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Random Minor League Notes: 2016 Edition
6 years ago  ::  Sep 17, 2016 - 10:35AM #951
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6 years ago  ::  Sep 18, 2016 - 3:38PM #952
Posts: 32,868

For all the hype [Clint Frazier] had as the centerpiece in the Miller deal and insta-#1 in the organization, he didn’t have a particularly impressive season in AAA for either Columbus or SWB. Thoughts?

Clint Frazier has played all of 30 games in Triple-A in his minor league career. He only played five games with the Indians’ Triple-A affiliate before he was traded to the Yankees, and he was dealing with a hamstring injury for part of his time in Scranton. This was his first year even playing Double-A ball and he hit .276/.356/.469 in 89 games. I think it’s safe to say that he needs some time to adjust. If he’s still hitting .228/.278/.396 in Triple-A next year, then maybe I’ll worry.

6 years ago  ::  Sep 18, 2016 - 3:38PM #953
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If Judge continues to struggle for the rest of the season do you think the Yankees will sign a free agent or will they stay put and continue to start him next year?

Brian Cashman has already said that the Yankees aren’t going to go after any outfielders during the offseason. Even if they decide that Aaron Judge needs more time in Triple-A next season, it’s not like they don’t have any other options. Aaron Hicks still exists, and while he might not be the best everyday option, he certainly was having a better season before he went down with the injury. Maybe he would benefit from everyday play. The Yankees of old would sign a veteran outfielder, bring him in for a spring training competition against Judge, and then make their decision. However, it appears as though the Yankees have turned a new leaf.

6 years ago  ::  Sep 18, 2016 - 5:31PM #954
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The Top 20 Most Valuable Players in the New York Yankees Organization

The 20 New York Yankees with the Highest Trade Value this Winter:

  1. Gary Sanchez– Six years of team control over one of the most exciting young power hitters in the game, plus he plays the most demanding position on the field. No one else is close.
  2. Masahiro Tanaka– Even with the opt-out and UCL tear, the 27-year-old ace would cost a fortune to acquire.
  3. Didi Gregorius– Even with the recent slump, Didi has had a breakout 2016 campaign. He’s cheap, plays a premium position, and has three years of team control.
  4. Dellin Betances– Look at what the Yankees got for Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman. Betances is younger and controlled through 2019.
  5. Luis Severino– Despite his struggles, retains front of the rotation promise. Every team in the league would pay through the nose to have him. Still only 22!
  6. Clint Frazier– A weak showing in Triple-A hurts his case, but he’s a breakout away from the number one spot in 2017.
  7. Aaron Judge– Has shown the ability to absolutely punish the ball at the big league level, but still has a lot of work to do to achieve his immense potential. Clubs would probably be pretty wary of the strikeout rate.
  8. Michael Pineda– Only one year of control remaining, but has front-of-the-rotation stuff and the price of starting pitching is sky-high.
  9. Gleyber Torres– Extremely advanced for 19 and expected to begin next season in Double-A. Not as far away from MLB as he is perceived to be.
  10. Blake Rutherford– Could be at the top of this list by this time next year.
  11. Justus Sheffield– Should be a number 2-3 starter in the big leagues by 2018.
  12. Jorge Mateo– The suspension probably won’t hurt his value with other clubs much, but the big drop in steals and disappointing year at the plate might.
  13. Chance Adams– Had the best season of any Yankees minor league pitcher. Was absolutely lights-out with Double-A Trenton and looks ready to take over a rotation spot in 2017. Dark horse MLB ace.
  14. Starlin Castro– Probably had negative trade value before his recent tear. Now looks like he may be finally fulfilling his immense promise, but we’ve also seen hot streaks from him before.
  15. Chase Headley– Rock solid since a horrible April. Would have no problem topping the two years $26 million remaining on his deal if he were a free agent this winter.  
  16. Brett Gardner– Signed reasonably for two more years with a team option. Clearly in decline, but consistent track record the past few seasons and ability to handle center field gives him value. I wouldn’t want to trade for him, but someone will.
  17. Miguel Andujar– Quietly enjoyed a breakout season, setting career highs in a number of offensive categories. Slowed by promotion to Trenton, but progress has been steady in climb up the ladder.
    1. Dillon Tate– the fourth overall selection in the June draft just last year, Tate has lost some velocity and dealt with some mechanical issues. It sounds like the Yankees staff might be getting him back on track however, could be ready for a big leap forward next year.
    2. Luis Cessa– Not a high ceiling, but a little success as a starter in the majors can go a long way. After a few solid starts Shane Greene was able to land New York Gregorius.
    3. Domingo Acevedo– Has had a few nagging injuries, but the flamethrowing 22-year-old looks like a potential number one, possibly as soon as 2018

