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Random Minor League Notes: 2014 Edition
8 years ago  ::  Sep 17, 2014 - 2:38PM #861
Posts: 32,868

Yankees call up Jose Pirela to replace Martin Prado

As if this season couldn't get any worse, Martin Prado underwent an emergency appendectomy last night and his season is officially over. But out of the worst things, sometimes good things happen. The Yankees placed Prado on the 60-day disabled list and have replaced him with minor league infielder Jose Pirela. The 24-year-old will finally get a chance in the majors, even if there are only two weeks left in the season.

Pirela hit .305/.351/.441 with 10 home runs and 15 stole bases in his first full season at Triple-A this year and regardless of what he will provide going forward, definitely deserved a call up. While Rob Refsnyder got all the hype, Pirela put together his own All-Star season, and given his contract status, bringing him up now makes sense. The Yankees are not only giving him a chance to perform in the majors, but by adding him to the 40, they can now keep him in the organization instead of allowing him to become a minor league free agent.

Jose Pirela might not end up providing that much value this year or over the rest of his career, but since the Yankees didn't bring up any interesting prospects in September, this is the closest we will get to an exciting young player. Sure Bryan Mitchell and John Ryan Murphy are up here, but neither had the season Pirela had and neither had a demand quite like he did. He's not really much of a prospect, but given his age and recent showing of talent, he's the best we have to look at for now. I hope he gets a fair amount of playing time because he's definitely earned it and maybe he proves to everyone that he at least deserves a chance.

8 years ago  ::  Sep 17, 2014 - 7:56PM #862
Posts: 32,868

Yankees prospects 2014 season recap: Charleston RiverDogs

Down south in Charleston, the Yankees' Low-A affiliate has been fortunate enough to see their share of nice prospects pass through over the past couple years. The 2014 campaign was no different as some talented players made a stop in Charleston, most notably a pair of first round picks from the 2013 MLB Draft who made terrific impression on the organization: outfielder Aaron Judge and lefty starter Ian Clarkin.

The dauntingly tall Judge did not play for the Yankees at all last year after the draft due to a quad issue, so there was understandably an air of mystery surrounding him as he began the season. He quickly put those concerns to bed by getting off to an incredible start to his professional career in Charleston, slugging .333/.428/.530 with a 167 wRC+ in 278 plate appearances. Judge wasn't hitting for much power at first, but as the season progressed, he found his stroke and the South Atlantic League pitchers paid the price. On the road away from the spacious Joseph Riley Park ("the Joe"), he was even more incredible: .407/.481/.637 with five homers in 30 games. Judge was named to the SAL All-Star Team, and shortly after playing in the mid-June game, he was promoted to High-A Tampa, certainly a well-deserved honor. He was... the law.

Clarkin spent pretty much the whole year at Charleston, and the 19-year-old dazzled in his first full professional season. (He only made a few GCL appearances last year.) He pitched to a 3.21 ERA, 3.74 FIP, and struck out 9.2 batters per nine innings, a nice complement to his solid 2.8 BB/9. Clarkin demonstrated poise beyond his years on the mound, speaking volumes about his professionalism and maturity. The Yankees even let him make a spot-start for Tampa at the end of the year, foreshadowing where he is likely to advance in 2015. Keep an eye on this southpaw as he makes his way through the minors.

Another pitcher to watch who began the Charleston probably ended up as the Yankees' top prospect for 2014: righty Luis Severino. A year older than Clarkin, Severino did not take long to demonstrate that he was well-suited for a caliber of play beyond the Sally League, where he made 14 starts with a 2.79 ERA and 2.70 FIP, striking out 9.3 batters per nine and yielding only two walks per nine. He wasn't the tallest pitcher out there, but it hardly mattered. His repertoire amazed prospect watchers, and he was named to the SAL All-Star team. Like Judge, he was promoted to Tampa shortly afterward, ending the year in Double-A Trenton. Now that's an impressive ascent. The Yankees' top selection in the 2014 MLB Draft, lefty reliever Jacob Lindgren, also made that rise from Low-A to High-A to Double-A, beginning his professional career in Charleston. It did not take him long to earn a promotion--five innings with no walks, one hit, one run, and 11 strikeouts. "The Strikeout Factory" was not long for Charleston, that's for sure.

