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Random Minor League Notes: 2022 Edition
1 year ago  ::  Apr 23, 2022 - 9:53AM #231
Posts: 25,506

NJ.com | Brendan Kuty: Anthony Volpe gives up a lot in body mass to Aaron Judge, but the prospect’s fitness and workout regimen, as well as his dedication to the science of hitting, has impressed the Yankees superstar. Volpe’s journey from relatively-unheralded-first-round-pick to Top 10 prospect is one of modern player development and using the tools available — Volpe’s a self-admitted film room nerd and that can only help him on his path to the Bronx.

1 year ago  ::  Apr 23, 2022 - 9:56AM #232
Posts: 25,506

Yankees prospects in High-A are missing bats and turning heads

Hudson Valley’s pitching staff has caught eyes with their high strikeout rate, among the best in the Sally League.

Last season, the High-A Hudson Valley Renegades were the launching point for several breakout pitching performances, including those of Hayden Wesneski and Ken Waldichuk, who both now frequently rank among the Yankees’ best prospects. This year, the Renegades once again appear to have a strong roster, as their pitching staff is proving to be among the best in the South Atlantic League at missing bats and displaying the type of nasty pitches that will continue to play at a higher level.

The Renegades are near the top of the Sally League in strikeouts with over 12 a game through their first dozen contests. Under the guidance of pitching coach Spencer Medick, the staff is made up of players who have emerged from different paths and timelines to prove proficient at fanning opposing batters.

Leading the way in the early going is one of the newest members of the Yankees organization, Will Warren. Selected in the eighth round of the 2021 MLB Draft, Warren did not generate the same amount of attention as those players picked above him. However, reports began to surface during minor league spring training that the 22-year-old had impressed the Yankees player development staff, and an aggressive promotion to High-A to start the season followed. Warren has struck out 19 batters in his first 13 innings this season.

The right-hander has displayed a strong fastball and flashes the wicked slider that is quickly becoming a hallmark of the Yankees’ system.

Also off to a fast start is the Yankees’ second-round pick from 2017, Matt Sauer. Highly-touted out of high school during his draft year, Tommy John surgery in 2019 and the lost 2020 campaign set Sauer’s development path back on his way through the organization.

After logging 111.1 innings in 2021, Sauer appears poised for a jump forward in the system at age 23. He is off to a good start to the season, striking out 17 batters in his first 10.2 innings. He has not worked very deep into games yet but is limiting the damage with just a 2.53 ERA.

Sauer uses a strong mid-90’s fastball and slider combination. There are scouts who have envisioned him as a righty reliever for years, but the improvement in his command and strike-throwing will be something to watch moving forward.

Also logging big strikeout numbers thus far is fellow right-handed pitcher Beck Way. He was the Yankees’ fourth-round pick in 2020, after a year in the junior college ranks. He has recorded 16 strikeouts over 9.1 innings in his first two starts.

Way uses a pair of fastballs that started hitting the upper-90s last season to set up a slider that is developing quickly. Along with Warren and Sauer, he is a strong candidate to break out this season and improve his prospect stock.

Hudson Valley’s lofty position near the top of the league in strikeouts is not the product of just three pitchers, though. Of the 14 Renegades who have appeared this season, only three have failed to average at least a strikeout per inning. With his plus command and changeup, Edgar Barclay has been able to keep the hitters off balancing and missing the ball in the early going. So has Tanner Myatt with his power pitching arsenal leading to 12 strikeouts in just 5.1 innings pitched (but also eight walks). The pool of pitching talent could get even deeper in the near future as former 38th-overall pick TJ Sikkema reportedly threw a bullpen earlier this week and could return soon to the Renegades rotation.

