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Random Minor League Notes: 2022 Edition
7 months ago  ::  Dec 19, 2021 - 8:34AM #51
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Exclusive: Yankees’ Prospect Hayden Wesneski


by: Carter LaCorte Prime Time Sports Talk


PTST's Carter LaCorte recently had the opportunity to discuss the road from the minors to majors with the Yankees' Hayden Wesneski.


he New York Yankees’ farm system had a huge season for development in 2021. After a 2020 without the minor leagues, the organization saw a ton of growth all over the farm. One of the many players to take the next step was Hayden Wesneski. Drafted in the sixth round in 2019, Wesneski struggled after turning pro. However, he roared back to a huge campaign, reaching AAA with an impressive strikeout rate and a 3.25 ERA across three separate levels.


You can check out PTST’s other exclusive interviews right here.


Improving Mechanics


With the absence of a place to play competitively, training was all that minor leaguers had last year. Wesneski took advantage of it, raising his velocity in the process.



“We did a lot of velocity training. I had a little minor hiccup in my mechanics to address, I wasn’t using my lower half. I also developed using a four-seam, which I didn’t use in the prior couple of years [and] I was able to maintain velocity because of me being able to use my legs when I used to not hold velocity very well.”



Changes like this have shaped Wesneski into the pitcher that he is today. To make it to the major leagues, it could require even more adjustments. One major fix for him came in college when he was a pitcher for Sam Houston State. During his first two seasons for the Bearkats, he had just 114 strikeouts over 203.1 innings. That all changed thanks to a text from his coach.



“In the middle of my sophomore year, I dropped my arm slot down. I was struggling for a few weeks and my coach sent me a text message with Charlie Morton and he goes, ‘we’re going to throw like him.’ So I dropped my arm slot down and the ball started running more and for some reason, I could control it more even though it was moving more. In my junior year, I finally got an off-speed pitch. I got a slider. I had a sinker-slider combo and I finally had an out pitch.”



So while the side-arm motion was a big help, he now has moved away from it.



“The slot change came with the use of the legs. For some reason, because I wasn’t using my legs, my slot was lower. Once I started using my legs, my back leg, in particular, my slot went up a little higher. [Changing my arm slot] was not an emphasis, it was a byproduct of what work I had done on my lower half.”



Player Comparisons


Morton had a big impact on Wesneski’s pitching, but as far as influence goes, Doc is up there.



“I like Roy Halladay, rest in peace. He was one of my favorite guys, just the way he got after it. [Halladay] was a workhorse. He ate innings up which is one of the things that I try to pride myself on because it’s not easy. Charlie Morton is probably the best one for an active player, but Roy Halladay is somebody that I did enjoy watching.”



Morton spent the 2019 and 2020 seasons with the Tampa Bay Rays. Those are the very same Rays who drafted Wesneski in the 33rd round back in 2016. If there was ever the slightest hope in that organization that they would see the Houston native in the organization, that was shut down pretty quickly.



“I thank the Rays, I appreciate them. They saw something obviously. To be honest with you, there was no way that I was ready to be a man, to live on my own. I didn’t understand why they drafted me. I was a regular, right-handed pitcher who threw 88-90 [miles per hour]. I’m very grateful and glad that they drafted me, but at the time I just wasn’t ready for it.”



Analytics in Baseball


One thing that both the Rays and Yankees have in common (aside from being in the AL East), is that they both place a big emphasis on data-driven content. For a prospect rising in the New York organization, data is everywhere.



“They are that way. There’s an either ‘you love it or hate it’, and there’s definitely a middle ground. The Yankees do a little bit of both. They are very analytically driven, and also understand that there is a human side to it. They understand that analytics don’t speak to everything. In order to fix something, it may be mechanically driven. We use them because it keeps tabs on what’s going on. It tells you what the issue is and what you need to work on and make it as unbiased as they can, which I do appreciate. You don’t want to get passed up because someone likes them more than you even though you have better stuff. It basically just shows how consistent are you or the symptoms of what is going on and what you’re doing wrong.”



Former Teammates… Future Rivals?


