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Random Minor League Notes: 2022 Edition
2 days ago  ::  Sep 26, 2022 - 7:48AM #331
Posts: 20,881

Nestor's scoreless start puts ERA in rare club

NEW YORK -- It was the last game of a six-game homestand at Yankee Stadium. The fans were hoping that Aaron Judge would at least tie Roger Maris by hitting his 61st home run, an American League record. But Judge wasn’t able to hit a home run in a rain-shortened 2-0 victory over the Red Sox on Sunday night.

Instead, it was left-hander Nestor Cortes who highlighted the game. He pitched six scoreless innings, allowing one hit and two walks while striking out five batters. The only hit he surrendered came in the fourth inning, when Rob Refsnyder hit a ground-rule double to left field.

At first, Yankees manager Aaron Boone didn’t like the way Cortes was throwing the baseball. The skipper said Cortes was nibbling around the plate, a little off with his command and threw too many pitches (101). But Cortes had a different plan of attack while facing Boston for the third time this season.

“Across the league, everybody knows I’m a strike thrower,” Cortes said. “I faced Boston already. They already know my game plan and stuff I do, so I was nibbling a little bit to see how aggressive they are. It was kind of the attack I wanted to do today. It worked out.”

Cortes’ ERA dropped to 2.56. According to Elias Sports Bureau, Cortes’ ERA is the fourth lowest by a Yankee pitcher through their first 27 starts of a season in the divisional era, trailing only Ron Guidry (1.77 ERA in 1978), Steve Kline (1.97 ERA in 1972) and Mel Stottlemyre (2.51 ERA in 1969). Coming off his regular-season success, Cortes is expected to play a big role in the postseason.

“It’s an honor to be in that list,” Cortes said. “For me, to pitch the way I pitch and try to compete the way I compete every single day I’m out there, I just try to give my team a chance to win that game.”

Before he left the press conference, Cortes couldn’t help but talk about Judge. Cortes said his teammates want to see Judge make history by breaking Maris’ record. What has impressed Cortes is that Judge’s demeanor has never changed.

“[Judge] is always the same guy. You [don’t] even notice that he is about to hit his 61st home run,” Cortes said. “In the clubhouse, behind the scenes, he is the same guy. That’s what makes him so special. No matter if he is on a tear or he is struggling, he is the same guy always.

“We feed off that energy, too. No matter how good or bad you are doing, we have to keep it level for every other guy that is in there. Aaron Judge has been the same guy since day 1.”

13 hours ago  ::  Sep 27, 2022 - 10:33AM #332
Posts: 20,881

Yankees prospects: Week 25 minor league review

Six of the Yankees’ top nine prospects are playing in meaningful minor league games late into the season at the upper levels of the system. Austin Wells, Jasson Domínguez, and Anthony Volpe are all playing in big spots as their teams try to finish off the season strong. Let’s take a look at how Triple-A Scranton and Double-A Somerset fared over the last week.

Triple-A Scranton-Wilkes Barre RailRiders

Record: 81-65; Second place in the International League (East), 1.5 GB

Past Week: 4-2 vs. Lehigh Valley IronPigs

Coming Up: Home vs. Buffalo Bison

The RailRiders were 16-7 this month heading into yesterday’s doubleheader that they split against Buffalo, and yet over the last two weeks they have not been able to gain any more ground on first place Durham. Only the division winner advances to the playoffs and time is running short for a team that was once 15.5 games out in the division race.

Matt Krook set the RailRiders’ season record with his 155th strikeout of the season. He has been a streaky pitcher but has been especially good over his last 17 games, holding opponents to a .197 batting average. Blake Perkins had a big week, and he has been very strong at both the Double-A and Triple-A level this season.

Players of Note:

Anthony Volpe: 99 G; .269/.356/.487, 16 HR, 3 3B, 31 2B, 34 SB (Double-A and Triple-A)

Matt Krook: 17 G; 3.20 ERA, 84.1 IP, 59 H, 43 BB, .197 BAA

Armando Alvarez: 62 G; .312/.356/.566, 13 HR, 17 2B

Blake Perkins: 44 G; .296/.399/.549, 9 HR, 1 3B, 7 2B

Zach Greene: 16 G; 1.40 ERA, 25.2 IP, 13 H, 9 BB, 39 K

Jimmy Cordero: 30 G; 1.72 ERA, 36.2 IP, 24 H, 9 BB, 49 K

Double-A Somerset Patriots

Second-half Record: 39-28; Second place in the Eastern League (Northeast), 3.0 GB

Overall Record: 83-53; First-half Champion in the Eastern League (Northeast); Best Full Season record in the Eastern League

Past Week: 2-0 vs. Portland Sea Dogs (Advanced to Eastern League Championship)

0-1 vs. Erie SeaWolves (Best-of-three Eastern League Championship)

Coming Up: Home vs. Erie SeaWolves (Pirates)

The Patriots return home on Tuesday night with their Championship hopes on the line. They dropped a closely contested game on Saturday night in Erie and will now have to hold serve at home to bring home an Eastern League Championship.

