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Random Minor League Notes: 2019 Edition
3 years ago  ::  Aug 11, 2019 - 9:28AM #211
NY23
Posts: 20,312

7 Yankees farmhands on 7 clubs who are homer happy | Trey Amburgey, Dermis Garcia, Chris Gittens, Ezequiel Duran make cut

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Yankees farmhands Dermis Garcia (right), Trey Amburgey (top left) and Chris Gittens (bottom left) have been hitting for a lot of power this season. (Photo credit to NJ Advance Media for NJ.com, Tampa Tarpons and Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders)

By Randy Miller | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

TORONTO — The Yankees set a major league record for homers last season and they’re on pace to break their record in 2019, although the Minnesota Twins ahead of them.

Here are Yankees farmhands who are leading their clubs in homers with the exception of Triple-A, as we’ve included the runner-up because top dog Mike Ford (23 homers) currently is in the bigs.


CLASS AAA

TREY AMBURGEY, OF

2019 club: Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders.

Age: 24 (25 on Oct. 24, 2019).

Size: 6-2, 210.

Acquired: 2015 draft, 13th round.

Bats: Right.

2019 hitting stats: Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, .268 average, 388 AB, 59 runs, 104 hits, 24 doubles, 2 triples, 20 HR, 53 RBI, 27 BB, 96 K, 6 SB, 2 CS, .814 OPS, 103 games.

The skinny: Was tied for 19th in homers in International League through Aug. 10. … Eight of his career-best 20 homers have come in 118 at-bats against left-handers. … Tied Dom Thompson-Williams for first among Yankees minor leaguers in 2018 with 74 RBI and was tied for fifth with 16 homers.

* * *

CLASS AA

CHRIS GITTENS, 1B

2019 club: Trenton Thunder.

Age: 25 (26 on Feb. 4, 2020).

Size: 6-4, 250.

Acquired: 2014 draft, 12th round.

Bats: Right.

2019 stats: Trenton, .284 average, 338 AB, 48 runs, 96 hits, 15 doubles, 1 triple, 19 HR, 68 RBI, 61 BB, 113 K, 0 SB, 0 CS, .901 OPS, 98 games.

The skinny: Ranked third in Eastern League in homers, first in RBI and first in OPS through Aug. 10. … Repeating Double-A this season after hitting just .197 with six homers in 53 games for Trenton in 2018. … Belted 13 homers in 248 at-bats over 73 games for Tampa in 2017 and a career-best 21 homers in 383 at-bats over 107 games with Charleston in 2016.


* * *

CLASS A ADVANCED

DERMIS GARCIA, 3B

2019 club: Tampa Tarpons.

Age: 21 (22 on Jan. 7, 2020).

Size: 6-3, 200.

Acquired: Signed as amateur free agent out of the Dominican Republic for $3 million on July 2, 2014.

Bats: Right.

2019 stats: Tampa, .247 average, 271 AB, 35 runs, 67 hits, 15 doubles, 0 triples, 17 HR, 54 RBI, 19 BB, 105 K, 4 SB, 2 CS, .787 OPS, 75 games.

The skinny: Ranked second in Florida State League in homers through Aug. 10 despite being on injured list since July 8 with undisclosed issue. … Last season tied for 15th in South Atlantic League in homers.

* * *

CLASS A

BRANDON LOCKRIDGE, CF

2019 club: Charlestown RiverDogs.

Age: 22 (23 on March 14, 2020).

Size: 6-1, 185.

Acquired: 2018 draft, 5th round.

Bats: Right.

2019 stats: Charleston, .252 average, 425 AB, 58 runs, 107 hits, 29 doubles, 3 triples, 12 HR, 51 RBI, 38 BB, 118 K, 19 SB, 8 CS, .737 OPS, 103 games.