And we would be remiss if we didn’t at least mention recent viral sensation Wellington Diaz, a 24-year-old out of the Dominican Republic who has been with the Yankees since 2017. The overall numbers aren’t particularly notable just yet, but man, was his rendition of the Yankees organization’s signature pitch something:

The Hudson Valley Renegades have some outstanding arm talent on their roster. As is the case with most pitchers at the High-A level, many are still developing their command, control, a third pitch, and other traits that turn a pitching prospect into someone who potentially reach the major leagues.

The staff’s early tendency to miss bats and pitch effectively indicates that there are several potential breakout candidates coming from this level. We could quickly see them jumping to Double-A Somerset (if not further) depending on their progress in 2022.

1 year ago  ::  Apr 25, 2022 - 6:44PM #233
Posts: 25,506

DoTF: Winless week for Tampa as Dominguez struggles

Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders

The RailRiders dropped four of six on the road against Buffalo. SWB is 7-10 on the season, 3.5 games back in the International League East division.

  • A tad better: RHP Deivi García: 4.0 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 3 K — Could have been a lot worse, in fact. Loaded the bases with no one out in the first, but escaped without allowing a run. Second and third innings were also a struggle, but he did pitch a 1-2-3 frame in the fourth. Progress after two rough starts, I guess?
  • Going Down-Gil: RHP Luis Gil: 2.2 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 3 BB, 3 K — Like Deivi, he also escaped a bases full nobody out jam without allowing a run in the first. Had a 1-2-3 second inning before losing it in the third frame. Control’s been a mess for Gil, who has 9 walks and 2 wild pitches in 8 innings in 3 starts.
  • Krookie Monster: LHP Matt Krook: 4.1 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 6 BB, 7 K — Set down 6 of the first 7 hitters he faced, including 4 strikeouts. Fell apart in the fifth inning, when he issued 3 of his 6 free passes.
  • Back to the minors: LHP JP Sears: 2.1 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 K — Started Saturday, his first game in the minors this season since he made the Yankees’ Opening Day roster.
  • Hay Now: RHP Hayden Wesneski: 4.1 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 HBP, 2 BB, 6 K — Retired seven in a row before running into trouble in the fifth, when he walked and hit the first two batters. Reliever Zach Greene inherited those two runners and allowed them to score. These were the first two earned runs Wesneski has allowed this year, raising his ERA to 1.38 in 13 innings.
  • Killer B: LHP Manny Bañuelos: 5.2 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K — 31 year old has continued where he left off in spring training…Just 10 baserunners in 12.2 IP, including 12 strikeouts for SWB.
  • Yikes: SS Oswald Peraza: 0-14, BB, 4 K — That’ll put a dent in the season stat line…Hitting .152/.220/.261 (32 wRC+) with a 4% walk rate and 20% strikeout rate in 50 PA.
  • Prospect watch: IF Oswaldo Cabrera: 4-for-19, 2 R, 3 2B, BB, 5 K — Still searching for his power stroke…Cabrera hit 29 homers between Somerset (24) and SWB (5) last year, but none yet in 2022. Has a 65 wRC+ in 55 PA so far this season.
  • Miggy Missiles: LF Miguel Andújar  10-for-23, 4 R, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 2 BB, 3 K, SB — Well then…Would he be a better option than Tim Locastro for the major league bench? Miggy is up to .347/.396/.551 (156 wRC+) in 53 PA.
  • Uh oh, Flo: CF Estevan Florial: 2-for-20, R, 2 H, BB, 8 K, SB, CS — I just don’t think the bat-to-ball skills are ever going to come around, unfortunately. 32.1% K-rate in 56 PA after a 30.9% rate in Triple-A last year.
  • Leftovers: 1B Greg Bird hit his second homer of the year…LF Matt Pita launched two homers…IF Jose Peraza hit one of his own…RHP Zach Greene fanned 6 batters in 3.1 IP of relief, though he did give up two inherited runs as previously mentioned.

Double-A Somerset Patriots

Somerset went 2-4 against the YardGoats in Hartford last week. The Patriots are 9-6 and hold the best run differential in the Eastern League (+21).

