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Random Minor League Notes: 2016 Edition
6 years ago  ::  Sep 25, 2016 - 11:15AM #971
Posts: 32,868
6 years ago  ::  Sep 26, 2016 - 11:01AM #972
Posts: 32,868

Yankees Minor League Report: Season Wrapup

The New York Yankees made a surprising push to a potential playoff appearance in August and early September, only to fall back with an awful two-week stretch of play.

Meanwhile, the Yankees' farm system also provided some unpredictable results, as the organization's top five affiliates qualified for their league's postseason play, and included one league title.

This week we will recap the postseason results for each of the affiliates and provide the regular season statistics for the organization's Top 30 prospects, according to MLBPipeline.com. Our previous report indicated the final regular season records from each affiliate.

Rookie Short Season - New York Penn League McNamara Division - Staten Island Yankees

Record: 45-33, 2nd place, 2.5 GB, won wild card

Staten Island, in a quest to repeat as New York Penn League champions, was eliminated in the league semifinals to eventual league champion State College.

Class A - South Atlantic League Southern Division - Charleston RiverDogs

First-half Record: 42-27, first place - First-half Champions

Second-half Record: 34-36, 3rd place, 9 GB

The RiverDogs were defeated by Rome in the best-of-three South Atlantic Division Series. Charleston's 76 regular season wins in 2016 was a franchise record.

Advanced A - Florida State League North Division - Tampa Yankees

First-half Record: 41-25, first place - First half champions

Second-half Record: 35-31, 4th place, 8 GB

Tampa defeated Dunedin two games to one in a three-game series to win the Florida State League North Division Championship. In the Florida State League Championships, Tampa lost three games to one to Bradenton.

Double-A - Eastern League Eastern Division - Trenton Thunder

Record: 87-55, 2nd place, 2.5 GB, won wild card

Trenton eliminated regular season division champion Reading, 3-1, in the best-of-five games East Division Championship Series. The results were not as positive for the Thunder in the Eastern League Championship, as they were swept by Akron.

Triple-A - International League North Division - Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders

Record: 91-52, 1st place, Regular Season Division Champions

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre swept Lehigh Valley 3-0 in the League Division Series. The RailRiders went on to win the International League Governor's Cup with a three games to one victory over Gwinnett. It was the RailRiders' first league title since 2008. Outfielder Jake Cave was named the series' most valuable player.

The RailRiders were not finished, as they then went on to defeat the Pacific Coast League Champions, El Paso, in the Gildan Triple-A National Championship by a score of 3-1 behind five innings of one-run ball from Jordan Montgomery and a decisive first-inning, three-run home run by Chris Parmalee. It was the RailRiders' first national championship, and the first time since 2011 that the International League representative walked away with the title.

Yankees Top 30 Prospects

Note: Statistics are for the 2016 minor league regular season (players who played at multiple levels are combined and noted). Prospect rankings via MLBPipeline.com

No. 1 - Clint Frazier, OF - 463 combined PA, .263/.335/.396, 16 HR, 55 RBI

No. 2 - Gleyber Torres, OF - 536 combined PA, .270/.354/.421, 81 R, 11 HR, 66 RBI, 21 SB

No. 3 - Jorge Mateo, 2B/SS - 499 PA, .254/.306/.379, 33 XBH, 65 R, 47 RBI, 36 SB

No. 4 - Aaron Judge, OF - 399 PA, .270/.366/.489, 19 HR, 65 RBI

No. 5 - Blake Rutherford, OF - 127 combined PA, .351/.415/.570, 15 XBH, 3 HR, 12 RBI

No. 6 - Justis Sheffield, SP - 125 1/3 combined IP, 3.09 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 129 K, 53 BB

No. 7 - Miguel Andujar, OF - 551 PA, .273/.332/.410, 42 XBH, 62 R, 12 HR, 83 RBI

No. 8 - Domingo Acevado, SP - 93 combined IP, 2.61 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 102 K, 22 BB

