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Random Minor League Notes: 2022 Edition
1 year ago  ::  Jun 14, 2022 - 9:43AM #271
Posts: 28,496

Yankees Prospects: Week 10 minor league review

Some individual pitching performances continue to stand out among the Yankees minor league system. Strong performances at each level of the system are translating to week in and week out highlights. On the hitting side, top prospects such as Anthony Volpe, Jasson Dominguez and Estevan Florial are showing that recent success is turning into sustained success. Let’s take a look at how all the Yankees minor league affiliates did over the last week and who some of the top performers are in the system.

Triple-A Scranton-Wilkes Barre RailRiders

Record: 23-37 Tied-Eighth place in the International League (East) 15.5 GB

Past Week: 4-3 vs. Syracuse Mets

Coming Up: Home vs. Rochester Red Wings (Nationals)

The RailRiders put together one of their best series of the season. With the recent additions of Jhony Brito and Ken Waldichuk, the team is putting out a strong pitcher just about every night of the week. Estevan Florial is having his best sustained run of offense since his breakout 2017 campaign with Low-A and High-A. Greg Bird is also playing a big role for the team as he has a 136 wRC+ over the last 17 games.

Players of Note:

Ken Waldichuk: 10 G; 1.44 ERA, 50 IP, 26 H, 19 BB, 76K (Double-A and Triple-A)

J.P. Sears: 8 G; 0.86 ERA, 31.1 IP, 16 H, 4 BB, 37 K

Jhony Brito: 10 G; 2.03 ERA, 53.1 IP, 45 H, 14 BB, 45 K (Double-A and Triple-A)

Estevan Florial: 31 G; .331/.410/.500, 3 HR, 3B, 9 2B, 13 SB

Double-A Somerset Patriots

Record: 35-21 Second place in Eastern League (Northeast) 2.5 GB

Past Week: 3-3 vs. Akron Rubber Ducks (Guardians)

Coming Up: Away vs. New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Blue Jays)

The Patriots have split their last three series and fallen out of first place for the first time this season. Anthony Volpe’s hitting has improved dramatically over the last 22 games, and his 140 wRC+ in that stretch is much more in line with the way many evaluators expected the Yankees’ top prospect to perform this season. Carson Coleman has been amazing out of the bullpen this season, and the undrafted free agent signed by the Yankees after the 2020 draft looks to be another talented arm with the potential to continue moving up in the system.

Players of Note:

Josh Breaux: 14 G; .266/.363/.582, 6 HR, 7 2B

Anthony Volpe: 22 G; .299/.371/.494, 2 HR, 11 2B

Randy Vasquez: 10 G; 2.22 ERA, 44.2 IP, 32 H, 16 BB, 44 K

Carson Coleman: 16 G; 0.57 ERA, 31.1 IP, 12 H, 11 BB, 48 K

Mickey Gasper: 18 G; .305/.431/.525, 3 HR, 4 2B

High-A Hudson Valley Renegades

Record: 28-29 Third place in the South Atlantic League (North) 10.5 GB

Past Week: 4-3 vs. Jersey Shore BlueClaws (Phillies)

Coming Up: Away vs. Greensboro Grasshoppers (Pirates)

Strong pitching remains the key to the Renegades team as they gave up two or fewer runs in five of their seven games this past week. Matt Sauer continues to come on strong and is currently riding a streak of 14 scoreless innings after throwing six scoreless — the Yankees’ second-round pick from 2017 is a strong candidate to get promoted in the near future. Another player who was recently promoted to High-A, Josue Panacual, is putting together his own amazing season as he tossed seven scoreless inning this past week and has put up very strong numbers between the two levels.

Players of Note:

Matt Sauer: 10 G; 3.02 ERA, 50.2 IP, 38 H, 14 BB, 61 K

Anthony Seigler 41 G; .270/.450/.476, 6 HR, 8 2B (High-A and Low-A)

Josue Panacual: 10 G; 2.62 ERA, 44.2 IP, 35 H, 21 BB, 50 K (High-A and Low-A)

Beck Way: 9 G; 4.62 ERA, 37 IP, 33 H, 13 BB, 49 K

Low-A Tampa Tarpons

Record: 24-33 Last place in the Florida State League (East Coast) 11.5 GB

Past Week: 2-4 vs. Palm Beach Cardinals

Coming Up: Away vs. St. Lucie Mets

The Florida weather has shown up, and frequent rain delays and postponements are once again playing with the Florida State League’s schedule. Jasson Dominguez’s stretch of solid play is now up to 39 games where he has posted a 151 wRC+ in that stretch. Juan Carela is a name that we heard of early last season when he was in extended spring training, and then finished the year with Low-A Tampa. He is in the midst of his own breakout campaign and coming off a Florida State League pitcher of the week honor and could quickly be on his way to the High-A level.

