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Random Minor League Notes: 2019 Edition
4 years ago  ::  Dec 18, 2018 - 8:52PM #51
MajorYankFan
Posts: 32,868

YANKEES PROSPECTS PLAYING WINTER BALL: THE STUDS AND DUDS


Several Yankees prospects have completed play in various winter ball leagues. Who moved up and who moved down in the eyes of the organization?


Yankees fans may be surprised to learn that in the space of just one year, the team’s farm system has fallen to the middle of the pack among major league teams. According to Bleacher Report, the Yankees now rank 16th among thirty teams, a plunge from number three in last year’s rankings.


There was a time not too long ago when names like Blake Rutherford, James Kaprielian, Jorge MateoDustin FowlerJustus Sheffield, and Billy McKinney were all familiar to Yankees fans, and an integral part of the much-hyped, but no longer found in print or conversation, Baby Bombers of the future.


The topic here is not to argue the merits of decisions made by Brian Cashman to trade off these players, but to point out the impact these transactions have had on the Yankees farm system. Remarkably, the organization still has some players in their system who remain highly touted by the Yankees, as well as throughout baseball.


A good portion of these prospects has just completed play in the Arizona Fall League and various Dominican Leagues. Based on their performance, some took steps forward, while others may have slipped a notch or two in the Yankees thinking. Here’s a brief look at the studs and duds.


Yankees Winter League Studs


The good news among Yankees prospects come right where they need it most – starting pitching – that is on schedule to be ready when CC Sabathia and J.A. Happ are gone.

  • RHP Albert Abreu: 6 G, 6 GS, 20 IP, 13 R, 7 ER, 11 B, 15 K, 1 HB, 2 WP (1.80 ERA and 1.20 WHIP) — he hasn’t pitched in three weeks, so I assume six winter ball starts was the plan

Only 23, Abreau has accelerated from Low A to Double-A ball at Trenton where is expected to begin the 2019 season. The eleven base-on-balls in the Dominican Winter League indicates he is still working on his command. A promotion to Triple-A Scranton by seasons end will keep him in line for the next natural step to the big club.


LHP Nestor Cortes: 8 G, 8 GS, 42 IP, 26 H, 9 R, 8 ER, 10 BB, 45 K, 3 HR, 2 WP (1.71 ERA and 0.86 WHIP) — hasn’t pitched in three weeks so I assume he was shut down after throwing 175.2 total innings this year, 49 more than his previous career high


Nestor Cortes just turned 24 and is one step ahead of Abreu having spent all of last season with Triple-A Scranton, compiling a 6-6 record in 18 starts for the Railriders. The ERA and WHIP he turned during the Dominican Winter League are promising, along with his low rate of walks. Thirty more starts with Scranton and the Yankees will have a better idea of what they have in Cortes.

  • RHP Matt Wivinis: 11 G, 12 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 6 BB, 14 K, 1 HB, 1 WP (1.50 ERA and 1.00 WHIP)

A relative unknown, New York Yankees signed free-agent RHP Matthew Wivinis to a minor league contract in October 2016. He’s probably ticketed to begin the season again at Double-A Trenton, but his showing in the Arizona Fall League, if continued, could propel him further.


Yankees Prospects Winter League Duds


A word of caution first. Often, a team will send a player to the winter leagues with specific instructions to work on this or that, perhaps hitting to the opposite field more or cutting back on his swing. With these players, I don’t know if that was true, but it’s worth consideration as we view these stats.

  • OF Estevan Florial: 21 G, 13-for-73 (.178), 10 R, 2 2B, 2 3B, 8 RBI, 12 BB, 29 K, 2 SB, 1 CS (.178/.294/.260)

Replacing Justus Sheffield, who was traded to Seattle in the James Paxton deal, Florial is now considered to be the number one Yankees prospect. Mentioned in virtually every trade the Yankees have been involved in, the team has hung onto him with kid gloves as the only remaining position player with substantial value.