The skinny: Was tied for 14th in South Atlantic League in homers and ranked 15th in steals through Aug. 10. … Hitting .265 with 11 homers in 330 at-bats against right-handers and .211 with one homer in 95 AB facing lefties. … Had eight homers in 81 at-bats over 26 games as a first-year pro in 2018 playing for the Gulf Coast League Yankees West and Staten Island. … Hit only 12 homers in 715 at-bats over three collegiate seasons for Troy (2016-18).


* * *

CLASS A SHORT SEASON

EZEQUIEL DURAN

2019 club: Staten Island Yankees.

Age: 20 (21 on May 22, 2020)

Size: 5-11, 185.

Acquired: Signed as amateur free agent out of Dominican Republic on July 2, 2017.

Bats: Right.

2019 stats: Staten Island, .283 average, 184 AB, 35 runs, 52 hits, 11 doubles, 4 triples, 10 HR, 32 RBI, 20 BB, 58 K, 7 SB, 3 CS, .903 OPS, 48 games.

The skinny: Led New York-Penn League in homers and total bases, ranked second in OPS and was tied for third in RBI through Aug. 10. … Hitting .315 (17-for-54) with three homers and eight RBI over his last 14 games. … Had just seven homers over 280 combined at-bats in first two pro seasons from 2017-18.

* * *

ROOKIE ADVANCED

CHAD BELL

Club: Pulaski Yankees

Age: 22 (23 on March 4, 2020)

Size: 6-3, 210.

Acquired: 2019 draft, 19th round out of Louisiana-Monroe.

Bats: Left.

2019 stats: Pulaski, .277 average, 141 AB, 25 runs, 39 hits, 4 doubles, 0 triples, 9 HR, 34 RBI, 16 BB, 56 K, 1 SB, 1 CS, .842 OPS, 40 games.

The skinny: Was tied for fourth in Appalachian League in homers and RBI through Aug. 10. … Hitting .295 with eight homers in 112 at-bats against right-handers. … Led Louisiana-Monroe with a school record 21 homers (in 231 at-bats) as senior in 2019 with the team runner-up finishing with just seven.

* * *

ROOKIE

MAIKOL ESCOTTO, INF

2019 club: Dominican Summer League Yankees

Age: 17 (18 on June 4, 2020)

Size: 5-11, 180.

Acquired: Signed as amateur free agent out of Dominican Republic on July 2, 2018.

Bats: Right.

2019 stats: DSL Yankees, .346 average, 153 AB, 39 runs, 53 hits, 11 doubles, 3 triples, 7 HR, 22 RBI, 26 BB, 46 K, 1 0 SB, 3 CS, 1.045 OPS, 37 games.

The skinny: Tied for 10th in Dominican Summer League in homers, ranks 10th in hitting and was tied for 19th in total bases through Aug. 10. ... Has made 19 starts at second base (5 errors), 8 at third base (3 errors) and 5 at shortstop (2 errors).

3 years ago  ::  Aug 16, 2019 - 1:37PM #212
NY23
Posts: 20,312

Why Yankees rewarded prospect they refused to trade - nj.com


The Yankees refused to trade former first-round pick Clarke Schmidt in a deal that would have also sent Clint Frazier and a pair of other prospects to the Diamondbacks in exchange for lefty Robbie Ray before the deadline.


And now they want Schmidt to back up their faith in him against tougher competition.


High-A Tampa manager Aaron Tolbert explained why the Yankees believe Schmidt, a righty starter, could be in their rotation in the near future following his promotion to Double-A on Thursday.


“Clean delivery,” Holbert, who played in 17 professional seasons, said on the phone Friday. “Ability to command multiple pitches. I see him sticking in the starter’s role.”


MLB Pipeline ranks the 23-year-old Schmidt as the Yankees’ No. 5 overall prospect.


The Yankees drafted Schmidt No. 16 overall in 2017 out of the Louisville, though he was just coming off Tommy John surgery. They gave him a $2,184,300 signing bonus. He didn’t make his pro debut until late June 2018.


