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Random Minor League Notes: 2022 Edition
1 year ago  ::  Dec 06, 2021 - 9:03AM #41
Posts: 23,135
1 year ago  ::  Dec 07, 2021 - 4:55PM #42
Posts: 23,135

After 'impressive year,' Volpe focused on '22

Anthony Volpe enjoyed a stellar return to the diamond this past season, boosting him to the top spot on the Yankees' Top 30 Prospect list. While the organization has high hopes for his future, the standout shortstop is carrying a measured approach into the 2022 campaign.

"I don't really pay too much attention to the stuff outside of my control," Volpe said on YES Network. "It's definitely an honor and one I don't take lightly, but at the same time, I just want to be the best player I can possibly be. Whether that's an unranked bottom-of-the-order prospect or where I am now, the Yankees' No. 1 prospect, I think I still have a long way to go to reach my potential."

General manager Brian Cashman has pointed to shortstop as an unsettled area of need this offseason. While the club engaged the free-agent and trade markets, the 20-year-old Volpe's rising status is part of the equation when considering future moves. MLB Pipeline rated Volpe as the No. 15 prospect in all of baseball.

"He had a very impressive year," Cashman said recently. "He certainly caught the attention of the entire industry. It really reinforces and justifies everything we heard from our amateur department when we drafted him, and so we're excited about his future."

A first-round selection (30th overall) in the 2019 MLB Draft, Volpe was limited to 34 games that summer following a bout with mononucleosis, then was unable to play in 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic nixed the Minor League season.

This past year, Volpe starred for Class A Tampa and High-A Hudson Valley, posting a combined .294/.423/.604 slash line with 35 doubles, six triples, 27 homers and 86 RBIs in 109 games. Volpe said that he used the 2020 pause as an opportunity to fine-tune his swing and defense.

"Having that year of COVID, it kind of put a lot of things in perspective," Volpe said. "Just being able to go out every day and really do what I love, and do what I signed to do, which is just play. Just being on the field with all my teammates and getting back together with all the guys was just a blast.

"You remember all the great moments on the field, but just as much, going out after games, before games, road trips -- stuff like that. That was the stuff I guess I wasn't really thinking that I'd miss, but when you're in it, you realize how awesome it is."

With Volpe and No. 3 prospect Oswald Peraza projected for 2023 arrivals to the big leagues, the Yankees are entertaining the suggestion that a stopgap option could fill the position this coming season.

"You have some guys that are on the come that you have to think highly of," Cashman said. "That means you either make plans for them to hopefully arrive here and impact you, or ultimately I guess sometimes they can be trade pieces. But you always like to hold on to the best of the best if you can. When you have the ability to play shortstop, it's usually the most athletic person on the field."

Volpe said his friends occasionally send him news clippings from the Hot Stove, but he's primarily focused on being healthy and ready for Spring Training. Volpe said that in 2022, he'd like to improve his ability to hit breaking balls and his arm strength from the shortstop position.

"I'm working really hard to get ready and be in the best shape, best mental, everything for Spring Training," Volpe said. "I think I'd be doing my trainers and my teammates that I'm working out with a disservice if I was reading into stuff like that."

1 year ago  ::  Dec 08, 2021 - 3:47PM #43
Posts: 23,135

Yankees, Mets make Minor League Rule 5 selections

by: Tab Bamford Elite Sports NY

The Minor League portion of the Rule 5 Draft took place as scheduled on Wednesday. The Major League portion did not because of the lockout.

In the minor league portion of the Rule 5 Draft, players not protected on the 38-man Triple-A roster of each organization would be exposed.

For 2021, that group includes international and high school draft picks signed in 2017 (assuming the player was 18 or younger as of June 8 of that year). College players drafted in 2018 were also eligible for this year’s Rule 5 Draft.

If a team selects a player in the Minor League phase, it pays $24,500 to the original team. The selecting team can then send its new player to any level in its system it chooses.

The New York Yankees made two selections and lost one player. The New York Mets also made two selections and lost two players.

