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Random Minor League Notes: 2019 Edition
5 years ago  ::  Oct 17, 2018 - 6:26PM #1
Posts: 32,868

THE GOAL......


IN 2019

5 years ago  ::  Oct 17, 2018 - 6:27PM #2
Posts: 32,868

Yankees Arizona Fall League Update: Week One

How are the Yankees prospects doing in the AFL so far?

The Yankees may be done for the year, but there are still some New York prospects playing baseball. The Arizona Fall League started last week, and the Bombers sent seven players to participate—three position players, and four pitchers. It doesn’t really make sense to do daily roundups like we do during the regular season, but we will provide weekly updates until play ends in mid-November.

Interestingly, the Yankees are playing for the Glendale Desert Dogs this year, instead of the Scottsdale Scorpions. Prospects from the White SoxOriolesIndians, and Dodgers make up the rest of the team. Glendale happens to be off to an uninspiring 0-6 start. They are the only one of the six teams without a win under their belts. Hopefully that won’t still be the case next week. Let’s check in on how the Yankee prospects are doing so far.

Position players

All three position players have gotten off to dreadfully slow starts. If you remember, Thairo Estrada suffered a hip injury last offseason when he was shot during an attempted robbery in Venezuela. He ended up missing most of the season, so this extra time in the AFL will hopefully help get him back on track. The shortstop has collected just three hits (all singles) during his first 18 at-bats.

Fellow prospect Steven Sensley also has just three hits to his name, but two of them were doubles. The first baseman is slashing .176/.263/.294 across 17 at-bat,s and that is somehow the best hitting that the Yankees have done so far. Top prospect Estevan Florial is off to a painfully slow start with just one hit over 19 at-bats. He has three walks and eight strikeouts. There is nowhere to go but up for all three of these guys.


The good news is that the Yankee pitchers haven’t been quite as bad as the hitters. Kyle Zurak has been the one exception. In his first outing, he issued a walk, back-to-back singles, then surrendered a grand slam while recording just one out. During his only other appearance, he gave up two earned runs through 0.2 innings. That adds up to six earned runs through just one inning for a lovely 54.00 ERA.

The other pitcher who isn’t off to the best start is Hobie Harris. He has given up a run in each of his two outings. The right-hander has a 5.40 ERA with two walks and one strikeouts over 3.1 innings pitched. Obviously small sample size alert, but that’s what you get when you check in on players after six games.

Right-handers Jordan Foley and Matt Wivinis have fared better so far. Foley owns a 2.08 ERA through 4.1 innings. He has racked up eight strikeouts. Meanwhile, Wivinis has surrendered just one run through his three appearances. Unfortunately, he has walked five batters compared to just three strikeouts.

5 years ago  ::  Oct 20, 2018 - 7:45AM #3
Posts: 32,868

DotF: Estrada returns to game action in Arizona Fall League

It’s been more than a month since our last minor league update, and now that the Arizona Fall League season is underway and the various Caribbean winter leagues are starting to get going, it’s time for a check-in. Here are some notes to get us started.

  • OF Clint Frazier (post-concussion migraines) is back home in Georgia and resting, Brian Cashman told Brendan Kuty. Well, Clint was in New York this week, but point is he’s doing better. Cashman said Frazier will be recovered in time for the start of Spring Training.
  • MLB.com posted their end-of-season top 100 prospects list. Blue Jays 3B Vlad Guerrero Jr. sits in the top spot. Four Yankees made the list: LHP Justus Sheffield (No. 31), OF Estevan Florial (No. 45), RHP Jonathan Loaisiga (No. 66), and RHP Albert Abreu (No. 85). Glad Johnny Lasagna’s getting some top 100 love.
  • Jonathan Mayo put together a list of 20 pitching prospects who improved their stock in 2018 and three are Yankees: Sheffield, Loaisiga, and RHP Garrett Whitlock. “(Whitlock) finished third in the Minors with his 1.86 ERA and had a combined .214 BAA and 9.1 K/9 while touching Double-A,” says the write-up.
  • The MLB.com crew listed one AzFL sleeper prospect for each team. RHP Matt Wivinis is the pick for the Yankees. “He works with a pair of high-spin breaking balls he’ll throw in any count, and his curveball and slider help his low-90s fastball play up,” says the write-up.
  • Rob Terranova has more on Wivinis, if you’re interested in learning about the former independent leaguer. The 25-year-old managed a 2.41 ERA (2.81 FIP) with 34.5% strikeouts and 6.7% walks in 56 relief innings at three levels this past season.

