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Random Minor League Notes: 2014 Edition
10 years ago  ::  Oct 28, 2013 - 2:01PM #71
Posts: 32,868
10 years ago  ::  Oct 28, 2013 - 5:26PM #72
Posts: 66,015

Yankees rank 16th among minor league systems most likely to contribute


Baseball America ranked every organization by how their prospects placed in each league top 20 list and derived a point system in order to determine the teams most likely and least likely to produce value at the major league level in 2014. BA uses the following criteria:

• One point for ranking as a league's top batting or pitching prospect.
• Four points for ranking as a league's No. 1 prospect, with value descending by two-tenths of a point thereafter, so 3.8 points for ranking No. 2 on down to 0.2 points for ranking No. 20.
• Five points for ranking in a Triple-A league; four points for Double-A; three points for high Class A; two points for low Class A; and one point for any of the six short-season leagues.
• Two points for playing pitcher, catcher or shortstop; one point for playing second base, third base or outfield; no points for playing first base.
• Players receive half-credit for their league's star rating, so that a player in a five-star league such as the Florida State receives 2.5 points; a player in a one-star league such as the California receives 0.5 points.
• Organizations do not receive double credit for having one prospect who ranks on two lists; only the player's highest score is counted toward the total.

The Yankees farm system ranks 16th, almost exactly middle of the pack, having never had a prospect rank No.1 and getting shutout of the Triple-A International League list.

Their top point earners included Gary Sanchez (7 FSL), J.R. Murphy (18 EL), Luis Torrens (10 GCL), Mason Williams (19 FSL), and Abiatal Avelino (13 GCL). Eric Jagielo (6 NYP) and Rafael De Paula (17 SAL) are the only other ranked prospects the Yankees have that were above rookie ball in 2013. According to Matt Eddy:

New York hopes this class of catching prospects develops more effectively than the last one, highlighted by Jesus Montero and Austin Romine.

Three top catchers in their respective leagues give the Yankees hope that they will be able to come away with at least one major league option over the next few years.

The Yankees rank fourth in the AL East with the Red Sox (1), Blue Jays (11), and Rays (15) all placing ahead of them. The Orioles (28) rank as one of the lowest teams in baseball.

"Leave the gun. Take the cannoli."
10 years ago  ::  Oct 28, 2013 - 5:31PM #73
Posts: 66,015

High-A Tampa Yankees could move from Tampa to Ocala


J. Meric

A year after announcing the organization was exploring the relocation of their High-A affiliate from Tampa to Ocala, city staff will present an agreement it has negotiated with the Yankees to the City Council. If approved, the Florida State League franchise would move into a planned new ballpark only 90 minutes away from Steinbrenner Field where they currently play and where major league spring training takes place.

Nothing is official yet as the planned $45 million ballpark will need to be approved by the city council and the proposed five year half-cent sales tax plan to fund the project will have to be voted on by local residents. No vote has been scheduled yet as they still need to present the project publicly. The Yankees will also need to get approval from the Florida State League, Minor League Baseball, and Major League Baseball to determine if the move is in the best interest of the rest of the league.

The Yankees want to move in order to get away from the other professional sports teams in the area, like the Tampa Bay Rays and the Tampa Bay Lightning. They probably also want to get some of their teams out of that stadium. On top of spring training and the Tampa Yankees, Steinbrenner Field is also home to two rookie-level teams, as well as extended spring training. Someone needs to move out and the High-A affiliate seems to be the right one.

If the plan is approved, the stadium could be open for the 2016 baseball season. The Tampa Yankees would likely become the Ocala Yankees, but it's unknown if they will even keep the Yankees moniker after the move.

"Leave the gun. Take the cannoli."
10 years ago  ::  Oct 28, 2013 - 11:02PM #74
Posts: 32,868
Yankees reach deal to move High-A affiliate from Tampa to Ocala

By Via Susan Latham Carr: The Yankees have reached an agreement to relocate their High-A Florida State League affiliate out of Tampa and up the road a hundred miles or so to Ocala. We first heard the team was in talks with the city of Ocala last December, after plans with Orlando fell through. “I think it makes a lot of sense. It’s a good quality-of-life-type venue,” said Ocala mayor Kent Guinn.

The agreement is in place but the deal is not yet final. Staff will present the agreement to the Ocala City Council tomorrow, where they will also discuss plans for a new $45 million facility. The new building will be used for more than just baseball and will be paid for by a half-cent sales tax increase over the next ten years. The tax hike and several other things must be voted on before the deal is finalized. Preliminary polls show the public is in favor of the deal. If everything goes smoothly, the relocation could be complete in time for Opening Day 2016.