No. 9 - James Kaprielian, SP - 18 IP, 1.50 ERA, 0.61 WHIP, 22 K, 3 BB

No 10 - Dillon Tate, SP - 82 1/3 combined IP, 4.70 ERA, 1.60 WHIP, 55 K, 27 BB

No 11 - Wilkerman Garcia, SS - 237 PA, .198/.255/.284, 14 XBH, 21 R, 1 HR, 13 RBI

No 12 - Dustin Fowler, OF - 563 PA, .281/.311/.458 53 XBH, 67 R, 12 HR, 88 RBI

No. 13 - Chance Adams, SP - 127 1/3 combined IP, 2.33 ERA, 0.90 WHIP, 144 K, 39 BB

No. 14 - Tyler Wade, 2B/SS - 571 PA, .259/.352/.349, 28 XBH, 90 R, 27 SB

No. 15 - Billy McKinney - 485 combined PA, .246/.342/.338, 27 XBH, 52 R

No. 16 - Luis Torrens, C - 210 combined PA, .250/.350/.337, 12 XBH

No. 17 - Ian Clarkin, SP - 98 IP, 3.31 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 72 K, 30 BB

No. 18 - Drew Finley, P - 27 1/3 IP, 4.26 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 20 K, 9 BB

No. 19 - Jordan Montgomery, SP - 139.1 combined IP, 2.13 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 134 K, 45 BB

No. 20 - Chad Green, SP - 94.2 IP, 1.52 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, 100 K, 21 BB

No. 21 - Hoy Jun Park, SS/2B - 502 PA, .225/.336/.329, 29 XBH, 32 SB

No. 22 - Mason Williams, OF - 171 combined PA, .298/.315/.380, 12 XBH, 24 RBI

No. 23 - Jake Cave, OF - 462 combined PA, .268/.330/.427, 43 XBH, 55 RBI

No. 24 - Dietrich Enns, SP - 135 combined IP, 1.73 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 124 K, 56 BB

No. 25 - Kyle Holder, SS/2B - 367 PA, .290/.323/.347, 40 R, 16 XBH

No. 26 - Donny Sands, C - 119 combined PA, .286/.328/.375, 2 HR, 13 RBI

No. 27 - Trey Amburgey, OF - 283 combined PA, .274/.313/.381, 40 R, 22 XBH, 11 SB

No. 28 - Leonardo Molina, OF - 328 combined PA, .226/.290/.382, 9 HR, 36 RBI

No. 29 - Freicer Perez, P - 52 1/3 IP, 4.47 ERA, 1.45 WHIP, 49 K, 25 BB

No. 30 - Nolan Martinez, P - 7 IP, 3.86 ERA, 1.43 WHIP, 3 K, 4 BB

6 years ago  ::  Sep 26, 2016 - 3:02PM #973
Posts: 32,868

Yankees Five Most Underrated Prospects in 2016

While the blue chip talents at the top of the New York Yankees prospect rankings get all of the attention, several unheralded names are ready to make a big impact in the Bronx in the near future.

Maybe the most impressive thing about the New York Yankees farm system at the moment is the amount of depth at every level. Beyond the big names, there are some often overlooked players in the organization who have exceeded all expectations this year. Here’s a look at the five most underrated players in the minors for New York:

#5: Dietrich Enns

Enns had a very impressive season in 2016. He started off the 2016 season with the Trenton Thunder and in 12 starts went 7-2 with a 1.93 ERA. Then they decided to test him and move him up to Scranton where he also impressed. In 14 games (10 starts and 4 relief appearances) Enns pitched to another 7-2 record with a 1.52 ERA better than his Double-A performance. Enns is one of multiple Yankees starters to have a great year and become a great underrated prospect.

Sadly New York might lose Enns in the Rule 5 draft this season. Although he has loads of talent the Yankees already have a 40 man roster that they are trying to clear enough spots on for more players, and Enns probably won’t be able to make the cut. If he does get selected by another team it will be an unfortunate loss for the Yankees. No matter what team he plays with he will be a solid #4 or #5 starter or reliever for an MLB team.

