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Random Minor League Notes: 2019 Edition
5 years ago  ::  Nov 13, 2018 - 10:39AM #31
Posts: 32,868

2018 Rule 5 draft : Who should Cashman protect?

Brian Cashman made several trades at the deadline this year that relieved a significant amount of the pressure for the upcoming rule 5 draft. The Yankees will soon have to decide on who to protect from the guys they have left. They currently have two open spots, although I don’t believe Hanser Alonso is going to hinder any 40-man roster plans the Yankees might have.

Excluding those who have already been protected or traded, the Yankees also have Nestor Cortes, Anyelo Gomez, Jeff Hendrix, David Sosebee, Billy Fleming, Kyle Holder, Jason Lopez, Nelson Gomez, Danienger Perez, Daniel Alvarez, Andy Diaz, Welfrin Mateo, Griffin Garabito, Carlos Tatis, Miguel Flames, Adonny Rojas, Alex Vargas, Christian Morris, Garrett Mundell, Brandon Wagner, Carlos Vidal, Ricardo Ferrera, Alex Robinett, Pedro Espinola, Reiver Sanmartin, Hobie Harris, Alexander Rosario, Kenily Montas, Gilmael Troya, Juan De Leon, Frederick Cuevas, Raymundo Moreno, Nelson Alvarez, Jairo Garcia, Trey Amburgey, Dermis Garcia, Andrew Schwaab, Will Carter, Wilkerman Garcia, Donny Sands, Jhalan Jackson, Zack Zehner, Hoy Jun Park, Pablo Olivares, Brody Koerner, Daniel Ramos, James Reeves, and Diego Castillo.

A good place to start would be to discuss who could get taken. That’s a pretty long list. First, Nestor Cortes and Anyelo Gomez were both taken last year, and could easily get popped this year. David Sosebee, and Erik Swanson are all major league close and could also get drafted. Billy Fleming and Kyle Holder have major flaws but are both major league close and have some great qualities that could lead to them being drafted (Kyle Holder with his defense and Billy Fleming with his versatility and solid bat). Brandon Wagner had a magnificent season and there’s an outside chance he could get taken. Trey Amburgey, Andrew Schwaab, Brody Koerner, James Reeves, and Hobie Harris are all major league close guys who are unlikely to get taken. There’s an outside chance one of these guys could end up getting picked though. Lastly, Dermis Garcia, Diego Castillo, Pedro Espinola, Alex Vargas, and Daniel Ramos are all lower level guys who could get taken by some team who thinks their talents could immediately translate to major league success.

The goal with the rule 5 draft is to avoid any major disappointments. Losing Erik Swanson and Dermis Garcia would be a huge bummer. Erik Swanson was virtually unknown prior to 2018 but had a monster season that led to him becoming a well-known prospect. He finished in Triple-A and was effective there. He represents valuable rotation depth and would be a major loss. Dermis Garcia would be a huge loss because of his monstrous power and potential to develop into an elite prospect in the not so distant future.

It is therefore my opinion that if there are two spots available for protection, they should go to the above two players. That said, there are other considerations. You must consider that a guy like Garcia is unlikely to be taken due to his lack of proximity to the major leagues, and still raw bat. Also, if you protect him now, you are forfeiting another year of options with him. He is a raw prospect still and is nowhere near major league ready. He will take up a spot on the 40-man roster for a long time, and by the time he is ready it might be too late. That’s if he’s ever ready.

The other consideration is who else you have that can do what these prospects do. In the case of many of the relievers mentioned above, the Yankees have a ton of guys who can replace their production. The opportunity cost is negligible. In the case of the starting pitchers, you can never have enough of them. In the case of Dermis Garcia, no one in the system has power like him. With the upper level outfielders, the Yankees don’t have much room at the major league level and they already have solid depth.

The last consideration is that one or more of the open spots could go away. If the Yankees sign a free agent, that’s one fewer they can protect. If they make a trade that doesn’t involve someone on the 40-man roster and they receive someone they need to put on it, they will lose a spot. On the other hand, they could open some spots with trades or by dropping someone.

I would rank the players in the following order.