Josh Leventhal says the relocation of the High-A squad will not change anything regarding Spring Training. The Yankees still have 12 years remaining on a 30-year contract that locks them into Steinbrenner Field in Tampa for Spring Training. The Yankees are looking to move their High-A affiliate out of Tampa to improve the market. They currently have to compete with the Rays, the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning, and various collegiate sports. High-A Tampa averaged 1,827 fans per game this past season, fourth highest in the historically attendance-starved FSL.

10 years ago  ::  Oct 29, 2013 - 10:45AM #75
Posts: 66,015

Get Over Here, Newman. You Don’t Get To Skate That Easily

Mark Newman

Yesterday when I raked Damon Oppenheimer over the coals and mocked the Yankees for allowing him to keep his job, the general consensus in the comment section was that the problem in the Yankee farm system was more development-based than draft-based.  There’s a lot of truth to that statement, more than I might have realized at the time I was writing the Oppenheimer post, and Senior VP of Baseball Operations Mark Newman shoulders the bulk of that responsibility.  He’s the one in charge of the team’s developmental plan in the Minors and his recent track record is actually worse than Oppenheimer’s.  Case in point, Baseball America’s 2013 top 10 Yankee prospects and their career paths to date:

  • 1) Mason Williams- .404 wOBA in SS Staten Island in 2011, .381 in Low-A/.331 in High-A in 2012, .317 in High-A in 2013.
  • 2) Slade Heathcott- .335 wOBA in Low-A in 2010, .346 in Low-A in 2011, .389 in High-A in 2012, .334 in Double-A in 2013
  • 3) Gary Sanchez- .461 wOBA in the GCL in 2010, .364 in Low-A in 2011, .390 in Low-A in 2012, .336 in High-A/.348 in Double-A in 2013
  • 4) Tyler Austin- .434 in SS Staten Island in 2011, .442 in Low-A/.391 in High-A in 2012, .333 in Double-A in 2013
  • 5) Jose Campos- 2.38 FIP in SSL in 2011, 3.24 in Low-A in 2012, 2.83 in Low-A in 2013
  • 6) Brett Marshall- 2.96 FIP in Low-A in 2010, 3.24 in High-A in 2011, 4.09 in Double-A in 2012, 4.62 in Triple-A in 2013
  • 7) Angelo Gumbs- .347 wOBA in SS Staten Island in 2011, .339 in Low-A in 2012, .282 in Low-A/.266 in High-A in 2013
  • 8) Manny Banuelos- 2.76 FIP in Low-A in 2009, 1.71 in High-A in 2010, 4.01 in Double-A in 2011, 3.83 in Triple-A in 2012
  • 9) Ty Hensley- 4.20 FIP in 12.0 GCL IP in 2012, injured in 2013
  • 10) Rafael DePaula- 1.84 FIP in the DSL in 2012, 2.03 in Low-A/4.63 in High-A in 2013

Among both pitchers and position players, far more often than not the developmental trend has been start off like gangbusters in the lower levels and then slowly come back to Earth as they move up.  Injuries have played a part in some cases (Campos and ManBan in 2012, Austin and Gumbs this year), but that’s still a very disturbing trend and one that’s crept all the way up to the Majors.  Guys like Jesus Montero, Austin Romine, David Phelps, Adam Warren, and David Adams all followed similar performance trends as they came up through the system.  Even though most of them had lower ceilings than the 10 players listed above, it’s fair to say that their collective performance at the Major League level has been underwhelming.

So not only have the Yankees struggled to consistently identify and draft legitimate top tier amateur talent, they’ve struggled even more to develop the talent they do have.  When you’re drafting as low as the Yankees have been, you’re usually not going to have the luxury of no-doubt prospects falling into your lap every year (Mike Trout excluded), which makes your developmental plans and personnel even more important.  The Yankees have fallen on their face in this aspect during Newman’s tenure and it’s the reason why their farm system continues to rank in the middle of the pack despite being acknowledged as having plus depth.

The problem with the Yankee farm system was always two-fold.  The greater of those folds does appear to be the developmental arm of the system, at least according to the statistical trends of the top prospects, and that could shed some light on why Oppenheimer was allowed to stick.  Perhaps Hal and Cash see the development as the main problem and are planning on removing Newman from his position as a result.  Personally I’d like to see both of them gone, but if they’re only going to pick one it’s hard to argue with the decision to choose Newman over Oppenheimer.