Twenty-one games in the Arizona Fall League is not likely to dent the Yankees thinking too much, but Florial will be watched closely to see if this negative trend continues. Only 21, Florial begins his fourth seasons with the Yankees organization but has never played higher than A-Ball. He’s likely to play a full season at Double-A Trenton.

  • IF Thairo Estrada: 19 G, 19-for-80 (.238), 9 R, 2 2B, 7 RBI, 4 BB, 15 K, 1 CS, 1 HBP (.238/.282/.263)

Estrada played the entire 2017 season with Double-A Trenton, but then had the misfortune of getting shot during a robbery attempt, putting him out of action for most of 2018. Thus, the Arizona Fall League numbers can be seen, if one chooses, as a re-introduction to the game of baseball for Estrada. He’s likely to begin the season again with Trenton, with an earned promotion to Triple-A hopefull in the making by season’s end.


Yankees Prospects Winter Ball Wrap-Up


The above Yankees prospects are only a few that I’ve highlighted, and once again, there’s more here, but we do a sense of the Yankees and their planning for the future. How many of these players will be here when we do this again next year remains to be seen.


For some, their future is entirely in their hands, and if they can produce, they will be playing at Yankee Stadium, having given the Yankees no choice (recall Jordan Montgomery) but to include them in their plans.


For others, top Yankees prospect or not, Brian Cashman will make those hard decisions necessary to part with them if another James Paxton comes along with the ability to help the team – right now!


The story will play itself out in Trenton and Scranton this upcoming season, and we’ll be watching.




4 years ago  ::  Dec 19, 2018 - 1:05PM #52
Rob
Posts: 379

We take a look at the current state of the Yankees farm system after the trades and prospect graduations:


pinstripedprospects.com/state-of-the-yan...

4 years ago  ::  Dec 21, 2018 - 10:40AM #53
MajorYankFan
Posts: 32,868

Three Yankees prospects with a lot to prove in 2019


These prospects need to have big seasons in 2019.


The Yankees’ farm system unsurprisingly dropped in rankings over the last few years, but for all the right reasons. The team graduated a number of top prospects who found success at the big league level. Gary SanchezAaron JudgeLuis SeverinoMiguel Andujar, and Gleyber Torresall come to mind. Others were traded away to help the big league team. That’s exactly how a minor league system should operate.


Now, after some turnover at the various levels, it makes sense to check in on a few prospects. A number of outlets will soon share prospect rankings, and there are some minor leaguers that have a lot to prove in the 2019 season. Three names stand out the most.


Estevan Florial


After the Justus Sheffield trade, Florial took over as the Yankees’ top prospect. MLB Pipelineranked him as the number 45 prospect in baseball. The outfielder had an injury-shortened season in 2018, one that saw him hit .255/.354/.361 with three home runs for High-A Tampa.


Florial had an even worse showing in the Arizona Fall League. The 21-year-old hit .178/.294/.260 for the Glendale Desert Dogs. He made an appearance in the AFL Fall Stars Game, but that was the only noteworthy part of his run.


The good news is that Florial got to shake the rust off from his hamate bone injury. He will also spend all of next season at age-21. If all goes well, he could spend a good chunk of the year at Double-A Trenton. He needs to show he can put this season behind him, though. Prospect fatigue is setting in, and the team needs to see that he can take the next step like they believe he can.


Albert Abreu


The Yankees have a knack for developing pitchers who throw extremely hard. Abreu, the main piece in the Brian McCann trade, happens to throw extremely hard. Unfortunately, the right-hander cannot stay on the mound.


The 23-year-old made just 17 starts in 2018, pitching mostly for High-A Tampa. He had a 4.16 ERA with a 4.99 FIP over 62.2 innings with the Tarpons. Abreu struggled mightily with command (4.16 BB/9) and gave up a few too many home runs (1.29 HR/9). When he was healthy, the results just weren’t there.


Why does Abreu still grade out as the team’s number three prospect? Consider this scouting report from MLB Pipeline:



When Abreu is at his best, he exhibits command of three pitches that all grade as plus or better. His fastball usually runs from 93-98 mph, tops out in the triple digits and features sink and run that generate both swings and misses as well as weak ground-ball contact. His power breaking ball looks like a curveball at times and a slider at others, more often the former, and he also can miss bats with his fading changeup.