#4 Jordan Montgomery

Montgomery is one guy who really impresses me. I ranked him higher than Enns because if all goes well, he has a higher ceiling than Enns. He played most of his season in Trenton in 19 starts going 9-4 with a 2.55 ERA. Then he was promoted to Scranton and did even better in 6 starts going 5-1 with an 0.97 ERA. Overall between the Double and Triple-A he went 14-5 with a 2.13 ERA. The 23-year-old lefty has a higher ceiling than Enns for one reason. Stuff. He has a plus fastball and changeup and has an average curveball and cutter.

#3 Tyler Wade

Wade had a highly impressive year for the Trenton, batting .259 with 5 home runs 27 RBI and 27 stolen bases while leading the Thunder to the Eastern League Championship series. Wade is known mostly for his above average speed. He doesn’t have much power but he is still getting stronger and should be able to hit up to about 10 home runs at his best. With his strong season Wade moved up to 14th on MLB Pipeline’s Yankees top 30 prospects list.

With the Yankees having lots of shortstop and second base prospects it seems Wade will be more of a utility player if he stays with the Yankees. He is expected to work out in the outfield during the upcoming Arizona Fall League to further increase his versatility. The Yankees may soon have their own Brock Holt.

#2 Dustin Fowler

Fowler has been extremely impressive this season for the Yankees and he is definitely a great underrated prospect. With Trenton, Fowler batted .281 with 12 home runs 88 RBI and 25 stolen bases in 2016. Like Wade, Fowler is known mostly for his speed, but in 2016 he proved he has a more well-rounded game. Power usually hasn’t been one of his strengths but he managed to hit 12 home runs this season and could hit up to 15 home runs in the majors if he reaches his ceiling.

If Fowler keeps progressing the way he is now, he could develop a combination of speed and power similar to Brett Gardner but perhaps with a better average. Keep track of Fowler in the upcoming years, because he has the tools to become a star.

#1 Chance Adams

It was definitely a close decision for the #1 spot between Adams and Fowler, but I thought Adams has the better chance (no pun intended) to become a star for the Yankees. Adams started off the year with Tampa going 5-0 with a 2.65 ERA in 12 starts. After his wonderful performance in Tampa he was promoted to Tampa where he did even better going 8-1 with a 2.07 ERA. With both High-A and Double-A, Adams pitched to a 13-1 record with a 2.33 ERA.

He has a well above average fastball and can reach up to 98 with it but typically is at 94-96. He also has an above average slider and an average changeup. Scouts say the biggest jump in the Minor Leagues is from High-A to Double-A and Adams seems to have handled that very well so far.

While durability could be a concern with just one season as a starter under his belt, between his pure stuff and his advanced feel for pitching, Adams is a guy who could be the Yankees second best starter as soon as 2017. He probably won’t make any top 100 lists in the spring, but has a strong argument for having the best season of any starting pitcher in the minors last year.

6 years ago  ::  Sep 27, 2016 - 10:49AM #974
Posts: 32,868

Yankees Outright J.R. Graham

The Yankees announced this afternoon that they’ve outrighted reliever J.R. Graham to Triple-A, thus removing the 26-year-old right-hander from the 40-man roster.

New York claimed Graham off waivers from the Twins earlier this year after Minnesota designated the 2014 Rule 5 Draft pick for assignment. Graham stuck in the Twins’ bullpen all throughout the 2015 campaign, with manager Paul Molitor typically reserving him for low-leverage situations. Graham wound up logging 63 2/3 innings of 4.95 ERA ball and averaged 7.5 K/9 against 3.0 BB/9 to go along with a 49 percent ground-ball rate. However, he was also quite homer-prone in his rookie campaign and struggled to strand runners. The former Braves top prospect tossed just 1 2/3 innings in the Majors this season and spent the majority of the year with the Yankees’ Double-A affiliate. All told, he logged a 3.27 ERA with 9.6 K/9 against 3.3 BB/9 in 44 innings across three minor league levels.