6 years ago  ::  Sep 19, 2016 - 10:53AM #955
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New York Yankees Instructional League Roster


6 years ago  ::  Sep 20, 2016 - 11:03AM #956
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ESNY’s New York Yankees Prospect Profile: Jake Cave

Also according to MLB Pipeline, in high school, Cave was a left-handed pitcher who had a fastball that topped out at 94 mph. Despite the strong skills as a pitcher, the Yankees desired him more as a hitter which led them to draft and convert him in 2011.

Cave is not a player that relies on one particular skill for his success, he is a very balanced player who can hit well with some power as well as decent speed and a solid glove.

Take a look at what scouts have to say about the rest of his skills:

Scouting grades via MLB Pipeline: Hit: 50 / Power: 40 / Run: 55 / Arm: 50 / Field: 50 / Overall: 45

As seen by the grades, Cave is a multi-tooled asset that is average to above average in all of his skills. He has started to show more power as of late, and his spray chart shows he is able to use the entire field to his advantage.

Cave split the 2016 season switching off between centerfield and left field. Scouts believe that due to the excellent arm strength and great speed, Cave has the ability to play all three outfield positions well.

He began his professional career in 2011, the same year he was drafted. In his first game with the Gulf Coast League Yankees, Cave fractured his kneecap in a collision at home plate which forced him to miss a significant amount of time.

The outfielder was forced to miss the rest of the 2011 season as well as all of the 2012 season. It was a very serious injury that many believed it would be tough to recover from, fortunately, he was able to make a successful come back in 2013.

Cave would spend his 2013 campaign with the Charleston River Dogs. With Charleston Cave would return to action making a huge impact on the team, in 115 games Cave would have a slash line of .282/.347/.401. Absolutely remarkable for a player returning from a serious injury.

To tag along with the phenomenal offensive return, he made an impact on the field as well. Throughout the year he would have a vacuum as a glove in center with a fielding percentage of .992.

Following an impactful 2013 season, Cave would receive a promotion in 2014 and split time between Tampa and Trenton. In 132 total games, Cave batted .294/.351/.414. At this point, the organization started to realize that Cave was a special talent.

Most of the left-hander’s 2015 season was spent in Trenton where he would put up his usual solid numbers. Late in the season, he was called up to the Yankees Triple-A affiliate, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Railriders. In just seven games with Scranton, Cave batted .458 which included four extra-base hits.

Cave was selected by the Reds in the 2015 Rule-5 draft but then he did not make the Reds opening day roster. Therefore, he returned to the Yankees on April 5, 2016, in a very short-lived departure.

Once again, in 2016 Cave would split his year between Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and Trenton. He performed well in a season where we saw a dip in stolen bases, but we also saw an increase in home runs. Despite the regular season success, the postseason is where we would see the lefty shine.

During seven postseason games with the RailRiders, Cave would bat .348/.464/.565 which included a home run and four RBI’s. He would prove to be a vital piece to Scranton’s playoff hopes, helping them win the Governors’ Cup which is the International League Championship.

Due to the success Cave would have in the four-game set, he earned the MVP award.

Ironic enough, the series ended with Cave catching a fly ball in the outfield and kicking off the celebration. So, with all of this success when should we expect to see Cave in the big leagues?

Despite an MLB ETA of 2016 according to Pipeline, it seems unlikely we will see Cave in pinstripes this season. However, Cave does seem major league ready and if all goes well he should be playing in the Bronx sometime next season.