1. Erik Swanson
2. Dermis Garcia
3. Kyle Holder
4. Diego Castillo
5. Nestor Cortes
6. Trey Amburgey
7. Billy Fleming
8. Anyelo Gomez

The Yankees do a nice job of not losing their guys. Aside from the occasional Luis Torrens, the Yankees generally get the guys they lose back. They sometimes lose a guy who ends up sticking with the team who drafts them, but that’s rare. It will be interesting to see who the Yankees choose to protect this year, who they lose, and who gets returned to them.

5 years ago  ::  Nov 14, 2018 - 10:50AM #32
Posts: 32,868

Yankees Arizona Fall League Update: Week Five

One last update on the Yankees participating in the AFL.

The Arizona Fall League comes to an end this week. There is a game tonight, one final league game tomorrow, and then the Championship game on Saturday. The Yankee participants happen to be on one of the worst teams in the league, so they won’t be playing over the weekend. Let’s take one final look at how the Yankees prospects fared over the last six weeks.

Position Players

Overall, the position players were pretty awful throughout the AFL. Steven Sensley, Thairo Estrada, and Estevan Florial all got off to ice cold starts. Estrada and Florial, of course, missed a great deal of time with injuries in 2018. All-in-all, it is good to see that they are healthy. It would have been fun to see one of them really take off and put on a show, like Tyler Nevin with his 1.113 OPS.

Florial picked it up a bit over the last few weeks, but still has managed just 12 hits through 68 at-bats. He’s batting just .176/.273/.265 with two games to go. Sensley was hitting better towards the start of the season, and has dropped off. The first baseman has just one more hit under his belt, and collected 24 strikeouts through 70 at-bats. Finally, there’s Estrada. He ended up being the only position player of the three who could string together back-to-back multi-hit games. The shortstop is slashing .250/.296/.276.


I can’t help but thinking that this was a rather odd assortment of pitchers for the Yankees to send to the AFL. No flashy names, just a bunch of right-handed relievers. For the most part, they didn’t do much better than the position players. There’s still a chance that Jordan Foley makes another appearance, but as of now he surrendered one or more runs during all six of his AFL outings. Walks have been an issue, though the strikeouts are there (16 BB, 19 K, 15.2 IP).

Kyle Zurak tossed 3.2 scoreless innings over his past three games, and that only lowered his ERA to 11.57. That’s how his time in Arizona has gone. Opponents are batting .381 against him. Woof. Meanwhile, Hobie Harris has been about average. Through 15 innings, he issued seven walks, notched 16 strikeouts, and surrendered seven earned runs.

Matt Wivinis ended up being one of the better pitchers in the league, though. Over 11.2 innings, he only gave up six hits, issued six walks, and surrendered two earned runs. He’s set to finish the AFL with a 1.54 ERA (if he doesn’t pitch again), and 1.03 WHIP. The Glendale Desert Dogs didn’t present much of a challenge, but opponents hit just .150 against Wivinis.

5 years ago  ::  Nov 14, 2018 - 8:15PM #33
Posts: 32,868

Prospect Profile: Anthony Seigler


Anthony Seigler | C

Seigler, 19, grew up outside Atlanta in Cartersville, Georgia, and his father named him after former big leaguer and longtime friend Tony Phillips. As a senior at Cartersville High School last spring, Seigler hit .421 with 13 home runs while posting a 1.90 ERA with 29 strikeouts and six walks in 25.2 innings.

Prior to the 2018 draft Keith Law (subs. req’d) ranked Seigler as the 25th best prospect in the class. Baseball America (subs. req’d) ranked him 41st and MLB.com ranked him 46th, though mock drafts consistently put Seigler in the back half of the first round. The Yankees selected Seigler with their first round pick, the 23rd overall selection. He was at the MLB Network studios for the draft broadcast.

Pretty cool. Seigler was committed to the University of Florida but there were never questions about his desire to turn pro. “There’s no doubt in my mind that I’m definitely going to sign with the Yankees. This is a no-brainer for me,” he said the night of the draft. Five days later, the Yankees signed him to a straight slot $2,815,900 bonus.

