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Random Minor League Notes: 2021 Edition
2 years ago  ::  Sep 27, 2021 - 8:32PM #301
Posts: 25,368


(End of 2021 Regular Season stats)

by James Vlietstra


Team  WinsLossesRunsAllowedDifferential PlaceGames ahead
Scranton RailRiders     68 49 629 492 137   2 -3
Somerset Patriots     72 47 600 43 557   1 2.5
Hudson Valley Renegades     71 49 628 546 82   1 12.5
Tampa Tarpons     73 43 766 546 220   1 3.5
FCL Yankees     36 16 366 274 92   1 4
DSL Yankees 1     25 24 322 250 72   5 -7
DSL Yankees 2     24 25 294 287 7   4 -9
      369 253 3605 2438 1167    

1 Anthony Volpe   113
2 Austin Wells   82
3 Elijah Dunham   72
3 Michael Beltre   72
5 Oswald Peraza   71
5 Andres Chaparro   71
7 Pat DeMarco   65
7 Estevan Florial   65
9 Oswaldo Cabrera   61
10 Dermis Garcia   58
1 Oswald Peraza   130
2 Anthony Volpe   121
3 Oswaldo Cabrera   112
4 Jake Sanford   111
5 Michael Beltre   102
6 Austin Wells   101
7 Andres Chaparro   96
8 Socrates Brito   92
9 Elijah Dunham   89
9 Brandon Lockridge   89
1 Anthony Volpe   35
2 Oswaldo Cabrera   29
2 Oswald Peraza   26
4 Armando Alvarez   25
4 Elijah Dunham   25
6 Austin Wells   23
7 Pat DeMarco   22
7 Isiah Gilliam   22
9 Michael Beltre   21
9 Andres Chaparro   21
9 Trey Amburgey   21
1 Michael Beltre   8
2 Ezequiel Duran   6
2 Anthony Volpe   6
4 Austin Wells   5
4 Jake Sanford   5
6 Oliver Dunn   4
6 Chad Bell   4
6 Trey Sweeney   4
9 Andres Chaparro   3
9 Andrew Velazquez   3
9 Thomas Milone   3
9 Eric Wagaman   3
9 Josh Smith   3
9 Dayro Perez   3
9 Madison Santos   3
9 Raimfer Salinas   3
9 Grant Richardson   3
1 Dermis Garcia   31
2 Anthony Volpe   27
3 Oswaldo Cabrera   24
4 Josh Breaux   23
5 Chad Bell   21
6 Everson Pereira   20
7 Donny Sands   18
8 Oswald Peraza   17
9 Michael Beltre   16
9 Austin Wells   16
9 Jake Sanford   16
1 Anthony Volpe   86
1 Oswaldo Cabrera   78
3 Austin Wells   76
4 Andres Chaparro   73
5 Dermis Garcia   67
6 Josh Breaux   63
7 Jake Sanford   61
8 Everson Pereira   57
8 Elijah Dunham   57
10 Chad Bell   56
10 Donny Sands   56
10     56
1 Michael Beltre   37
2 Oswald Peraza   36
3 Anthony Volpe   33
4 Dayro Perez   31
5 Andrew Velazquez   29
6 Elijah Dunham   28
7 Isiah Gilliam   26
8 Socrates Brito   23
8 Jared Serna   23
10 Oswaldo Cabrera   20
1 Isaiah Gilliam   10
2 Oswald Peraza   9
2 Anthony Volpe   9
2 Thomas Milone   9
5 Alexander Vargas   8
6 Dayro Perez   7
6 Brenny Escanio   7
6 James Nelson   7
6 Ezequiel Duran   7
6 Estevan Florial   7
1 Anthony Volpe   78
2 Austin Wells   71
3 Trevor Hauver   64
4 Andres Chaparro   60
5 Hoy Park   52
5 Dermis Garcia   52
7 Michael Beltre   50
8 Carlos Narvaez   48
9 Isiah Gilliam   47
9 Elijah Dunham   47
9 Chad Bell   47
1 Dermis Garcia   168
2 Chad bell   126
3 Oswaldo Cabrera   118
4 Austin Wells   117
5 Isiah Gilliam   116
5 Jake Sanford   116
7 Michael Beltre   110
8 Estevan Florial   107
9 Oswald Peraza   106
10 Anthony Volpe   101
1 Anthony Garcia   1.204
2 Osmany Fleitas   1.159
3 Alex Guerrero   1.154
4 Josh Smith   1.126
5 Everson Pereira   1.123
6 Chris Gittens   1.119
7 Madison Santos   1.114
8 Kyle Battle   1.076
9 Anthony Volpe   1.055