Two other pitchers who were not quite as heralded but opened some eyes in 2014 anyway were righty Jaron Long and lefty Caleb Smith. The son of hitting coach Kevin Long, Jaron was an undrafted free agent in 2013, and he was initially assigned to Charleston after six starts across a couple levels last year. He was terrific in the Sally League, pitching to 1.64 ERA and 2.27 FIP in 11 games (four starts), fanning 8.4 batters per nine innings with impeccable control: a 1.5 BB/9. Long did not stay in Charleston for very long, and he moved up to Tampa around the same time as Judge. (Like Severino, Long also jumped up to Trenton late in the year.) Smith also eventually found his way to Tampa after setting a club record for strikeouts in a single game and notching a 3.10 ERA and 3.62 FIP in nine starts with the RiverDogs, as well as a 9.2 K/9 despite a bit of an unsightly 4.0 walks per nine. Nonetheless, he earned his promotion, as did righty Brady Lail, who pitched well in Charleston with a 3.79 ERA and 2.99 FIP in 18 starts. Pitchers frequently tend to do well in Charleston due to the the Joe's pitcher-friendly dimensions, and 2014 was no exception.

Judge was not the only position player to make an impact in Charleston. The top-ranked Yankees position player of the 2014 MLB Draft was eighth round pick Mark Payton. He was a nice prospect, but not too much expected of him in his first professional season. The diminutive outfielder is actually a couple inches shorter than Brett Gardner, though his quality of play made people forget this fact. He tore up the Sally League with a .357/.443/.500 triple slash and a 167 wRC+, making only 97 plate appearances before receiving a well-deserved promotion to Tampa. Another position player to eventually earn a promotion to Tampa was first baseman Mike Ford. Like Long, Ford was an undrafted free agent, and he spent last year in Staten Island. With Charleston in 2014, he took off, batting .283/.381/.443 with a 133 wRC+ and 11 homers. Four of those homers came on one memorable night in May, a stunning four-dinger night. He didn't get his promotion to Tampa until August, but after Greg Bird was bumped up to Trenton, Ford certainly was worthy of the jump.

Michael O'Neill, a third round pick last year and Paul O'Neill's nephew, had a very nice year in Charleston, too. He hit .256/.333/.384 with a 103 wRC+ but made his greatest achievements on the bases, where he stole an organization-high 42 bases in 51 attempts. The 22-year-old was very fleet of foot, and that is sure to be his calling card going forward. Fellow outfielder Dustin Fowler posted a similar season at the plate, hitting .257/.292/.459 with a 104 wRC+ in 272 plate appearances. He did not walk nearly as much as the keen-eyed O'Neill, but he notched 28 extra-base hits, including nine homers in 66 games, no easy feat at the Joe. Shortstop Tyler Wade was also fine during his first full professional season after being drafted last year, and he hit .272/.350/.347 with a wRC+ of exactly 100. He did make 20 errors in 94 games though, so that wasn't great to watch, but oh well.

2013 second-round pick Gosuke Katoh had a surprisingly strong year in the GCL after getting drafted, but after starting this year in Charleston, he produced more of a mixed bag. Katoh was awful in the first couple months and as a result only ended up with a .222/.345/.326 triple slash, a 96 wRC+. Obviously that is some admirable plate discipline (15.3 BB%), but the second baseman also struck out in 30.5% of plate appearances, and he has to hit at least a little better than .222 (BABIP wasn't the answer either, as it was a steady .339). Perhaps it was a bit of an adjustment level for a kid who was finishing high school in California just last year.

It was still a better than the ones incurred by Miguel Andujar and Abiatal Avelino, two infield prospects who were of intrigue entering the year. Andujar was only okay with a .267/.318/.397 batting line and a 99 wRC+, but he was an absolute nightmare in the field at third base, where he made 26 errors in 120 games. Although his hitting was okay, the 19-year-old will definitely need to make improvements at the hot corner if he hopes to stay there. Avelino, another 19-year-old, was more effective at shortstop, but injuries limited him to 53 games, during which he hit a meager .232/.296/.323 with a 76 wRC+. It will be back to the batting cages for Avelino this off-season as like Katoh, he will seek to recapture the form that produced quite well in the Rookie League.

Charleston seems to always have interesting storylines, and 2014 was no exception. They were a very watchable group with several players to keep a close eye on going forward.

8 years ago  ::  Sep 17, 2014 - 7:59PM #863
Posts: 32,868

A Quick Look At Jose Pirela

Pirela Triple-A HR

Courtesy of Butch Comegys/The Times-Tribune

The Yankees lost the best hitter in their lineup for the last month or so when emergency appendectomy surgery ended Martin Prado‘s year yesterday.  They replaced him on the active roster with Jose Pirela, a 24-year-old utility man who quietly had a really nice season for Triple-A SWB, hitting .305/.351/.441 with 87 R, 60 RBI, 21 2B, 11 3B, 10 HR, and 15 SB in 581 plate appearances.  I believe he was named to the Triple-A end-of-year All Star team, but don’t quote me on that.

Pirela’s name has floated around on the periphery of the Yankee system for a few years when it comes to identifying real prospects.  He’s a guy who’s been good enough to warrant mentioning, but not great enough to warrant real “top prospect” consideration.  Now that he’s on the verge of making his MLB debut, here’s a quick profile on him for those unfamiliar.