6 years ago  ::  Sep 27, 2016 - 10:53AM #975
Posts: 32,868

Thoughts prior to the final homestand of the 2016 season

I don’t understand playing Butler at first base over Tyler Austin either. I mean, yes, the Yankees were kinda sorta in the race a week ago, and Butler was hitting and Austin wasn’t hitting, but still. As soon as Butler, who should have zero future with the Yankees beyond this week, proved somewhat useful, the struggling young player went to the bench. Would something similar have happened if Gary Sanchez didn’t get off to such a hot start? Don’t get me wrong, I understand sitting a struggling player now and then, but Austin has been outright benched. He’s started one of the last ten games, during which the Yankees faced six left-handed starters. (Hilariously, Austin’s one start was against a righty.) Things very quickly went from “hey look, the young players are helping the Yankees get back into the race” in August to “ewww, Butler and Solano are trying to keep them alive” in September. For a team that is supposedly committed to a youth movement, the Yankees don’t seem very committed to it.

6 years ago  ::  Sep 27, 2016 - 12:03PM #976
Posts: 32,868

Eight Yankees prospects who have opened eyes in 2016

After their midseason trades, the Yankees have one of the best farm systems in all of baseball. Even outside the top 30 or so prospects that many know about and have been following, there are other players who are just making a name for themselves. In 2016, the Yankees had eight individuals put themselves on the map with the seasons they had.

Chance Adams, RHP: 2.33 ERA, 127.1 IP, 10.2 K/9, 2.8 BB/9
As the team’s No. 13 prospect, you would think it hard to really open any eyes, but Adams completely re-invented himself in 2016. Drafted as a reliever, he transition to the rotation in 2016 after showing heightened velocity and better stuff as a pro. Adams also maintained impeccable control on his way to one of the more successful reliever-to-starter transitions the Yankees have instigated. At the age of 21, Adams did well in Double-A and it could only be a matter of time before he makes an impact on the major league level.

Nestor Cortes, LHP: 1.53 ERA, 106 IP, 9.8 K/9, 2.0 BB/9
As a former 36th rounder, it’s easy to be ignored by players with greater upside, but after three years of solid pitching, it’s time to pay attention to Cortes. He is more of a finesse lefty than anything else, so he faces a real test in the upper minors next year that will clue us into his future role. There’s more than a real chance he could end up as the next Vidal Nuno, though even he proved to have his value. 2017 will be key for him.

Dietrich Enns, LHP: 1.73 ERA, 135 IP, 8.3 K/9, 3.7 BB/9
Another finesse lefty and reliever turned starter, Enns proved to be effective at both Double-A and Triple-A this year. He’s been around for a few years now and as a result he’ll be eligible for the Rule 5 Draft again this winter. While he’s gotten by before, his 2016 season could make him an easy pickup for another team looking for rotation depth. It’s hard to see how he will transition to the big leagues, but he should get a long look this spring as he heads into his age-26 season.

Chris Gittens, 1B: .253/.359/.478, 21 HR
Not the most eye-opening season on this list in terms of overall results, but an impressive power surge has helped Gittens get some much-needed attention. At 22, he’s a little old for Low-A Charleston, but he should be the starting first baseman in Tampa next year. 56 walks on the season is also a nice thing to have for a first baseman who won’t hit for average or have much speed. Gittens could give the Yankees another impressive first base prospect.

Kyle Higashioka, C: .276/.337/.511, 21 HR
He’s been around since 2008, and in that time he’s looked mostly like organizational depth, but at the age of 26 he found his power stroke and showed the Yankees that he might have some value after all. Higashioka has always been a good defensive catcher, but his bat has been anemic. It’s hard to tell where he fits in on the Yankees, especially with the emergence of Gary Sanchez and Brian McCann sticking around. He could end up as Triple-A depth as a replacement for the out-of-options Austin Romine.