Pitching a full season should be the goal for Abreu in 2019. Taking a step forward with the results follows shortly thereafter. If he can’t do either, he will probably be more of an interesting wild card arm instead of a can’t-miss prospect.


Clarke Schmidt


The Yankees surprised nearly everyone when they drafted Clarke Schmidt with their first-round selection in 2017. The right-hander impressed while pitching for the University of South Carolina, but he blew out his elbow and required Tommy John surgery before the draft. The Bombers picked him anyway, albeit for a below-slot signing bonus.


After a lengthy rehab, Schmidt returned to the mound in 2018. He made seven starts, pitching to a 3.09 ERA with a 2.61 FIP. Most of those games took place at the rookie-ball level, but he got in two starts with Low-A Charleston.


For Schmidt, the Yankees need to see a strong, full season in 2019. It would be nice to have a first-round pick pitch well. A solid campaign next year would go a long way to making a questionable selection seem more palatable.


4 years ago  ::  Dec 26, 2018 - 10:45AM #54
MajorYankFan
Posts: 32,868

Three Yankees make top GCL prospects list


I missed this a few weeks ago. Baseball America (subs. req’d) wrapped up their annual look at the top 20 prospects in each minor league with the rookie Gulf Coast League. Three Yankees made the list: OF Antonio Cabello (No. 7), OF Anthony Garcia (No. 12), and RHP Yoendrys Gomez (No. 14). Baseball America posted Cabello’s full scouting report on Twitter, so check that out. He ranked one spot ahead of Orioles RHP Grayson Rodriguez, the 11th overall pick in the 2018 draft, on the GCL list.


The 6-foot-5 and 204 lb. (and 18-year-old) Garcia led the GCL with ten homers in 53 games this year. He also struck out 40.6% of his plate appearances. The Baseball America scouting report gives him 70 power on the 20-80 scouting scale and, in the chat (subs. req’d), Ben Badler compared him to Domingo Santana. That’d be a nice outcome for a $500,000 international signee. Here’s part of the scouting report on Gomez:



Gomez ran his fastball up to 96 mph this season in the GCL, parking in the low-to-mid-90s. He throws with downhill angle and locates his fastball well to both sides of the plate for his age. Gomez had 10 strikeouts per nine innings in the GCL thanks in part to a tight, sharp curveball in the mid-to-upper 70s with good depth that flashes above-average to freeze hitters or gets them to chase. He showed feel for a mid-80s changeup that he’s willing to throw to both lefties and righties.



The Yankees signed the 18-year-old Gomez for a mere $50,000 two years ago and now he’s showing three pitches with good velocity and a potential swing-and-miss curveball. The Yankees seem to turn two or three of these small bonus kids into legitimate prospects each year. Domingo Acevedo ($7,500), Freicer Perez ($10,000) and Jonathan Loaisiga (not sure he even got a bonus) all fit in this group.


2019 Draft top prospects list released


With the college and high school seasons only a few weeks away, MLB.com released their first top 50 draft prospects list for 2019. Oregon State C Adley Rutschman is the consensus No. 1 player in the draft class and he’s probably the most locked in No. 1 pick this far out from the draft since Gerrit Cole in 2011. That doesn’t mean Rutschman is a lock to go first overall to the Orioles. It just means he’s the most clear cut No. 1 guy in quite some time.


The Yankees hold the 30th overall selection next year and they’ll keep that pick even if they sign a qualified free agent like Bryce Harper. Baseball America (subs. req’d) put together a super early 2019 mock draft recently and they have Rutschman going to the O’s with the top pick. Here’s who they have for the Yankees and that 30th overall selection:



3B Brett Baty (Lake Travis HS, Austin)
Why It Makes Sense: Baty will get talked about for both his prodigious strength in the lefthanded batter’s box and also the that he will be 19 and a half years old on draft day. This might not bother the Yankees as much as other teams, as New York just took high school catcher Anthony Seigler in the first round last year, who was also old for his class.