The Sam Houston State baseball team has not just produced Wesneski in the past few seasons. With the fifth overall pick earlier this year, the Orioles selected infielder Colton Cowser, who crossed over with Wesneski for the Bearkats in 2019. The elder of the two gave a glowing recommendation for MLB Pipeline’s 76th best prospect in all of baseball.



“He’s a great human being. He’s goofy, he loves baseball. He has really quick hands and he can hit any pitch without any real weak spots. He’s really good with hand-eye coordination where he can hit for contact and he definitely has power.



On the Recent Jump


After posting a 4.01 ERA over 15 starts for the AA Somerset Patriots, the Yankees gave Wesneski the call to AAA for three outings. This new assignment struck some nerves but was not a huge burden.



“I was not nearly as nervous as I was moving from High-A to AA. The difference is every level jump. I was definitely nervous, as I only knew a few people. It’s ‘big boy’ baseball. There are some older guys in there that are getting paid really good money to play baseball. This is the next step on your road to the big leagues, but to say that I wasn’t nervous would be a lie.”


7 months ago  ::  Dec 20, 2021 - 3:50PM #52
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Eli Fishman: Keep an eye on #Yankees 3B/1B prospect Andres Chaparro. Hit .267 in 2021 with 15 HR and 73 RBI between A-/A+. Serious power with exit velocities north of 115 MPH. t.co/T1du67Upqm
7 months ago  ::  Dec 21, 2021 - 8:45AM #53
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NJ.com | Brendan Kuty: Four ex-minor league baseball teams have filed a lawsuit against Major League Baseball, claiming the decision to shrink from 160 teams to 120 teams is “unlawful” and it damages the sport and robs communities of jobs and millions of dollars generated by minor-league clubs. The lawsuit also argues that MLB violated the Sherman Antitrust Act. The Staten Island Yankees were one of the teams that were removed, and Nostalgic Partners, who owns the team, were named as a plaintiff in the case.

7 months ago  ::  Dec 23, 2021 - 2:47PM #54
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Brandon Lockridge Dominated in 2021


by: Rephael Negnewitzky Prime Time Sports Talk


Brandon Lockridge had a great 2021 season, and looks forward to an even better 2022. Rephael Negnewitsky details his journey to the pros.


Brandon Lockridge attended Pensacola Catholic High School in his hometown. The shortstop was considered one of the best players on his team and dominated all four years. He then decided to attend Troy University to play for the Trojans. Lockridge then changed positions and moved to second base for the next two seasons. In his first season as a Trojan in 2016, Lockridge had a bit of a rough time. He batted .265 with two home runs. With the help of his fellow Trojan teammates, Lockridge was able to come back the next season and dominate.



“My teammates from college who pushed me in the weight room and on the field were Drew Frederic, Joey Denison, Brody Binder, and Matt Sanders,” said Lockridge.



The stud came back as a new player in his sophomore year, smacking 83 hits, six home runs, and a batting average of .344. Lockridge continued his dominance into his junior year, in which he batted .307 with 25 steals. Lockridge changed positions for a second time in his junior year. This time, he switched to center field which remains his current position.


You can catch all of PTST’s MLB content here.


The Draft


As Lockridge gets together with family and friends on draft day, the youngster nervously awaits the call. On Day 2 of the 2018 MLB Draft, Lockridge got that call from the New York Yankees. New York picked the center fielder in the fifth round (157th overall). Lockridge was happy to accept the Yankees’ offer, as his favorite player growing up was Hall of Famer Derek Jeter.


In 2018, Lockridge started his minor-league career with the Yankees-West team in the Gulf Coast League. He only played 10 games until he was promoted to the Class-A (short season) Staten Island Yankees. There, he attended 16 games and held a .216 average with one home run. In the 2019 season, Lockridge was called up to the Class-A (full season) in which he performed well with a .251 average, 22 stolen bases, and 125 hits. 


2020 Canceled Season


When the 2020 MiLB season was canceled, Lockridge got busy. The Florida native went to work in a training camp with many coaches and players to improve his game. It was a great way for Lockridge to improve his game as many other professional players would train there. He improved his bat (and his arm strength), to boost him for the upcoming season.