Yefrey Ramirez, RHP: 2.82 ERA, 124.1 IP, 9.6 K/9, 2.3 BB/9
Taken in the minor league portion of the Rule 5 Draft from the Arizona Diamondbacks over the winter, Ramirez had an outstanding first year with his new organization. He began his career as a position player but quickly transitioned to the mound and has found success. Ramirez took things to another level this year as a 22-year-old in Charleston and Tampa. He’s already been a terrific victory for the Yankees scouting team, but depending on what he can do from here, he can become an even more impressive find.

James Reeves, LHP: 2.22 ERA, 97.1 IP, 10.8 K/9, 2.8 BB/9
The latest reliever to make the transition to the rotation, Reeves showed real promise powered mostly by an awkward delivery that helped him add deception to his pitches. Hopefully he gets another chance in the rotation, but either way he’s pushed himself into the spotlight as he heads into the upper levels of the system.

Matt Wotherspoon, RHP: 2.50 ERA, 90 IP, 8.8 K/9, 3.4 BB/9
He might not be a highly-regarded reliever, but he showed this year that he can get the job done. Asked to pitch multiple innings in the upper minors, Wotherspoon proved to be up to the task and he could be a major league option for a team desperate for relief help.

6 years ago  ::  Sep 28, 2016 - 10:48AM #977
Posts: 32,868


1. Vladimir Guerrero Jr., 3b, Bluefield (Blue Jays)
2. Blake Rutherford, of, Pulaski (Yankees)
3. Estevan Florial, of, Pulaski (Yankees)
4. Kolby Allard, lhp, Danville (Braves)
5. Jordan Hicks, rhp, Johnson City (Cardinals)
6. Alex Kirilloff, of, Elizabethton (Twins)
7. Adrian Rondon, ss, Princeton (Rays)
8. Thomas Szapucki, lhp, Kingsport (Mets)
9. Cristian Pache, of, Danville (Braves)
10. Joey Wentz, lhp, Danville (Braves)
11. Josh Lowe, 3b, Princeton (Rays)
12. Derian Cruz, ss, Danville (Braves)
13. Allen Cordoba, ss, Johnson City (Cardinals)
14. Miguelangel Sierra, ss, Greeneville (Astros)
15. Ian Oxnevad, lhp, Johnson City (Cardinals)
16. Garrett Davila, lhp, Burlington (Royals)
17. Yennsy Diaz, rhp, Bluefield (Blue Jays)
18. Travis Blankenhorn, 2b, Elizabethton (Twins)
19. Nicky Lopez, ss, Burlington (Royals)
20. Brett Cumberland, c, Danville (Braves)

Read more at www.baseballamerica.com/minors/2016-leag...
6 years ago  ::  Sep 29, 2016 - 10:50AM #978
Posts: 32,868

James Kaprielian reminds us that there is still no such thing as a pitching prospect

We’ve known about TINSTAAPP for a long time now, but just as it looks safe to believe in a pitching prospect, we are reminded that There Is No Such Thing As A Pitching Prospect. James Kaprielian hasn’t pitched since April, and now it’s questionable whether or not he will pitch again in 2016.

Drafted as an advanced starting pitcher last year, it was believed that Kaprielian would be a major league pitcher before too long. Given the team’s thin pitching depth and the lack of game-changing talent on the free agent market, the development of Kaprielian seemed like an immediate and important part of the Yankees’ future.

After a dominant beginning to the 2016 season over just three starts, Kaprielian was shut down with a mysterious elbow injury. The hope was that he wouldn’t miss too much time, but he hasn’t been seen since. Then there was the hope he could play in Instructional League, but he wasn’t included on the roster (though he is still rehabbing). Then it was the Arizona Fall League. He would have avoided surgery, could get back on the mound for a bit, and then call it a season. He was added to the roster, taken back off it, and now he’s back on it; his status still up in the air at this point.

