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Sticky: Yankees Minor League Updates
3 weeks ago  ::  Nov 09, 2023 - 9:45AM #2241
Posts: 28,481

MLB.com | Jesse Borek: Among the Yankees’ prosects taking part in this year’s Arizona Fall League is shortstop Caleb Durbin, who’s on the verge of a bit of history. Through 21 games in Arizona, Durbin has racked up 20 steals, putting him within reach of the league record: Rick Holifield with 24 in 1994. Add in ones from his regular minor league season, and he’s nearing 60 in 2023, which has been a very impressive campaign for Durbin.

As any astute basestealer will point out, it’s the act of reaching base that sets the tone. And Durbin has certainly done that during his time in Arizona, slashing .351/.463/.558 while ranking in the Top 8 of all three categories league-wide. It’s been a whirlwind 12 months for the Illinois native, who has already earned Yankees Organization All-Star honors and is looking to cap off 2023 with one more shuffle into the record books.

2 weeks ago  ::  Nov 12, 2023 - 8:26PM #2242
Posts: 28,481

Ben Cowles and Caleb Durbin; scorching the desert

The Yankees sent a relatively unheralded group of prospects to the desert this year for the Arizona Fall League. Somewhat unexpectedly, two of these prospects used this experience to significantly improve their stock.

With all of the talent in the AFL this season, few performed better than Caleb Durbin and Ben Cowles. Both finished in the top 10 in OPS. Each of them made their mark on the league and gave the Yankees’ brass something to think about.

Durbin, an athletic and speedy second baseman, finished the season with a .353/.456/.588/1.045 quad slash. He had three homeruns, nine doubles, a triple, and 21 stolen bases. Durbin is an incredible contact hitter and consistently walks more than he strikes out. This is the type of player the Yankees need now in the MLB. Whether the skills he has shown in the minors translates remains to be seen. He stole 36 bases in just 69 games in the minors this year and continued that aggression in the AFL.

Cowles had a respectable season in the minors this year but has exploded in the AFL. He hit .290/.405/.551/.956 with four homeruns, four doubles, a triple, and three stolen bases in 20 games. It’s a small sample size but projected over a full minor league season that would mean 20 homeruns, 20 doubles, and 20 steals. Cowles made a name for himself in the desert, and it has me excited to see what he can do in Double-A next year. He has a much higher strikeout rate than Durbin, but he is a patient hitter in his own right. He took 12 walks in the AFL and had an OBP of .405.

While it may seem that both of these players came out of nowhere, the reality is that both have always had the tools to put on this type of hitting display. Perhaps just as important, they both can field their positions well. Durbin plays a solid second base and Cowles holds his own at shortstop.

It’s great to see two players with relatively low expectations come out of the Arizona Fall League with higher hopes in the future. With increased confidence, hopefully the two will be a nice boost to the farm next season and make a name for themselves in 2024.

2 weeks ago  ::  Nov 13, 2023 - 12:49PM #2243
Posts: 28,481

Yankees Arizona Fall League Recap: Final week

Caleb Durbin stole the show this fall in Arizona

The 2023 Arizona Fall League came to an end on Saturday, with the Surprise Sagueros taking the championship game. San Diego Padres’ prospect Jakob Marsee took home Most Valuable Player honors. The Mesa Solar Sox, host of the eight Yankee farmhands the club sent to the desert, finished the season 14-16 and missed the playoffs.

As for those Yankees youngsters, Caleb Durbin was the story of the fall. He entered the final two games with 20 stolen bases, putting him in striking range of the all-time AFL record of 24. He didn’t quite make it, managing one steal before the season came to an end. Combined with his 36 swipes during the regular season, Durbin stole 57 bags total in 2023.

As impressive as his baserunning was, it’s part of a larger story. He finished the fall with twice as many walks as strikeouts, and posted a 1.044 OPS. He capped also his AFL with his third home run in Mesa’s finale.

Durbin advanced as far as Double-A Somerset in 2023. It’ll be worth keeping an eye on him in 2024, to see if he continues to build on a brilliant fall.