Lockridge played his best yet in 2021. He began the season with the Class-A (Advanced) Hudson Valley Renegades. There, he batted .256 with five stolen bases. Then, the outfielder was promoted to the Double-A Somerset Patriots. He broke out with a .328 batting average. Lockridge claims that all the training, drills, and effort that he put in helped him achieve his goals in 2021. 


Inside Scoop 


Lockridge enjoys every part of the game, especially at the plate. He loves picking apart his opposing pitcher and working constantly to become a better hitter. Although he enjoys his job at the dish, he shines the most in the outfield. He hopes to make the MLB one day, but knows that he needs to grind constantly to get there. Hopefully, we will see the 24-year-old in the league sooner than later.



7 months ago  ::  Dec 23, 2021 - 3:39PM #55
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Yankees' Aaron Boone Gushes Over Top Prospect Anthony Volpe


by: Max Goodman Sports Illustrated: Inside The Pinstripes


New York's manager spoke about the Yankees' top prospect this week, praising the shortstop for his development on the field and his personality off of it


While Yankees manager Aaron Boone is unable to speak about the players on New York's 40-man roster, due to MLB's ongoing lockout this winter, the skipper is allowed to talk about certain minor leaguers within the organization.


That in mind, when asked about top prospect Anthony Volpe on Wednesday afternoon in a Zoom presser with reporters, Boone was able to provide a thorough evaluation of the young shortstop, saying he's the full package. 


"I've seen him a couple times this winter at different events," Boone said. "I remember when he signed with us, I remember it being a rainy, crappy day in New York, where him and his family came down, and they signed. And I remember hearing about all of his intangibles. Like, man, this guy's a great leader, he makes people better around them. And I remember thinking to myself, 'alright, this was our first-round pick, can he play?' Well, I think he's showing that he can really play and obviously somebody that we're incredibly excited about."


Volpe was tremendous in 2021, raking with Low-A Tampa before a promotion to High-A Hudson Valley. Across both levels, Volpe hit .294 (121-for-412) with 27 home runs, 113 runs scored, 86 RBI, 33 stolen bases and a 1.027 OPS over 109 games. 



"I've gotten a little peek into some of those intangible things, the way he carries himself, the way he communicates, the way he talks," Boone added. "Obviously, there's an incredible work ethic there. There's this confidence with humility mixed in. I'm really excited about the player, but also the person that I've gotten to see so far."


Volpe will likely start the 2022 season in Double-A, but could continue to ascend through New York's farm system very quickly. MLB Pipeline listed the 20-year-old's estimated arrival time in the big leagues 2023.


Depending on how the Yankees approach free agency at the conclusion of the lockout, and whether fellow top prospect Oswald Peraza continues to develop, Volpe is in line to be New York's shortstop of the future in the Bronx. 


7 months ago  ::  Dec 29, 2021 - 10:22AM #56
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A deeper look at breakout Yankees prospect Andres Chaparro



The Yankees prospect was a standout in the Arizona Fall League.


www.pinstripealley.com/2021/12/28/228503...


The Yankees consistently get more out of young, unheralded prospects than your typical team. Luis Severino, Jonathan Loáisiga, Oswald Peraza, and Anthony Volpe are just a few of them. You can find these players at any level. Sometimes, it results in a reliable major leaguer, and other times it helps them to make trades, like the one for Joey Gallo, where the top of their system isn’t affected. Their heavy investment in international scouting has been a key reason for it.


It allows them to find and project players like Andres Chapparo. You probably haven’t heard a lot about him, but he’s been in the minor league system for over five seasons. He was a J2 signing out of Venezuela in 2015 and has been developing his swing since. Following the lost 2020 minor league season, there was bound to be a handful of prospects who made jumps like Chapparo did. However, his jump probably exceeded expectations from the Yankee front office.


Chapparo started the season at Low-A Tampa and was demonstrably an improved hitter. His triple slash was .270/.378/.435 with 24 extra-base hits and a 123 wRC+. That prompted a promotion to High-A where his results were even better. His power ticked up and he ended that stint with a .264/.387/.527 slash and a 144 wRC+. At 22, he finally hit his stride.