Arizona Fall League

  • IF Thairo Estrada: 6 G, 4-for-25, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 5 K, 1 CS (.160/.192/.160) — hip and back trouble ended his regular season on May 7th … he’s healthy enough to play now though, so that’s good
  • OF Estevan Florial: 6 G, 1-for-22, 2 R, 1 RBI, 3 BB, 10 K (.045/.160/.045) — ouch, rough AzFL so far
  • 1B Steven Sensley: 7 G, 5-for-25, 1 R, 2 2B, 3 RBI, 1 BB, 7 K (.200/.259/.280) — he’s played four games at first base and three at DH … he started only one of his final 34 regular season games in the outfield, so I guess he’s a full-time first baseman now … either way, he was always going to be a bat first prospect, but the outfield is always preferable to first base
  • RHP Jordan Foley: 2 G, 2 GS, 4.1 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 4 BB, 8 K, 1 WP (6.23 ERA and 1.85 WHIP) — I wouldn’t read anything into him starting … the Yankees didn’t send a starter to the AzFL this year (RHP Domingo Acevedo was pulled due to injury) and someone needs to fill the team’s designated rotation spot, and Foley it is … he’s clearly a reliever long-term though
  • RHP Hobie Harris: 2 G, 3.1 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 1 K, 2 WP (5.40 ERA and 1.80 WHIP)
  • RHP Matt Wivinis: 3 G, 3.1 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 5 BB, 3 K (2.70 ERA and 2.40 WHIP)
  • RHP Kyle Zurak: 2 G, 1 IP, 5 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 3 BB, 1 K, 1 HR, 1 WP (54.00 ERA and 8.00 WHIP) — last year’s eighth rounder was added to the AzFL roster late as an injury replacement for Acevedo, who was placed on the disabled list during the Double-A postseason with a biceps problem

Dominican Winter League

  • LHP Nestor Cortes: 1 G, 1 GS, 4.1 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 7 K, 1 HR (4.15 ERA and 1.15 WHIP) — started the year in the big leagues with the Orioles as a Rule 5 Draft guy and he ends it in winter ball
  • RHP Carlos Espinal: 2 G, 2.2 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 2 K (10.13 ERA and 1.88 WHIP)
  • RHP Raynel Espinal: 1 G, 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 1 HB (0.00 ERA and 1.00 WHIP)
  • RHP Adonis Rosa and IF Wendell Rijo are listed on DWL rosters but have not yet appeared in a game. And they might not. Being listed on the roster only means the team controls that player’s winter ball rights. It doesn’t mean he intends to play.

Mexican Pacific League

  • 1B/OF Ryan McBroom: 5 G, 2-for-18, 2 R, 1 2B, 3 RBI, 2 BB, 4 K (.111/.190/.167) — he hit .302/.348/.458 (125 wRC+) with 23 doubles and 15 homers in 121 regular season games split between Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton … I would be surprised if the Yankees protected him from the Rule 5 Draft this winter though, and I’d be surprised if he gets taken too … soon-to-be 26-year-old right/right first basemen without a ton of power aren’t hot commodities … then again, maybe McBroom will be some other team’s Luke Voit

Venezuelan Winter League

  • IF Angel Aguilar: 2 G, 2-for-5, 2 2B, 1 RBI, 1 K (.400/.400/.800)
  • C Francisco Diaz: 4 G, 6-for-13, 2 R, 1 RBI, 2 BB (.462/.533/.462) — winter ball veteran seems to get off to a great start every year before fading
  • RHP Daniel Alvarez: 2 G, 1.2 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 1 HR, 1 WP (16.20 ERA and 3.60 WHIP)
  • RHP Anderson Munoz: 1 G, 0 IP, 1 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 0 K — no matter the sample size, it’s never a good thing when you have an infinity ERA and WHIP
  • IF Diego CastilloIF Wilkerman GarciaRHP Yoiber Marquina, and RHP Edward Paredes are listed on rosters but have yet to appear in a game. As with the DWL, being on a VWL roster just means the team controls that player’s winter ball rights. It doesn’t necessarily mean he’s planning to play.