We saw the same thing a year ago with Ian Clarkin. Another promising starting pitcher who could have been an important part of the team’s future, but a mysterious lingering issue kept him out for the entire 2015 season. He made it back for the AFL and pitched this season, but the hype and the promise were somewhat faded. Then there were promising pitchers Vicente Campos and Domingo German, who came to the organization with a lot of promise, but almost immediately fell victim to injury.

Developing pitchers is hard, because even after you figure out the magic phrase to unlock their hidden talent, there’s always the risk that they will get hurt, wear down, or never be the same. More than any other player on the field, pitchers are fragile and the slightest tweak can be the difference between a long, dominant career and a career-altering injury.

Even when pitchers do work out, when TINSTAAPP is proven wrong, it can fall apart before you know it. The Mets experienced unprecedented success in developing pitching prospects with Matt Harvey, Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, and Steven Matz coming together to create a powerful rotation of internally developed talent. However, as soon as it looked like they had accomplished the impossible, they were all mowed down with injuries and surgeries and bone spurs. As if they had outrun inevitability for too long, and now the nature of baseball had caught up with them.

The moral of the story we have learned this year is Never Pitch. You end up hurt in new inventive ways and your career takes an unfortunate turn. We wonder why the Yankees are so bad at developing pitchers, but it’s important to remember just how hard it is to be a pitcher, even if you do everything right. The Yankees are bad at developing pitchers, but so is everyone until someone works out, and that almost never happens when you look at the percentages. A lot of things can go wrong, and we have seen it happen with Kaprielian, and Ian Clarkin, and any number of others.

Hopefully things will work out soon with someone, but we can’t really be sure until it happens. Luis Severino looked great last year and was terrible in 2016. James Kaprielian looked like a sure thing until he wasn’t, and the Mets rotation was unstoppable until it wasn’t. We like to think that there is a secret key to unlock success in modern baseball, but it’s still just a guessing game, much like it has always been. Maybe we have more information available these days, but in the end it all comes down to chance.

For as many pitching prospects that have failed, there are five more ready to take his place as the next big thing. The Yankees will always have someone next in line, and if Kaprielian doesn’t work out, there will be someone else to turn to. We will see how things work out for him this fall and beyond, but it’s a harrowing realization when you have to remember that There Is No Such Thing As A Pitching Prospect.

6 years ago  ::  Sep 30, 2016 - 12:07PM #979
Posts: 32,868

If Mason Williams has no spot in the Bronx, what might his trade value be? Could he be worth somebody like, for one example, Shane Greene – a busted SP who might have a little untapped potential?

Ben Gamel. That’s Williams’ trade value. Gamel just showed us the trade value of a lefty hitting outfielder who may or may not be much more than a bench player. (Ramon Flores did the same last year.) Williams has far better tools than Gamel and more upside, but the shoulder surgery and relatively short track record of excellence kinda negates that. Generally speaking, there’s not much separating players like this even though their tools may differ.

Using Williams in a busted prospect for busted prospect trade to get a pitcher is probably worthwhile since the Yankees do have outfield depth and need pitching. Trading him isn’t imperative though. Williams could easily end up spending 100 days on the big league roster next season due to injuries, especially if the Yankees trade Brett Gardner. I think Williams is worth more to the Yankees as a depth piece than anything he could fetch in a trade.

6 years ago  ::  Oct 01, 2016 - 10:35AM #980
Posts: 32,868

Torres among potential top ten prospects for 2017

Soon after the end of the minor league season, Jim Callis looked at players who could emerge as one of the top ten prospects in baseball next season. Nationals outfielder Victor Robles sat in the top spot. Gleyber Torres, who came over from the Cubs in the Aroldis Chapman trade, was fifth. “Torres is a very advanced hitter and his defense keeps improving,” said the write-up.

On Twitter, Callis said he prefers Torres to Frazier because he believes in his bat more, plus he plays a more valuable position. I don’t necessarily agree, but preferring Torres to Frazier is not in any way unreasonable. Either way, the Yankees have both these guys. It’s not one or the other. They’re both in the organization. The fact both are among the best prospects in baseball is pretty awesome. The Yankees built quite the prospect base these last few months.

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