Pro Debut
Seigler played 12 games with the rookie Gulf Coast League Yankees and another 12 games with the rookie Pulaski Yankees after signing. He hit .266/.379/.342 (108 wRC+) with one home run and more walks (14) than strikeouts (12) in his 24 games. A hamstring issue sidelined him for two weeks in July and his season ended a week early after he took a foul tip to the face mask and suffered a concussion. Seigler was healthy enough to be a full participant in Instructional League after the season.

Scouting Report
Widely considered the most defensively advanced high school catcher in the 2018 draft class, Seigler is build solidly at 6-foot-0 and 200 lbs., and he’s a very good athlete who should have no trouble moving to third base or the outfield should the catching thing not work out. That said, Seigler is considered a no-doubt long-term catcher because he receives well — he caught all those big velocity low level arms the Yankees have with no trouble in his pro debut — moves well behind the plate, and has a good arm.

In fact, Seigler has two good arms. He’s an ambidextrous thrower a la Pat Venditte. Seigler pitched with both arms as an amateur. From the right side, he sits in the low-90s and features a slider. He’s a bit more crafty from the left side, working in the mid-to-upper-80s and lulling hitters to sleep with a changeup. The Yankees intend to keep Seigler behind the plate. It wouldn’t be fair to call him a novelty act on the mound — Seigler would’ve been a two-way player with the Gators — but he wasn’t much of a pro prospect as a pitcher. Catcher was always his long-term home.

Seigler is a true switch-hitter with more power from the left side — or, more accurately, he hits the ball in the air more often from the left side — but a line drive stroke with good strike zone discipline from both sides. He is expected to hit for average and get on base down the road while racking up doubles more than dingers. Then again, power is hard to project these days, so who knows. Weird home run things happen with the MLB ball. Here’s some video.

Seigler is more of a “he does everything well but nothing exceptionally” guy rather than “wow look at that standout tool” guy. He’s well-rounded and he projects to remain at the hardest position to fill in the sport. Seigler also draws rave reviews for his makeup and work ethic — “(He’s) consistently referred to as one of the toughest players in the prep class,” said Baseball America’s pre-draft scouting report — and he even asked for a Spanish-speaking roommate this summer so he could work on learning the language. Pretty cool.

“The thing that attracts you to Seigler is that he has the tools to catch, and he’s a switch-hitter, which makes him a unique commodity,” said scouting director Damon Oppenheimer on draft night. “He’s showing power from both sides of the plate, has really great instincts for baseball, a plus arm and runs well for a catcher. On top of that, he’s proven to be versatile, with his ability to play other positions. Seigler’s got top-of-the-line makeup. We’re very happy about him.”

2019 Outlook
Catchers, especially high school catchers, tend to be moved slowly early in their careers because there’s so much to learn defensively. Over the last few years nearly every high school catcher drafted in the first three rounds started his first full professional season in Extended Spring Training before joining a short season league in June. Seigler might be one of the exceptions. He’s advanced enough offensively and defensively that the Yankees could send him right to Low-A Charleston to begin next season. We’ll see. Either way, ExST or Charleston, I don’t expect Seigler to play above Low-A in 2019. High school catchers generally aren’t the fastest risers, you know?

My Take
Switch-hitting catchers are my jam and I love Seigler. He is pretty much everything the modern front office looks for in a player. He’s athletic, he has two-way ability, high-end baseball smarts, and he’s tough as nails. I don’t know whether the Yankees would do it, but a team like the Dodgers or Rays might have Seigler play some outfield in addition to catcher, just to increase his versatility and make him more flexible in the three-man bench era.

The Yankees are very good at developing catchers (Francisco Cervelli, Kyle Higashioka, John Ryan Murphy, Austin Romine, Gary Sanchez, etc.) so Seigler is in good hands. That doesn’t mean he’s guaranteed to work out. But I feel pretty good about the chances of a kid with this skill set under this development staff turning into a big leaguer. With Justus Sheffield poised to graduate to the big leagues next season, Seigler is the early favorite to be the Yankees’ top prospect at this time next year.

5 years ago  ::  Nov 16, 2018 - 6:38PM #34
Posts: 32,868

The Yankees’ farm system looks a lot better than Boston’s

Here’s hoping the Yankees are bold enough to part ways with their prospects.