10 Grant Richardson   1.028
11 Aldenis Sanchez   0.97
12 Cooper Bowman   0.966
13 Mickey Gasper   0.948
14 Dayro Perez   0.944
15 Stanley Rosario   0.935
16 Oscar Silverio   0.928
17 Felix Negueis   0.923
18 Hoy Park   0.914
19 Miguel Torres   0.908
20 Trevor Hauver   0.905
21 Trey Sweeney   0.899
22 Austin Wells   0.897
23 Jared Serna   0.895
24 Brenny Escanio   0.881
25     0.878
1 Anthony Volpe   249
2 Oswaldo Cabrera   215
3 Oswald Peraza   211
4 Dermis Garcia   187
5 Michael Beltre   187
6 Austin Wells   182
6 Jake Sanford   182
8 Josh Breaux   176
9 Andres Chaparro   168
10 Chad Bell   164
1 Osmany Fleitas   0.431
2 Alex Guerrero   0.403
3 Aldenis Sanchez   0.379
4 Josh Smith   0.324
5 Felix Negueis   0.323
6 Chris Gittens   0.319
7 Mickey Gasper   0.318
8 Greg Allen   0.316
8 Gabriel Bersing   0.316
10 Manuel Palencia   0.313
1 Osmany Fleitas   0.54
2 Alex Guerrero   0.475
3 Aldenis Sanchez   0.465
4 Chris Gittens   0.455
5 Hoy Park   0.452
6 Josh Smith   0.448
7 Felix Negueis   0.446
8 Trevor Hauver   0.445
9 Anthony Garcia   0.444
10 Greg Allen   0.437
1 Alex Guerrero   0.701
2 Chris Gittens   0.695
3 Everson Pereira   0.686
4 Anthony Garcia   0.678
5 Josh Smith   0.641
6 Osmany Fleitas   0.608
7 Anthony Volpe   0.604
8 Mauro Bonifacio   0.556
9 Trey Sweeney   0.548
10 Aldenis Sanchez   0.54
1 Alex Guerrero   1.176
2 Chris Gittens   1.15
3 Osmany Fleitas   1.148
4 Anthony Garcia   1.122
5 Josh Smith   1.089
6 Everson Pereira   1.084
7 Anthony Volpe   1.027
8 Aldenis Sanchez   1.006
9 Hoy Park   0.981
10 Madison Santos   0.945
1 Shawn Semple   10
2 Josh Maciejewski   9
2 Hayden Wesneski   9
4 Sean Boyle   8
4 Michael Giacone   8
4 Trevor Holloway   8
4 JP Sears   8
4 Randy Vasquez   8
9 Jhony Brito   7
9 Jhonatan Munoz   7
9 Glenn Otto   7
9 Mitch Spence   7
1 Wilser Barrios   0.92
2 Stephen Ridings   1.24
3 Ruben Castillo   1.38
4 Alfred Vega   1.7
5 Greg Weissert   1.72
6 Ron Marinaccio   1.76
7 Janson Junk   1.78
8 Sebastian Perrone   1.8
9 Reggie McClain   1.84
10 Clay Aguilar   1.9
1 Luis Garcia   11
1 Derek Craft   11
3 Greg Weissert   6
3 Nick Ernst   6
5 Trevor Holloway   5
5 Nelvin Correa   5
5 Carson Coleman   5
8 Ron Marinaccio   4
8 Addison Russ   4
10 Stephen Ridings   3
10 Ruben Castillo   3
10 Zach Greene   3
10 Justin Wilson   3
1 Hayden Wesneski   119.1
2 Jhony Brito   116.2
3 Matt Sauer   111.1
4 Ken Waldichuk   110
5 Randy Vasquez   107.1
6 Luis Medina   106.1
7 Mitch Spence   105
8 Shawn Semple   104
9 Josh Maciejewski   101.1
10 Matt Krook   101
  Strike Outs    
1 Ken Waldichuk   163
2 Hayden Wesneski   139
3 Luis Medina   133
4 Randy Vasquez   130
5 Matt Sauer   127
6 Matt Krook   125
7 Shawn Semple   123
8 JP Sears   122
9 Jhony Brito   118
9 Mitch Spence   118
1 Ruben Castillo   0.538
2 Stephen Ridings   0.69
3 Clay Aguilar   0.788
4 Ron Marinaccio   0.864
5 Wilser Barrios   0.915
6 Janson Junk   0.959
7 Yoendrys Gomez   0.972
8 Elvis Peguero   0.992
9 Sebastian Perrone   1
9 Sean Boyle   1
1 Nick Ernst   15.2
1 Allen Facundo   15.1
3 Yarison Ruiz   14.7
4 Ron Marinaccio   14.1
5 Zach Greene   13.7
6 Glenn Otto   13.7
7 Pedro Rodriguez   13.5
8 Ken Waldichuk   13.3
9 Denny Larrondo   13.3