The Roberto Clemente Professional Baseball League (Puerto Rico) season begins November 15th. The rosters have not yet been posted.

5 years ago  ::  Oct 20, 2018 - 10:55AM #4
Posts: 32,868

Yankees shut out in top FSL, Sally League prospect lists

Baseball America’s annual series looking at the top 20 prospects in each minor league has continued this month, and the Yankees were shut out in both the High-A Florida State League (subs. req’d) and Low-A South Athletic League (subs. req’d) lists. Huh. Here’s what Josh Norris (subs. req’d) said about OF Estevan Florial in the FSL chat:

Florial qualified for the league, but it was pretty much a lost year for him. He obviously missed a bit of time with the hamate injury, and he didn’t have a whole lot of time otherwise to show he’d improved significantly in the necessary areas, namely strike-zone discipline. The Yankees are still confident in him based on what they see on their internal metrics, and evaluators said he made some subtle strides defensively, but it was too deep a league to put him on the 20 with the disjointed season he had.

Florial hit .255/.354/.361 (110 wRC+) with 25.7% strikeouts and 13.0% walks in 75 High-A games around the wrist surgery this year. He was, by far, the best prospect on the High-A Tampa roster once RHP Freicer Perez got hurt. As for the Sally League, J.J. Cooper (subs. req’d) took no Yankees questions in the chat, and Low-A Charleston’s best prospect this year was 3B Dermis Garcia. RHP Deivi Garcia didn’t throw enough innings to qualify for the top 20 list at any level this season, so he’s getting lost in the rankings this year. Seems to happen with someone every year.

5 years ago  ::  Oct 22, 2018 - 12:14PM #5
Posts: 379

Our AFL writer, Griffin Fabits, has what you need to know from the second week of the Arizona Fall League complete with some video of the Yankees prospects out there:


5 years ago  ::  Oct 22, 2018 - 10:00PM #6
Posts: 15,545

Florial & Estrada...

5 years ago  ::  Oct 26, 2018 - 6:51PM #7
Posts: 32,868

Contreras, Sauer among top NY-Penn League prospects

Baseball America (subs. req’d) has continued their annual look at the top 20 prospects in each minor league with the short season NY-Penn League. Astros OF Gilberto Celestino sits in the top spot. RHP Juan De Paula, who the Yankees acquired in the Ben Gamel trade and dealt away in the Andrew McCutchen trade, ranks fourth. RHP Roansy Contreras is fifth. A snippet of the scouting report:

Contreras, who has added 22 pounds since signing, has a low-90s fastball that touched as high as 96 mph this year. He backs it up with a downer curveball with 11-to-5 break and a promising changeup. He needs to work on finishing his delivery more often in order to drive his entire arsenal down in the zone, where it will be most effective. He also shows advanced pitchability for his age, and he could grow into a little more velocity.

Contreras is one of my favorite prospects in the system right now. He was the top Dominican pitcher available during the 2016-17 international signing period and the Yankees were able to sign him to a $300,000 bonus, their maximum allowed while still dealing with the penalties from their 2014-15 spending free. Love Roansy’s stuff and pitchability. Anyway, RHP Matt Sauer is 13th on the NYPL list. Here’s part of his scouting report:

Sauer’s fastball sits in the low 90s, but he can dial it up to 97 mph when he needs a little extra. His breaking pitch, a curveball, is currently average but has the potential to be a plus offering in the future … While he does feature a good fastball and developing curveball, scouts wonder if he is more of a finished product than many young arms. Sauer has time to hone his command, but the profile reads more as a back-end rotation piece.