"Leave the gun. Take the cannoli."
10 years ago  ::  Oct 29, 2013 - 5:33PM #76
Posts: 32,868

Thunder named Minor League 'Team of the Year'


Mark Teixeira was one of several Yankees to spend time rehabbing in Trenton this season.(AP)

TRENTON, NJ -- MiLB.com, the official website of Minor League Baseball, has named the Trenton Thunder, Double-A affiliate of the New York Yankees, "Team of the Year" following a three week online voting period this month. The honor is part of the annual "MiLBY" Awards which are presented by MiLB.com each fall.

The Thunder were the champions of the Eastern League after earning the East Division Wild Card during the regular season. Trenton got hot at the end of the year and finished on a nine-game winning streak including sweeps of the first place Binghamton Mets in the Eastern Division Championship and the Western Division Champs, the Harrisburg Senators, to earn the title. Trenton became the first team to sweep both rounds of the EL postseason since 1991.

The title is the franchise's third in its 20 seasons in Trenton, all under the watch of Manager Tony Franklin. In Franklin's seven years with the Thunder, he has led them to the EL Championship Series five times.  

MiLBYs are the end-of-season awards that honor the best players, teams and performances of the Minor League season. For three weeks, fans chose their favorites in 13 categories at milb.com. The official website of Minor League Baseball announces Fans' Choice winners as well as MiLB.com staff picks for the major awards.

Trenton is a finalist for two additional MiLBY Awards that will be announced on Thursday, October 31. The Retirement Party for Chase That Golden Thunder is a nominee for "Promotion of the Year" and a tribute video for Chase is up for "Mascot Clip of the Year".

The Thunder will begin the 2014 season on at home on Thursday, April 3. Season tickets, group outings, Pic-A-Plans, and Mini Plan renewals are on sale now. For more information about tickets, fans should call 609-394-3300 or visit trentonthunder.com.

10 years ago  ::  Oct 29, 2013 - 5:35PM #77
Posts: 32,868

Williams aware of Yankees' legacy of center fielders

Highly-regarded prospect next in long line of all-time greats to patrol Bronx outfield


10 years ago  ::  Oct 29, 2013 - 5:37PM #78
Posts: 32,868

Yankees Prospects: Peter O'Brien and Mason Williams make Fall Stars Game


The eighth annual Fall Stars Game, once known as the Rising Stars Game, will take place on November 2. It's the Arizona Fall League's All-Star Game and two Yankees will be taking part. Peter O'Brien and Mason Williams of the Scottsdale Scorpions will take part in the festivities.

O'Brien hasn't done very well so far, hitting .167/.211/.417 with three home runs and thirteen strikeouts over nine games. It's a very small sample size, but it would be nice if he could continue hitting the way he had during the 2013 regular season. Originally a catcher, it seems that he's being moved to third base in an attempt to find a valuable spot for him in the system. Center fielder Mason Williams has hit .261/.333/.326 with two stolen bases over 11 games. He hasn't been terrible, but it's nothing to get excited about in a historically offensive-friendly league.

The Fall Stars Game is a good barometer for future MLB talent. After playing in 2009, 28 players reached the majors the following year. After 2010, 24 players came up the year after. After 2011, 18 more and after last year, another 23 made it in 2013. That's got to be good for O'Brien's and Williams' chances to make the majors, right? Hopefully they don't just make it, hopefully they stay.

10 years ago  ::  Oct 31, 2013 - 10:13PM #79
Posts: 32,868

2014 Breakout Candidate: Caleb Smith


The Basics:

Name: Caleb Smith Age: 22 Draft: 2013 14th round pick out of Sam Houston State Size: 6-foot-3, 180-pounds Fastball: 95 mph Other Pitchers: Slider, Changeup BBDP Ranking: 48 Position: LHP

Born and raised in Huntsville, Texas, Caleb Smith has been in Texas most of his life. He attended college at Sam Houston State University, where he was a starting pitcher. This past season Smith had a decent year at Sam Houston State. He had a 3.44 ERA with 68 strikeouts and 60 walks in 89 innings. He struggled with control but he was effective as a starter for a major program.

He was drafted in the 14th round in the 2013 draft by the Yankees. Surprisingly, he had almost no problems with control when he arrived in Staten Island. He had 57 strikeouts in 51.1 innings and a 1.93 ERA this season. He had just 2.8 BB/9. He was stellar all year, including when he was called up for a spot start in Trenton late in the season. His stuff and newfound control have the organization excited that they could have a future left handed starter on their hands.

The Stuff:

Smith had a phenomenal season statistically for Staten Island, and his stuff is legit. He has a 93 mph fastball which has touched 95 mph. It’s a two seamer with late action and hitters have a lot of trouble with it. He also throws a circle change which he has a solid feel for. He hides the ball well and batters thus have a lot of trouble picking up hit pitches.