Fellow infielder Ben Cowles also shone this fall. Cowles spent all but three games of 2023 at Single-A before heading to Mesa, where he hit four home runs this fall and posted a .956 OPS. It is important to note that Cowles showed a lot of swing-and-miss, whiffing 24 times in 69 at-bats.

That seems to be the norm, as Cowles struck out in almost one-third of his regular season at-bats. A strikeout rate that elevated likely does not bode well for the future, but if he can drive the ball, no one will complain and at the very least, he seems like important organization middle infield depth.

Outside of those two guys, no one else really distinguished themselves this fall. Matt Sauer, who is Rule 5 eligible this fall, showed good stuff and had good peripheral numbers. But the overall results were inconsistent, and after missing a chunk of 2023 due to injury, it feels unlikely that the Yankees will protect Sauer with a move onto the 40-man roster this offseason.

2022 third-round pick Trystan Vrieling is another hurler who missed a considerable part of 2023 due to injury. Like Sauer, he at least managed to get a few innings in this fall, though both his peripherals and results were not great. He’s least healthy and hopefully has a full 2024 season ahead of him.

Kevin Stevens might be least-known name New York sent to Mesa, but he had one of the best fall campaigns of Yankee pitchers. Pitching exclusively out of the bullpen, he tossed 7.1 innings, whiffing 10 opposing hitters. He also missed the entire 2023 regular season with injuries.

Baron Stuart and Nolberto Henriquez both struggled mightily in limited appearances on the mound, as did Nelson Medina at the plate. None of the three figure to play prominent parts in the Yankees’ long-term plans, but hopefully they’re all more successful in 2024.

Last year, TJ Rumfeld and Tyler Hardman had fantastic fall seasons, and then built on them in 2023. With any luck, Durbin and Cowles can find a similar path this coming season. At the least, we should see the former’s name pop up on some prospect lists when those start coming out.

2 weeks ago  ::  Nov 14, 2023 - 10:52PM #2244
Posts: 8,238

Today the Yankees added both RHP Clayton Beeter and C/1B Agustin Ramirez to the 40-man roster, protecting them from being selected in the Rule 5 Draft. The following players were left unprotected and are eligible to be selected in the Rule 5:

Josh Breaux

Elijah Dunham

Brandon Lockridge

Sean Boyle

Mitch Spence

Anthony Seigler

Matt Sauer

Carson Coleman

Edgar Barclay

Ryan Anderson

Aaron Palensky

Antonio Gomez

Alexander Vargas

Jesus Rodriguez

Christopher Familia

Jared Serna

Yorlin Calderon

Luis Velasquez

2 weeks ago  ::  Nov 17, 2023 - 4:34PM #2245
Posts: 8,238

The Yankees traded Jake Bauers to Milwaukee in exchange for minor league OFers Jace Avina and Brian Sanchez.

Avina, 20, was a 14th round pick by the Brewers in 2021 out of Spanish Springs HS (Sparks, NV). He bats and throws right-handed. Through 2 minor league seasons Avina has played in 163 games between rookie and A ball slashing .249/.381/.488 (.869 OPS) with 29 homers, 34 doubles, 5 triples, 14 SB and 104 RBI. He has struck out 211 times in 667 PA (32%) and has drawn 83 BB (12%). He has played all 3 OF positions defensively in his brief pro career (65 in CF, 60 in LF and 29 in RF).

Sanchez, 19, is a native of Venezuela who got his first taste of pro ball in the Dominican Summer League in 2023. Playing as an 18 year old for the "DSL Brewers 1", Sanchez slashed .297/.414/.446 (.860 OPS) in 33 games with 0 homers, 7 doubles, 4 triples, 8 SB and 19 RBI. He had a promising 23:20 K:BB ratio in 128 plate appearances. Sanchez played mostly on the corners defensively (15 games in LF, 12 in RF and 1 in CF).

Here is a scouting report on Avina from MLB Pipeline where he was ranked the #29 prospect in the Brewers organization:


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