Pirela was signed as a 17-year-old out of Venezuela in 2007.  He got a $300,000 signing bonus at the time, so it wasn’t like he was a complete unknown on the international circuit.  He quickly began his career playing for the Yankees’ Dominican League team that year, moved up to the GCL in 2008, and spent a full year at Low-A Charleston as a 19-year-old in 2009, where he hit .295/.354/.381 in 97 games.  After a down year for High-A Tampa in 2010, Pirela arrived in Trenton in 2011 and began a grueling process towards making it to the final rung of the pro baseball ladder.  He spent almost 3 full seasons there before getting a late-2013 call up to SWB, and was a full-time member of the RailRider roster this year when he had the aforementioned best year of his career.

Offensively, Pirela profiles as a contact-heavy hitter with a little pop and plus speed.  He’s at his best when he’s squaring the ball up, hitting it into the gaps, and using his wheels to turn it into extra bases.  Not a huge home run guy early in his career, Pirela has developed some power as he’s advanced and has hit 10 HR in each of his last 2 MiL seasons.  Over his 8-year MiL career, he owns a .273/.339/.391 slash line in almost 3.500 PA.  He doesn’t walk a ton, but he knows what he’s doing with the bat and hasn’t had a K rate over 17% since 2010.

Pirela’s player profile evolution has not been limited to just offense.  Signed as a middle infielder, he spent his first 4 seasons splitting time between second base and shortstop.  It wasn’t until he got to Trenton in 2011 that his coaches started experimenting with him at other positions, and it wasn’t until 2013 that second base became his primary position.  This season he played second, first, and shortstop and spent at least 6 games in all 3 outfield spots for SWB, and he’s been praised by scouts for the improvements he’s made at second and the natural athletic ability that allows him to be so defensively versatile.

In a sense, the Yankees are replacing Prado with a poor man’s version of Prado.  Pirela can play all the same positions the Yankees were rotating Prado through and he offers a similar offensive profile.  Because of the lack of output coming from guys like Stephen Drew and Brendan Ryan up the middle and the injury problems in the outfield, Pirela figures to see some significant game action over the next dozen games.  At least I think he does.  He’s due to become a MiL free agent after this season, so it behooves the Yankees to get a look at him for 40-man roster protection purposes.  He most likely won’t become an All Star at the Major League level, but Pirela could have a future on next year’s bench if he shows enough with the bat in his 2-week audition.

8 years ago  ::  Sep 18, 2014 - 10:28AM #864
Posts: 32,868

Yankees prospects 2014 season recap: Tampa Yankees

The Yankees' High-A affiliate in Tampa was home to some of the most exciting prospects in the system at various points throughout the 2014 season. Their first round pick in the 2013 draft, Eric Jagielo, spent his entire season at Tampa while he was joined by fellow first round pick Aaron Judge, 2014 draft pick standouts Jacob Lindgren and Mark Payton, and top pitching prospect Luis Severino.

Jagielo's season was abbreviated a bit by an injury that shortened his season to 85 games. The Yankees were aggressive in starting Jagielo out in High-A for his first full season, and the third baseman had pretty good results there with a .259/.354/.460 batting line to go along with 16 home runs. Hopefully the numbers look a little better this time next year, but it was still far from a bad season for Jagielo. Fellow third base prospect Dante Bichette Jr. found himself in the middle of a resurgent season after being promoted to High-A Tampa to begin the year. Bichette's prospect start had fallen after stalling out over the past few seasons in Charleston, but some work with his former big league player father seemed to pay off as DBJ hit .271/.352/.410 with nine home runs before being promoted to Double-A Trenton toward the end of the season.

Although Greg Bird only hit seven home runs in his time with the Tampa Yankees this season, the first base prospect who had a breakout year in 2013 put up another good run with a .277/.375/.442 batting line. A back injury caused Bird to miss time at the beginning of the season, so his statistics weren't as dazzling as they were a year ago. Still, he found his power stroke in a big way after his promotion to Double-A Trenton following the trade of another big power bat, Peter O'Brien. Outfielder Jake Cave turned in a really great season for Tampa, batting .304/.354/.395 in 90 games. His impressive numbers with Tampa earned him a promotion to Trenton at the end of the season as well. Fellow outfielder Mark Payton was only drafted in June before he immediately made his presence known by earning a promotion from Charleston to Tampa in his first season as a professional. The move up in the system didn't slow Payton down any, as the former Longhorn hit .286/.396/.495 in 26 games with Tampa.

On the pitching side, Luis Severino threw 20.2 innings for the Tampa Yankees on his way to blowing through nearly as many levels as Jacob Lindgren did this season. Severino pitched to a 1.31 ERA and has certainly put himself in the conversation as the Yankees' best overall prospect. Miguel Sulbaran, who the Yankees received in the Eduardo Nunez trade with Minnesota, tossed the most innings for the Tampa Yankees with a 3.52 ERA in 115 innings. There were basically zero expectations for the left-hander, seeing as he was traded for Nunez, so his success at the High-A level is really heartening.