  • Prospect watch: RHP Luis Medina: 2.2 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 HR, 2 BB, 4 K — Hasn’t completed three innings in any start yet, but he is getting ramped back up slowly. He threw 58 pitches.
  • Waldi Chucks: LHP Ken Waldichuk: 4.1 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 HR, 2 BB, 6 K — First two homers Waldichuk has allowed this season (14.1 IP)…He did have a 1.47 HR/9 in Double-A last year after not allowing a single dinger in 30.2 IP for Hudson Valley last season.
  • Starting Pitcher: RHP Mitch Spence: 5.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 5K — 2019 10th rounder only needed 66 pitches to complete five frames.
  • Starting Pitcher: RHP Sean Boyle: 3.1 IP, 8 H, 7 R, 7 ER, 3 HR, 1 BB, 3 K — That’s a lot of dingers for an outing.
  • Starting pitcher: RHP Jhony Brito: 2 GS, 9.1 IP, 9 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 10 K — The 24 year-old righty has always put up pretty good peripheralsthough it doesn’t seem like he’s much of a prospect given the lack of attention by various publications.
  • Future Shortstop: SS Anthony Volpe: 3-for-17, 5 R, HR, RBI, 7 BB, 7 K, 5 SB, 0 CS — That’s his second homer of the season (video above)…Strikeouts are higher than one would like (29.5%), but he is walking a good deal (14.8%) and now has 6 stolen bags after a big week on the basepaths. Some notes on Volpe at Baseball Prospectus this morning, by the way.
  • Monster week: OF Blake Perkins: 9-for-19, 8 R, 2 2B, 3B, 4 HR, 9 RBI, 2 BB, 3 K, 3 SB, 1 CS — He was Washington’s 2nd round pick back in 2015, and was most recently with the Royals’ organization before joining the Yankees this year. 25 year-old raised his wRC+ from 136 to 245 in a week.
  • Breaux No: C Josh Breaux: 4-for-23, 2 R, 2B, HR, 2 RBI, BB, 5 K — The good: that’s five homers in 59 plate appearances (.309 ISO). The bad: he’s still a bit one dimensional with low walk totals and too many strikeouts. If he can figure out the defensive side of things, there’s still hope for the 2018 second round draftee.
  • Leftovers: 3B Andres Chaparro picked up 2 singles and struck out 9 times…2B Derek Dietrich is back in the org, and he picked up a couple of doubles and a homer this week…CF Brandon Lockridge had a quiet week, with 4 hits (1 double) and 7 punchouts…RHP Nick Ernst struck out 7 of 12 batters faced in relief

High-A Hudson Valley Renegades

Hudson Valley took four of six from Brooklyn at home. The Renegades are 8-7.

  • Barclay Wows: LHP Edgar Barclay: 2 G, 1 GS, 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 13 K — 15th round pick in 2019 struck out 7 in 3 innings on the 19th and 6 in 4 innings on the 23rd. In case you’re wondering, FanGraphs pegged him as a likely low leverage reliever down the road with a great changeup.
  • Starting Pitcher: RHP Blas Castano: 3.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 2 K
  • Starting Pitcher: RHP Matt Sauer: 4.1 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 7 K — Former second round pick is off to a nice start with 17 strikeouts and 4 walks in 10.2 IP.
  • Starting Pitcher: RHP Will Warren: 5.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 HBP, 2 BB, 9 K — Third pro startand his best yet. Now has 19 Ks in 13 frames.
  • Starting Pitcher: RHP Blane Abeyta: 2 GS, 7 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 2 HBP, 3 BB, 10 K
  • First round watch: C Austin Wells: 7-for-14, 3 R, 2 2B, 4 BB, 3 K, 4 SB — Still searching for his first homer of the year, and oddly isn’t hitting much power at all (.089 ISO). Yet, the 135 wRC+ is good to see. The power will come.
  • Prospect watch: OF Everson Pereira: 3-for-20, 3 R, 2 RBI, 2 BB, 7 K, 3 SB — Tough week, but things have been pretty good so far for Pereira, who’s hitting .302/.403/.415 (129 wRC+) in 62 PA.
  • Leftovers: 2B Cooper Bowman reached base in 9 of 22 PA and swiped 4 bags…IF Eduardo Torrealba went 6-for-12 with a double and triple…OF Aldenis Sanchez reached base 7 times, stole base, and somehow managed not to score a run…RHP Tanner Myatt tossed 5 no hit innings in relief, walking 2 and fanning 9…RHP Carson Coleman recorded 2 saves and struck out 8 of 13 batters faced