6 years ago  ::  Sep 20, 2016 - 11:06AM #957
Posts: 32,868

Speaking of the 40-man roster, Johnny Barbato‘s spot can’t be too safe right now, huh? He didn’t get a September call-up this year despite being on the Opening Day roster. Maybe they’ll call him up after Scranton plays in the Triple-A Championship Game tonight, though given the way the Yankees called up everyone as soon as possible without regard for the RailRiders’ postseason roster, I’m guessing no. They haven’t even given Barbato a courtesy call-up to evaluate him across a handful of innings or anything like that. I like Barbato though. He’s got a lively fastball and two breaking balls. That’ll work in middle relief as long as you throw strikes, which is a question with pretty much every young pitcher. Barbato wouldn’t be among the first guys I’d drop from the 40-man roster this offseason, but it seems the Yankees disagree. No September call-up doesn’t bode well for his future with the organization.

6 years ago  ::  Sep 20, 2016 - 4:48PM #958
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James Kaprielian progressing in return from elbow injury

The Yankees’ pitching prospect could see time in the Arizona Fall League on his way back from a flexor tendon strain.

After not pitching in a game since April, Yankees’ prospect James Kaprielian could get back on a mound in the Arizona Fall League starting October 11th. The 22-year-old threw live batting practice on Tuesday at instructional league workouts at the Yankees’ facility.

Before the injury, which turned out to be a flexor tendon strain, Kaprielian was rising quickly up through the Yankees’ system. Although the process for getting him back on a mound has been a slow one, Kaprielian has nothing but good things to say about the rehab process and how it has gone.

The first step of pitching against real hitters took place a few days ago, and he is scheduled to throw more live batting practice on Sunday. The team has not yet officially decided to send Kaprielian out to Arizona to continue working his way back, but they do have an open pitcher spot on their roster with under a month to go before the AFL season kicks off.

Right now, Kaprielian says that the biggest thing for him is being able to pitch consistently and making sure that his mechanics are repeatable. The fact that it seems, at least for now, that Kaprielian and the Yankees were able to avoid Tommy John surgery is definitely a positive.

If Kaprielian does, in fact, end up on the Yankees’ AFL roster, his progress out there will definitely be something to monitor. The Yankees are in desperate need of a pitching prospect to emerge to help fill out their big league rotation in the very near future. The Yankees are looking at a situation where CC Sabathia, Masahiro Tanaka, Nathan Eovaldi, and Michael Pineda could all be gone after the upcoming season without much help on the free agent market.

If Kaprielian can get back on track in Arizona this fall or spring training next year, and can position himself to be big league ready at some point in 2017 it would be a huge help for the Yankees. It feels like quite some time since the Yankees had a pitching prospect find success for them, and it would be good for that to finally happen again.

6 years ago  ::  Sep 20, 2016 - 4:52PM #959
Posts: 32,868

The Yankees have a lot of talent in the Instructional League this year with 10 of their top 30 prospects in attendance. Unfortunately, without Tim Tebow to bring down the media’s attention, you won’t see or hear anything about these players over the next few weeks. That doesn’t mean there isn’t under-the-radar talent in attendance that you’ve probably never heard of yet.

Estevan Florial

Signed amongst the 2014 international haul, Florial ended up getting suspended because he had been using a fake birth certificate since he was born. After getting his paperwork straightened out, he hit .313/.394/.527 with seven home runs in the Dominican Summer League. His breakout performance led to teams asking for Florial in trades before he ever reached America, but the Yankees were too impressed to budge.

He spent most of the 2016 season in Pulaski where he struggled at the age of 18, but his seven home runs ranked him among the top three on the team. He even played a handful of games in Low-A Charleston and High-A Tampa. He’ll be 19 heading into a season where he will see more challenging pitchers and should find his way onto the top 30 Yankees prospect list before too long.

Hitters like Luis Torrens, Leonardo Molina, and Wilkerman Garcia have been highly regarded, but have struggled when they faced advanced competition for the first time. Florial is a good example of how numbers and results are not always the best indicator of abilities. He is young and will have his adjustment periods, but the left-handed hitting outfielder could be receiving a lot more attention very soon.

Nick Green

As I previously said in a recent Pinstripe Alley podcast, Brian Cahsman always gets his man, and Nick Green is a testament to that. Selected by New York out of high school in the 2013 MLB Draft, Green went on to junior college before being selected in the 2014 draft by the Texas Rangers. He came to the Yankees in the Carlos Beltran trade at the 2016 deadline, and now he is someone to watch going into 2017.

