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Random Minor League Notes: 2016 Edition
7 years ago  ::  Oct 12, 2015 - 7:31PM #21
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Severino, Bird, Judge, and Sanchez rank among Baseball America’s top 20 International League prospects

(Tony Dejak/Associated Press)
(Tony Dejak/Associated Press)

Baseball America wrapped up their look at the top 20 prospects in each minor league with the Triple-A International League today. As always, the list is free but the scouting reports are not. Indians SS Francisco Lindor sits in the top spot. The Yankees have four players on the list: RHP Luis Severino (No. 2), 1B Greg Bird (No. 6), OF Aaron Judge (No. 10), and C Gary Sanchez (No. 18).

“While opposing managers lauded Severino’s stuff—a 92-97 mph fastball that typically sits at 95 and is complemented by a solid low-80s changeup and solid-average slider—many were equally impressed with his command, composure and athleticism on the mound,” said the write-up. The 21-year-old Severino had a 1.91 ERA (2.50 FIP) in eleven starts and 62.1 innings with Triple-A Scranton before being called up to the big leagues.

Bird, 22, hit .301/.353/.500 (146 wRC+) with six homers in 34 games with the RailRiders before being called up. “He combines a disciplined approach at the plate with a balanced swing and quick hands to drive the ball to all parts of the ballpark,” said the scouring report. “Bird made significant strides at first base this season: His footwork around the bag is serviceable and he has improved at picking balls in the dirt.”

Judge, 23, put up a .224/.308/.373 (98 wRC+) line with eight homers and a 28.5% strikeout rate in 61 games for Scranton this summer. “(Judge) struggled for stretches against experienced pitchers who found holes in his swing with breaking and offspeed pitches,” said the write-up. “He did show the ability to make adjustments and punish mistakes. Judge uses a gap-to-gap approach with bat speed and natural strength to drive the ball.”

As for Sanchez, the scouting report says he was “more mature off the field” and “in noticeably better shape this season.” The write-up also noted his “improved plate discipline” allowed him to better tap into his power in games. “He has double-plus arm strength behind the plate, and though he worked hard at improving his receiving, it remains the biggest hurdle for him to clear at catcher.” Sanchez, 22, hit .295/.349/.500 (145 wRC+) with six homers in 35 games for the RailRiders.

I was a bit surprised 2B Rob Refsnyder didn’t make the top 20, especially since Baseball America’s prospect rankings tend to be performance driven. Then again, I guess that could be why Refsnyder didn’t make the International League list. He had a good (123 wRC+) but not truly great year with the RailRiders. Others like RHP Bryan Mitchell, OF Slade Heathcott, and OF Ben Gamel are fine prospects, but not top 20 in the league caliber prospects.

7 years ago  ::  Oct 12, 2015 - 7:32PM #22
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7 years ago  ::  Oct 13, 2015 - 10:43AM #23
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7 years ago  ::  Oct 13, 2015 - 10:43AM #24
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7 years ago  ::  Oct 13, 2015 - 10:50AM #25
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Yankees assign Domingo Acevedo to Arizona Fall League

According to the official roster, the Yankees have assigned RHP Domingo Acevedo to the Surprise Saguaros of the Arizona Fall League. He is the eighth farmhand heading to the desert, joining C Gary Sanchez, LHP Ian Clarkin, SS Tyler Wade, 1B/OF Tyler Austin, OF Dustin Fowler, LHP Chaz Hebert, and LHP Tyler Webb.

Baseball America recently ranked Acevedo the third best prospect in the Short Season NY-Penn League. Here’s a snippet of their scouting report:

Acevedo hit 103 mph at least once this summer and routinely worked his fastball at or around triple digits. He sits 95-96 mph early in starts but reaches back for 98-100 when he needs it … Acevedo complements his plus fastball with a plus changeup at 85-88 mph that serves as his main secondary offering. He completes the three-pitch mix with a below-average slider

Acevedo, 21, had a 1.69 ERA (2.85 FIP) in 12 starts and 54 innings for Short Season Staten Island this year, including the postseason. (He also made one spot start for Low-A Charleston.) He posted strong strikeout (26.2%) and walk (7.2%) rates. Acevedo’s a big boy. He’s listed at 6-foot-7 and 190 lbs. on the Surprise roster.

The 34-game Arizona Fall League season begins tomorrow. With all due respect to the other players, Clarkin’s return from the elbow injury that caused him to miss the entire 2015 regular season is the big story this year. He’ll be the youngest player in the AzFL.

7 years ago  ::  Oct 13, 2015 - 4:28PM #26
Posts: 32,868

Arizona Fall League starts today for Yankees’ prospects

The Arizona Fall League schedule gets started this afternoon. If you’re planning to check the box scores for Yankees stats, the team you’re looking for is the Surprise Saguaros. Their game starts a 3:35 p.m. ET. Here are the eight Yankees prospects involved.

