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Random Minor League Notes: 2016 Edition
6 years ago  ::  Aug 30, 2016 - 3:47PM #901
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6 years ago  ::  Aug 31, 2016 - 10:29AM #902
Posts: 32,868

Yankees Complete Ivan Nova Deal With Pirates

Back on Aug. 1, the Yankees agreed to send Ivan Nova to the Pittsburgh Pirates in return for two players to be named later. Nearly a month later, the deal is complete.

As the clock neared 4pm on August 1, the Yankees were hard-pressed to find a taker for 29-year-old starting pitcher Ivan Nova. Then at the last minute, they struck a deal with the Pirates, agreeing to acquire two PTBNL so that the scouting department could do their due diligence in plucking an acceptable exchange from the Bucs.

Well, we now know the two prospects headed back to the Yankees are outfielder Tito Polo (No. 27 ranked prospect in the Pirates system), and left-handed pitcher Stephen Tarpley (No. 17 prospect).

Interestingly enough, the 5-foot-9 Polo, who just turned 22, and tore through Low-A, was the main asset acquired of the two youngsters regardless of their adjunct rankings.

Though Polo’s power numbers have hit a proverbial wall since moving to High-A Bradenton, .276/.351/.346 over 247 at-bats; when you combine his Low-A and High-A stats, Polo accounts for 16 home runs and 37 steals in 109 games.

Tarpley, 23, was originally a third-round pick of the Baltimore Orioles in 2013 and was dealt to the Pirates for Travis Snyder last season.

In 100 innings at High-A, Tarpley is 6-4 with a 4.32 ERA, 90 Ks, and only 37 walks. A groundball pitcher with three useful pitches, Tarpley projects as a back-end of the rotation type guy, or at the very least, a relief pitcher in the vein of Phil Coke in his prime.

To many Yankees’ fans dismay, Nova has been terrific since donning the black and gold. Over his first five NL starts, Nova’s posted a 4-0 record, with a 2.87 ERA, and 22 Ks in just over 31 innings pitched.

While Nova’s always held a decent amount of potential, it simply didn’t translate to enough consistency while in New York (4.99 ERA in 191.1 innings pitched since returning from Tommy John surgery).

The one caveat of this entire trade is that the better Nova pitches for the remainder of the season, he may eventually price himself out of the Pirates’ ambition. An upcoming free agent, Nova could look for a 3 or 4 year, $40 million type agreement.

As for the Yankees’ dilemma, both Polo and Tarpley will be Rule 5 eligible in 2017. So if either isn’t added to the 40-man roster, they could simply be picked up by another team, because as it stands, neither look ready to keep a Major League roster spot for the entirety of 2017.

Regardless of what happens down the line, unloading Nova, who was always destined to become a free agent for a pair of top 30 prospects, is another win for Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman.

6 years ago  ::  Aug 31, 2016 - 10:32AM #903
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It's been a wasted 2016 season Yankees' No. 1 pitching prospect James Kaprielian, who might have jumped all the way from high-A Tampa to the majors by now if not for his early season elbow flexor strain.

The latest on Kaprielian isn't much different from a month ago: The 22-year-old right-hander still is rehabbing in Tampa via throwing program that includes playing catch.

A big upcoming step will be returning to the mound, and if Kaprielian's elbow passes a few of those tests, then he'll be ready for his first game action since his three dominating April starts.

And at the point, Yankees management will need to make a decision, and it currently is considering three options:

They'd like to send their 2015 No. 1 draft pick to the Arizona Fall League to get some innings, but they may instead let him do some pitching in the Florida Instructional League or play it extra, extra safe and wait until next spring.

Kaprielian's progress over the next month will decide his fate.

Either way, Kaprielian working just 18 innings this season almost certainly will limit him to 135 or so next season because management doesn't allow prospects to make too big of a jump from season to season.

For instance, right-hander Chance Adams, 13-1 with a 2.33 ERA this season for high-A Tampa and Double-A Trenton, recently was shut down after throwing 127 1/3 innings in his first pro season.

An innings limit also has led to left-hander Dietrich Enns, 14-4 with a 1.75 ERA for Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, recently being moved to the RailRiders' bullpen.

Meantime, two other Yankees' pitching prospects have been shut down for the season due to arm issues.

Right-hander Drew Finley, a third-round pick in 2015, hasn't pitched since July 19 due to tiredness in his elbow. The Yankees got some good news on an MRI: There was no structural damage.