2 years ago  ::  Sep 30, 2021 - 12:42PM #302
Posts: 25,368

Oswaldo Cabrera’s power surge has him on doorstep to majors

by: Dan Kelly SB Nation: Pinstripe Alley

After being described as "overpowered" as recently as a few years ago, Oswaldo Cabrera has flipped the script and is slugging the ball all over the upper levels of the system.

Listed at just 5-foot 10 and 145 pounds, Oswaldo Cabrera joined the Yankees in July 2015 with none of the hype that surrounded the team’s star-studded class from the year prior. His small stature carried an impressive bat that produced early on, as Cabrera rose through the system by jumping levels ahead of many peers from his age group. This season, Cabrera’s bat has impacted the game with some of the best power numbers in the Yankees system, and he is now within sight of reaching The Show.

Cabrera’s ability to surpass his peers served him well until he reached Low-A Charleston in 2018; there, he was described in scouting reports as “physically overpowered,” as he struggled at the first full-season ball level. A promotion the next year to then-High-A Tampa seemed to be more of the same, as he entered the night of May 25, 2019 slashing .228/.263/.293 in his first 190 plate appearances of the season. That night in Bradenton, Florida the Tarpons took the field with some reinforcements in the form of rehabbing Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius. Making his first rehab appearance since Tommy John surgery, the major leaguer pushed Cabrera into a designated hitter role for the night and t kid began to turn his season around.

Cabrera’s box score read 0-for-4 at game’s end, but he started to find the hard contact that the Yankees’ coaches wanted to see from him. Leading off for the Tarpons that night, the switch-hitting Cabrera took his hacks from the left side and pounded two balls directly into a stiff Florida wind that died on the warning track. Another solid line drive ended up in the center fielder’s glove as well. It was not the type of contact that you would have expected to see from a player slugging just .293 up to that point in the season.

Building off that performance, Cabrera posted a .434 slugging percentage and a 130 wRC+ the rest of the way with seven home runs. Those numbers do not jump off the page, but they represented were a serious turnaround from where he started his campaign.