New York Yankees

  • Round One: Steven Jennings, RHP (Pirates)
  • Round Two: Manny Ramirez, RHP (Astros)

The Yankees lost RHP Brian Keller to the Red Sox in the second round.

New York Mets

  • Round One: Alex Valverde, RHP (Rays)
  • Round Two: Carlos Ocampo, RHP (Cubs)

The Mets lost RHPs Allan Winans and Tommy Wilson to the Braves and Mariners, respectively, in the second round.

1 year ago  ::  Dec 09, 2021 - 9:45AM #44
Posts: 23,135

Baseball America | JJ Cooper: There’s a shake-up ahead across minor league baseball ownership. Endeavor Group Holdings will reportedly purchase nine teams under its new subsidiary, Diamond Baseball Holdings, and two Yankees clubs are included: the Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders and the High-A Hudson Valley Renegades. It’s a big purchase — one that with multiple teams under one umbrella, wouldn’t have been possible before MLB took over the minors — but it’s likely that this is just Endeavor’s opening salvo. Cooper reported in a separate article explaining the meaning of the plans that multiple MiLB insiders expect the company to eventually own “30-40” of the 120 affiliated teams.

1 year ago  ::  Dec 09, 2021 - 9:47AM #45
Posts: 23,135

Rule 5 Draft provides influx of talent for the Yankees system

The Yankees picked up two young arms for their minor league system during Wednesday’s portion of the Rule 5 Draft.

The major league phase of the annual Rule 5 Draft is on hold due to MLB’s lockout of the players, but the less heralded, minor-league portion of the event still took place on Wednesday afternoon with teams making a total of 51 selections across five rounds. The Yankees were involved in just three of those picks, as they added two arms and saw another player leave the organization. Unlike the major league portion of the event, there is no stipulation that could see the players rejoin their previous organization. Let’s take a look at the players coming to and going away from the club.

To be eligible for the minor league phase, a player has to not be on the 40-man roster, but also not on an extended 38-man roster assigned to each organization’s Triple-A team. Once a player is selected, he can be assigned to any minor league level. Last year alone, five players selected in the minor league portion of the Rule 5 Draft played in the major leagues, including Tyler Gilbert of the Diamondbacks who threw a no-hitter on his way to posting a 3.15 ERA in 40 major league innings. In the past, players such as Justin Bour and Omar Narváez were selected in the minor league phase before starting their major league careers.

With their first pick in the Rule 5 Draft, the Yankees selected right-handed pitcher Steven Jennings from the Pittsburgh Pirates. The 23-year-old was the second round pick of the Pirates in the 2017 draft, commanding a $1.9 million signing bonus to forgo his commitment to the University of Mississippi. After working as a starter for his first three professional seasons, he was moved to bullpen in 2021. The Yankees had an up-close look at his best outing of the season as he tossed four innings of one-hit, six-strikeout ball against the High-A Hudson Valley Renegades on September 16th.

As recently as 2019, Baseball America ranked Jennings as the Pirates’ 13th-best prospect. His arsenal at the time was described as 89-92 mph with a good slider and feel for a curveball and changeup. In 295 minor league innings, he has a good 3.0 BB/9 but did not display big swing and miss stuff, with a rate of just 7.3 K/9. He will likely start next season with either High-A Hudson Valley or Double-A Somerset.

With their second pick in the draft, the Yankees selected right-handed pitcher Manny Ramirez out of the Houston Astros system. Ramirez has not pitched in an official game since 2019 after COVID canceled the 2020 season and he landed on the injured list for the entirety of the 2021 season. Listed at 5-foot-11 and 215 pounds, Ramirez was not a big-time prospect when he signed with Houston in 2017 as a 17-year-old. He quickly showed the ability to throw his 95-97 mph fastball past hitters and started climbing the ranks. His control has often betrayed him, however, as he has a 7.2 BB/9 rate for his career.