One, “Brett Baty” is an outstanding baseball name. And two, a 19-and-a-half-year-old high schooler in the first round? I can’t imagine that’s happened often. And geez, Seigler didn’t turn 19 until after the draft last year. He wasn’t that old for his class. Anyway, at this point in the draft season (i.e. it hasn’t started yet), any mock draft is almost certainly speculation more than hard “this team is on that guy” reporting. Lots can and will change between now and the draft.


As long as Damon Oppenheimer is the Yankees scouting director, the best place to start with potential draft targets is Southern California. He has an affinity for prospects who play where he grew up. One name to watch: California HS 1B/LHP Spencer Jones. Go check out the (free) MLB.com scouting reportand tell me that kid doesn’t scream “future Yankees prospect.”

4 years ago  ::  Dec 28, 2018 - 10:40AM #55
MajorYankFan
Posts: 32,868

Prospect Profile: Mike King


(Jason Farmer/Scranton Times-Tribune)

Mike King | RHP


Background
King, 23, grew up outside Providence in Warwick, Rhode Island. He had a decorated career at Bishop Hendricken High School, one that included two state championships and a Rhode Island Gatorade High School Player of the Year Award. King pitched to a 0.69 ERA as a junior and a 0.30 ERA as a senior, and threw two no-hitters. He was also a member of various All-Academic teams.


Despite his high school success Baseball America (subs. req’d) did not rank King among the top 500 prospects for the 2014 draft, and he went undrafted out of high school. He followed through on his commitment to Boston College and pitched primary out of the bullpen as a freshman, posting a 2.93 ERA with a 35/12 K/BB in 43 innings. He made three starts and 13 relief appearances.


As a sophomore, King emerged as a valuable swingman, pitching to a 3.03 ERA with a 52/12 K/BB in 62 innings spread across eight starts and six relief appearances. King spent the summer with the Hyannis Harbor Hawks of the Cape Cod League, throwing 22 innings with a 3.27 ERA and a 19/5 K/BB. Baseball America did not rank him as one of the top 30 prospects in the league, however.


King took over as the staff ace as a junior and set Boston College single-season records with 16 starts and 104 innings. He managed a 3.29 ERA and a 61/31 K/BB in those 104 innings. His career 3.14 ERA is second best in school history behind former big leaguer Chris Lambert (2.84 ERA). King also ranks tenth on the career innings list with 209.1. He is one of the most successful pitchers in Eagles history.


Baseball America (subs. req’d) ranked King as the 449th best prospect for the 2016 draft. The Marlins selected him in the 12th round (353rd overall) and signed him to a $100,000 bonus. That is $25,000 under slot for all picks after the tenth round. The Yankees acquired King, along with some international bonus money, from the Marlins last offseason for Garrett Cooper and Caleb Smith.


Pro Career
After such a big workload as a college junior, the Marlins took it easy on King following the 2016 draft, and had him throw only 30.2 innings in his pro debut. He posted a 4.11 ERA (2.76 FIP) with 24.4% strikeouts and 4.7% walks while pitching mostly in the short season NY-Penn League. The Marlins had King spend the entire 2017 season with their Low-A affiliate. He had a 3.14 ERA (3.97 FIP) with 17.8% strikeouts and 3.5% walks in 149 innings.


The Yankees moved King much more aggressively in 2018. He started the season with High-A Tampa and finished it with Triple-A Scranton. Here are his numbers at each level this past season:

GIPERAFIPK%BB%GB%HR/9WHIFF%
High-A Tampa 7 40.1 1.79 2.46 27.4% 6.1% 59.8% 0.22 13.5%
Double-A Trenton 12 82 2.09 2.70 23.9% 4.1% 45.2% 0.44 9.9%
Triple-A Scranton 6 39 1.15 3.20 21.8% 4.2% 53.8% 0.69 7.7%
Total 25 161.1 1.79 2.76 24.4% 4.7% 50.8% 0.45 10.3%

King ranked sixth in the minors in innings pitched this past season and, among the 510 pitchers to throw at least 100 innings in the minors, he ranked second in ERA and 11th in FIP. His strikeout (97th), ground ball (74th), and swing-and-miss (112th) rates were much further down the rankings, however.