Prior to getting to the series with Erie, the Patriots disposed of the Portland Sea Dogs in two straight games. In the first game of the series, Somerset put nine runs on the board without a single extra base hit. Elijah Dunham led the way by going 4-for-5 on the night, while the pitching staff behind Randy Vasquez held down the Portland lineup. Clayton Beeter followed with another strong outing, but that game turned into a back-and-forth affair that went into extra innings. Outfielder Brandon Lockridge came through with a walk-off hit in the 10th inning to lock in the series victory.

Players of Note:

Jasson Domínguez: 93 G; .290/.409/.490, 13 HR, 7 3B, 14 2B, 33 SB

Clayton Beeter: 8 G; 2.08 ERA, 30.1 IP, 18 H, 14 BB, 47 K

Austin Wells: 54 G; .280/.381/.512, 12 HR, 1 3B, 10 2B, 7 SB

Tyler Hardman: 36 G; .281/.327/.534, 9 HR, 2 3B, 6 2B

8 hours ago  ::  Sep 27, 2022 - 3:34PM #333
Posts: 20,881

Yankees prospect you’ve never heard of just led all minor-leaguers in WHIP

The New York Yankees may have significantly thinned out their upper-level pitching depth by trading Ken WaldichukLuis Medina, Hayden Wesneski, and JP Sears. But just because an advanced class has departed doesn’t mean a new group isn’t right behind them, ready to contribute.

Say what you will about Brian Cashman’ decision to put all his eggs in Frankie Montas’ basket, but the Yankees’ system works, developing those four productive arms in recent years alongside Clarke Schmidt and Luis Gil. Turns out, these days, the Deivi Garcias of the world might be the bugs in the system, not the standard result.

New York’s minor-league pitching development corps was the reason Cashman was alright with exiling that list of top arms, and several breakout starters and relievers throughout the organization have shown flashes in 2022 that they might be prepared to lead the next generation.

Top-10 prospect Yoendrys Gomez has gotten a lot of buzz after his recent return from injury, and names like Will Warren and Randy Vasquez were both tossed around as likely deadline trade pieces/breakouts before they ultimately stuck in the organization. More than anywhere else, though, the Yankees have shined in the bullpen since mid-2021, promoting Schmidt, Ron Marinaccio, Greg Weissert and Stephen Ridings to help the cause.

Little did we know that they have yet to touch the minors’ leader in WHIP for the 2022 season, who still lurks somewhere below the 40-man. Has anyone been paying attention to Double-A Somerset’s Matt Minnick?

Yankees lefty Matt Minnick led all minor-leaguers in WHIP at Double-A

Minnick, a 23rd-round pick out of Mercyhurst College in Pennsylvania back in 2019, has made the most of his age-26 season, to say the least. The left-handed artist’s campaign is his first venture above High-A, where he struggled, by and large, in 2021 (4.40 ERA, 25 walks in 45 innings for a 1.40 WHIP).

The strikeouts were always there, though, as Minnick whiffed 66 batters in The Year Before the Breakout. This season, he’s put everything together, striking out fewer batters (a serviceable 63 in 61 total Double-A innings), but harnessing his stuff and improving both his control and command significantly.

Minnick’s most ridiculous stretch of the season featured a jaw-dropping 0.28 ERA over a 31.1-inning span, but even without the fireworks, he’s still maintained a minors-best 0.75 WHIP, allowing just 27 hits, 19 walks, and four hit batters during the regular season.

The Yankees’ soft-tossing lefties in the minors, especially Minnick and Triple-A’s Matt Krook, haven’t gotten quite as much shine as their right-handed counterparts.

With numbers like these, though, it’s safe to say Minnick’s left-handed consistency may be directly behind Greg Weissert’s wipeout slider on the minor-league breakout promotion pecking order.

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