Yankees minor league hitting coach Joe Migliaccio said in an interview with Pinstripe Alley that Cabrera was “such a good player; he is younger than league average, but he is incredibly mature for his age ... He just hit the ball harder, he hit the ball more consistently hard, he hit it higher, fewer ground balls, and he made better swing decisions.”

During the lost pandemic season, Cabrera remained in the United States, as he was unable to return to his native Venezuela. Like many of the Yankees prospects, evaluators did not see him play because there was no organized instructional league for the team prospects who remained in the United States. Cabrera was also not invited to the alternate training site.

Coming into 2021, Cabrera began the season slowly with with Double-A Somerset, hitting just .216. Despite the slow start, he left the Patriots to join Venezuela’s national team, which attempted to qualify for the Olympics in late-May and early-June.

After a two-week absence, Cabrera returned and started producing an impact that very few people outside of the organization ever saw coming. In the 93 games since returning, Cabrera has slugged .555, with 24 home runs and 27 doubles. His swing has found some serious power, and those balls that were dying in the Florida wind in 2019 are now leaving the stadium with plenty of room to spare.

Cabrera has maintained his power display, even after a late promotion following the end of Somerset’s season. Since joining the RailRiders, he has homered three times in his first five games at the Triple-A level.

On the defensive side, Cabrera played more games at both third and second than anyone else for Double-A Somerset this season. Additionally, only top prospect Oswald Peraza played more games at shortstop than Cabrera. He is a true utility option who can play anywhere on the diamond. That utility provides a value in its own right, but when it comes with a bat that can instantly change a game, it becomes a very appealing option. Cabrera is Rule-5 eligible this offseason and has made a strong case for a 40-man roster spot with the Yankees.

Oswaldo Cabrera has tapped into a power surge that not many analysts ever envisioned. He is up to 27 home runs on the season after hitting just 22 combined in his first four professional seasons. His versatility around the infield gives him multiple paths to the majors if the opportunity presents itself.

2 years ago  ::  Oct 01, 2021 - 10:30AM #303
Posts: 25,368

Yankees' future star named MLB Pipeline’s Hitting Prospect of Year t.co/JFh1otjIl0

Kansas City Royals’ prospects Bobby Witt Jr., Nick Pratto, and RJ Melendez all hit 30 homers, and the shortstop was very close to a 30-30 season. Spencer Torkelson and Riley Greene were brilliant in the Detroit Tigers’ fans, Triston Casas and Jarren Duran were spectacular for the Boston Red Sox, and so on. There were many hitting prospects with marvelous performances in 2021, but none of them better than New York Yankees’ shortstop Anthony Volpe.

The Yankees’ top prospect was named MLB Pipeline’s 2021 Hitting Prospect of the Year after breaking out and reaching two levels: Low-A Tampa and High-A Hudson Valley.

Baltimore Orioles’ righty Grayson Rodriguez is the Pitching Prospect of the Year.

The Yankees’ top prospect had a season to remember

Volpe, the Yankees’ first-round pick in 2019, hit .294/.423/.604 with 27 home runs, 33 stolen bases, a 1.027 OPS and 170 wRC+. He hit a whopping 68 extra-base hits between the two levels.

The Yankees’ coaches and minor league managers are thoroughly impressed with his progress this year.

“He stays on the ball for a really long time, but his attacking ability is great,” said Hudson Valley manager Dan Fiorito to MLB.com. ”He finds a way to get the ball in the air and drive line drives to all fields. He has a great ability to keep the ball off the ground.”

His swing has earned him high praise around the organization.

“Honestly, it feels natural,” the player said. “I never consciously thought to have more launch angle or stuff like that. I just feel like I can get to a lot more pitches, and when I’m hitting the ball hard — and I’ve been hitting the ball a lot harder — those balls that probably would have been doubles or singles in years past, a couple of those are going over the fence now.”

The Yankees hope he can be ready to take over shortstop for the big league club at some point in 2022 or 2023.