The Yankees have completed the second year of their post-“rebuild” phase. I use the word “rebuild” very lightly here, as all the Yankees actually did in 2016 transaction-wise was trade top-end relievers for blue-chip prospects and let Gary Sanchez play for two months. Then again, it’s unmistakably true that the Yankees have undergone a shift in organizational direction since 2016, electing to strengthen their major league roster by focusing on player development and loading up on prospects rather than simply outspending the competition in free agency.

It’s safe to say that the early returns of the Yankees’ rebuild phase have been nothing short of outstanding. The team that was once desperate for young talent is now swimming in it. Since 2016, the Yankees have produced legitimate ROY candidates every year, with Gary Sanchezmissing out in a controversial decision in 2016, Aaron Judge running away with the award in 2017, and Miguel Andujar and Gleyber Torres earning respectable second and third-place finishes in 2018. I haven’t even mentioned the Yankees’ young arms, but you get the idea. The recent influx of young talent on this Yankees team is truly a marvel.

Of course, the flip side of this influx is that the Yankees’ once-heralded farm system is no longer as deep or impressive as before. No farm system in baseball is good enough to graduate the likes of Torres and Andujar in a single season and remain among the top tier.

Yet the Yankees’ farm system is also far from barren, at least in a comparative sense. According to FanGraphs’ recent post-2018 farm system rankings, the Yankees’ pipeline features 31 prospects with a Future Value (FV) grade of 40 or higher, which is tied with Baltimore and Detroit for sixth-most in the majors. Granted, 22 of those 31 prospects are 40 FV players, defined as likely bench players. Still, the Yankees’ system features three top-100 prospects at the top in Justus SheffieldAlbert Abreu and Estevan Florial - not bad at all for a farm that just graduated the bulk of its touted products.

The Yankees’ prospect situation looks even better when compared to their eternal foes, the Boston Red Sox. The defending World Champions (excuse me while I go rinse my mouth after saying that) have a grand total of just 20 prospects with a FV mark over 40 (3rd fewest in the majors), with no prospects graded as a 45 FV or higher. Barring unforeseen breakouts - which admittedly do happen - it seems like Boston’s farm is set to produce nothing but role players and bench dudes for the immediate future.

Granted, that doesn’t mean that the Red Sox are being poorly run. I mean, we are talking about a team that just won the World Series (blech) after winning the AL East three years in a row in the regular season (barf). Their farm is barren because they’ve graduated their top prospects to the majors, much like the Yankees have. With a young core of Mookie BettsAndrew BenintendiXander BogaertsEduardo Rodriguez and more, the Red Sox don’t need continuous reinforcements from the farm to sustain their success.

However, there’s another reason for the tumbleweeds blowing through the Boston’s system. The Red Sox, particularly under Dave Dombrowski’s direction, have been more willing than the Yankees to exchange their prospects for immediate major league value. The Chris Sale trade was the paramount example of such bold decision-making. Boston acquired their current uber-ace by sending over a four-prospect package headlined by then-consensus number one overall prospect Yoan Moncada and flame-throwing RHP Michael Kopech. It was a hefty price to pay, but the returns have been fantastic too. Boston’s system is as close as it gets to empty now, but it’s hard to argue that it wasn’t put to good use.

So, the Yankees have a much better farm system than the Red Sox at the moment. That’s great, and it bodes well for the Yankees’ mid-term outlook. However, the point isn’t to maintain a steady flow of prospects. The point is to maximize the team’s chances of winning a World Series, which the Red Sox did by developing homegrown talent but also by leveraging their prospect depth to acquire major league talent. The Yankees have matched the Red Sox in terms of development, but their transactions have been fewer in number and smaller in scope. It might be time for the Yankees to be a bit bolder in dealing their prospects. Having a better farm system is a good thing only if you plan to utilize it at the right time.

5 years ago  ::  Nov 16, 2018 - 6:40PM #35
Posts: 32,868

Offseason Outlook: New York Yankees

It’s rare that a 100-win season can feel like a let-down, but when one’s chief division rival wins 108 games and captures a World Series title, the sentiment is more understandable. That’s the situation in which the Yankees find themselves, and they’ll likely act aggressively in an effort to close that gap this winter.