He also throws a slider, which was inconsistent this year. If he wants to get lefties out he will have to improve it. The good news is that is a point of emphasis in his development and he appears to be making bigtime strides in that direction.

Scouts from around the league were impressed with Smith in Staten Island, especially with his fastball changeup combo.

Ceiling and Floor:

Given his stuff right now and his age, his ceiling is that of a number three starter. It’s always possible there could be an uptick which would increase his ceiling, but a third starter is nothing to scoff at. If he is able to nail down that slider he will be an effective lefty in the bigs. His floor is pretty high as well. He could bust but that likely won’t happen until Triple-A at least, and he has a great shot to be at least a middle reliever at this point.

2014 Outlook:

With new minor league pitching coordinator Gil Patterson, it’s tough to say how aggressive the Yankees will be with Smith. The most likely destination for him would be High-A Tampa, but I could see the Yankees being conservative with him and starting him in Low-A. I’ve never seen the Yankees be so aggressive to put a guy straight in Double-A, but I wouldn’t put it completely out of the realm of possibilities.

Overall Smith is a fantastic steal where the Yankees got him in the draft. You simply don’t find this kind of talent in the 14th round and it’s another example of the Yankees having excellent scouting for picks outside of the top 200 in the draft. He is a huge sleeper candidate this season and may really shock some people with his output.

10 years ago  ::  Nov 01, 2013 - 8:15PM #80
Posts: 32,868

New York Yankees Top 10 Prospects Recap: Ty Hensley


Using the preseason Baseball America Top 10 Prospects list, we’ll count down from number 10 and recap the year on the farm. At number nine is RHP Ty Hensley

The 2013 injury bug that plagued the New York Yankees was not merely limited to those on the major league roster. No, this bug was far reaching and took down key players throughout the entire system. One of the victims was 2012 first-round draft choice Ty Hensley. The Yankees took the 6-foot-4, 220-pound righty with the 30th pick, making him the first pitcher the team had taken in the first round since missing out on Gerrit Cole in 2008 (through no fault of their own). After a fairly typical debut for the Gulf Coast League Yankees (5 G, 4 GS, 12 IP, 14 K, 3.00 ERA), the discussion in the offseason was whether the organization would be aggressive and start him at Low-A Charleston in 2013 or hold him back in Extended Spring Training.

While the Yankees already knew about a “shoulder abnormality” that was discovered in a physical before Hensley signed, the young righty maintained that he was without pain and the team felt comfortable enough to agree on a below-slot bonus and buy him away from Ole Miss. What they didn’t know about was a hip condition that Hensley had been pitching through for most of his life. It began in spring training, when we heard that he would be held back a bit to start the season because of a pulled ab muscle. It turned out the abdominal injury was caused by a bone impingement in his right hip that would require surgery and keep Hensley out for two to three months. Predictably, this two to three months turned into Hensley missing all of 2013.

After entering this season as one of the most promising prospects, Hensley is now one of the biggest question marks. While it’s certainly a positive that it wasn’t an arm injury, we still don’t know how this will affect him going forward. Before we go any further, you should really let Ty and this excellent interview with him done by the folks over at Bleeding Yankee Blue explain the injury for you. Basically, his hip condition didn’t allow him a full range of motion when rotating his hips. You can imagine why this would be troublesome for a number of reasons. For a pitcher, that hip rotation is where velocity happens. And while Hensley was still getting up to 97-98 with this condition, the problem was manifesting itself via the abdominal strain. (Seriously, read that interview. It’s fantastic.)

At the time of his selection, Hensley was viewed as a power arm with the possibility for three above-average pitches, including a fastball that reportedly sits in the mid-90′s and a knockout 12-6 curveball. What everyone loved about him was his workhouse build and his athleticism (he was a switch-hitting outfielder when not pitching in high school). If the hip surgery (it’s actually surgeries, as Hensley also had surgery to repair a torn hip labrum on his left side) doesn’t have lingering effects, I’m not sure why that outlook changes. According to Hensley, he finished physical therapy at the end of September and is officially done rehab, so yay for that.

I am very excited to see a healthy Ty Hensley in 2014 and surely I’m not alone. I would guess he’ll be held back in Extended Spring Training while he re-acclimates himself to the mound, but the good thing is we haven’t heard anything about him not getting back on a mound next year. Hensley’s recovery and development are crucial to the Yankees, who are in dire need of young starting pitching. Aside from that, Hensley seems like a genuinely awesome guy. I’d recommend following him on Twitter (@TyHensley17) and keeping a close eye on him as he works his way back.

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