And as PSA’s Dan Kelly noted in his AFL recap, Chaparro continued that success in November. It’s always great to see a young prospect excel against good competition. Here’s a note from Kyle Glaser of Baseball America on that success:



Chaparro finished his AFL stint with an .844 OPS in 20 games.


Let’s get to the main reason why Chaparro made such a big leap, his elite swing.


Chaparro’s load and finish stand out. Despite all the movement in his gather, he is still able to slow himself down (decelerate) as he makes his swing decision. If you watch the entire linked video, it’s evident that his load has improved over time. That’s likely played a big role in improving his barrel accuracy.


With the rumored exit velocities of over 115 mph, Chaparro’s key going forward will be consistent contact and sound swing decisions. His walk rates in the minor leagues indicate he already has a decent eye. The more he can control his barrel comb, the better he will get. His ability to end his swing firmly with a two-handed finish is indicative of good barrel control and deceleration.


The rear view of Chaparro’s swing is magnificent. The timing mechanism in his stance focuses on the barrel comb. He’s so quick that he needs to delay his comb as late as possible, and his freedom in his hands during his stance cues that into place. He has an extra hitch right before his barrel enter the zone that he will need to sort out as he rises levels, but that’s normal for a minor leaguer.


In terms of comparison, my immediate first thought was Andrew Vaughn of the White Sox. Obviously, Vaughn’s swing is already very clean. That’s why he may be a good reference point for what Chaparro should strive for. No hitter should ever replicate another; rather, they should take the best of players they have similar swing types to.


Vaughn’s comb works in one fluid motion as he gathers his swing. It helps him get to high velocity like we saw when he tagged Aroldis Chapman in the Bronx earlier in 2021. Chaparro probably already knows this. He’s taken big steps forward with his swing. This is where it was in 2018.


It’s not even recognizable. When you have the raw power that Chaparro possesses, you must do whatever it takes to unlock that power. In time, I wouldn’t be surprised if he keeps his narrow stance but moves closer to one fluid bat comb as the pitch is coming in rather than having one late hitch. That said, he looks like a major leaguer. These exit velocities and statistics aren’t flukey. He proved himself a legitimate prospect when he tore through the AFL last month and followed it up with three homers in 10 games of action in the Venezuelan Winter League.


Hopefully, Chaparro continues with his successful development and can make a name for himself in the big leagues. It’s hard not to get excited about a prospect like this because of the upside involved. If he continues to on his current course, I wouldn’t be surprised if it all comes together over the next year or two. It would be another great find for the Yankees in international scouting, as Chaparro originally signed for just $215,000 as an international free agent.

7 months ago  ::  Dec 30, 2021 - 11:16AM #57
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Yankees: One lowkey international prospect climbing the minor league system you need to know about #NYY READ HERE: t.co/mmORuZgran


Andres who? We all know that the New York Yankees have a pretty deep farms system. Because of that, many prospects fly under the radar while the media concentrates on most of the top candidates, like Anthony Volpe, Oswald Peraza, Luis Gil, and others. But a deeper look into the farm system can uncover some surprising prospects that you may never have heard of. Andres Chapparo is one of those young men.


Surprisingly, he has stayed out of the bright lights of the New York Media. He has been in the system since 2015 when he was an international signing out of Venezuela. The 22-year-old, 6’ 1” 200-pound third baseman has been developing during his time in the Yankees’ minor leagues, but he had a breakout year at both Florida low Tampa and the A+ South Atlanta League last season. He hit .267 with 15 home runs in just 101 games.


The Yankees have invested heavily in the international draft in the last decade. You are probably familiar with number two prospect outfielder Jasson Dominguez. This season it appears that the Yankees will sign shortstop prospect Rodrick Arias. The Yankees have been more active on the international front than many of its rivals.


Chapparo started the season at Low-A Tampa and was a considerably better hitter after the 2020 idle minor league season. His slash line was .270/.378/.435 with 24 extra-base hits and a 123 wRC+. He was promoted to high-A with those stats, where he played even better. In finally hitting his stride, he ended the season at both levels with improved power and a .264/.387/.527 slash and a 144 wRC+ slash line.