2 years ago  ::  Oct 02, 2021 - 9:44AM #304
Posts: 25,368

Baseball America ranks Volpe, Dominguez among best Low-A prospects

by: Tab Bamford Elite Sports NY

Baseball America ranks Volpe, Dominguez among best Low-A prospects first appeared on Elite Sports NY, the Voice, the Pulse of New York City sports.

Anthony Volpe

Volpe, Dominguez made a strong impression this year. 

Baseball America recently ranked the top ten prospects who made a strong impression in the Low-A Southeast League in 2021.

Once again, two future New York Yankees were prominently mentioned: shortstop Anthony Volpe and Jasson Dominguez.

Here’s where Volpe and Dominguez ranked in BA’s top ten and what they had to say about two of the Yankees’ top prospects.

1. Anthony Volpe, SS

In 199 ABs with Tampa in Low-A this season, Volpe slashed .302/.455/.623 with 12 home runs, 56 runs scored and 49 RBI. He also walked (51) more times than he struck out (43).

Comments: “Volpe’s 2019 season—muted by a bout of mononucleosis—left plenty of questions about what the Yankees had in their first-round pick. After using the lost 2020 season to gain strength, Volpe put together one of the finest seasons in the minors.

“Volpe shined brightly at the plate, where he used an mature approach to work his way into advantageous counts and force pitchers to give him pitches to drive.

“Scouts and opposing managers rave about Volpe’s combination of hitting ability and power, which helped him become the only player in the minor leagues with more than 25 home runs and more than 30 stolen bases.

“There are questions about whether Volpe will stick at shortstop, mostly because his arm strength might be better suited at second base. The same exceptional makeup he showed working remotely in 2020 could help keep him at shortstop.”

Jasson Dominguez

7. Jasson Dominguez, OF

In his first season of professional baseball, Dominguez made history as the least experienced player to appear in the All-Star Futures Game. He was also the youngest to appear in the game since Vladimir Guerrero, Jr.

For his season in Low-A, Dominguez slashed .258/.346/.477 over 186 ABs. He hit five home runs, scored 26 runs and drove in 18 runs. Dominguez also stole seven bases in ten attempts.

Comments: “The No. 1 international prospect signed in 2019, Dominguez held his own in his long-awaited pro debut, spent mostly at Low-A. He even earned a spot in the Futures Game.

“Those impressed with Dominguez cited the fluidity to his movements and the impact he made when he made contact. He posted an average and maximum exit velocities of 85.8 and 111.7 mph. He also showed a strong work ethic, as well as an even keel during the ups and downs of the season.

“Evaluators showed concern about how thick and stocky his body has become, leading to questions whether he can stick in center field. He still shows enough speed to play there but needs to continue to add polish to his jumps and routes. His above-average arm would fit in right field.

“More than anything, the 2021 season finally provided Dominguez the reps he needed to begin kicking off the rust he’d accumulated during the gap between signing and making his debut.”

2 years ago  ::  Oct 03, 2021 - 10:30AM #305
Posts: 25,368

Yankees: Anthony Volpe winning minors’ highest honor more great news

by: Adam Weinrib Fansided: Yanks Go Yard

It’s difficult to do better than “best,” right, Yankees fans?

We haven’t seen a meteoric rise from a previously-unheralded prospect like Anthony Volpe’s in quite a while.

Though the New Jersey high school shortstop was a first-round pick, he wasn’t a very ballyhooed one, instead being viewed as a safe, glove-first selection at the tail end of the round.

Other perennial contenders tend to find gems from such a draft position, but the Yankees…not so much. We’ve all just accepted they’ll take a flawed wild card, with players like Noah Syndergaard, Michael Kopech, Jack Flaherty and, yes, Aaron Judge coming from the compensation round just behind their initial selection.

Though one season isn’t a be all, end all, Volpe may very well have bucked this trend.