Scouting Report
King has the prototypical pitcher’s build at 6-foot-3 and 210 lbs., and while he’s a stats over scouting report prospect, the scouting report is quite good. He gets most of his outs with a sinking two-seam fastball that sits 91-93 mph and will occasionally touch 95 mph. King commands the pitch exceptionally well. He uses it to pound the bottom of the zone and he can throw it to both sides of the plate. He’s quite adept at throwing that two-seamer inside to lefties for the comeback called strike, like so:


Nothing King throws is straight and I’m looking forward to him reaching the big leagues so we can get some Statcast data. He strikes me as someone who could be a weak contact type that consistently outperforms his peripherals, similar to the current version of CC Sabathia. King has a good repeatable delivery and he can put the ball where he wants it, especially with the two-seamer. That command helps everything play up.

2019 Outlook
After the season he just had, climbing from High-A to Triple-A, King is a lock to be invited to big league Spring Training as a non-roster invitee next year. There’s a good chance he’ll make his MLB debut at some point next summer. King will be Rule 5 Draft eligible next offseason but I would be shocked if he’s not added to the 40-man roster and brought at some point next summer first. In all likelihood, King will go up and down a few times next season, presumably as a spot starter/emergency long man type.


My Take
There seem to be a very wide range of opinions on King and I lean toward “serviceable big leaguer” more than “impact starter.” I wish he had a putaway secondary pitch — I don’t think it’s a coincidence his swing-and-miss rate dropped considerably each time he was promoted this past season — but, if you’re only going to have one good pitch, a sinking two-seamer is a good one good pitch to have. King is about as safe a bet to have a big league career as you’ll find. I just think he’ll be more of a fifth starter/swingman type than a bona fide mid-rotation stalwart, and hey, teams need fifth starters and swingmen. It’s better to grow your own than pay a couple million for one in free agency.


4 years ago  ::  Dec 30, 2018 - 12:43PM #56
Rob
Posts: 379

I bring you some of my personal favorite prospects in the Yankees system. These aren't the top guys, just guys I enjoy watching play.


pinstripedprospects.com/opinion-my-perso...

4 years ago  ::  Jan 02, 2019 - 11:50AM #57
Rob
Posts: 379

We kick off our annual top prospect month at Pinstriped Prospects. Throughout this month we are bringing you the top five prospects at each position, leading up to the release of our top 100 prospects list at the end of the month. First up is left-handed pitchers.


pinstripedprospects.com/2019-top-5-left-...

4 years ago  ::  Jan 03, 2019 - 10:54AM #58
MajorYankFan
Posts: 32,868

Prospect Profile: Tanner Myatt


(Robert M Pimpsner/Pinstriped Prospects)

Tanner Myatt | RHP


Background
Myatt, 20, grew up in Spring Lake, North Carolina, near Fayetteville and Fort Bragg. He attended Overhills High School and pitched to a 2.75 ERA with 63 strikeouts and 18 walks in 43.1 innings as a senior, and also hit .312/.365/.395 in 52 plate appearances. Baseball America (subs. req’d) did not rank Myatt as one of the top 500 prospects for the 2016 draft and he went unselected out of high school.


After going undrafted Myatt headed to Florence-Darling Technical College in South Carolina. He put up a 3.76 ERA with 34 strikeouts and 16 walks in 26.1 innings as a freshman. Myatt again went undrafted in 2017 — he wasn’t among Baseball America’s (subs. req’d) top 500 draft prospects — and, as a sophomore, he threw 30 innings with a 1.89 ERA and 39 strikeouts against 20 walks. He made four starts and ten relief appearances.


Baseball America (subs. req’d) did not rank Myatt among their top 500 prospects for the 2018 draft, though they did rank him the 16th best prospect in South Carolina (subs. req’d). The Yankees selected Myatt with their 11th round pick (337th overall) last summer, making him the highest draft pick in Florence-Darling history. Myatt leveraged a transfer commitment to the College of Charleston into a $147,500 bonus. Every dollar over $125,000 given to a player taken after the tenth round counts against the draft pool, so Myatt counted as $22,500 against the pool.