He pitched in only a handful of games after coming over in the trade, but he saw action in Low-A Charleston for the first time at the age of 21. The 2016 season marks the third year in a row where he has lowered his walk-per-nine rate to 2.9 and even saw his strikeout rate jump to 9.4 K/9. He has the numbers of a ground ball pitcher, so it will be interesting to see if that trend continues into next year.

Eduardo Rivera

You’ve probably never heard of Rivera before, but the 23-year-old reliever has come into his own since moving to the bullpen. He is known for his ability to reach the upper 90s with his fastball, hitting as high as 99 mph, while pairing it with a plus curveball. He pitched to a 1.34 ERA across 33.2 innings in Staten Island, Charleston, and Tampa.

As a reliever his strikeout rates of jumped significantly, reaching 12.6 K/9 on the season. Unfortunately, like many before him, his strength is also his weakness. Rivera has a career 7.0 BB/9 and logged a 5.1 this year. This season will be a big test for him as he begins to to face more advanced hitters. If he can harness the speed of his fastball, he could become a very important bullpen arm down the road.

Given the organization’s track record right now, it might not be unreasonable to see them give him another chance to start. It really all comes down to the control issues, though.

Taylor Widener

Drafted just this year, Widener has been a standout reliever in the system. At the age of 21, he pitched to a 0.47 ERA over 38.1 innings while maintaining astounding peripherals. He struck out batters at a 13.9 K/9 rate while only allowing walks at a 1.6 BB/9 rate. Widener started his pro career in Staten Island, like most college players, but he’s already spent time in Charleston.

The right-hander could become a fast riser for the Yankees, however he has experience as a starter in college and started two games this year. The Yankees found a talent in converting relievers into starting pitchers, so this is one to watch in 2017.

Rashad Crawford

Brought to the Yankees as one of the many prospects acquired at the deadline when they traded closer Aroldis Chapman to the Chicago Cubs. Hitting just .255/.327/.386 as a 21-year-old in High-A made him look like a throw-in for that deal. The Yankees have plenty of outfield depth already, and this guy looked like he would get lost in the crowd.

Instead, he hit .291/.381/.364 in 29 games with the Tampa Yankees, leading them to the playoffs. He didn’t stop then either as he collected nine hits, two home runs, and put together a five-RBI game in seven Florida State League playoff games. Maybe the Yankees saw something in his swing they could fix, or maybe it was a lucky start to an otherwise uneventful career. Still, for someone who didn’t come along with a lot of hype, Crawford looks like an intriguing sleeper in 2017.

6 years ago  ::  Sep 21, 2016 - 10:44AM #960
Posts: 32,868

Why the Yankees want Clint Frazier in the instructional league

The Yankees want a closer look at Clint Frazier.

Frazier, ranked the team's No. 1 overall prospect, was invited to the organization's instructional league that started this week so that the 22-year-old and the team's minor-league hitting gurus can develop their rapport.

"(We want to) get a chance to have some real good conversations with him," minor-league hitting coordinator James Rowson said at the team's training facility here Tuesday. "Talk to him about what he likes, the things that have worked for him. Talk to him about the direction he'd like to go in."

It's not like the Yankees are unfamiliar with Frazier.

They scouted him heavily before acquiring him as the jewel of a package of prospects they got from the Indians in exchange for closer Andrew Miller.

Frazier also played 25 regular season games for the Yankees at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, hitting .229 with three homers and 30 strikeouts in 101 at-bats.

While general manager Brian Cashman almost immediately ruled out the Yankees calling him up to the majors this year, he said Frazier could make his debut by 2017.

Rowson said that while he hasn't spent much time with Cleveland's 2013 first-round pick, he's liked what he's seen.

"I see tools," the hitting coordinator said. "Any time you see a young player who's talented and has tools you get excited about it. Everything that you hear as far as him having good bat speed – he's a really good athlete. You want to kind of sit down with him and have some discussions about what he thinks at the plate, what's his approach, what feels good. So I like what I see but it's really a getting-to-know-him phase and I think the instruction league will help."

Frazier admitted he put pressure on himself when he joined the Yankees to prove that he was worth the investment.

Rowson said that it would be "understandable" if Frazier did.

"Sometimes it happens," Rowson said. "But I think the good thing about us, as an organization, we're looking at the things that he can do. We're looking at the talent. We're not judging him on the results over a short period of time. He's going to be good with us. He's going to have that time to show us what he can do and we're looking forward to it."

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