That “one season” was deemed the most special in all of minor-league baseball by MLB Pipeline this week, as the 20-year-old took home the Hitting Prospect of the Year honors from the esteemed staff at MLB.com.

Yankees star prospect Anthony Volpe has won Hitter of the Year at the minor-league level.

We’ve been staring at his unbelievable numbers all year — along with, let’s be honest, the unbelievable numbers of a lot of Yankees prospects — but even we thought that someone else would get this honor.

Adley Rutschman? Spencer Torkelson? Julio Rodriguez? Bobby Witt Jr.? A bigger name?

Nope. Volpe smashed down the wall, so he gets the nod.

The kid shortstop combined brilliant defense with — are you ready for this? — 27 homers, 86 RBI, a .294 average, a .423 OBP and a 1.027 OPS across Low-A and High-A. If only the season were longer, Volpe might’ve notched 30/30, too, as he finished with an amazing 33 steals (he was caught nine times).

Oh, and he has a bit of a Jeterian Flair for the Dramatic in him, too.

While Volpe won’t be fast-tracked to the Bronx — he’ll be ready when he’s ready — his emergence might change the team’s free agency calculus this offseason.

Maybe they’ll be in the Corey Seager market with the intention of shifting him to third, but does Brian Cashman really want to commit seven years to a shortstop with Volpe (and Oswald Peraza) on the horizon. Tough call to make. Glad we don’t have to make it. We’ll just admire the hardware and nod our heads at a pick the Yankees seem to have gotten very right.

2 years ago  ::  Oct 06, 2021 - 1:43PM #306
Posts: 25,368

Austin Wells headlines Yankees’ 2021 AFL contingent

by: Kevin Winterhalt SB Nation: Pinstripe Alley

New York sends a cadre of young players to fall ball for more seasoning

Earlier this morning, Major League Baseball announced the Arizona Fall League rosters for 2021. Like everyone else, the Yankees are sending several young players to Arizona. This season, the Yankees’ prospects will don the colors of the Surprise Saguaros. Dan will have more on these prospects later in the week, but here’s the quick rundown on which minor leaguers will be in The Grand Canyon State.

Two of the eight Baby Bombers headed to Arizona appear on the team’s Top 30 prospects list per MLB Pipeline. Austin Wells, the Yankees’ sixth-best prospect, is undoubtedly the headliner of the cadre headed to fall ball. The 22-year-old catcher was drafted 28th overall by New York in 2020 and split his 2021 campaign between Low-A Tampa and High-A Hudson Valley.

By the time the season ended, the back of Wells’ baseball card featured 16 homers, a .390 OBP, and an .867 OPS. His wRC+ at both levels was above 130; it’s unclear if he’ll stick behind the plate, but the bat has serious potential.

Another well-regarded prospect in the mix is 23-year-old outfielder Elijah Dunham. Ranked No. 24 in the system by the same group, the undrafted free agent from 2020 also spent the season split between Low-A and High-A ball, where he hit 13 home runs, stole 28 bases, and compiled an .825 OPS.

Other Baby Bombers joining Dunham and Wells in the AFL will be:

  • RHP Blaine Abeyta (Low-A)
  • RHP Harold Cortijo (Low-A)
  • RHP Zach Greene (Double-A)
  • RHP Tanner Myatt (Low-A; was on IL)
  • LHP Clay Aguilar (Low-A)
  • 1B/3B Andres Chaparro (High-A; .849 OPS in 101 G between A-ball levels)

The current contingent of Yankees has an opportunity to build on the club’s tradition of success at the AFL. Three current or former Yankees have departed fall baseball with the AFL Most Valuable Player award. Eric Duncan in 2005, Greg Bird in 2014, and Gleyber Torres in 2016 all collected the accolade. Hopefully one of this year’s crop of prospects can follow in their footsteps.