Since then, Schmidt has pushed his way back into form, working with a four-seamer and two-seamer in the low-to-mid 90s along with a slider and curveball.


In 13 games (12 starts) at High-A this season, he went 4-5 with a 3.84 ERA. While Schmidt’s ability to generate ground balls and weak contact has been lauded, he’s also the capability of missing bats. He's fanned 69 batters in 63 1/3 innings.


The strikeouts haven’t stunned Holbert.


“He’s got some pretty devastating stuff,” the manager said. “A nice little arsenal of pitches that blend really well with each other.”


He also said Schmidt has shown a feel for setting up hitters and that he’s a “great young man, listener and worker.”


“He’s a competitor on the field and also has an idea of what’s going to lead to his success,” Holbert said. “He sticks to his plan. He’s willing to listen and learn and apply different things. He has an idea of what he is and who he wants to be and what’s going to lead him to success.”

3 years ago  ::  Aug 16, 2019 - 1:39PM #213
NY23
Posts: 20,312

Ezequiel Duran is putting it all together


Ezequiel Duran has rebounded from a poor 2018 season to become a force in the Staten Island Yankees lineup.


Since 2017, the Yankees have signed numerous highly-rated international prospects, and used top draft picks to boost the middle infield depth in their farm system. International signees, rospects such as Alexander Vargas and Roberto Chirinos, as well as high draft picks, like Anthony Volpe and Josh Smith, are among those who have been brought into the system with much hype and anticipation.


While these high-profile acquisitions are making their presence felt across the system, Ezequiel Duran has flown under the radar, but the young second baseman is making a big impact for the Staten Island Yankees this season. He now looks like a part of the Yankees system’s middle infield equation.


Duran’s short professional career has been one of starts and stops. He was a good enough prospect that many scouts feel he would have warranted a healthy six-figure bonus as part of the 2015-2016 international signing class. After failing to register with MLB in time, Duran did not become eligible to sign until over a year later. Duran ended up signing with the Yankees as an 18 year old for only $10K on July 2nd, 2017, two full years after he would have first been old enough to sign.


Upon signing, Duran played like someone making up for lost time, as he torched the Dominican Summer League with a 1.169 OPS that included 12 extra-base hits in 15 games. The metrics available also caught the eyes of scouts, as Duran reportedly recorded 112 mph exit velocities.


Results in the DSL can be easily be written off, considering it is the lowest level of the minor leagues, and Duran only played in a small sample size of games. One set of scouts took notice, though, and even with Yankees boasting a deep farm system heading into the 2018 season, FanGraphs rated Duran as the 14th-best Yankees prospect.


Entry onto a top prospects list brought Duran more attention as well as expectations as he came stateside for the first time in early 2018. Between his play in the Dominican and in extended spring training, the Yankees thought enough of his ability to jump Duran over the Gulf Coast League, and start his 2018 season with the rookie advanced Pulaski Yankees. Facing higher caliber pitching in the Appalachian League, Duran’s aggressive approach at the plate was exploited by the competition and he struggled to produce offensively. Duran frequently found himself behind in the count, and failed to make much hard contact, producing an extremely low 10% line drive rate. His lack of quality contact was made worse by his impatience at the plate, as he walked less than 4% of the time. The end result was a .201/.251/.311 line, and an abysmal 48 wRC+.



Moving into 2019, Duran was promoted one level to the short-season Single-A Staten Island Yankees. The early results looked as if Duran was again over-matched, as he started the season with 14 strikeouts and only three hits in his first six games. Then, Duran started hitting, and he hasn’t stopped in the 45 games since. He’s currently slashing .286/.350/.560, which is good for a 163 wRC+ in the NY-Penn League.


His 11 home runs lead the league, while his four triples are tied for third in the league. Duran’s power works to all fields as well, as five of the right-hander’s home runs have come to center and right field. Duran has also increased his walk rate this season to nearly 10%. Improved plate discipline combined with ever-present physical tools has allowed Duran to get to this power and drive the ball. The 20-year-old is providing Staten Island with a potent one-two punch at the top of the lineup with fellow middle infielder, 2019 second-round pick Josh Smith.