AcevedoRHP Domingo Acevedo

Who is he?
Like a lot of the Yankees’ selections, Acevedo is one of the younger players on the roster at 21 years old. The hard-thrower out of the Dominican Republic is one of the organization’s top young pitching prospects with a fastball that reaches triple digits.
Why is here? A blister limited him to 12 starts this season, but Baseball America named him the third-best prospect in the New York-Penn League, so the Yankees want to get him a little more work before presumably getting him through a full-season league next year.
What to look for? Strikeouts. He’s average 10 strikeouts per nine innings in his his minor league career, but he’s also never faced hitters quite this advanced. With an arm this powerful, it’s worth seeing whether he can have dominant moments. At his age and relatively lack of experience, though, it’s worth remembering that some inconsistency might be to be expected.

Austin1B/OF Tyler Austin

Who is he? Considered one of the Yankees’ top prospects three years ago, a wrist injury and diminished offensive numbers have caused his prospect stock to fall significantly. Still shows bursts of offensive potential, but the total package has been underwhelming since his standout 2012 season.
Why is he here? Technically, he’s here to replace Eric Jagielo, who was pulled from the Fall League because doctors recommended he not push things on his surgically repaired right knee. Austin played just 94 games this season and needs to get something going after a season that saw him demoted to Double-A and removed from the 40-man roster.
What to look for? Power. This is Austin’s third Fall League assignment — one of them lasted just four games — and he was terrific out there last year. He’s fairly advanced for the league, so it’s worth looking for big numbers to see if he can generate some buzz again. Also, expect him to play mostly first base. Since he’s replacing an infielder, he’ll be used mostly as an infielder.

MiLB: AUG 06 - Brevard County Manatees at Tampa Yankees (LoMoglio)LHP Ian Clarkin

Who is he? The youngest player on the Surprise roster. He won’t turn 21 until February, and he was one of the Yankees’ three first-round picks in 2013 (the other two were college hitters Aaron Judge and Eric Jagielo). Clarkin pitched pretty well last year, but his workload and experience have been limited by injuries.
Why is he here? Did not pitch in a single real game this season. Elbow inflammation sidelined him pretty much the whole season, but he was in a throwing program by August and is obviously game ready now. He’s been a professional for two and a half years now and has just 75 official innings.
What to look for? Innings. That’s all. He’s young for the league, it’s an offensive league anyway, and he hasn’t pitched this year. If Clarkin gets knocked around, it’s really not all that troubling for the Yankees. The kid just needs to pitch.

MiLB: JUN 27 Mets at Yankees (LoMoglio)CF Dustin Fowler

Who is he? The second-youngest player on the Surprise roster, Fowler was one of the Yankees’ organizational standouts this season. He has some speed, some power and an ability to hit for average. He can also legitimately play center field. Add him to the long list of left-handed center fielders in this system.
Why is he here? Just to keep going, really. Fowler is on the taxi squad, which means he’ll only play a couple of times a week. He got more or less a full workload this season, so he doesn’t necessarily need the at-bats. This is just an opportunity for him to see some better competition.
What to look for? On-base percentage. That’s one thing that’s really improved for Fowler during his three seasons of pro ball, and an ability to get on base against this level of pitching — even in a limited role — might be a good indication that he’s not overmatched even against these older pitchers.

MiLB: MAY 03 Flying Tigers at YankeesLHP Chaz Hebert

Who is he? This isn’t meant to be a knock on Hebert, but he’s definitely the least recognizable name of the eight Yankees assigned to the Fall League this year. That said, he had a really nice year with a 2.55 ERA while pitching in Low-A, High-A and Triple-A. Just turned 23 last month, so he still has some youth to him.
Why is he here? This seems to be a definite case of the Yankees just wanting to get a longer look at one of their guys, particularly against some older hitters. Hebert is Rule 5 eligible this spring, and while my assumption is that he won’t be protected, he does throw strikes from the left side.
What to look for? ERA and WHIP. I’m not sure there’s some big secret or one specific thing to look for with Hebert. Whatever standard metrics for pitching success you focus on, look for those. To standout and make some noise, Hebert’s going to need to pitch well. Could easily be overshadowed.

SanchezC Gary Sanchez

Who is he? The organization’s top catching prospect. After getting a late September call-up, Sanchez got two Major League at-bats and was kept on the roster for the wild card game (which seemed to show at least some faith in his ability to catch if necessary). Sanchez has a big bat, and the Yankees say his maturity and defense have come a long way.
Why is he here? Because he’s starting to look more and more like a real catcher, and the Yankees want him to get a few more innings behind the plate calling games. This is all about preparing Sanchez for the next level, both in terms of responsibility and durability.
What to look for? Pitcher success. Evaluating Sanchez from afar might be tough. The Yankees basically know he can hit — and this is an offensive league anyway — but it would be nice to see his pitchers have some success while Sanchez is behind the plate. For Sanchez, the best-case scenario is an everyday player who can rake at the plate and do enough to keep playing behind the plate.