Players of Note:

Juan Carela: 9 G; 2.23 ERA, 44.1 IP, 30 H, 17 BB, 59 K – Florida State League Pitcher of the Week

Jasson Dominguez: 39 G; .273/.389/.475, 6 HR, 3B, 8 2B

Jack Neely: 19 G; 5.47 ERA, 26.1 IP, 21 H, 15 BB, 50 K

Marcos Cabrera: 15 G; .250/.345/.500, 3 HR, 3B, 2B

FCL Yankees: W, 11-10 vs. FCL Blue Jays (GM 1)

SS Dayro Perez 1-3, BB, 2 R, SB, 2 K, E
CF Daury Arias 1-2, 2 BB, R, K
C Agustin Ramirez 3-4, HR, 2 R, 4 RBI
2B Jared Serna 0-2, BB, R, RBI, SB
LF Christopher Familia 0-4, K
1B Jesus Rodriguez 3-4, 2B, 2 R, 2 RBI
DH Pedro Diaz 2-4, 2B, R, 2 RBI, SB, 2 K
RF Felix Negueis 1-2, HR, BB, R, 2 RBI
3B Angel Rojas 0-3, R, 2 SB, K

Sean Hermann 4.1 IP, 8 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 8 K
Cole Ayers 1.0 IP, 5 H, 6 R, 5 ER, 1 BB, 2 K
Nolberto Henriquez 1.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R (win)

FCL Yankees: L, 2-5 vs. FCL Blue Jays (GM 2)

SS Brenny Escanio 0-4, 4 K
2B Sincere Smith 2-4, SB, K, PO
C Omar Martinez 1-2, BB, K
DH Alan Mejia 1-3, K
1B Ronny Rojas 0-3, 2 K
LF Stanley Rosario 1-3, K, CS
RF Mauro Bonifacio 0-3, 3 K
3B Dionys Vallejo 1-2, R, SB, K
CF Nelson Medina 2-3, HR, 3B, R, 2 RBI

Justin Lange 1.2 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 3 BB, 1 K, 1 HR, 1 HBP (loss)
Zach Kohn 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K
Steven Fulgencio 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K
Leam Mendez 1.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K
Montana Semmel 0.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K

DSL Yankees: L, 7-8 vs. DSL Mets 1

SS Keiner Delgado 2-5, 2B, 4 RBI, 2 SB, K
CF Willy Montero 2-4, R, BB, K
C Manuel Palencia 1-3, 2B, RBI
C Ricardo Rodriguez 0-2, K
LF Ramiro Altagracia 1-2, 2B, R, 3 BB, K, CS
DH Diomedes Hernandez 1-4, R, BB, 2 K
RF Louis Pierre 1-4, R, BB, 3 K
3B Santiago Gomez 0-4, BB, 2 K, CS
2B Juan Matheus 0-2, R, RBI, BB, 2 K
1B Johan Ferreira 0-2, 2 R, RBI, 2 BB, 2 K

Jordalin Mendoza 3.0 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 3 BB, 6 K
Sabier Marte 2.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 K
Franklin Corniel 1.1 IP, 0 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 1 K (blown save)
Jan Pena 2.2 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 1 HR (loss)

DSL Bombers: L, 4-5 vs. DSL Cubs Blue

SS Hans Montero 1-3, 2 BB, K
DH Fidel Montero 1-5, HR, R, RBI, 3 K
RF Joel Mendez 0-4, R, BB, SB, K
2B Enmanuel Tejeda 0-2, R, 2 BB
1B Enger Castellano 0-3, K, HBP
CF John Cruz 1-4, K
DH Luis Suarez 1-3, 1 R, 1 RBI, SB, K
C Oscar Silverio 0-3, BB
LF Juan Rosa 1-4, RBI

Geralmi Santana 5.1 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6 K
Daniel Guerrero 2.2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 2 K (loss)

1 year ago  ::  Jun 14, 2022 - 9:48AM #272
Posts: 28,496

Checking back in on the Yankees’ 2017 Draft class: the first five rounds

With a farm system filled with position players, the Yankees went all-in on right-handed starting pitching in 2017.

Headed into the 2017 season, the Yankees had a farm system that was highly-rated, but position-player centric. Seven of the top 10 prospects, including the top five, were position players — and that’s not including Gary Sánchez, who had exhausted his prospect status when he took over the American League for the final two months of 2016, and Greg Bird, who had missed the previous year due to injuries but had stormed onto the scene at the end of the 2015 season.