Single-A Tampa Tarpons

Brutal week for the Tarpons, who were swept across six games at the hands of Clearwater. The worst of it was Saturday, when the offense struck out 22 times. 22! Tampa is now 6-9.

  • Carela: RHP Juan Carela: 3.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 HBP, 2 BB, 6 K — Went breaking ball heavy, offering his slider and curveball 55 percent of the time. Tallied 10 whiffs on 17 swings against those pitches.
  • RHP Yon Castro: 3.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 K — Four-seamer was pretty overpowering in spite of averaging just 92.6 MPH…Tallied 7 whiffs against 16 swings and a 45% CSW.
  • RHP Richard Fitts: 3.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 HBP, 7 K — Team’s sixth rounder from last summer’s second professional outing. Averaged 92.4 MPH on his four seamerbut found success at the top of the zone likely due to good spin on the pitch.
  • RHP Josue Panacual: 5.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 1 K — Took care of business thanks to plenty of soft contact (85 MPH average exit velo)…8 of 15 balls in play were grounders
  • RHP Tyrone Yulie: 3.2 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 1 HBP, 4 BB, 2 K — Touched 99, but his fastball seems to lack other dominant characteristics (low spin rate, for instance). That said, induced a ton of soft contact (83 MPH average exit velo) on 13 balls in play.
  • RHP Chandler Champlain: 3.2 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 6 K — Spun a 3,223 RPM slider in this one, sheesh. Last year’s ninth rounder stands 6-foot-5 with big stuff by the numbers, so he’s an intriguing arm to watch.
  • The Martian: OF Jasson Dominguez: 4-for-22, R, HR, RBI, 0 BB, 13 K, CS – Yikes. The home run appears to be an inside the parker popped down the left field line (308 feet, 38 degree launch angle, 91.5 MPH exit velo), but I can’t find any video. The strikeouts are incredibly alarming. He has a 38 percent K-rate and just a 2 percent walk rate, meanwhile he’s hitting 58 percent of batted balls on the ground.
  • Prospect Watch: SS Alexander Vargas: 2-for-17, 2 R, 2B, BB, 3 K, SB — Slow start (.184/.241/.306, 59 wRC+), but it is his first taste of full season ball. Give it time.
  • Prospect Watch: C Antonio Gomez: 4-for-15, 2B, RBI, 2 BB, 5 K — Dating back to last year, Gomez has 125 PA at this level and has hit .185/.296/.287 (71 wRC+) with a 28.8% K-rate.
  • Leftovers: It was a rough week offensively all around for the Tarpons…Another than Gomez, every regular had a batting average below .200 and an OPS below .500
1 year ago  ::  Apr 26, 2022 - 9:45AM #234
Posts: 25,506

Yankees Prospects: Week three minor league review

High-A Hudson Valley rode strong pitching and timely hitting to a series victory, while other individual performances stood out around the Yankees system.

It was an up-and-down week across the Yankees‘ system. High-A Hudson Valley rode strong pitching to a series win, while Double-A Somerset retained its share of first place in the Eastern League. Even on the teams that struggled throughout their respective series, individual performers stood out among their peers, including one Player of the Week performance.