Duran is quickly showing the tools that should get Yankees fans excited. He has excellent bat speed and power, and is capitalizing on these tools to thrive in 2019. With many other high-profile prospects populating middle infield positions in the Yankees’ system, Duran will have to continue to impress to stay ahead of a talented crowd. Duran possess the tools and abilities to do so, and now he is starting to put it all together.


3 years ago  ::  Aug 16, 2019 - 8:16PM #214
NY23
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Pitcher Luis Gil moving up Yankees' prospect list | Newsday


Yankees pitcher Luis Gil (32) delivers a pitch


Yankees pitcher Luis Gil (32) delivers a pitch during a Florida Instructional League game against the Philadelphia Phillies on October 11, 2018 at Yankee Complex in Tampa, Florida.  Photo Credit: AP/Mike Janes



Luis Gil has pictured himself pitching toe-to-toe against a major-league arm since he began playing baseball in the Dominican Republic. And his opportunity to square off with a former All-Star came even earlier than he could have expected.


On June 10, the 21-year-old Yankees prospect took the mound against Dallas Keuchel four days after the former All-Star signed with the Braves. Keuchel’s return to the mound came in Class A, with Gil and the Charleston RiverDogs in the opposite dugout.


The two pitchers traded shutout innings throughout the contest, nearly matching strikeout for strikeout. Gil, who has had a strong season for the RiverDogs since his first outing, struck out 10 and allowed a walk and three hits over seven shutout innings. Keuchel finished with nine strikeouts, allowing one walk and one hit over seven shutout innings.


“Every time you have an opportunity to compete against a big-league pitcher, it’s always fun and it’s a challenge,” said Gil, through Tampa Tarpons pitching coach Jose Rosado, serving as translator. “So no doubt I went out there that night, not to prove a point to [anybody], but to kind of raise my game. So it was a fun night.”


Gil has caught the attention of many around baseball. After being acquired from the Twins in exchange for outfielder Jake Cave in 2018 as part of a move to clear up a spot on the 40-man roster after the Yankees signed Neil Walker, the righthanded pitcher has shot up the Yankees' prospect list.


Gil entered this season as the organization’s 13th-ranked prospect, according to MLB Pipeline. He currently ranks No. 4 and is pitching for the Class A Advanced Tarpons.


The hardthrowing hurler said he doesn’t focus on prospect lists and what other people think about him. But he did admit moving up on a list like that helps his confidence.


“No doubt, yes, it’s great to hear that,” Gil said. “It’s great to know that I’m making strides and if my stuff and my performance takes care of that to be one of the top prospects, that’s great.”


Gil went 4-5 with a 2.39 ERA and 112 strikeouts over 83 innings in 17 starts in Class A Charleston. He also had a 1.19 WHIP and 12.1 strikeouts per nine innings before being called up to Tampa.


“I’ve been feeling very comfortable,” he said. “That’s been part of my workouts during the offseason, to create a good rhythm in my delivery and focus in the game, so it’s been fun. I’ve been feeling pretty good, so I will continue to stay focused on that.”


Rosado said Gil has been clocked in the upper-90s since joining the team in Tampa, which has helped Gil’s ascension among other prospects.


“This guy,” Rosado said, “no doubt man, let me tell you something. When you put 99 (miles per hour) on the radar [gun], that’s going to allow you to move up quicker and put a high number on the prospect list at that age.”


Gil, who is on the seven-day injured list for precautionary reasons, has a 4.85 ERA over three starts in Tampa. But Rosado said he already can see a strong future in the pitcher.


“I think he has all the talent in the world,” Rosado said. “He has great ability to create in all his pitches. It’s just a matter of time for him.”



