. There's also J.R. Murphy, at catcher who may be Major League ready, but is blocked for the next few years by Brian McCann. On the pitching front there's Jose Ramirez, but I'd be willing to wager a pretty good amount that he'll end up in the bullpen before it's said and done. Sure, it'd be nice to have a potential late-inning, lights-out reliever, but the Yankees need (young) starting pitching now and in the future. For now the Yankees have very little high-impact prospects (a stark contrast to the Red Sox' prospect wealth), and they'll have to make the best with what they have right now until high-end talent finally emerges.

8 years ago  ::  Jan 08, 2014 - 12:04PM #169
Posts: 66,015

Prospect Profile: Luis Severino


Not many photos of Mr. Severino out there. (ABC News 4 Charleston and MiLB.com)

Not many photos of Mr. Severino out there. (ABC News 4 Charleston and MiLB.com)

Luis Severino | RHP

Severino hails from Sabana Del Mar, a small fishing town along the north shore of the Dominican Republic. He was a little older than the typical Latin American prospect when he signed with the Yankees in December 2011, two months before his 18th birthday. Severino received a relatively modest $225k bonus.

Pro Career
The Yankees assigned Severino to the Dominican Summer League to start his pro career in 2012. He threw 64.1 innings across 14 starts that season, posting a 1.68 ERA (3.14 FIP) with 45 strikeouts (6.30 K/9 and 18.3 K%) and 17 walks (2.38 BB/9 and 6.9 BB%).

Severino came stateside last year and was very impressive, making six appearances with the team’s Rookie Level Gulf Coast League affiliate (1.37 ERA and 1.68 FIP) before being bumped up and making four starts with Low-A Charleston (4.08 ERA and 2.24 FIP). All told, Severino posted a 2.45 ERA (1.92 FIP) with 53 strikeouts (10.84 K/9 and 29.6 K%) and only ten walks (2.05 BB/9 and 5.6 BB%) in 44 innings in 2013. After the season, Baseball America ranked him as the 17th best prospect in the GCL.

Scouting Report
Severino is a short-ish right-hander — he’s listed at only 6-foot-0 and 195 lbs. — with really big stuff. He unleashes 92-94 mph fastballs on the regular and will hump it up to 97-98 on his best days, though he is prone to getting radar gun happy and overthrowing. That is something that can improve with experience, at least in theory. Severino is really athletic and his arm action is loose, so the ball jumps out of his hand.

A mid-80s slider was Severino’s top secondary pitch when he signed, but he developed a low-to-mid-80s fading changeup after turning pro and it has since become his top offspeed offering. The slider is inconsistent but still shows promise. Severino throws strikes with his fastball and he generally locates his two offspeed pitches down in the zone, where they’re supposed to go. There is occasionally some arm recoil — not a huge red flag but not ideal either — in his otherwise smooth delivery. Like most teenage pitchers, Severino still needs to learn the finer points of his craft, like holding runners and fielding his position.


That video is from Spring Training last year and is the only video of Severino I can find. Again, there just isn’t many photos or video of the kid out there.

2014 Outlook
After his successful four-start cameo at the end of last season, Severino figures to return to Low-A Charleston to open 2014. He’ll turn 20 late next month and I expect him to remain with the River Dogs all year, even if he completely tears the South Atlantic League apart.

My Take
Severino is one of those cheaper, lower profile Latin American prospects the Yankees have a knack for digging up. I actually like him more than bigger name international signings like Rafael DePaula and Omar Luis because he throws strikes with his fastball, has already figured out a changeup, and has three pitches overall. Severino is just a kid with barely a hundred pro innings to his credit though. He has a lot of work and development ahead of him, but the raw tools are exciting and suggest he will be able to remain a starter long-term.

"Leave the gun. Take the cannoli."
8 years ago  ::  Jan 08, 2014 - 5:07PM #170
Posts: 32,868


Article on Manny Banuelos.....for some reason cannot cut and paste articles

from Rant Sports

8 years ago  ::  Jan 08, 2014 - 9:14PM #171
Posts: 32,868
Yankees sign Bruce Billings, re-sign Yoshinori Tateyama

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

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

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

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


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

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

Who he is

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Prospect Park: Peter O’Brien


Peter O'Brien

The Basics:

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


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

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

The Tools:

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

2014 Outlook:

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

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

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

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

Unsigned draftees: What happens to them?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yankees Prospect Profile: Miguel Andujar


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


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

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

2013 Results:

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

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

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

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

2014 Outlook:

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

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

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

Yankees Prospect Profile: Tyler Austin


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

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


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

2013 Results:

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

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

2014 Outlook:

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

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

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

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

Yankees Prospect Profile: Abiatal Avelino


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


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

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

2013 Results:

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

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

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

2014 Outlook:

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

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

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

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

Yankees Prospect Profile: Manny Banuelos


Christian Petersen

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


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

2013 Results:

Scranton (Triple-A): Did Not Play

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

2014 Outlook:

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

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

Sorting out the projected Triple-A Scranton roster

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Tod Shapiro/Flat Iron Hot! News)

Pineda. (Flat Iron Hot! News)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Prospect Park: Dan Camarena


Dan CamarenaThe Basics:

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

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

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

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

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

The Stuff:

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

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

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


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

2014 Outlook:

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

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