Triple-A Scranton-Wilkes Barre RailRiders

Record: 7-10; Seventh place in the International League (East), 3.5 GB

Past Week: 2-4 vs. Buffalo Bison (Blue Jays)

Coming Up: Home vs. Lehigh Valley IronPigs (Phillies)

The RailRiders hit a skid of three consecutive losses to begin their six-game set against Buffalo before a pair of wins on the weekend helped temporarily change their fortunes. The team did receive strong starts from Hayden Wesneski and Manny Bañuelos, but those turned into losing efforts. Miguel Andújar had a big week with four multi-hit games and a pair of home runs, earning at least a temporary promotion back to the majors for Tuesday with Aaron Hicks on the paternity list. A historically slow starter, Oswaldo Cabrera’s bat also began to come alive as he hit doubles in each of the last three games of the series.

Players of Note:

Hayden Wesneski: 3 G; 1.38 ERA, 13 IP, 7 H, 4 BB, 14 K

Miguel Andújar: 13 G; .347/.396/.551, 3 HR, 2B

Manny Bañuelos: 3 G; 1.42 ERA, 12.2 IP, 5 H, 4 BB, 12 K

Shelby Miller: 6 G; 1.42 ERA, 6.1 IP, 4 H, 1 BB, 7 K

Double-A Somerset Patriots

Record: 9-6; Tied for first place in Eastern League (Northeast)

Past Week: 3-3 vs. Hartford Yard Goats (Rockies)

Coming Up: Home vs. Portland SeaDogs (Red Sox)

Blake Perkins joined the Yankees as an under-the-radar minor league free agent signing in mid-December, but he is playing at his highest level since turning pro in 2016. The former second-round draft pick — a solid prospect in the Nationals’ and Royals’ systems from 2016-19 — is finding himself revitalized in the Yankees’ organization. Entering this year, he had never hit more than eight home runs in a season, but after slugging a quartet of long balls against Hartford, he now has 5 homers in his first 12 games of 2022.

As a team, Somerset is leading the Eastern League in stolen bases, as they are 29-for-34 in the early going. Top prospect Anthony Volpe has been off to a tough start but is showing signs of getting going, as he walked seven times in the last six games with a leadoff home run also on Wednesday night. Volpe also swiped three bags on Friday alone.

Players of Note:

Ken Waldichuk: 3 G; 1.88 ERA, 14.1 IP, 9 H, 4 BB, 22 K

Mitch Spence: 2 G; 3.00 ERA, 9 IP, 8 H, 3 BB, 9 K

Blake Perkins: 11 G; .366/.422/.902, 5 HR, 3B, 5 2B, 4 SB – Eastern League Player of the Week

Jhony Brito: 3 G; 1.35 ERA, 13.1 IP, 12 H, 4 BB, 16 K

High-A Hudson Valley Renegades

Record: 8-7; Tied-Second place in the South Atlantic League (North), 2 GB

Past Week: 4-2 vs. Brooklyn Cyclones (Mets)

Coming Up: Home vs. Wilmington Blue Rocks (Nationals)

After splitting the first four games, the vaunted Hudson Valley pitching staff took over during the weekend, helping them to a series victory. The Renegades finished out the series with 21 scoreless innings, where they allowed just three hits in that span. Edgar Barclay and Blane Abeyta excelled as starters on the weekend and Austin Wells caught fire during the week to propel the offense. The 2020 first-round pick is riding a five-game hitting streak into the Renegades next series, and it’s not just a bunch of 1-for-4’s either — Wells has multiple hits in each of those five games.