One game that stands out is from August 4, 2019, where Ramirez pitched 3.1 innings of one-run ball. He allowed no hits, struck out three batters, but allowed eight walks. In his last seven games from the 2019 season, he posted a 3.37 ERA, with 26 strikeouts but 19 walks across 18.2 innings. This is a very live arm for the Yankees to work with who could turn into a player if it all comes together for him under the guidance of the Yankees player development staff. He has only briefly touched the Low-A and Short-Season A levels as a professional, and will likely play the coming season with Low-A Tampa and High-A Hudson Valley. The Yankees may have the vision of a player who could transform the way Luis Gil did, as Gil struggled with his control while in the Twins system before finding enough improvement to reach the upper levels of the minors and have a successful major league debut in 2021.

With the two additions to the Yankees minor league system came the loss of a player who rose to the cusp of the major leagues before hitting a bump in his path in 2021. The Yankees selected Brian Keller in the 39th round of the 2016 draft, but he pitched well above that draft position as he moved up the Yankee system. Keller displayed solid control, as he never walked more than 3.0 BB/9, until this past year. With the Yankees moving Keller to the bullpen, he lost the strike zone and saw his BB/9 jump to 7.5 across 55 innings pitched.

While Keller’s walks were troublesome, he did appear to gain some more control as the season went on, as he only walked zero or one batter in eight of his last ten outings. He entered the Yankee organization after four years of college, and will get a fresh start as a 27-year-old who could be in the majors as soon as next year.

The highlight of Keller’s time in the Yankees system was no-hitter for Double-A Trenton in 2019, immediately before he was promoted to Triple-A. He also tossed an immaculate inning late this season while pitching for Scranton. He finishes his time in the Yankees organization with a 3.16 ERA across 441.1 innings pitched.

The Yankees lost one player and gained two young arms in this years minor league portion of the Rule 5 Draft. While the odds are that these players will not become impact players at the major league level, there are a growing number of players selected in this process that are providing value to their teams.

1 year ago  ::  Dec 11, 2021 - 10:16AM #46
Posts: 23,135

Everson Pereira Makes Better Swing Decisions

by: Brendan Kuty Baseball America

It was all weighing on outfielder Everson Pereira. The $1.5 million signing bonus. The middling production. An underwhelming spring training.

But where some 20-year-olds might retreat into self-pity, Pereira shook it off and entered extended spring training with renewed focus, according to Yankees minor league hitting coordinator Dillon Lawson.

It made all the difference, and it was a big reason the Yankees included Pereira in the group of five prospects the club added to the 40-man roster to protect them from the Rule 5 draft.

“It's not a stretch to think that Everson could be an everyday starter on a Yankees team that is winning titles,” Lawson said. “He made our decision easy for us with the season he put up and with the person that he is.”

Signed in 2017 out of Venezuela, Pereira clubbed 20 home runs in 49 games after hitting just five in 2018 and 2019 combined.

While the center fielder dominated at Low-A Tampa, hitting .361 with five bombs in 19 games, he really took off at High-A Hudson Valley. In 27 games with the Renegades, Pereira hit an incredible 14 homers, including a three-bomb game on Sept. 5.

In High-A East, Pereira's average exit velocity was 94 mph compared to the league average of 86. He topped out at an impressive 113. His strikeout rate was correspondingly high at nearly 28%.

The surge came after Pereira stumbled through spring training. He found a way to zero in on exactly what had been troubling him most: pitch selection and bat path.

“Well, he basically was talking about hitting 'bombas,' " Lawson said, referring to home runs. "He wanted to only swing if he thought he could hit for a home run, and then if he hit it for a double instead of a home run, that's fine.

"But it wasn't all or nothing. He wasn't forcing the issue. He was saying the pitch's location and the quality of it was most important. He knew if he put a good swing on it, good things would happen."

1 year ago  ::  Dec 13, 2021 - 10:17AM #47
Posts: 23,135

NJ.com | Brendan Kuty: Anthony Volpe exploded onto the scene in 2021, finishing the season as the Yankees’ consensus top prospect, but the New York native already has an idea of how to get better. Breaking ball recognition seems to be the next step for the Double-A bound shortstop, and if he can make those two jumps at the same time, Yankee fans should be even more excited about his potential.