Guaranteed Contracts

Arbitration-Eligible Players (service time in parentheses; salary projections via MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz)

Free Agents

[New York Yankees depth chart | New York Yankees payroll outlook]

Last offseason, much was made of the efforts by the Yankees (and several other big-market organizations) to dip below the $197MM luxury tax barrier (which rises to $206MM for the upcoming season). With mega-stars Bryce Harper and Manny Machado looming on the horizon, there was a belief in many instances that teams were preparing to make a run at one or both 26-year-old MVP-caliber talents. That may not have genuinely been true of all teams that endeavored to reset their tax penalty, but it does seem that there was some truth to that belief as pertains to the Yankees. They’ve already been connected to both and likely will continue to be until the pair has signed (be it in the Bronx or elsewhere).

Harper is a clumsier fit for the Yankees, who already are set to deploy an outfield mix including Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Hicks, Brett Gardner and, if he’s healthy and still with the organization, Jacoby Ellsbury. Long-lauded prospect Clint Frazier, too, remains a consideration after an injury-marred 2018 campaign. Given that mix of outfielders, there’s no clear “need” for Harper, though as is always the case with this type of player, there will be multiple teams without an immediately clear “need” that are in the mix. In fact, that same perception applied to an extent last year when the Yankees acquired Giancarlo Stanton from the Marlins.

If the Yankees were to embark on a serious pursuit of Harper, there’d be multiple avenues to making the arrangement work. Harper could rotate through the corner outfield/DH spots with Stanton and Judge, with each seeing occasional time at DH in order to best remain healthy and fresh throughout the year. Agent Scott Boras has already pitched the idea that Harper could be a quality option at first base, though it doesn’t seem likely that the Yankees (or any other club) would simply plug him in as the everyday option there; perhaps he could get an occasional start at the position against tough righties to spell Luke Voit. The specifics behind a theoretical Harper-to-Yankees scenario are probably not all that worth dwelling on, as they seem likely to remain just that — theoretical. The fit is a bit messy, and while the Yankees won’t be entirely ruled out so long as he’s a free agent, they’re also unlikely to be portrayed as a significant favorite.

That’s less the case for Machado, whose fit in the Bronx became even clearer with the revelation that Didi Gregorius would require Tommy John surgery that’ll keep him out for much of the 2019 season. Depending on when medical experts project Gregorius to be able to return, it’s even possible that he’ll be non-tendered or signed to a different contract that lessens the burden of next season’s projected $12.4MM salary. His future is likely being debated among Yankees officials extensively, and without any specific insight into his exact recovery timeline, it’s tough to forecast exactly how (or if) he factors into the organizational plans. Gregorius is, after all, slated to become a free agent next winter.

Regardless of the return date for Gregorius, his injury opens a clear spot to play Machado at shortstop for the first few months of the 2019 season — and possibly beyond. Machado would give the Yankees a middle-of-the-order presence at a premium position, and while signing him would all but assure a return to luxury tax territory, the Yankees would be in the lowest penalty bracket thanks to last year’s financial machinations.

Concerns regarding Machado’s makeup abound following his October comments about his habitual lack of hustle and his likely deliberate clipping of Jesus Aguilar’s foot on a play at first base in the NLCS. Yankees managing partner Hal Steinbrenner has already declared that such antics “ain’t going to sell where we play baseball,” and emphasized the importance of the organization having a heart-to-heart discussion with Machado regarding his attitude. To be fair to Machado, while his “Johnny Hustle” and “not my cup of tea” comments reflect poorly, the latter half of his sentiments — the ones in which he said his lack of hustle “looks terrible” and is something he’s worked to change — have been largely ignored in favor of the more sordid portion of his interview. He clearly should have taken a more apologetic tone in the first place, but he’ll surely point to the second half of his comments when meeting with teams in an effort to curb the sting of his jarring comments. As for his actions against Aguilar, it’s unclear exactly how he could justify that behavior.