Players of Note:

Austin Wells: 12 G; .311/.429/.400, 4 2B

Eduardo Torrealba: 9 G; .387/.441/.516, 2 2B, 3B

Edgar Barclay: 5 G; 1.42 ERA, 12.2 IP, 8 H, 1 BB, 19 K, 0.71 WHIP

Will Warren: 3 G; 3.46 ERA, 13 IP, 9 H, 5 BB, 19 K, 1.08 WHIP

Low-A Tampa Tarpons

Record: 6-9; Third place in the Florida State League (East Coast), 4 GB

Past Week: 0-6 vs. Clearwater Threshers (Phillies)

Coming Up: Home vs. Lakeland Flying Tigers

The Tarpons continue to struggle on offense in the early goings of the season. They scored just 6 runs on 27 hits over the last week (under five hits per game) and were shut out in back-to-back games on Friday and Saturday. In the latter contest, they ran into the buzzsaw otherwise known as 2021 No. 13 overall pick Andrew Painter, who struck out 14 batters in 5 innings of work.

A bright spot for the Tarpons is catcher Antonio Gomez, who has put together a six-game hitting streak that includes some very hard hit ball. Known for his elite arm behind the plate, Gomez struggled out of the gate but seems to be making stronger contact now. Jasson Dominguez finished with week strong with two hits in the final game, including his first home run of the season.

Players of Note:

Carlos Gomez: 4 G, 11 IP, 1.64 ERA, 8 H, 2 BB, 17 K

Josue Panacual: 3 G; 2.31 ERA, 11.2 IP, 9 H, 5 BB, 10 K

Antonio Gomez: 6 G; .261/.370/.304, 2B

Chandler Champlain: 3 G; 2.53 ERA, 10.2 IP, 11 H, 1 BB, 14 K

1 year ago  ::  Apr 27, 2022 - 9:47AM #235
Posts: 25,506

3 surprise Yankees prospects you should be paying attention to

Fansided: Yanks Go Yard

While the big-league New York Yankees have found their footing in recent days, the minor-league system as a whole isn’t off to quite the same sterling start they were in 2021.

That’s to be expected, of course. It will be difficult to top whatever organization-wide heater the four feeder teams opened on last season. Thanks to a stunningly potent April, prospects like Trevor Hauver turned themselves from 2020 unknowns to legitimate trade chips (sent away for Joey Gallo), pitchers like Ken Waldichuk sprinted up the team’s top 30, and an “unknown” first-rounder named Anthony Volpe sent shockwaves through the minor-league landscape.

For the sequel … there’s still plenty of heat to be found, but a lot of the Yankees system’s top names haven’t hit the ground running. Oswald Peraza and Oswaldo Cabrera have struggled at Triple-A, and at the very least aren’t forcing the issue of their promotion. Jasson “The Martian” Dominguez has broken every exit velocity reader in Tampa, but has struck out 22 times in 58 at-bats with his new swing.

Even Volpe himself, though he’s been affable and has shown a flair for the dramatic in his first taste of Double-A with a key grand slam, is hitting .163 with two bombs and six steals in limited action. Nothing to scream about, but won’t get you going.

So, until the upper echelon names decide to join the party, it’s Yanks Go Yard’s job to assure you there are still plenty of great performances simmering below the surface from names you haven’t heard of or thought about.

The staff has already done an excellent job of making you aware of Elijah Dunham (still just 23, still hitting bombs and bringing attitude to Double-A), who just hit the IL for a hopefully-short stint. TJ Rumfield, the infielder swiped from Philadelphia in the Nick Nelson trade, was also covered in full this past week (and is likely the top-performing unheralded name in the minor-league ranks so far).

Though the following three players flew under the radar all winter, they’re similarly blowing the doors off thus far.

3 surprise Yankees prospects you should be paying attention to

3. Blake Perkins

Is Blake Perkins on your “prospect radar”? Likely not, and there’s an easy explanation behind your blind spot: he wasn’t drafted and developed by the Yankees, but rather snuck into the system this offseason in an under-the-radar minor-league deal.

Perkins, not to be confused with Blake Rutherford (traded for D-Rob and Todd Frazier), was the Washington Nationals’ 2015 second-round pick. Still just 25, he might be unlocking his athleticism for the first time in years with the Double-A Somerset Patriots.