WadeSS Tyler Wade

Who is he? The third-youngest player on the Surprise roster, Wade is quickly emerging as one of the top infield prospects in the Yankees’ system. Jorge Mateo is a bigger name at shortstop, but Wade is a level ahead of Mateo in the system. He finished the year in Double-A at just 20 years old (he turns 21 next month).
Why is he here? This is all about challenging Wade with even more and better competition. The Yankees have been pretty aggressive with Wade so far, and he’s impressed them with his maturity and work ethic. They clearly believe in him, and they’re not afraid to test him. This is one more chance to rise to the occasion.
What to look for? Defensive assignments. Obviously look for his offensive performance as well — especially after his Double-A numbers weren’t great — but it’s worth keeping an eye on where Wade plays in the field. This Surprise roster is full of guys who can play shortstop, so there will surely be some mixing and matching. Not dismissing Wade as a future bench player, but versatility could help him scratch out a big league role eventually (especially with a left-handed hitting shortstop already in place in Didi Gregorius).

WebbLHP Tyler Webb

Who is he? Another piece of the organizations suddenly long list of young left-handed relievers. Andrew Miller is the closer, but the Yankees also have Justin Wilson, Chasen Shreve, James Pazos and Jacob Lindgren. Webb belongs in that mix and might have pushed for a big league call-up had he not been hurt this season.
Why is he here? Opened the year in Triple-A as a potential call-up candidate, but a tendon issue in his pitching hand — did not require surgery — limited him to just 25 games, none past June 23. He’s just making up for lost innings.
What to look for? Success against lefties. Obviously success against righties is important as well, but it would be good to see Webb at least emerge as a left-on-left possibility. He was good against them in Triple-A. Worth remembering that Pazos was a Fall League assignee two years ago before getting to the big leagues this season

7 years ago  ::  Oct 13, 2015 - 4:32PM #27
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1. Francisco Lindor, ss Columbus (Indians) 11. Robert Stephenson, rhp, Louisville (Reds)
2. Luis Severino, rhp Scranton/W-B (Yankees) 12. Josh Bell, 1b, Indianapolis (Pirates)
3. Maikel Franco, 3b Lehigh Valley (Phillies) 13. Brian Johnson, lhp, Pawtucket (Red Sox)
4. Trea Turner, ss Syracuse (Nationals) 14. Jose Peraza, 2b/of, Gwinnett (Braves)
5. Eduardo Rodriguez, lhp Pawtucket (Red Sox) 15. Rusney Castillo, of, Pawtucket (Red Sox)
6. Greg Bird, 1b Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (Yankees) 16. Dalton Pompey, of, Buffalo (Blue Jays)
7. Daniel Norris, lhp Buffalo (Blue Jays) 17. Matt Wisler, rhp, Gwinnett (Braves)
8. Henry Owens, lhp Pawtucket (Red Sox) 18. Gary Sanchez, c, Scranton/W-B (Yankees)
9. Jose Berrios, rhp Rochester (Twins) 19. Aaron Altherr, of, Lehigh Valley (Phillies)
10. Aaron Judge, of Scranton/W-B (Yankees) 20. Deven Marrero, ss, Pawtucket (Red Sox)
7 years ago  ::  Oct 13, 2015 - 7:35PM #28
Posts: 32,868

Sanchez goes deep as Yankees stand out in Fall League opener

I won’t update the blog with game details after every Arizona Fall League game — I’ll just check in with occasional updates from Arizona and the winter leagues — but since today was the Fall League opener, it’s worth a quick look at what was a good day for three Yankees prospects.

Sanchez Starting at catcher and batting cleanup, Gary Sanchez went 2-for-4 with a three-run home run against a Double-A Braves prospect who allowed three home runs in 92.2 innings during the regular season. Sanchez hitting cleanup would seem to be a good sign that he’s going to be the regular catcher

Starting at first base and batting seventh, Tyler Austin went 2-for-4 with a double. The Yankees had said Austin would likely primarily play first base this fall, and that’s exactly how it played out in the opener. Interesting that the was the priority at the position for Game 1.

Starting at second base and batting ninth, Tyler Wade went 2-for-4 with a two-out, two-run double against a Reds’ reliever who finished the year in Triple-A and is more than five years older than Wade. Makes sense that Wade might see some time at various positions this fall, at least at both shortstop and second base.