Daniel Camarena put up a 2.35 ERA in 88 innings for the T-Yanks after spending all of last year with Charleston. Jaron Long, also putting his name on the map with such an impressive year, briefly spent time in Tampa before traversing three levels on the season. Long had a 2.77 ERA in 26 innings for Tampa, and was certainly one of the best stories from the farm in 2014. Nick Goody and Nick Rumbelow, two of the better relief prospects in the system (non-Lindgren division), each spent a bit of time with the Tampa Yankees this season with a 2.35 and 2.39 ERA, respectively. It's quite possible that at least one of them will find their way into the big league bullpen as early as next season.

The best part of the Tampa Yankees having so many good performances in 2014 is that it means those guys are one step closer to hopefully being able to make an impact at the big league level. It is, of course, not all good news. Cito Culver turned in yet another lackluster year for the Tampa Yankees, further proving that anointing him as Derek Jeter's heir was insanely off base. Second base prospect Angelo Gumbs also failed to impress at the High-A level this year. Despite that, it's hard to deny that the season was overwhelmingly positive at the High-A level, which is a very welcome sign after struggling to find many positives from the farm at all after 2013.

8 years ago  ::  Sep 18, 2014 - 10:53PM #865
Posts: 32,868

BBDP: Yankees top six third base prospects

andujarAfter reviewing the third base prospects in this system, it appears this isn’t the strongest position for the Yankees’ farm. That could change rather quickly, as the international free agent crop from this year contains a few big name third basemen, but for now the pickings are slim. There is still strength at the top and potential at the bottom, but not quite as much as some other positions in this system.

1. Eric Jagielo – 3B, 6-foot-2, 195-pounds LHB, 22 – Looking at the numbers, Jagielo was much better this season that I had initially thought. There were two things, however that jump out at me as concerning. Firstly, his average is just .256, and secondly he struck out 94 times in just 92 games. He missed some time due to injury but he’s going to have to improve on those numbers going forward if he is to become a major league threat. That said, Jagielo did some things well this year. For example, he hit 18 homeruns, and had 14 doubles. His quad slash was .256/.351/.461/.811. He showed he can be a patient hitter, and hit for some power. One other major concern in his game right now is his defense. I have read several first-hand accounts of scouts, and also non scouts who feel he will not stick at third base, and may eventually have to move over to first. The Yankees still believe he can stick at third. Only time will tell, but if he does his offense will play up at the position.

2. Miguel Andujar – 3B, 6-foot-0, 175-pounds, RHB, 19 – It was a tale of two seasons for Andujar, the first half and the second half. What you saw from him this season was exactly what you want to see from a 19 year old in Low-A, consistent improvement. The last two months of the season, he hit .323 and had an OPS of .818. He hit 15 doubles, two triples, and three homeruns in the last two months of the season. No question about it he proved he’s ready for High-A next season. His total of 10 homeruns on the season are excellent for a 19 year old and should only improve with time. Look out because he could really end up being a big time prospect. His defense is solid, but the one thing I noticed from watching him on MILB.tv was that he did not seem to have great arm strength. Other than that though he appears to be a pretty smooth fielder.

3. Dante Bichette Jr. – 3B, 6-foot-1, 215-pounds, RHB, 21 – After two consecutive really bad seasons for Bichette, he finally found some success in High-A as a 21 year old. It was enough to get him a late season promotion to Trenton, where he struggled through 18 games. That will give him some things to work on so he can hit the ground running next season. Overall his numbers were decent in 2014, but were a major improvement from last year. He hit .264/.345/.397/.741 with 10 homeruns and 30 doubles. The power will have to improve going forward if he wants a real shot. Unlike the two above, however, there are no question marks defensively. He is solid at the position and there is little doubt he will stick there long term. He came a long way since last year, and if he can take another big step forward next year he will finally get himself back on the prospect radar.

4. Drew Bridges – 3B, 6-foot-4, 230-pounds, LHB, 19 – The first thing that comes to mind when I think of Drew Bridges is, “damn, that’s a big boy.” He’s the biggest third baseman in the system, and also has the best power potential of any of them. He clubbed five homeruns this season in 52 rookie league games. He also had 15 doubles and two triples. In looking at his splits, a couple of things really jump out. First of all he struggled quite a bit against lefties. This is extremely common amongst young left handers, as they don’t face many lefties growing up. The other thing that jumps out as a major positive is the improvement he saw with each month of the season. His OPS was .540 in June, .662 in July, and .887 in August. That’s a huge improvement and it’s exactly what you want to see from your young prospects. His August stats were really impressive, with a .275/.362/.525/.887 quad slash, three homers, nine doubles, and a triple in 23 games. He definitely strikes out too much so far, but it’s still early in his career to worry too much about that (28.9% K%). If he turns the corner at instructs and looks good in Spring Training, it’s not out of the question that he could begin next year in Charleston. I’d pick Staten Island as the more likely destination though.