In an outfield with fellow studs Dunham and Brandon Lockridge, Perkins has already blown expectations out of the water. In 41 at-bats, he’s notched 15 hits, five bombs, and four steals, hitting .366 with a small-sample-size 1.324 OPS. His recent production was enough to make him the reigning Eastern League Player of the Week, owing the honor to a six-game stretch where he hit a cool .473.

It’s obviously far too early to make any sort of judgment on Perkins, a former highly-touted 69th overall pick (nice) who’s never hit above .255 in a full season at any level. This level of production has astounded prospect watchers thus far, and ideally, Perkins can at least somewhat keep up the pace to turn himself into a major-league option or an asset.

2. Will Warren

Will Warren’s emergence isn’t necessarily a surprise, if you listened to the Yankees executives and development folks extolling his virtues this spring. To see his raw stuff translate from the draft’s middle rounds to the mid-minors, though, has been very impressive.

2021’s eighth-round pick out of baseball hotbed Southeastern Louisiana (sorry, misread that, that says “hot and bad”), Warren’s legitimate stuff features a high-quality breaking ball, mid-90s fastball velocity, and significant run. Unsurprisingly, this arsenal comes with an intimidating mound presence and an advanced feel for swings and misses.

Thus far, Warren’s pro debut has consisted of three starts at High-A Hudson Valley, featuring a sparkling 3.46 ERA, 19 whiffs in 13 innings pitched, and a 1.08 WHIP. So far, no one’s getting on base, and Warren’s allowed very little hard contact (just nine base hits).

Much like in 2020, when Hudson Valley’s rotation featured breakouts Waldichuk, Randy Vasquez and Hayden Wesneski, the Renegades are loaded with arms once again. Warren’s been joined atop the leaderboard by Matt Sauer, Edgar Barclay and Beck Way, a favored potential breakout arm from the 2020 draft. 2019 top pick TJ Sikkema’s long-awaited return also looms in the coming weeks.

So far, Warren has taken the crown, though, as the scouts foretold this spring. His rise may be as swift as Wesneski’s and Waldichuk’s, and he could be making the trek to Double-A Somerset by midsummer.

1. Cooper Bowman

While plenty of attention was paid to 2021 first-round shortstop Trey Sweeney’s arrival in Hudson Valley — and that attention was justified by his thunderous bat — fellow 2021-drafted infielder Cooper Bowman, selected in the fourth round, flew a bit under the radar.

Chosen out of Louisville, home of recent standouts Will Smith of the Dodgers and Nick Solak, selected by the Yankees, Bowman posted an .835 OPS and earned a quick promotion to Low-A Tampa out of rookie ball in his 2021 debut. Though he only made a three at-bat cameo at big-league spring training this winter, people noticed; he drilled two hits, one of them a three-run homer to the opposite field against the Detroit Tigers.

So far, that power and poise has translated to High-A action, as Bowman has remained rock steady in an infield that’s also included Rumfield and Sweeney (when healthy). In 13 games, he’s bumped that OPS to .857, pounding a pair of homers, knocking in 10 runs, and walking 11 times.

Bowman profiles as a potential future MLB second baseman/utility asset, and already seems proficient at attacking the zone, while taking the bases that are handed to him. Another infielder in the Yankees’ preferred mold who just might be able to echo Josh Smith’s path after he was traded to the Rangers in the Gallo deal? The Yankees will take all the potential reinforcements they can get.

1 year ago  ::  Apr 28, 2022 - 9:51AM #236
Posts: 25,506

NJ.com | Brendan Kuty: Yankees GM Brian Cashman feels that Triple-A Scranton Oswald Peraza is already just about prepared to man shortstop at the MLB level. However, the prospect knows that he’s not quite there with the bat just yet, and he’s had a sluggish start this April. Nonetheless, the team is impressed by his work ethic and thinks that he’s still just getting used to playing baseball in the cold, which he hasn’t had to do much in his life (remember that the minor league season didn’t start until May last year). The Scranton staff thinks that the hitting will come, and Peraza is determined to prove them right.