1 year ago  ::  Dec 14, 2021 - 2:48PM #48
Posts: 23,135

Yankees catching prospect hanging out with Yadier Molina is awesome

by: Thomas Carannante Fansided: Yanks Go Yard

Remember for a brief moment last offseason when New York Yankees fans (well, mostly us) were clamoring for the team to make a run at Yadier Molina, who was a free agent, even though it seemed unlikely he’d leave St. Louis? Well, the Yankees were reportedly interested in the legendary Cardinals backstop, but he ended up re-signing.

If we can’t have him in the flesh with the organization, perhaps he can serve as an outside influence for our younger players in the pipeline, though, We’ll take anything we can get when it comes to a surefire future Hall of Famer.

That’s why Yankees top catching prospect Antonio Gomez hanging out with Yadi over the weekend made us feel even better about the youngster’s future.

Gomez was named the organization’s “Thrower of the Year” by the Yankees Player Development Staff in 2021 while also hitting .263 with a .792 OPS in his first true minor league season with the team (he played in just 15 games back in 2019).

Gomez’s caption translates to: “Idol! Legend! Example! What an honor to hear advice from you.” Yes, more advice, please, Mr. Molina!

There’s a long road ahead for Gomez, who just turned 20 years old, so he’ll need to soak up as much information as possible if he wants to become the organization’s catcher of the future.

Yankees prospect Antonio Gomez hanging out with Yadier Molina is … pretty cool

Maybe Yadi saw Gomez’s highlight reel and determined he was worthy of his sage advice? Gomez has thrown out 31% of baserunners in his 47 minor league games and has a sterling .991 fielding percentage. Toss in a bat that has the potential to hit for average and power … and that’s a promising asset to have in the farm system.

Yadi’s 18-year career has yielded nine Gold Gloves, 10 All-Star nods and two championships. He could’ve told Gomez what to eat for lunch every day and that would be enough to push the kid in the right direction.

Perhaps he taught the young gun how to properly party? What else were they doing during the evening in San Juan, Puerto Rico? We’ll take that, too, because we’re confident Molina had a pristine balance of dedication to the game and fun away from it.

1 year ago  ::  Dec 16, 2021 - 6:22PM #49
Posts: 23,135

Yankees MiLB Organizational All-Stars

by: N/A MLB: Yankees4

The Official Site of Minor League Baseball website includes features, news, rosters, statistics, schedules, teams, live game radio broadcasts, and video clips

Depth of prospect talent is evident in Minor League success, and the Yankees provided proof of that in 2021.

The Bronx Bombers’ seven affiliates amassed a .594 overall win percentage as each posted a winning record. Tampa finished first in the Low-A Southeast before being swept in their championship by Bradenton. Double-A Somerset had the lowest team ERA (3.38) among all full-season affiliates in the Minors. And the Yanks’ Rookie-level Florida Complex League affiliate finished second on their circuit.

Since the Bombers’ four-year gap without a playoff victory from 2013-2016, they’ve aggressively built a perennial contender through trades and free agency. And that sometimes comes at the cost of prospect depth.

This past deadline, the club traded 11 prospects in five different trades. Just one of those players ranked among the Yankees’ own Top 10 at the time, but nine in that group are ranked in their new organization’s Top 30.

There’s plenty of star power left as the Yankees have four prospects in the MLB Pipeline Top 100. The club struggled to capitalize on homegrown talent -- especially through the Draft -- in recent years, but in 2021 the depth of talent made it seem like that issue won’t persist much longer.

Yankees Organization All-Stars

Catcher -- Austin Wells, Tampa (65 games), High-A Hudson Valley (38 games): The Yankees’ sixth-ranked prospect only got better as his first professional season progressed. He saw a 16-point jump in his average after a promotion to the Renegades, then finished the year very strong in the Arizona Fall League. He finished among the top nine AFL hitters in average (.344), RBIs (18), on-base percentage (.456), slugging percentage (.578), OPS (1.034) and triples (two). But his work in the regular season also warrants a spot on this list.

“The presence in the box is the first thing that's stuck out,” Hudson Valley manager Dan Fiorito said. “He has great feel for the barrel. He's a true professional hitter. Controls the zone really well. … He started hitting the ball with power to all fields.”