Looking strictly at the on-field fit, adding Machado would create some problems for the Yankees — at least on the defensive side of the equation. For all of rookie third baseman Miguel Andujar’s accolades at the plate, he rated as the worst defensive third baseman in the Majors this past season by measure of Defensive Runs Saved (-25), Ultimate Zone Rating (-16.0) and Revised Zone Rating (.634). Machado’s glovework at shortstop also checked in well below average, and while he made some improvements as the season wore on, the defensive pairing of Andujar and Machado on the left side of the infield would be lacking.

That dovetails, to an extent, with the Yankees’ need for rotation improvements. Andujar’s bat makes him a fan favorite in the Bronx, but there’s been plenty of speculation that he could also be used as a trade chip in order to acquire some rotation help. Machado could slide over to third base in that instance, with Gleyber Torresassuming his natural position at shortstop. That’d free the Yankees to peruse a deep slate of options at second base, where free-agent options would include Brian DozierDJ LeMahieu and Jed Lowrie, among others.

Including Andujar in a trade for rotation help is far from a given and is but one of many possibilities that Cashman and his staff figure to explore when looking to add to a group that is still unsettled even after re-signing CC Sabathia almost immediately after free agency began. Trade possibilities will be plentiful, with James PaxtonZack GreinkeRobbie Ray and even Indians stars Corey KluberCarlos Carrasco and Trevor Bauer seeing their names surface in early offseason rumors. Free agency will have its options, too; Patrick Corbin heads up the free-agent market and has been connected to the Yankees for the better part of a season. Dallas Keuchel, J.A. Happ, Charlie Morton and Nathan Eovaldi are among the next tier of names that could be considered.

Of course, the Yankees have a trade candidate of their own on the roster at present. Sonny Gray’s time in Yankee pinstripes is all but finished, as Cashman as taken the somewhat uncommon approach of publicly declaring that a change of scenery is likely best for Gray. At least five clubs already have interest in Gray, who was generally excellent away from Yankee Stadium in 2018, so the Yankees should find a trade partner — perhaps even one willing to send something of modest 2019 value in return.

However things shake out with Gray, the Yankees seem likely to add multiple starting options this winter. Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka and Sabathia are currently penciled into the rotation, and while fans are anxiously anticipating the day when Justus Sheffield receives an earnest look as a starter, the team would be better served if Sheffield were able to be eased into the mix rather than thrown into the fire and counted on as a contributor from day one. Beyond Sheffield, names like Jonathan LoaisigaDomingo German and Chance Adams can be viewed as depth options or possible bullpen pieces, depending on organizational preference.

On the subject of the bullpen, the Yankees already have an imposing group of relievers that could withstand the losses of both David Robertson and Zach Britton. Currently, the relief corps is anchored by Aroldis Chapman, Dellin Betances and Chad GreenJonathan Holder made strong strides in 2018, as well, while Tommy Kahnle remains with the club as a high-upside option coming off a disastrous 2018 campaign. That’s a nice foundation to a strong ’pen, but there’s clearly room for the Yankees to add to the mix — with a possible emphasis on looking at options who throw from the left side. A reunion with either Robertson or Britton would certainly make sense, but there should be quality options at more affordable rates in free agency. The trade market, too, will feature myriad options as it does every offseason (as explored in MLBTR’s Market Snapshots for righty and lefty relievers).

As far as the Yankees’ lineup is concerned, there’s arguably only a true need for one significant upgrade — be it at shortstop to replace Gregorius for half the season or at second base in the event that Torres slides over to short in Sir Didi’s absence. Beyond the bevy of corner outfield options noted above, Aaron Hicks delivered a terrific all-around season in center and should be counted on as the primary option there. Voit’s Herculean showing in September may have earned him a legitimate look at first base, leaving Greg Bird behind as a leapfrogged depth option. Perhaps relying on a pair of players who are still largely unproven would be leaving too much to chance for the Yankees, however. If that’s the case, then there’s no reason they couldn’t make a legitimate run at perennial NL MVP candidate Paul Goldschmidt, for whom the D-backs are reportedly open to exploring trades. Goldschmidt is only a season away from reaching free agency, but would be a massive addition to the lineup and the rental scenario has its advantages as well. (He wouldn’t tie the organization’s hands in the long run and the club could anticipate recouping draft compensation through the qualifying offer system at season’s end.)