5. Rob Segedin – 3B, 6-foot-2, 220-pounds, RHB, 25 – Didn’t have a bad season as a 25 year old in Double-A, but really struggled once he was promoted to Triple-A, which is a red flag as his age. Given the fact that A-rod comes back next year and the Yankees will likely have several other players who can play third, I doubt if he becomes an option any time soon. Unless he really comes out firing next year, he is in danger of being relegated to organization player status, especially if the Yankees pick someone up to sit in Triple-A and fill in for A-rod in the likely event that he gets injured again next year. He’s got some power potential, and he’s a pretty slick fielder, so I’m not ready to give up on him yet. His window is closing though.

6. Allen Valerio – 3B, 6-foot-1, 180, RHB, 21 – Had a nice season this year in his debut season in the US, but at his age he is going to have to cruise through the system to get noticed. He hit .292/.404/.472/.876 in the GCL with 14 doubles, three triples, and two homeruns. The patience is superior and he’s got some power to his swing. It will be an uphill climb for him going forward, but the Yankees could opt to move him quickly and start him in Charleston next season. If that happens, we could have a nice prospect on our hands.

Honorable Mention: Nelson Gomez (One of the high profile international free agents the Yankees signed this year), Dermis Garcia (same).

8 years ago  ::  Sep 19, 2014 - 10:15AM #866
Posts: 32,868

Yankees prospects 2014 season recap: Trenton Thunder


8 years ago  ::  Sep 20, 2014 - 10:21AM #867
Posts: 32,868

The resurgence of the Yankees farm system in 2015: Pitchers

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Can the Yankees finally develop a frontline starting pitcher?

The calling card for the Yankees minor league system recently has been relievers and back-end starters. Looking to address this, the team hired Gil Patterson to replace Nardi Contreras as pitching coordinator. With the emergence of Shane Greene, combined with the improvement of Bryan Mitchell, it appears to have been worth the investment. For the first time in years, it looks like the team has some solid starting pitchers developing in the system. Here are 10 pitchers to keep your eye on next season.

Luis Severino

Severino took the minors by storm in 2014. The Yankees very aggressively pushed him through three levels before ending the season at Double-A Trenton. His arsenal includes a mid-90’s heater, changeup, and slider that he used to dominate opposing batters. If Severino can find consistency with his slider, he could become a top-of-the-rotation starter in the Bronx as soon as 2016.

Ian Clarkin

Drafted in 2013, Clarkin features a plus-fastball, plus-curve, and an average changeup. To reach his potential of a mid-rotation starter, he’ll need to improve his command. Overall at Charleston, he put up a 3.29 FIP and 9.1 K/9, before making one start at High-A Tampa to end the season. Clarkin will most likely begin 2015 with High-A Tampa; however, if his command progresses he could move quickly.

Manny Banuelos

After missing the majority of two seasons, Banuelos finally returned to the mound in 2014. Unfortunately, he had trouble commanding his pitches and the 2.29 K/BB ratio reflects it.  On the positive side, he still possesses a low-90’s fastball, plus-changeup, curveball, and cutter. Next year will be huge for Banuelos’ future. An improvement in command at Triple-A Scranton would put him back in the big league rotation picture next season.

Bryan Mitchell

Up until this season, Mitchell had remained an enigma.  His repertoire includes a mid-90’s fastball, plus-curve, and a developing change. The problem is he has had a hard time commanding those pitches. Throughout the years many scouts have compared him to A.J. Burnett due to the knockout stuff not translating into consistent results. It’s clear that he’s a part of the team’s plans, as he was called up in September. Turning 24 next season, time is starting to run out for him to put it all together.

Ty Hensley

After missing all of 2013 following hip surgery, Hensley returned to action this season. In the Gulf Coast League and Staten Island, he put up an 11.7 K/9 to go along with a 2.99 FIP. Hensley is a power pitcher, featuring a mid-90’s fastball, hammer curve, and a developing changeup. The potential is there for him to be a top of the rotation starter in the future if he can learn to harness his stuff.

Austin DeCarr

Drafted in the third round of this year’s draft, DeCarr started his career in the GCL where he showed good command. He has a plus-fastball, plus-curveball, and a below-average changeup, all of which he throws for strikes. If the changeup develops, he has the upside of a number three starter. DeCarr will most likely start the year in Staten Island or Charleston.

Jacob Lindgren

The 2014 second rounder flew through the system, ending the year at Double-A Trenton. Lindgren is armed with a MLB-ready slider and mid-90’s fastball that he used to embarrass minor league hitters, finishing the year with a 17.3 K/9 and a 3.41 FIP. He could very well make the team out of spring training, if not it won’t take him long to get there. Lindgren is a dominant late-game reliever in the making.