While the Yankees’ season is ignominiously ended too soon, Yankees fans still have something to cheer for as a new batch of Baby Bombers continue their climb to The Show with a stop at the AFL.

2 years ago  ::  Oct 07, 2021 - 10:28AM #307
Posts: 25,368

MLB To Require Vaccinations For All Minor League Players Prior To 2022 Season

Major League Baseball is preparing a policy that will require all minor league players to be vaccinated against COVID-19 prior to the start of next season, Yahoo Sports’ Hannah Keyser reports.  The news comes just a few weeks after the league’s requirement that all players participating in the Arizona Fall League be vaccinated.

Because minor leaguers aren’t part of the players union until they have actually played in the big leagues, MLB can issue mandates covering all of minor league baseball even though some players within the farm system have already made appearances in The Show and/or are on 40-man rosters.  The league would need the MLB Players Association to agree to a vaccination policy to cover all union members and MLB players in 2022 and beyond, and it could be that the AFL and minor league edicts are the first steps towards stricter policies the Commissioner’s Office could be planning for the coming season.

Many players have already received the vaccine, of course, and 24 of the 30 teams have already had their in-season COVID-19 protocols relaxed since 85 percent of players, coaches, and medical staff were fully vaccinated.  Getting any of the 30 teams to a 100 percent vaccination rate (or even the six holdout teams to an 85 percent rate) might not be possible, however, without MLB and the MLBPA signing off on a mandate covering all Major League personnel.

2 years ago  ::  Oct 07, 2021 - 10:36AM #308
Posts: 25,368

 Kudos go out to infield prospect Oswaldo Cabrera, who was named the MVP for his outstanding season with the Double-A Somerset Patriots. In 109 games, he hit .256/.311/.492 with 24 homers and a 114 wRC+ as Somerset led its division in its first season of affiliated ball.

Oh, and since that wasn’t enough, Cabrera also won back-to-back Player of the Week team honors during his late-season stint in Triple-A Scranton (.500/.583/1.133 with 5 homers in 9 games). What a year!

2 years ago  ::  Oct 09, 2021 - 10:18AM #309
Posts: 25,368

Ballpark Digest | Kevin ReichardThe Staten Island Yankees, once a short-season affiliate of the big league team, were eliminated last year when Minor League Baseball underwent a restructuring. But starting in 2022, the ballpark at St. George will host a new team that will compete in the independent Atlantic League. The ownership group of the new franchise has solicited fan suggestions for a new team name that “captures the spirit of the borough” and “reflects the strength and heritage of Staten Island.” The three finalists, chosen from among 2,000 submissions, were revealed earlier in the week: Ferry Hawks, Harbor Heroes, and Dragon Slayers. Voting ends next week and the final team name will be announced in mid-November.

2 years ago  ::  Oct 09, 2021 - 12:35PM #310
Posts: 25,368

A closer look at the Yankees’ prospects heading to the Arizona Fall League

by: Dan Kelly SB Nation: Pinstripe Alley

The Yankees are sending a mix of strong performers and high-upside prospects to the Arizona Fall League in 2021.

The Yankees announced their Arizona Fall League roster earlier this week with a marquee prospect name and a number of players looking to build off of their 2021 seasons. The AFL at one point was considered a finishing school for top prospects, as it was almost exclusively made up of players coming from the Triple-A and Double-A levels. In recent years though, the rules have been relaxed to allow for more players at the Class-A levels to play in the league, but there are still loads of talented players heading to the desert to start the season next week.

Headlining the Yankees class is their sixth-ranked prospect, Austin Wells. The catcher posted a strong offensive season, hitting .264/.390/.476 with 16 home runs. He earned strong reviews for his bat against both Low-A and High-A pitching during the year, but it is unlikely that his assignment is based on his bat.