Cognizant of their organization’s makeup, the Yankees approached the 2017 MLB Draft with a clear strategy in mind: draft all the pitchers. Out of the 40 picks the team made, 28 were pitchers, most of whom were of the right-handed college arms. The idea, at the time, seemed to be that with that many arms, at least some of them had to amount to something. That was five years ago this week. How has this draft held up? Let’s take a look back and see where those prospects stand today.

Round 1: Clarke Schmidt

With the 16th pick of the draft, the Yankees selected Clarke Schmidt, a pitcher from the University of South Carolina. At the time, it was hard to say whether the pick was a reach or that the Yankees had been able to secure somebody who slid down the board — Schmidt had started the year ranked in the 40s, had been steadily climbing the draft boards, then had his season cut short in April due to a UCL tear that required Tommy John surgery.

Needless to say, the pick confused many people, as was reflected in the poll we ran here at PSA immediately after the pick was in.

After making his debut in 2018, Schmidt steadily climbed through the system, reaching Double-A Trenton by the end of 2019 and becoming the Yankees’ second-ranked prospect according to MLB.com. He would have a cup of coffee with the big league club during the 2020 season before returning to Triple-A Scranton during an injury-filled 2021 season that saw him throw only 41 innings at a professional level.

While the Yankees still view him as a starter long-term, Schmidt is slowly establishing himself as an important part of the 2022 bullpen, with a 3.26 ERA in 19 innings across 11 appearances.

Round 2: Matt Sauer

Back in 2017, Matt Sauer was considered the coup of the draft. A pitcher from Ernest Righetti High School, Sauer fell out of the first round due to his commitment to the University of Arizona. Using the money saved from signing Schmidt under-slot, the Yankees were able to pry him away from his college commitment.

Needless to say, the PSA readership was thrilled.

Unfortunately for the Yankees, things immediately went downhill from here. Sauer took a bit of time adjusting to professional hitters, and then required Tommy John surgery two starts into the 2019 season. Although the 2020 cancellation of the minor league season hampered the development of most pitchers, Sauer used that time to get healthy. He is currently with the High-A Hudson Valley Renegades, pitching to a 3.02 ERA in his first 10 starts.

While it’s hard to pinpoint exactly where Sauer sits among prospects, it’s important to note that he’s just 23 years old, the exact average age for pitchers at the High-A level. For what it’s worth, FanGraphs seems fairly high on him despite ranking him 24th among Yankees prospects, saying that, “If he can remain healthy, he looks like a future part of a big league rotation.”

Round 3: Trevor Stephan

Taken by the Boston Red Sox in the 18th round after an elite season as the closer for Hill College, Trevor Stephan opted to transfer to Arkansas, where he would be converted into a starter, instead of signing. That proved to be the prudent move for the right-hander, as he parlayed a strong season into a third-round selection by the New York Yankees.

Our readers were optimistic, even if they considered him to be a tier below Sauer. After all, why wouldn’t they be optimistic? If Stephan panned out, they basically stole a pitching prospect from the Red Sox, thanks to his decision to bet on himself.

Stephan had a strong debut with the Short-Season Staten Island Yankees in 2017, with a 1.39 ERA across 10 appearances (nine starts). A strong start with the Single-A Tampa Tarpons earned him a promotion to Double-A Trenton early in 2018. All signs pointed to a player that might force his way onto the fast-track for the big leagues, and although he struggled with his command at Trenton, he cracked the Yankees’ Top 10 prospects prior to the 2019 season. Unfortunately, the bottom fell out in 2019 to the point that he was returned to Tampa for six weeks in an attempt to get him back on track.

Headed into the 2020-2021 offseason, Stephan was a former Top 10 prospect who had not yet reached Triple-A and who had not pitched professionally for more than a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Because of this, the Yankees declined to add him to the 40-man roster after the season, leaving him unprotected from the Rule V Draft. Cleveland, however, liked what they saw from him at the end of the 2019 season and, believing that he was ready for a bullpen role at the major league level, selected him with the 15th overall pick in the draft.

He made the roster after an impressive spring training, striking out 16 batters while walking just two in 10 innings of work. Over the past year and two months, Stephan has carved out a role in the Guardians bullpen, and while he has yet to gain consistent trust in high-leverage innings, all signs point to a long career as a middle reliever.

Round 4: Canaan Smith-Njigba

Finally, in the fourth round of the draft, the Yankees picked a position player, Canaan Smith-Njigba. A first baseman/catcher out of Rockwell-Heath High School who the Yankees announced as an outfielder, Smith-Njigba looked like the prototypical Yankees slugger. Left-handed bat? Check. Six-foot, 210 pounds, with room to grow at 18 years old? Check. Strong plate discipline? He walked 57 times as a senior in high school, so check-plus.