Nick Rumbelow

Climbing four levels, Rumbelow finished the year at Triple-A Scranton. He is the prototypical Yankees power reliever.   Using his mid-90’s fastball and a plus-hard curve, he put up a 12.5 K/9 this season and a paltry 1.74 FIP. Jacob Lindgren may gather the headlines, but Rumbelow is on the cusp of joining the Bronx bullpen.

Jaron Long

Long was the feel good story this minor league season. Signed as an undrafted free agent in 2013, he was named Trenton Thunder "Pitcher of the Year" this year. Long relies on groundballs and pinpoint control to get batters out. His repertoire includes an average fastball, plus-changeup, sinker, and cutter. Long will always have to hit his spots to be successful. It will be interesting to see what he does this upcoming season.

Tyler Webb

Tyler Webb is a big 6’6" lefty featuring a low-90’s fastball and a quality curveball. Across three levels, he pitched to a 2.35 FIP and 12.3 K/9 in 2014. Matt Thornton was let go by Brian Cashman in part to Webb being ready to contribute in the majors. I would be surprised if Webb didn’t make the team out of spring training in 2015.

This season could be a turning point for the Yankees farm system. The continued development of pitchers, such as Luis Severino and Jacob Lindgren, should be exciting in 2015. The talent is there and there’s reason for optimism that impact talent will begin to arrive in the Bronx over the next couple of seasons.

Stats courtesy of baseball-reference.com

8 years ago  ::  Sep 20, 2014 - 10:26AM #868
Posts: 32,868

Yankees have a chance at an all-homegrown bullpen in 2015

For years people have cried out for a Yankees team built on young, homegrown players and for years the Steinbrenners have said no. While we're still waiting for that everyday position player to show up on the scene and get everyone excited, 2015 might still be the year for young, homegrown players. I understand that we basically say this every year and somehow we end up disappointed, but the Yankees really have a gluttony of young cost-controlled relievers that could make an impact. So, and this is key, not only could we get an all-homegrown bullpen, but also an all-talented one too.

The biggest roadblock to this dream is actually Shawn Kelley. As a Super-Two player he still has one more year of arbitration before he's a free agent and I don't know how the Yankees plan to deal with that. Kelley made $1.7 million in 2014 and he could push past $2 million in 2015. He's certainly been decent, but do the Yankees really want to invest that much when they could conceivably replace him with someone younger and cheaper? For the purpose of this silly exercise, let's say that the Yankees decide to trade or simply cut ties with Shawn Kelley. Only after we have accepted this can we hope to envision our bullpen truth.

Something would also have to be done about Josh Outman, Esmil Rogers, David Huff, and Chaz Roe, but these four won't be nearly as difficult to get rid of. All four are in various years of team control, but all four are fringe major leaguers at best, so cutting them won't be too big of a loss. Then you lose Rich Hill to free agency and you're left with plenty of homegrown talent to choose from.

It honestly doesn't even matter if the Yankees end up re-signing David Robertson. Obviously, they're better off with him than without him, but the organization still has enough talent to make their corps of relievers the way we want them to:

Veterans Long Relievers Lefties Righties
Dellin Betances Manny Banuelos Jacob Lindgren Preston Claiborne
David Phelps Shane Greene Tyler Webb Mark Montgomery
(David Robertson) Bryan Mitchell Jose Ramirez
Adam Warren Chase Whitley Nick Rumbelow

If we keep in mind that the four/three veterans will be on the 2015 team, we then have room for one long reliever, one lefty, now that Matt Thornton is gone, and one other right-hander. If Robertson ends up leaving then you can probably include a second pitcher from the right-hander category. A bullpen of Robertson, Betances, Phelps, Warren, Whitley, Lindgren, and Rumbelow sounds pretty legitimate to me. If a new reliever is needed you then have a good amount of youth to choose from. Keep in mind that this is just who is currently on the MLB radar, not necessarily the only people who could contribute next season. Chase Whitley was not really on the radar before this year, so we could definitely end up seeing James Pazos or Danny Burawa, or someone else that I'm currently not thinking about. The bottom line is that the Yankees have a ton of young talent that they're developing, and sure, it would be nice if that talent was more dispersed across the diamond, but it's not like there's no one.

Shawn Kelley isn't likely going anywhere so our imaginary bullpen might have to stay just that for one more year, but that doesn't necessarily matter. What matters is that there is all this talent and we're now talking about living, breathing prospects coming up and having an impact on the New York Yankees. Watching Betances has been nice, just think how nice it will be to see more players come up and succeed. Or even just get a chance, really.