Questions about Wells’ defense were brought up before he was even drafted by the Yankees, when multiple evaluators questioned his ability to stick behind the plate. That narrative continued to grow through the 2021 season, as numerous scouts who saw Wells play behind the plate came away less than impressed with his overall defensive package. Wells allowed 98 stolen bases while only throwing out 14 runners during his time behind the plate this year, a poor rate at any level of play. His play in Arizona could be a chance for him to either improve on his catching ability, or possibly try out a new position, as he played some first base and outfield during his time in college.

One of the Yankees’ most recognizable undrafted free agents was left-handed outfielder Elijah Dunham who likely would have gone off the board within a round or two if the 2020 draft had been extended past five rounds. The Indiana University alumnus got off to a hot start and finished the season with a .263/.362/.463 line with 13 home runs and 28 stolen bases in 33 attempts. Dunham was one of the first players pulled up to High-A within the Yankees’ organization and performed well at both Class-A levels and is now ranked as the team’s 24th-best prospect by MLB.com.

Left-handed pitcher Clay Aguilar was one of the most impressive pitchers in the Yankees’ system this past year. The undrafted free agent made his professional debut and in 46 innings with Low-A Tampa, he pitched to a 2.15 ERA, with 66 strikeouts and just 11 walks. He earned a late-season promotion to High-A Hudson Valley and in his one outing, tossed six scoreless innings. After throwing just 52 innings combined on the season, Aguilar will be looking to carry his success to the AFL against a generally higher level of competition in an offense-friendly environment.

Zach Greene is a hard-throwing relief pitcher who put up strong strikeout numbers at High-A Hudson Valley and Double-A Somerset this season. On the season, he pitched 59.2 innings with 91 strikeouts and just 21 walks. He has the potential to open next season on the doorstep of the major leagues after being the eighth-round pick of the Yankees in the 2019 draft.

Joining Dunham and Wells on the offensive side of the ball is a player who was alongside both players for most of the 2021 season, Andres Chaparro. After signing with the Yankees in 2015 as an international free agent, Chaparro has consistently reached base for the organization, but has struggled to generate much impact on the baseball hitting just 17 home runs in his first four seasons. This year, Chaparro found his power stroke, belting 15 home runs between Low-A Tampa and High-A Hudson Valley, while still putting up an impressive .381 on-base percentage. Chaparro spent time manning both third base and first-base on the season and finished with a flourish, posting a 1.100 OPS in his last 14 games of the season.

Blane Abeyta’s overall numbers for 2021 don’t look too impressive, as he registered a 5.37 ERA between the Florida Coast League and Low-A Tampa. He finished strong with 28 strikeouts and a .134 BAA over his last 19.2 innings pitched. He also improved on his control issues from earlier in the season, walking just seven batters in that four-game stretch to finish the campaign. The undrafted free agent from the 2020 draft will be looking to build off his strong finish to 2021.

After a strong start to his Yankees career, Harold Cortijo has struggled to find the strike zone since going down with an injury while pitching for Low-A Charleston in 2019. Last winte,r Cortijo pitched in the Puerto Rican Winter League, but was largely ineffective, due to a 9.8 BB/9 rate. That lack of control manifested itself again this season as he walked 10.2 BB/9 while pitching in the FCL and with Low-A Tampa.

Tall right hander Tanner Myatt continues to have one of the most electric arms in the Yankees organization, as opponents have hit just .169 off him in his minor league career. He continues to battle control problems, walking 70 batters in 77 career innings. While working in relief this year, he went down with an injury causing him to miss the second half of the season. He will be looking to pick up more innings and improve on his command and control in Arizona.

The Yankees are sending a mix of high-upside and and strong-performing prospects to the Arizona Fall League. Wells will garner most of the attention as the Yankees prospects play for the Surprise Saguaros alongside prospects from the Reds, Royals, Rangers and Nationals but anyone from the contingent is capable of taking a major step forward. No longer just a finishing school for major league ready prospects, the AFL is another opportunity for these young players to take the lessons of the regular season and put them into action as they try to climb towards the major leagues.

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