In his Florida League recap, PSA’S Dan Kelly had this to say about Chapparo:


Few players have made loud contact like Chaparro this fall. The 22-year-old Venezuelan went 3 for 3 with three doubles in Surprise’s 7-6 loss to Peoria. He now has eight doubles tied for second-most in the league. Chaparro has been prone to swinging and missing, but when he makes contact, he does damage—11 of his 18 hits in the AFL have gone for extra bases.


The New York Yankees will be watching Chaparro closely this season as he is expected to advance even further in the minor. He could end up with the Hudson Valley Renegades at some point in the season. He is still young and with a lot of potential if he keeps advancing as he has in the past few years. 2021 saw exit velocities north of 115 mph.

7 months ago  ::  Dec 31, 2021 - 7:50PM #58
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Anthony Garcia 


If you are looking for a player with the biggest power tool in the Yankees farm system going forward, it is arguably Anthony Garcia. The 21-year-old switch-hitter mainly played first base in 2021 with both the FCL Yankees and the Low-A Tampa Tarpons. Down in Florida, Garcia stood out for his ability to crush the baseball.


Over the course of 39 games, Garcia had a slash line of .306/.444/.678 with 14 home runs and 37 RBIs while posting an .OPS of 1.122. The improvements Garcia made from 2018 to 2021 was he cut down on his strikeouts (down from 88 to 50) and he improved his walk total (23 to 31). Plus, he showed a little speed in his game with 15 stolen bases.


Out of the players on this list, Garcia has the potential to skyrocket the Yankees system if the development continues at a linear rate. The question is did he play in enough games this year to win the honor of the best first baseman in the system in 2021? If he didn’t, you can best be sure he is definitely the favorite to win the award next year.


www.pinstripedprospects.com/pinstriped-p...

7 months ago  ::  Dec 31, 2021 - 7:52PM #59
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Yankees’ prospect Antonio Gomez shows off Aroldis Chapman’s arm and booming bat


by: Adam Weinrib Fansided: Yanks Go Yard


Based on what we’re seeing from 20-year-old Yankees catching prospect Antonio Gomez this offseason, he’s poised to be the breakout slugger behind the plate we’ve all been waiting for since the whole “Gary Sánchez” thing turned stale.


I guess the hype machine hits another level when you’re spotted hanging out with Yadier Molina, huh?


Gomez has been all over social media during this locked-out offseason, training seemingly nonstop and always eager to show off his natural tools to his many followers — as well as the extremely starved section of Yankees Twitter that’ll jump at anything, especially if it’s promise at this specific position.


This shouldn’t shock you, but over the holidays, Gomez has been busy again!


Yankees top catching prospect Antonio Gomez can hit and throw with the best of ’em.


The last time we saw Gomez in a game that counted, he was wrapping up his age-19 season (he’s since turned 20) at Low-A Tampa, cranking a pair of homers in 17 games while hitting just .197.


Prior to that, though, he laid waste to the Gulf Coast League in a 29-game stint, hitting .305 with an .890 OPS. As Gomez prepares to make the transition to full-season ball this year, he’s clearly tried to get all his ducks in a row, tools-wise.


He’s spent he offseason working constantly and picking the brains of the best (thanks, Yadi, we should’ve signed you when we had the chance).


Oh, and he’s also got a natural cannon for an arm that can rival Aroldis Chapman. Check out Gomez popping the gun at 101.


Mercy. Can we please get this guy big-league ready by 2024?


We’re ready for the Austin Wells/Antonio Gomez spring competitions, thank you very much.

6 months ago  ::  Jan 02, 2022 - 8:03AM #60
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Joe Migliaccio Named Yankees Hitting Coordinator


Twitter | Joe Migliaccio: When the Yankees hired Dillon Lawson as their big league hitting coach for 2022, it meant that they would have to find a new minor league hitting coordinator. The team has found its man for the job, and the news came straight from the source himself: Joe Migliaccio. A former college coach, he joined his old friend Lawson with the Yankees in 2019 as the then-High-A Tampa Tarpons’ hitting coach, and in 2021, he helped the Somerset Patriots become one of Double-A’s top offenses. Migliaccio will now take on a greater role in the organization.


For more on Migliaccio’s background, check out our own Dan Kelly’s two-part interview with him from September 2020.

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