1 year ago  ::  Apr 28, 2022 - 10:18AM #237
Posts: 25,506

Blake Perkins is off to a strong start in the Yankees system

SB Nation: Pinstripe Alley

Outfielder Blake Perkins is off to a fast start after joining the Yankees system during the offseason.

The story of the 2021 Yankees minor league system was numerous players taking big offensive leaps forward. Early in the 2022 season many observers have started looking for the next group of players who will make similar progress this year. One of the strongest early candidates is outfielder Blake Perkins, who joined the Yankees organization in December and is off to a very fast start with Double-A Somerset.

Perkins was a highly touted prospect coming out of high school, where he earned the potential five tool prospect label during the draft process. The Nationals used their second-round pick in 2015 on him and were able to sign him away from a commitment to Arizona State University. Among his best tools at the time was his plus running ability that allowed him to cover a lot of ground in center field.

Perkins’s defense and tools continued to draw strong reviews, but his offensive game was struggling to catch up. He posted a 115 wRC+ in 2017 while playing at the Low-A level, but that proved to be his best offensive performance in the Nationals system. He was then traded to the Royals as part of the deal for reliever Kelvin Herrera in June of 2018. After a strong offensive start with the Royals’ High-A team in 2018 and again in 2019, Perkins struggled when promoted to Double-A where he finished the 2019 season and played again in 2021.

Following the 2021 season, Perkins joined the Yankees as a minor league free agent. Still possessing many of the tools that saw him rated as a top-30 organizational prospect for both the Nationals and Royals between 2016-2019, he looked like the type of player who could benefit from a fresh start.

Since kicking off the season with Double-A Somerset, Perkins has been on fire. The switch hitter, who had never hit more than eight home runs in a season, has clubbed five in his first 12 games to start the season. He kicked it into high-gear during the team’s recent series against the Rockies’ Double-A affiliate, the Hartford Yard Goats. Perkins hit four home runs during the six-game series, helping him earn Eastern League Player of the Week honors.

Through the 12 games, Perkins has 11 extra base hits and just 11 strikeouts. He is quickly approaching his 16 extra base hit total from 2021 that took him 72 games to reach. This shows that he has improved his impact on the ball, and his strikeout rate has actually gone down from where it was in 2019 and 2021. Yankees minor league hitting coordinator Joe Migliaccio went to twitter to say that Perkins had “improved contact quality, improved swing decisions and a decreased strikeout rate.”

Known for his defense, Perkins has been splitting time around the outfield this year, playing all three outfield positions. During the Hartford series he picked up an outfield assist throwing out a runner at the plate from right-field.

Is this improved offensive production sustainable for Perkins? We will soon find out, but last season players such as Oswaldo Cabrera and the since-traded Donny Sands broke out at the Double-A level. The early results are very promising — he appears to be a switch-hitting blend of power and speed with the ability to play outstanding defense. If he continues to put up big numbers, it is likely that he will experience his first taste of Triple-A in the near future and give the Yankees another potential option in the outfield.

1 year ago  ::  Apr 29, 2022 - 9:48AM #238
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1 year ago  ::  Apr 30, 2022 - 9:55AM #239
Posts: 25,506

MLB.com | Sam Dykstra: Top prospect Anthony Volpe is going to field a lot of interviews this year. In this Q&A, he notes that Double-A Somerset, where’s playing, is close to his hometown, so he had about 100 friends and family members at the home opener and for his recent birthday; the challenges of adjusting to the pitchers at his new higher level; that he lives at home with his family, allowing him to forgo some of the worst parts of the minor league grind; how he’s adjusting to seeing more breaking balls; and how he trains on defense to make sure he can stick at the shortstop position. He also has some New Jersey food recommendations to share.

1 year ago  ::  May 01, 2022 - 9:48AM #240
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