Gary Sanchez struggled through a miserable season at the plate, but he’s since undergone left shoulder surgery to address an issue that could certainly have impacted his swing. He’s expected to be ready for the start of Spring Training. I’d argue that the Yankees could be well-served to add a backup option with more offensive upside than Romine — particularly with Sanchez now recovering from surgery — but Cashman suggested last season that non-tendering Romine was never really a consideration. Romine, to his credit, showed more power than ever in 2018 and seemed to take a legitimate step forward with the bat — all while delivering solid defensive contributions.

Perhaps for the Yankees, then, the rest of the bench will be the primary area of focus once the middle-infield situation is sorted. Tyler Wade, Ronald Torreyes and recent waiver claim Hanser Alberto are among the top options for a utility infield role, but none brings much in the way of offense to the table. There’s arguably no great need for a player of Marwin Gonzalez’s caliber, but there’s also little denying that he’d strengthen the bench and give the Yankees the type of versatility that teams increasingly covet. While he’ll be substantially move expensive than Neil Walker was last winter, Gonzalez would fill the role Walker occupied much more capably for years to come. In theory, he could even be the Yankees’ primary infield addition if Machado lands elsewhere, as he’d be more than capable of starting at second base while Gregorius mends.

That’s likely too great a focus on one individual option, however — particularly one who’d fit on virtually any team in the league. Any of Lowrie, Asdrubal Cabrera or Josh Harrison could be fits in a semi-regular role before shifting to a utility capacity when the Yankees are at full strength. If the organizational preference is to simply find a strong defender to replace Gregorius in the early going, either Jose Iglesias or Freddy Galvis could fit that bill before moving into a utility role later on, though neither brings much offensive excitement to the table.

Generally speaking, the Yankees have the ability to spend at levels that far outpace their financial behavior in recent offseasons. New York has $156MM on the books in 2019 (including arbitration projections and pre-arb players) and would see that number dip to $147MM if and when Gray is traded. That’s a relative pittance for a club that has opened the season with a $200MM+ payroll eight times dating back to the 2008 season. And, taking a long-term look, the Yankees have just two contracts on the books as soon as 2021 — those of Stanton and Chapman, either of whom could technically opt out of their contracts before that point.

Viewed through that lens, the Yankees have the resources to be as bold as they like this offseason. The most straightforward approach could include something like signing Machado and Corbin while also trading for Paxton, and they’d have the financial means to not only do so with ease but to do so with the knowledge that such an aggressive slate of moves could come with just a single year of luxury tax penalties. That’s but one example of the manner in which the Yankees could operate this winter — and, likely, one that is too simplistic — but serves to underscore one bottom-line point: if they wish to do so, the Yankees are better-positioned than at any point in the past half decade to emulate the “Evil Empire” era with a hyper-aggressive series of offseason expenditures.

5 years ago  ::  Nov 20, 2018 - 7:54PM #36
Posts: 379

Yankees added Joe Harvey to the 40-man roster, protecting him from the Rule 5 draft.


5 years ago  ::  Nov 21, 2018 - 1:11PM #37
Posts: 379

We break down Jefry Valdez, the new prospect the Yankees got from Colorado for Jordan Foley.


5 years ago  ::  Dec 02, 2018 - 10:04AM #38
Posts: 32,868

Yankees Prospects: Will Thairo Estrada make the majors in 2019?

Yankees No. 15 prospect, shortstop Thairo Estrada could see some MLB action in 2019. As a member of the 40-man roster, he also has a chance to fill in for the injured Didi Gregorius.

In November of 2017, the New York Yankees added Thairo Estrada and several other prospects to their 40-man roster. According to the New York Post, they made a series of moves to avoid losing these valuable players in the Rule-5 Draft.

Now the Yanks could use Estrada as a fill-in option at shortstop while Didi Gregorius is recovering from Tommy John Surgery.