For the record, Shane Greene should totally get a shot in the rotation next year, but we'll see. We say this every year. The Yankees have talent, they do, but they need to let it show itself at some point. Let the all-homegrown bullpen be that show-and-tell everyone has been waiting for.

8 years ago  ::  Sep 21, 2014 - 4:15PM #869
Posts: 32,868
Catcher Luis Torrens is among the top prospects on the Yankees Instructs roster (Bryan Green)
Catcher Luis Torrens is among the top prospects on the Yankees Instructs roster (Bryan Green)

Who’s Who In Yankees Instructional League

It was a warm Labor Day afternoon, and first baseman Greg Bird’s season, split between Class-A Tampa and Double-A Trenton, had just ended.

His regular season, in which he hit a combined .271 (100-for-369) with 30 doubles, 14 home runs and 43 RBIs with the two teams, may have ended, but not his season.

“I have plenty to work on,” said the 21-year-old native of Aurora, Colo. “Looks like I’ll be going to “instructs” and then to the Arizona Fall League. I think it’s great, because, with my back, I missed some time this spring.”

Fall is now upon us, however, and the Yankees’ Himes Complex is as busy now as it is in March. None other than Masahiro Tanaka helped kickoff the Yankees 2014 Instructional League, which, as of Friday, has 65 players on its roster, 29 of whom are pitchers. The “season” opened with Pittsburgh’s team playing the Yankees Sept. 17 and runs through Oct. 3, when Pittsburgb visits. A team with Toronto prospects is also in this mix.

Why does a player find himself assigned to “instructs.”  There really is nothing negative about it. Some need work work, as Bird mentioned, while others, like left-hander Manny Banuelos, one of the 29, may be looking to build strength and sharpen his command. Lefty reliever Jacob Lindgren is also there after taking a break to recharge after throwing 25 innings in the Gulf Coast League, at Charleston, Tampa and Trenton, That may not seem like a lot, but the Yankees’ top pick in the 2014 draft through 55.1 innings at Mississippi State.

In addition, some high-priced young talent – recently signed International Free Agents – are getting a look, led by 16-year-old Dominican third baseman Nelson Gomez, who signed for a $2.25 million bonus. Also in attendance are outfielder Juan de Leon ($2 million), Venezuelan outfielder Jonathan Amundaray ($1.5 million) and Korean shortstop Hoy Jun Park, an 18-year-old signed for $1.1 million.

Other 16-year-olds dot the roster, giving Yankees evaluators – mostly minor-league coaches – a chance to evaluate conveniently at the Himes Complex.

Here is a look at a few key players in each position group the Yankees’ staff certainly want to get a read on:

PITCHERS – High-ceiling relievers Nick Goody, a right-hander and Tyler Webb, a lefty, both have velocity but can work on command. Righty Mark Montgomery, now 24 and slowed by injuries, continues on the road back that could land him in The Bronx in late-2015. Among the starters, Gabe Encinas, a 22-year-old righty whose stuff was electric at Class-A Charleston in 2013 before injury sidetracked him, continues on the road to recovery.

CATCHERS – Luis Torrens, the 18-year-old Venezuelan who opened eyes with his play at Staten Island, batting .270 (50-for-185) with a 21-game hitting streak, works on technique and calling a game. He likely starts at Charleston in 2015, with Tampa a possibility later in the season.

INFIELDERS –  Third baseman Eric Jagielo, the Notre Dame product and former first-round pick, who will also play in the Arizpona Fall League, and International Free Agent shortstop Wilkernan Garcia are names to watch, but both shortstop Cito Culver and second baseman Gosuke Katoh are looking to improve. Both are the kind of guys you want to succeed, but both also have to hit better than the .220 area to complement their superb fielding.

OUTFIELDERS – Mason Williams’ name jumps out at you. He hit just .223 (113-for-507) at Trenton in 2014. His defense in center field is at Major League-level. His plate management is another story. Michael O’Neill, who had a solid year at Charleston, batting .256 (125-for-499) with 10 homers, 42 stolen bases and 57 RBIs, looks to improve on plate management as well. He struck out 133 times. Cut 40 off that total and the Yankees have a player who could provide a lot of headaches at Tampa in 2015.

Every player invited to “instructs” has a purpose for being there. Coaches may want to look at one facet of a player’s game. Others work to improve. Just another step on the road to building a career.

Check out the full roster below.