Across the two levels, he batted .264/.390/.476 with 16 homers, 23 doubles, five triples, 76 RBIs, 82 runs scored and 71 walks. Wells, who is very athletic for a catcher, also stole 16 bases this year.

The 22-year-old has been bat over glove since he was an amateur prospect, and he should find a little more power as he rises through the Minors. Wells has some competition behind the plate in the system, namely two backstops the Yankees drafted with their first two picks in 2018.

Wells got the bump to Hudson Valley after No. 18 prospect Josh Breaux was promoted to Double-A. Anthony Seigler, New York’s first-rounder that year, was limited by injuries to 41 games with the Renegades.

First baseman -- Dermis Garcia, Double-A Somerset (109 games): The 23-year-old Garcia leaned into his power during his sixth professional season.

Garcia led the Yankees’ system with 31 homers and had more than half of his 81 total hits go for extra bases as he batted .210 with a .793 OPS in 385 at-bats. The 6-foot-3, 200-pound slugger never hit more than 17 homers in any prior season.

Garcia struck out 168 times – nearly 38 percent of his plate appearances – while driving in 67 runs and scoring 58 runs.

The Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, native was the top-ranked player in the 2014 international signing class. The Yankees signed 10 of the 30 ranked prospects that year for more than $14 million in total. So far, the only players the team signed in that class who have played above Double-A are Hoy Park and Diego Castillo, both of whom were traded to the Pirates for reliever Clay Holmes at the deadline this year.

Garcia, who inked the largest bonus at the time at $3 million, elected free agency in November. But he clearly has the raw power that can help him progress to the next level.

Second baseman: Oswaldo Cabrera, Somerset (109 games), Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (nine games): Cabrera and top prospect Anthony Volpe were only two members of the 20-20 club in the Yankees’ system. The 22-year-old Cabrera was second in the system with 29 long balls and ranked fourth with 21 stolen bases.

The Yankees No. 18 prospect had one of the better overall seasons in the system. He ranked among the top six with a .533 slugging percentage, 89 RBIs, 127 hits, 65 singles, 31 doubles and 72 runs. He led all Yankees’ Minor Leaguers in RBIs while batting .272 with a .330 OBP and an .863 OPS.

Cabrera added some strength after the pandemic year and eclipsed his long ball total from four previous seasons. His strikeout rate climbed about three percent from 2019, but he also drew walks at a higher rate while hitting for a lot more power.

The Guarenas, Venezuela native put his best foot forward in a short stint with the RailRiders. He went 15-for-30 (.500) with five homers and a 1.717 OPS at the Minors’ highest level. Garcia, a switch hitter, is considerably better from the left side, batting .290 against righties this season as opposed to .227 against southpaws.

Third baseman -- Andres Chaparro, Tampa (65 games), Hudson Valley (36 games): The 22-year-old nearly posted a .400 OBP in his first full Minor League season, and his manager at High-A took note of his impressive exit velocities. Combine those two things and Chaparro could be a very special hitter.

“I've been around him since 2017, and he's been able to improve every single year,” Fiorito said, noting that Chaparro was up to 117 mph in exit velocity during the AFL this year. “He controls the zone really well, and then lays off breaking balls, high fastballs … with the plus power that he has, he doesn't swing and miss a lot. And that's something that checks a lot of boxes offensively, and he's just a true professional hitter.”

The El Vigia, Venezuela native batted .267/.381/.468 with 15 homers and 73 RBIs across both levels. He kept his strikeout rate below 22 percent during the season and collected 21 doubles and three triples while scoring 71 runs throughout the year.

Chaparro signed in 2015 but had been kept in short-season ball until this season. He’s been making up for all that lost time since the Minor League season ended. He batted .275 with three homers and 15 RBIs in the AFL and is currently playing with Aguilas de Zulia in the Venezuelan Winter League.

Shortstop -- Anthony Volpe, Hudson Valley (55 games), Tampa (54 games): Volpe, 20, had the type of season that really makes a club ponder its own future.