Yankees prospects drove in all five Surprise runs in a 6-5 loss. None of the four Yankees pitchers got in today’s game, and neither did Dustin Fowler, who’s a taxi squad player only expected to play a couple of times a week.

7 years ago  ::  Oct 14, 2015 - 10:44AM #29
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The Yankees' young relievers didn't work out in 2015

The Yankees have a reputation for being able to churn out effective young relievers over and over again, but the 2015 Yankees weren't so successful in that regard. Of course, they still had one of the best bullpens in baseball, thanks to former in-house products like Dellin Betances and Adam Warren, but most of their shutdown bullpen came from free agency (Andrew Miller) or shrewd trades (Chasen ShreveJustin Wilson). When it came to new players coming up from the farm system, the Yankees got burned.

To be fair, for most of the season, the Yankees got incredible results from Miller, Betances, Wilson, Shreve, and Warren, so they didn't exactly NEED any kind of help. However, once Shreve fell apart in the second half and Warren was pushed back into the rotation, someone out of the multitude of call-ups needed to step up, but no one did. Guys like Nick Goody and Nick Rumbelow, who are expected to be important backend bullpen guys didn't amount to much in their first taste of the big leagues. Goody utterly dominated the upper minors this year before getting pushed up to the majors, however he allowed four runs on six hits and three walks in just 5.2 innings, likely taking him out of the running to pick up some of the slack, as far as Joe Girardi was concerned. Rumbelow is expected to be another late-inning reliever, but he pitched to a mediocre 4.27 ERA in 52.2 innings at Triple-A and couldn't do much more in the majors with a 4.02 ERA in 15.2 innings.

The Yankees were expecting big things from Bryan Mitchell, but 2015 proved to be pretty ugly for him. He actually pitched to a 3.86 ERA in his first 21 innings this season, but after he was hit in the face by a comebacker on August 17, Mitchell was a 12.46-ERA of a disaster in his remaining 8.2 innings over 10 games. Another reliever, Caleb Cotham–who was not even expected to ever reach the majors–made a bad first impression as a 27-year-old rookie. After being converted into a reliever this season, Cotham demolished the upper levels of the system before making it into 9.2 innings with the Yankees. Unfortunately, he was trounced when he allowed seven earned runs on 14 hits and four home runs (!) in just 12 games. It was a nice surprise to see him get a chance, but it shouldn't be shocking if he's no longer on the 40-man roster by spring training.

Then there was the injury bug. Jacob Lindgren made his much-anticipated major league debut and with all our expectations came crushing disappointment as the lefty was knocked around in his short stint with the team. Soon after his demotion, it was announced that he would need surgery to remove a bone spur from his elbow and he missed the rest of the season. I guess the silver lining there is that once he's healthy, he should still offer the Yankees an excellent option out of the bullpen. Diego Moreno, who the Yankees got in exchange for A.J. Burnett, gave us his heart and soul when he pitched 5.1 shutout innings in relief against the Texas Rangers on July 28 and then promptly went down with an elbow injury only a few days later. Who even knows what happened to him, but it's more than likely that they had to amputate.

The Yankees did get a few decent performances in the first half of the season, at least. Chasen Shreve was an integral part of the bullpen for almost the entire year, pitching to a 1.89 ERA and keeping opposing hitters to a .180/.282/.322 batting line in 52.1 innings through the month of August. By that point he was completely out of gas and allowed a 13.50 ERA in the month of September, ultimately leading to a shallow bullpen and his expulsion from the playoff roster. He should be an important member of the bullpen next year, but the end of this season was pretty brutal. Branden Pinder provided some misleading success as he pitched to a 2.93 ERA, but a 4.72 FIP on the year, likely due to his 5.43 FIP and 6.35 BB/9 in the second half of the season. It's hard to tell which is the real Pinder, but he should at least get another chance next year. Finally, there was James Pazos, who actually proved to be somewhat impressive in September and even earned a spot on the playoff roster. He allowed only three hits and walked three in five innings across 11 games as Girardi used him for mostly matchup purposes, but as we saw in the beginning of the season, several effective lefties are good to have.

It's incredibly likely that some of these pitchers won't be a part of the 2016 team. Whether by injury, transaction, or ineffectiveness, the Yankees will still need more depth to get them through the season. Expect next year's rookie crop to include at least some of Tyler Webb, Brady Lail, Johnny Barbato, Alex Smith, Cale Coshow, Eric Ruth, and Rookie Davis, but we still should see more of Goody, Rumbelow, Lindgren, and the other disappointments, who can hopefully look a little better over a longer sample size. Things didn't go so well for relief prospects in 2015, but there's no cause for concern. It sucked, it hurt, but now we have a fresh start, more options, and a better chance come next year.

7 years ago  ::  Oct 14, 2015 - 4:06PM #30
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