Players that were a part of the 40-man roster scramble, along with Estrada included: Gleyber Torres, Billy McKinney, Jonathan Loaisiga, Albert Abreu and Domingo Acevedo. Loaisiga currently sits as the No. 2 overall Yankees prospect while Estrada comes in at No. 15.

During the 2018 season, both Torres and McKinney became major league players, Loaisiga earned a few spot starts — and Abreu, Acevedo, and Estrada all came a step closer to the majors.

As a member of the current 40-man roster, Estrada joins Tyler Wade and Hanser Alberto as potential internal fillers for the vacant middle infield job. Unlike Wade and Alberto, Estrada has no MLB experience.

Wade failed to deliver on offense when he earned his opportunity for big league playing time in 2018. During Alberto’s career with the Rangers, his .192 average through 89 MLB games proves he’s not much of an offensive threat. Since both Wade and Alberto haven’t shown to be offensive threats, where does that leave Estrada?

Is Thairo Estrada a potential MLB middle infielder in 2019?

The Yankees valued Estrada’s potential enough to promote him to the 40-man roster at the age of 21, last November. Unless the Yanks acquire a new player, the Venezuelan prospect will have a good chance to fight for a major league roster spot during Spring Training. If that’s the case, what kind of player is manager Aaron Boone going to have on his active roster?

Estrada is similar to Ronald Torreyes. He is not a power hitter but does hit for contact. He also doesn’t walk much, but he can draw out long at-bats. As a baserunner, while Estrada does have some speed, he isn’t aggressiveness on the basepaths.

Like Torreyes, he’s a solid fielder with plus arm strength, and he’s athletic enough to play the outfield. The resemblance between Estrada and Torreyes’ abilities is what likely led recent Toe’s departure.

One member of the Yankee organization that knows Estrada well is his manager Bobby Mitchell. The young shortstop played 122 games for Mitchell in 2017 for the Double-A Trenton Thunder. In a 2017 interview, NJ.com reported that Mitchell praised Estrada’s ability to hit the ball to the opposite field, among other things.

He has a good approach,” Mitchell said. “He hits the ball a lot the other way on a line. Guys like that, that lead off, if you hit the ball on the line that way, you are not going to hit too many fly-ball outs to the opposite field.

“…He wears right-center out a lot. That approach on fastballs keeps him on breaking balls. He might be a little bit out in front of a breaking ball, but not enough to roll over all the time. So he pulls it to left field.

“He is definitely a line drive hitter, who can do a lot of things with the bat. When there is a guy on third, with less than two outs, I don’t think there is anyone else on the team I would rather have up; he puts the ball in play.”

Estrada’s line drive hitting ability earned him a 2017 Eastern League All-Star appearance. After winning an invitation to the 2017 Arizona Fall League, he joined the All-Prospect Team and received enough votes to be named a Rising Star. MiLB.comalso honored him as an Organizational All-Star in 2016 and 2017.

Unfortunately, 2018 did not go as expected. In February, MiLB.com reported that Estrada was shot in the hip and leg by some teens who attempted to rob him while in his native-Venezuela.

Yankees manager Aaron Boone informed the media he did not expect the injury to be a long-term issue, and after treatment, the 22-year-old was doing well mentally and physically. The horrible occurrence caused Estrada to miss most of the season.

Why would Thairo Estrada not appear in the majors in 2019?

Most people with baseball circles expect the Yankees will acquire a veteran middle infielder this offseason. If that indeed happens, Estrada would be buried in the minors for at least another year — although another season in the minors might not be the worst thing for the prospect.

It’s a smart move to let Estrada gain more experience at Triple-A with manager Bobby Mitchell because he didn’t play much in 2018. If Estrada proves to Mitchell and Boone that he is ready for the call-up, maybe the Yankees will give him a chance.

One would imagine that Tyler Wade is ahead of Estrada on the organizational depth chart. If Wade doesn’t provide much offense again, the reserve utility player job may be up for grabs. Since Estrada is athletic enough to play any position, that could be his calling for the 2019 season.

5 years ago  ::  Dec 02, 2018 - 6:41PM #39
Posts: 32,868
5 years ago  ::  Dec 05, 2018 - 8:03PM #40
Posts: 32,868
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