The No. 15 overall prospect batted .294/.423/.604 with 27 homers, 33 stolen bases, 86 RBIs, 35 doubles, 113 runs scored and a 170 wRC+. He was the only player in the Minors with at least 25 homers, 30 doubles and 30 stolen bases, and he was nominated for the Top Offensive Player MiLBY Award.

“I think the biggest thing for me was to see how he impacted the game every single night in every way,” Fiorito said. “With the bat -- his consistency, his sense of timing, his feel for the barrel, his ability to drive the baseball to all fields was the first thing that stood out, and the power numbers this year were certainly there.”

Few Yankees drafted in the first or supplemental round over the last decade-plus have really been a success in New York. When general manager Brian Cashman acknowledged this sort of institutional frustration at the Winter Meetings, he did so while complimenting the 2019 first-rounder Volpe and his downright dominant season.

"He certainly caught the attention of the entire industry," Cashman told reporters in December. ‘It really reinforces and justifies everything we heard from our amateur department when we drafted him, and so we're excited about his future."

The Yankees were not among the big spenders before the lockout. And even though Volpe showed that he’s likely to be the homegrown prospect that breaks that slump, it’s unlikely that his presence within the system will make the Yankees hold off on chasing one of the many excellent shortstops left available in free agency.

But the New Jersey native has every tool needed to potentially join that upper echelon of shortstops in the coming years. He committed 11 errors in more than 700 innings at shortstop this season.

Honorable mention -- Oswald Peraza: The 21-year-old would have been an All-Star in most other organizations after leading the system with 38 stolen bases and 138 hits while batting .297/.356/.477 with 18 homers, 58 RBIs, 76 runs scored and 26 doubles across three levels. Peraza remained at shortstop all season and made 10 errors in 101 games.


Elijah Dunham, Hudson Valley (64 games), Tampa (29 games): Dunham probably clinched this spot in the regular season, but his AFL performance only confirmed it.

The 23-year-old was named Breakout Player of the Year in the AFL after batting .357 with a 1.037 OPS and 11 stolen bases in 23 games for Surprise. That performance came on the heels of an excellent professional debut.

Dunham batted .263/.362/.463 with 28 stolen bases, 13 homers, 57 RBIs, 47 walks and 72 runs scored. He finished 10th in the system in total hits, sixth in stolen bases and was seventh among Yankees outfielders with an .853 OPS.

It’s been an interesting road for the 23-year-old from Evansville, Indiana.

He opted to go back to the University of Indiana after being selected as a Draft-eligible sophomore by the Pirates in the 40th round in 2019. He was likely to get picked in the early rounds the following year but went undrafted in the shortened five-round Draft of 2020.

Dunham signed with the Yankees as a free agent last June and finished the season as the club’s No. 24 prospect.

Everson Pereira, Rookie-level Gulf Coast League (three games), Tampa (19 games), Hudson Valley (27 games): The Yankees’ played it safe and kept their No. 13 prospect in extended Spring Training. After he made his season debut in late June, Pereira took off like a rocket.

The 20-year-old went deep 20 times in 188 at-bats, 14 of which came at Hudson Valley. He was the only player in the Minors to hit at least 20 homers in fewer than 220 at-bats.

“He was certainly a special talent,” Fiorito said. “With his bat speed, he's able to also stay in the zone for a really long time. The homers that he was hitting from right field to left field, dead center, through the wind were remarkable. And at the end of the day, he was also able to play a premier position in center field. He can run and go get the ball. Plus arm. He's a special talent.”

Pereira batted .303/.398/.686 across the three levels while driving in 57 runs and scoring 47 times.

The headliner in another Yankees’ international spending binge in 2017, he batted .236 over his first two Minor League seasons, including a .171 mark in 19 games for Staten Island in 2019.

The extra time before the start of the season clearly gave him a chance to figure out what might have been going wrong in those first two seasons. And he was rewarded with a spot on the 40-man roster.

1 year ago  ::  Dec 17, 2021 - 6:17PM #50
Posts: 23,135

2 Yankees Prospects Fans Must Get Excited About


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