Bird, Greg 1B 21 2011 Trenton Thunder
Breen, Chris 1B/OF 20 2012 Staten Island Yankees
Katoh, Gosuke 2B 19 2013 Charleston RiverDogs
McFarland, Ty 2B 22 2014 Staten Island Yankees
Wade, Tyler 2B 19 2013 Charleston RiverDogs
Andujar, Miguel 3B 19 2011 Charleston RiverDogs
Bridges, Drew 3B 19 2013 Gulf Coast Yankees
Jagielo, Eric 3B 22 2013 Tampa Yankees
DeOleo, Eduardo C 21 2010 Charleston RiverDogs
Flames, Miguel C 17 2014 n/a
Garrison, Trent C 24 2013 Tampa Yankees
Noriega, Alvaro C 19 2011 Gulf Coast Yankees
Tejeda, Isaias C 22 2009 Staten Island Yankees
Torrens, Luis C 18 2012 Staten Island Yankees
Banuelos, Manny LHP 23 2008 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders
Bautista, Ronny LHP 22 2009 Staten Island Yankees
Kendrick, Conner LHP 22 2013 Tampa Yankees
Lindgren, Jacob LHP 21 2014 Trenton Thunder
Luis, Omar LHP 21 2013 Charleston RiverDogs
Severino, Anderson LHP 19 2013 DSL Yankees
Webb, Tyler LHP 24 2013 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders
Amundaray, Jonathan OF 16 2014 n/a
Aune, Austin OF 21 2012 Staten Island Yankees
de Leon, Juan OF 17 2014 n/a
Fowler, Dustin OF 19 2013 Charleston RiverDogs
Lenora, Ericson OF 22 2008 Tampa Yankees
Mikolas, Nathan OF 20 2012 Staten Island Yankees
Molina, Leonardo OF 17 2013 Gulf Coast Yankees
Moreno, Reymundo OF 16 2014 n/a
O'Neil, Michael OF 22 2013 Charleston RiverDogs
Palma, Alexander OF 18 2012 Gulf Coast Yankees
Vidal, Carlos OF 18 2014 n/a
Williams, Mason OF 23 2010 Trenton Thunder
Acevedo, Aundury RHP 24 2007 Staten Island Yankees
Acevedo, Domingo RHP 20 2012 Gulf Coast Yankees
Beresford, Adny RHP 24 2013 Charleston RiverDogs
Burawa, Danny RHP 26 2010 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders
Coshow, Cale RHP 22 2013 Charleston RiverDogs
Davis, Rookie RHP 21 2011 Charleston RiverDogs
de la Rosa, Simon RHP 21 2012 Gulf Coast Yankees
DeCarr, Austin RHP 19 2014 Gulf Coast Yankees
Encinas, Gabriel RHP 22 2010 Gulf Coast Yankees
Gomez, Anyelo RHP 21 2012 DSL Yankees
Goody, Nick RHP 23 2012 Trenton Thunder
Holder, Jonathan RHP 21 2014 Staten Island Yankees
Montgomery, Mark RHP 24 2011 Trenton Thunder
Morla, Melvin RHP 21 2013 Gulf Coast Yankees
Palladino, David RHP 21 2013 Staten Island Yankees
Reyes, Manolo RHP 24 2012 Gulf Coast Yankees
Rumbelow, Nick RHP 23 2013 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders
Severino, Luis RHP 20 2011 Trenton Thunder
Vargas, Alexander RHP 17 2014 DSL Yankees
Vargas, Cesar RHP 22 2009 Tampa Yankees
Vargas, Daris RHP 22 2012 DSL Yankees
Walby, Philip RHP 22 2013 Tampa Yankees
Aguilar, Angel SS 19 2012 Gulf Coast Yankees
Castillo, Diego SS 16 2014 n/a
Conde, Vicente SS 20 2014 Staten Island Yankees
Culver, Cito SS 22 2010 Tampa Yankees
Estrada, Thairo SS 18 2012 Gulf Coast Yankees
Garcia, Dermis SS 16 2014 n/a
Garcia, Wilkerman SS 16 2014 n/a
Mateo, Jorge SS 19 2012 Gulf Coast Yankees
Park, Hoy Jun SS 18 2014 n/a
8 years ago  ::  Sep 22, 2014 - 3:17PM #870
Posts: 66,015

Yankees Claim Eury Perez

The Yankees announced that they have claimed outfielder Eury Perez off waivers from the Nationals. Perez was designated for assignment last week when the Nats claimed Pedro Florimon off waivers from the Twins.

The 24-year-old Perez has a very limited big league track record, as he’s totaled just 13 plate appearances in 22 games with the Nats over the past two seasons. He’s spent most of his time in the Majors as a defensive replacement and/or a pinch-runner. Given Perez’s speed — he swiped 64 bases as a minor leaguer in 2010, 45 in 2011 and 51 in 2012 — it’s not surprising that he’d find himself in such a role.

However, it’s not surprising to see a team express interest in perhaps giving Perez a larger role; he’s slashed .310/.354/.411 in 844 Triple-A plate appearances and is considered to be a plus defender. Baseball America has ranked Perez among Washington’s top 30 prospects in each of the past five offseasons, and their most recent scouting report notes that some scouts give his speed a rare 80 grade on the 20-80 scouting scale.

"Leave the gun. Take the cannoli."
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