Right-hander Brooks Kriske, drafted in the sixth round this year, hasn't pitched since leaving a relief outing on Aug. 11 after four pitches due to elbow tenderness.

Also recently shut down with an undisclosed injury is 6-foot-7 righty Domingo Acevedo, who left Aug. 1 start after one-third of an inning with an injury, returned to work four innings in a start on Aug. 15 and then was shut down again.

6 years ago  ::  Aug 31, 2016 - 10:37AM #904
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Yankees prospect Dillon Tate's fastball velocity rebounding


Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said Dillon Tate was "an asset in distress" when he acquired the pitching prospect and other youngsters in return for All-Star right fielder Carlos Beltran before the trade deadline.

That distress might be easing a bit.

Tate's fastball has reached at least 96 mph with the Yankees' Single-A affiliate in Charleston, a talent evaluator recently told NJ Advance Media.

A team source said that was encouraging, but that the velocity has been inconsistent as he's continued tweaked his delivery since leaving Texas.

A recent report also suggested Tate believed the workout regimen the Rangers had designed for him may have affected his fastball.

Tate's fastball had been stuck in the low-90s while struggling at Low-A Hickory, where the 2015 No. 4 pick had a 5.12 ERA in 17 games, including 16 starts.

Tate has pitched in five games out of the bullpen at Charleston, posting a 2.84 ERA but also a .340 opponent batting average. He last pitched a scoreless two innings on Thursday.

The Yankees moved him to the bullpen, Cashman said, to help him take things more slowly with his development. They also sent minor league pitching coordinator Danny Borrell to Charleston to work with him.

Tate got a $4.2 million signing bonus last year from Texas.

MLB.com ranks Tate the Yankees' No. 11 prospect overall and their fourth best pitching prospect, behind No. 7 Justus Sheffield, No. 9 Domingo Acevedo and No. 10 James Kaprielian, the Yankees' 2015 first-round selection.

Tate also throws a slider. The UC Santa Barbara product first showed big-time potential as a reliever as a sophomore. He moved to the rotation in his junior season and, according to MLB.com, became the top pitching prospect in the 2015 draft.

6 years ago  ::  Aug 31, 2016 - 10:39AM #905
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6 years ago  ::  Aug 31, 2016 - 10:40AM #906
Posts: 32,868
6 years ago  ::  Aug 31, 2016 - 4:31PM #907
Posts: 32,868

Yankees Sending Several Big Names to Arizona Fall League

Josh Norris of Baseball America reports that the Yankees will be sending Greg Bird, Gleyber Torres, Miguel Andujar, and Tyler Wade to play in the Arizona Fall League this year.

Most notably, this is confirmation that first baseman Greg Bird, who was expected by many to play a significant role on the Yankees big league club this year, is progressing well in his rehab from the shoulder surgery that has caused him to miss the 2016 campaign.

The 23-year-old hit .261/.343/.529 (137 wRC+) with 11 home runs in 178 plate appearances last season. He’s expected to compete with Tyler Austin for the starting first base job next year following Mark Teixeira‘s retirement. Austin has struggled mightily in his brief MLB debut, making it even more important that Bird comes back strong from surgery.

How Bird performs this fall could even influence the Yankees strategy this offseason. They are expected to rely on several unproven youngsters to fill the middle of their order. As of right now, the majority of the power production would have to come from Bird, Austin, Gary Sanchez, and Aaron Judge for the Yankees to compete in 2017.

If Bird doesn’t look ready to hold down a key spot in the lineup, New York might be more inclined to bring in a big bat like Edwin Encarnacion this winter. It’s worth noting that Bird was named the AFL MVP in 2014 during his first go-round in the league.

Aside from Bird, the biggest name to watch might be shortstop Gleyber Torres, the centerpiece of the Aroldis Chapman trade. He’s currently ranked number two in the Yankees system by MLB Pipeline. The 19-year-old Torres is hitting .265/.357/.407 (127 wRC+) in 129 plate appearances for High-A Tampa since the trade.

This assignment might be an indication that New York plans to push Torres up the ladder. He seems like a lock to begin 2017 with Double-A at age 20 and should be ready to compete for a big league job by the following year. The AFL will be the most advanced competition he’s faced to date, so it will be interesting to see how he fares.

Also suiting up for the Scottsdale Scorpions in October will be third baseman Miguel Andujar and Tyler Wade, who rank 8th and 15th respectively on MLB Pipeline’s list. Andujar was having a nice season for High-A Tampa but has struggled since being promoted to Double-A, hitting .262/.323/.342 (85 wRC+) in 297 plate appearances with Trenton.