In the chat, Justin Coleman (subs. req’d) had some good things to say about RHP Harold Cortijo. “Cortijo shows pitchability and is very athletic. Threw a lot of strikes, low 90’s FB that touches 94. His advanced fastball command is notable, needs to work on the breaker,” he wrote. The just turned 20-year-old Cortijo had a 2.63 ERA (3.29 FIP) with 29.1% strikeouts and 5.8% walks in 51.1 innings with Short Season Staten Island this summer.

5 years ago  ::  Oct 26, 2018 - 6:52PM #8
Posts: 32,868

Oct 22, 2018 -- 10:00PM, SSBob wrote:

Florial & Estrada...

I saw a game in Glendale this last Wednesday.

5 years ago  ::  Oct 26, 2018 - 6:59PM #9
Posts: 32,868

Which Yankees prospects could contribute in 2019?

Although the Yankees of recent years don’t yet have the championships to show for it, one thing they have excelled at is developing their young players. Gary Sanchez was a Rookie of the Year finalist, Gleyber Torres and Miguel Andujar are likely to be, and Aaron Judge actually won the award. That’s not even mentioning the contributions of Luis Severino and occasional flashes from Greg Bird and Clint Frazier. Some like to say that the Yankees buy their rings, but that won’t be the case the next time the Bombers take home the big one.

But who will be next season’s surprise rookie contributor? The Yankees have a handful of young pitchers and hitters chomping at the bit in the minors ready for their call-up. Let’s take a look at the kids who could find their way into the Bronx next year.


The list of past Yankees rookie contributors mostly consists of hitters. However, that could change in 2019. Most of the Yankees’ top prospects are pitchers, and several are close to big league ready.

First and foremost comes Justus Sheffield. It seems as if we’ve been waiting on Sheffield forever, but he’s still only 22 years old and coming off of his first season of Triple-A action. The Yankees’ rotation now is in flux: only Luis Severino and Masahiro Tanaka are under contract. While the Yankees will undoubtedly re-sign or add some veterans to the mix, there could be an opportunity for Sheffield to snag a rotation spot in spring training.

Sheffield started 20 minor league games this year, going 7-6 with a 2.48 ERA. In addition, his strikeouts were high, his WHIP was low and he gave up all of four home runs over 116 innings. Sheffield is too good to stay at Triple-A, and he has a couple of innings of MLB bullpen experience. Expect to see Sheffield in the Bronx by May.

Another couple of young starters we saw make their MLB debuts this year are Jonathan Loaisigaand Chance Adams. Loaisiga made four solid starts before succumbing to shoulder inflammation. He had his ups and downs in a bullpen role in September, but looks poised to contribute in some way in 2019. Out of all of the guys on this list, Loaisiga may have the best stuff. His fastball can reach 98 mph and his changeup and power curveball helped him notch 33 strikeouts in 24.2 MLB innings. There is definitely a future for Loaisiga in New York. He could become the Yankees’ number one Scranton Shuttle guy to help the rotation or bullpen as needed.

As for Adams, his MLB debut was a little underwhelming. He pitched in three games, starting one, and allowed three home runs and accumulated a 7.04 ERA. He struggled with his control and his ability to finish hitters off, but he was better in the minors. Adams has been in Triple-A for parts of two seasons and is 24, so he will have to take a step forward next year.

The Yankees have two more young starters that could help them next season. One of them, Domingo Acevedo, is already on the 40-man roster, while the other, Michael King, will be before long. Acevedo profiles like Michael Pineda – he has an overhead windup and a large, intimidating frame, a really good fastball that can reach the triple digits with regularity, developing secondary pitches, and injury concerns. If Acevedo can stay healthy in 2019, he could spend much of it in Triple-A with potential to jump to the Bronx out of the bullpen.