LUIS GIL


Tampa Tarpons, SP


6-3, 176 pounds


Age: 18


Hometown: Azua, Dominican Republic


Acquired: Via trade from Twins in 2018


Stats (Combined between Class A and Class A-Advanced): 5-5, 2.72 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 11.5 K/9, 123 Ks, 47 BBs, 96 innings, 20 starts.



3 years ago  ::  Aug 18, 2019 - 9:45AM #215
NY23
Posts: 20,312
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How is the Yankees top prospect progression in the minor league's? #NYY #yankees t.co/BY7fv73hbQ


The New York Yankees have managed to strike gold in several career average players this season, who have helped them succeed beyond a point that most thought was improbable after their starting pitching rotation succumbed to injury. The players that have risen to the occasion have helped the Yankees keep their excellent prospects in the minor-league system and developing. Being forced to pull up young options is never ideal, and they can continue to help their youth progress without interruption in their confidence.


As for 21-year-old centerfielder, Estevan Florial, the challenges of moving up in the minor-league system have begun to hold him back. As of Friday, Florial had played just 143 games over the last two seasons. A broken wrist in 2018 and 2019 limited him exponentially.


The New York Yankees need to unlock Estevan Florial’s potential:


The young outfielder has a unique blend of speed, power, arm strength, and athleticism that makes his ceiling extremely high. Avoiding injuries and getting him consistent at-bats and playing time is essential in his growth and development. However, two broken wrists have set him back the past two seasons, and he is once again facing an uphill battle to return to form.


High-A Tampa Bay head coach Aaron Holbert stated in regards to Florial:




“Just a matter of staying healthy and being able to get his everyday at-bats to put his complete game together so he can show what he can do on a consistent basis,” Holbert said of Florial.


This season, Estevan is hitting just .235 with seven home runs, 33 RBIs, eight stolen bases and .688 OPS with Double-A Trenton. He has struck out 81 times in 221 at-bats.


“I know he’s got some swing-and-miss right now but I think he has a lot of development left to do,” said Holbert.


There is plenty of time for him to find his groove and begin to dominate at the level in which he’s capable of. For now, all we can do is wait and keep an eye on the top prospect.



3 years ago  ::  Aug 19, 2019 - 10:36AM #216
NY23
Posts: 20,312

NY Daily News | Tony Paige: Finally, Paige has an engaging portrait of two prospects - one recovering from injury, and one making important progress - in Trenton: pitcher Michael King, and slugging outfielder Chris Gittens. Here’s hoping the two can restore value to a currently middling farm.

3 years ago  ::  Aug 19, 2019 - 7:17PM #217
NY23
Posts: 20,312

Our helium pick this week is a #Yankeesmiddle infielder with 60-grade power. Ezequiel Duran is making noise in the New York-Penn League.t.co/9dn0l4Pira
3 years ago  ::  Aug 21, 2019 - 10:40AM #218
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Posts: 20,312
3 years ago  ::  Aug 21, 2019 - 1:17PM #219
NY23
Posts: 20,312

RT @jnorris427: Since July 11, #Yankees RHP Luis Medina has the third-most strikeouts in the minor leagues. Overall, in that span he's gone: 0-1, 2.03, 40 IP, 27 H, 11 R, 9 ER, 13 BB, 59 Ks.

3 years ago  ::  Aug 22, 2019 - 10:36AM #220
NY23
Posts: 20,312

NJ.com | Brendan Kuty: The Yankees have another top pitching prospect in the shadows. His name? Miguel Yajure. Yajure is a 21-year-old righty who has been extremely impressive down in High-A Tampa this season, clocking in at 97 mph and posting a 2.15 ERA and an 8-6 record over 17 starts and 21 games. He's obviously a long way from the majors and won’t see the big league club for a couple of years, but it’s heartening to see another young arm developing. Finding a way to retain Yajure’s services and keep him from getting swiped in the Rule-5 draft should be at the top of the Yankees’ priority list.

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