His Thunder teammate Wade is having a solid but unspectacular year, putting up a .265/.358/.358 (105 wRC+) with five home runs and 26 steals in a full season at Double-A.

Together, the Yankees have provided the Scorpions with a pretty awesome infield. Hopefully we can to see these four as a unit for at least a few games. It’s not crazy to think this could be New York’s 2018-2019 infield arrangement.

6 years ago  ::  Aug 31, 2016 - 5:59PM #908
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Yankees trade Ben Gamel to Mariners for Jio Orozco and Juan De Paula

Today is the last day that teams can make trades with playoff implications, and the Yankees and Mariners came together on a small deal, albeit one with a popular Yankee farmhand. Outfielder Ben Gamel just won the International League MVP for his stellar performance in Triple-A Scranton, but the celebration with his teammates will be short-lived.

Gamel is on his way to Seattle in exchange for minor league pitchers Jio Orozco and Juan De Paula. Both of them are far from the majors, but that is the kind of return one would expect for someone who likely profiles as a bench player or second division starter.

Orozco is a right-hander who just turned 19 on August 15th, and is the slightly more well-known of the two pitchers, as he was ranked by MLB.com as the 20th best prospect in the system. (For the record, Gamel was at number 24 with the Yankees.) Orozco was a 14th round pick out of Salpointe High School in Arizona last year, where he was teammates with Yankees prospect Donny Sands. In 20 career Rookie ball games between last year and this year, he has a 3.73 ERA, a 2.6 BB/9, and 11.2 K/9, splitting time between starter and relief roles. Here’s what MLB has to say about his repertoire:

His fluid arm action and clean delivery allow him to pitch to both sides of the plate with his 91-94 mph fastball, while his extension through the ball gives it some sinking action. Orozco's curveball has above-average potential, thrown from an over-the-top slot with good arm speed, creating a 12-to-6 shape with depth, and he also shows good feel for a changeup, giving him the chance for three average-or-better offerings.

De Paula was not ranked among the Mariners’ top 30 prospects, but he is just one month younger than Orozco. He was an international signing, however, joining the organization in 2014 as a 16-year-old out of the Dominican Republic. Like Orozco, he has split time in Rookie ball between the rotation and bullpen the last two years, notching a 2.58 ERA, 2.0 BB/9, and 9.2 K/9 in 25 games. Baseball America had this to say on De Paula when he was signed:

He’s a projection arm with a skinny 6-foot-2, 160-pound frame, easy arm action and a sound delivery, which helps him throws strikes well for his age, and he has feel to spin a curveball.

Both of these pitchers, again, are a long way from making any kind of impact even in Triple-A, but this kind of move makes sense. There is certainly some potential there, and while Gamel was terrific in Triple-A this year, the Yankees have a glut of young outfielders. International League MVPs don’t exactly have glorious major-league resumes, and MLB had Gamel just 24th in the Yankees’ system. This was a “sell high” move to get some intriguing pitchers in the organization while also opening up opportunities for more possible September call-ups on the 40-man roster, like Jake Cave or Jonathan Holder.

Nevertheless, it is a bit of a bummer to see Gamel go. He had an amazing comeback year this season to even put himself in this position of relevance, he is by all accounts a wonderful teammate in the clubhouse, and that hair is still glorious. Happy trails, buddy.

6 years ago  ::  Sep 01, 2016 - 10:33AM #909
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  • Some injury updates from Randy Miller: RHP James Kaprielian (flexor) is still on his throwing program and will get back on a mound soon. The Yankees want to send him to the AzFL but won’t push it. Also, RHP Drew Finley is out with elbow fatigue, but tests showed no structural damage.
  • LHP Justus Sheffield and LHP James Reeves have been promoted from High-A Tampa to Double-A Trenton, report Matt Kardos and Nick Flammia. Nice little late season promotions for those two. LHP Nestor Cortes, meanwhile, was sent from Triple-A to High-A, the team announced. He threw 5.2 hitless innings in his spot start with the RailRiders.
  • RHP Dillon Tate has been hitting 96 mph out of the bullpen with Low-A Charleston, reports Brendan Kuty. Tate’s velocity had been fluctuating all year with the Rangers, and it looks like it’s starting to come back. The next step is seeing whether he can hold that velocity as a starter.
6 years ago  ::  Sep 01, 2016 - 2:00PM #910
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