“We were extremely excited to be able to select Tanner in the 11th round,” said scouting director Damon Oppenheimer after the draft. “He has a big arm and is an extremely uncomfortable at-bat for right-handed batters. We believe he has a high ceiling and look forward to having our player development staff help him reach it.”


Pro Debut
After signing Myatt was assigned to the rookie Gulf Coast League, where he had a 6.06 ERA (5.07 FIP) with 22 strikeouts and nine walks in 18.1 innings. That works out to 30.8% strikeout rate and a 10.8% walk rate. He made five starts and four relief appearances. Myatt closed out his regular season with one appearance for Short Season Staten Island, striking out two and walking two in two scoreless innings. He then participated in Instructional League after the season.


Scouting Report
Myatt is certainly a pitching prospect you can dream on. The kid stands 6-foot-7 and 220 lbs. and he came out of college with a fastball that averages 96-99 mph and touches 101 mph. According to Shaun Savarese, Myatt started training at a local pitching biomechanics lab (N.C. Biomechanical) during the summer between his sophomore and junior years of high school. I reckon that helped him develop his premium arm strength.


In addition to the velocity, Myatt’s fastball has explosive life through the strike zone, so it plays even better than the radar gun reading. Add in the fact he’s releasing the ball that much closer to the plate thanks to his height, and Myatt’s heater is a truly elite offering. He pairs it with a promising curveball and changeup, the former of which has flashed out-pitch potential. Myatt also threw a cutter in college but it seems it is no longer part of his repertoire.


Myatt has already made strides gaining consistency with his delivery since the draft, but he is young and incredibly tall, and it typically takes tall pitchers some time to develop solid mechanics and master control of those long limbs. The Yankees have plenty of experience with tall pitching prospects (Dellin Betances, Domingo Acevedo, Andrew Brackman, Freicer Perez, etc.), but everyone is different, and Myatt will develop at his own pace.

Because he’s so big and his delivery can fall out of whack, Myatt does have trouble throwing strikes, and that is his primary development goal going forward. That and improve his curveball and changeup. Firm up the delivery and learn how to get the ball over the plate consistently. Given the quality of his fastball and overall stuff, Myatt does not need to develop above-average command (it would be cool if he did). He’ll get swings and misses and weak contact simply by being around the strike zone.


2019 Outlook
I expect Myatt to begin this coming season in Extended Spring Training for three reasons. One, he’s a big dude who needs mechanical refinement, and ExST is the best place to do that. Two, Myatt doesn’t have much pitching experience. From 2015-18, he threw 153.2 total innings between high school, college, and pro ball (plus a handful more in Instructs). His career high is the 48.1 innings he threw between college and his pro debut last year. I can’t see the Yankees throwing him right into full season ball. And three, Myatt’s still pretty young. He doesn’t turn 21 until May. Given all that, ExST to start with an assignment to one of the short season leagues in June makes the most sense for Myatt in 2019.


My Take
I knew nothing about Myatt when he was drafted and I’ve very quickly fallen in love after doing some research. I’m a sucker for big power pitching prospects and he is right out of central casting. Myatt has a long way to go between where he is now and the big leagues, but the raw tools are very impressive, and you can’t teach his size and arm strength. I’m not sure Myatt will ever develop good enough control and command to start. In short relief bursts though? He could be a monster. Myatt’s is a classic high risk, high reward type with significant upside. I’m not sure you could do much better than this with an 11th round pick and a $147,500 bonus.


4 years ago  ::  Jan 03, 2019 - 10:56AM #59
MajorYankFan
Posts: 32,868
4 years ago  ::  Jan 04, 2019 - 11:50AM #60
Rob
Posts: 379

Our second Yankees top 5 prospects list for 2019 is now online.  This one takes a look at the top five right-handed pitchers in the organization.


pinstripedprospects.com/2019-top-5-right...

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