Finally, there’s Michael King. Acquired for Garrett Cooper in a minor league depth trade, King became the Yankees’ best minor league pitcher this year. King went 11-5 with a 1.79 ERA split over Single-, Double- and Triple-A. King has excellent control and a penchant for ground balls, thanks to his bowling ball sinker. The big worry with King is whether his secondary pitches will be good enough, but his sinker and command are legit. He went from a non-factor to an intriguing prospect, and he’s worth keeping an eye on next year.


The Yankees are mostly set on offense, and there isn’t a whole lot of room for prospects to contribute. The biggest help will probably come from minor league veterans Clint Frazier and Tyler Wade, who will look to become full-time big leaguers in their age-24 seasons. As for prospect help, shortstop Thairo Estrada is on the 40-man roster, but his status is unknown after he played just 18 games this year. He suffered a gunshot wound in an attempted robbery last year and has also had back issues that led to a lost year of development.

One name to keep in mind as a sleeper pick? Ryan McBroom. The first baseman/corner outfielder got promoted from Double-A Trenton and continued to hit at Triple-A Scranton. He has power, a good eye and plays a position of need for the Yankees. It’s a dark horse pick, but McBroom could find his way to New York if things go wrong at first base or injuries strike in the outfield.

5 years ago  ::  Oct 26, 2018 - 7:56PM #10
Posts: 32,868

Yankees No. 2 prospect Estevan Florial off to slow AFL start

The Yankees sent seven players to this year’s Arizona Fall League, highlighted by No. 2 overall prospect, Estevan Florial. After two weeks, Florial is still working off the rust of a broken right hamate bone.

Following the first 14 Arizona Fall League games, the Yankees affiliate, Glendale Desert Dogs are 4-10.

Considering the entire season lasts all of six weeks (30 games, not including the All-Star and Championship Games), it’s imperative that the seven players representing the Yanks don’t take too long to get going.

Unfortunately, that’s exactly what is happening with Estevan Florial, the No. 45 overall prospect in baseball according to MLB Pipeline.

Through 11 games and 39 at-bats, the 20-year-old center fielder is slashing .128/.209/.205 with four runs scored, one triple, one home run, six RBIs and an alarming 15:4 K:BB ratio.

Despite a strong finish to the minor league season, including a .317 batting average during his final 19 games and finishing 16th in walks in the Florida State League, an unnamed scout recently told NJ.com that Florial needs to stop pressing if he is to take the next step in the evolution of his game.

“When Florial squares it up, the ball jumps off his bat. He’s running and he’s playing defense. But I’m seeing what I’ve seen in the past at the plate. He’s still swinging and missing. He’s chasing bad pitches out of the zone, especially late in counts. When he gets in pitchers’ counts, he’s chasing the pitchers’ out pitches.

“Despite the chasing, you can’t help but like what you’ve seen in the past and you know that he had a lot of downtime this year with the wrist injury. Watching him in Arizona, I think Florial is still trying to get back into the groove. This experience is good for him because he’s facing some pitchers who have pretty good arms. He’s just scuffling a little bit.

Naturally, it will take some time for Florial to get back into the swing of things (no pun intended).

However, in a sign of good things to come, he was able to successfully decrease his strikeout rate from 31.5 in 2017 to 24.5 percent in 2018 while raising his walk percent from 10.5 to 12.8

Florial will likely begin next season back in High-A with a potential mid-season move to Double-A Trenton in the cards if he can prove better consistency in his approach at the plate.

Often referred to as the Yankees centerfielder of the future, there is currently no need to rush Florial along, not with Aaron Hicks coming off a solid big league campaign — and Clint Frazier capable of playing center if need be.

The goal for the remainder of the AFL will be for Florial to finish the year on a solid note, because should he remain injury-free in 2019, the Yankees will expect more on offense than he recently provided at High-A: .255/.354/.361 across 294 at-bats while scoring 45 runs, 16 doubles, three triples, three home runs, 27 RBIs and an 87:44 K:BB ratio.

Hopefully, Florial can use the AFL as a springboard to success the way standouts Miguel Andujar and Gleyber Torres recently did.

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