The PSA readership — or at least, those still tuned in to the draft four rounds in — were understandably thrilled.

Joining the Yankees’ Gulf Coast League team right after the draft, Smith-Njigba made a strong impression right out of the gate with a .289/.430/.423 slash line. Unfortunately, he struggled with the Staten Island Yankees in 2018 to the tune of a .191/.281/.316 slash. Despite this, the Yankees opted to promote him to full-season ball in 2019 as a 20-year-old, and fortunately, he did not disappoint: he hit 11 home runs and 32 doubles in 124 games, adding up to a 154 wRC+; additionally, he flashed some speed, swiping 16 bases and recording three triples.

Smith-Njigba’s value as a prospect had not been higher, and with the Yankees already having more than their share of corner outfielders, first basemen, and designated hitters, Brian Cashman decided that the 2020-21 offseason was time to cash in. He sent the 22-year-old, along with three other prospects, to the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for pitcher Jameson Taillon.

At the moment, it looks like the Yankees made the right move. Smith-Njigba has immense power potential and is reportedly being called up today, but so far in his career, it remains just potential — he hits the ball on the ground almost two-thirds of the time, not exactly a recipe for extra-base hits. Taillon, meanwhile, has been a critical part of the best starting rotation in baseball this season. Even if Smith-Njigba learns how to properly elevate the ball, it’s unlikely that the Yankees will be feeling too much remorse on this deal.

Round 5: Glenn Otto

After deviating from their pattern in the fourth round, the Yankees went right back to the right-handed pitcher well in the fifth, selecting Glenn Otto from Rice University. While in college, Otto primarily worked out of the bullpen, striking out 11.6 batters per nine across three seasons. Pitching through shoulder injuries in his final season, Otto struggled compared to his normal standards, allowing as many runs as he had in the previous two seasons combined.

Ever the optimists when it comes to prospects, our readers once again were fairly high on Otto upon his selection, although we were definitely getting to the point of the draft where “I barely even know who you are” would win in a landslide if it were an option.

Due to his fairly low velocity and despite his arm trouble, the Yankees set out to turn Otto into a starter. Unfortunately, it took two years for that experiment to get off the ground, as Otto largely pitched out of the bullpen with the Staten Island Yankees in 2017 and spent most of 2018 on the shelf due to blood clots in his shoulder.

Once he got on the mound in 2019, he pitched well as a member of the Tampa Tarpons, posting a 3.83 ERA. He did, however, battle rib injuries that limited him to 14 appearances (12 starts). Because of this, he opted to pitch in the Arizona Fall League, and in truth, it was as a member of the Surprise Saguaros that Otto began to put himself on the map as a prospect, as he allowed just five runs on 10 hits in 24 innings of work, striking out more than a batter per inning in the process.

Following the cancelled 2020 season, Otto started 2021 as a member of the Double-A Somerset Patriots. He pitched extremely well, posting a 3.17 ERA and a sub-1.000 WHIP in 65.1 innings, earning him a promotion to Triple-A Scranton. After just two starts as a member of the RailRiders, he was on the move again — this time headed to the Texas Rangers as part of the blockbuster deal that brought Joey Gallo to the Bronx.

Otto made his MLB debut throwing five shutout innings against the Houston Astros on August 27, 2021, and although he did struggle down the stretch last season, he has begun to establish himself as a solid bottom-of-the-rotation piece for the Texas Rangers, with a 4.24 ERA (5.12 FIP) across eight starts so far this season.

1 year ago  ::  Jun 14, 2022 - 2:01PM #273
Posts: 28,496

I was too aggressive ranking Cubs infielder Reginald Preciado and Yankees shortstop Alexander Vargas during their early Complex League days. Preciado’s breaking ball recognition issues are a big reason he’s punching out 40% of the time (a source of mine who warned me of this and reads the site is going to send me an “I told you so” text very shortly). Vargas hasn’t filled out and added strength in the way I expected/hoped, and in fact is still so undercooked from a strength standpoint that he’s likely to be exposed to and passed over in this offseason’s Rule 5 Draft. He still has no-doubt infield shortstop athleticism and remains a fair long-term prospect, though.


1 year ago  ::  Jun 15, 2022 - 12:24PM #274
Posts: 28,496

Anthony Seigler is rebounding in a big way for the Yankees in 2022

SB Nation: Pinstripe Alley

High school catchers taken in the first round of the MLB Draft do not have a long track record of recent success. The last high-school catcher selected in the first round to accrue 10 career WAR was the Twins’ Joe Mauer — a No. 1 overall pick in 2001.

When the Yankees selected Anthony Seigler with the 23rd pick in the 2018 draft, they were hoping that he could overcome the performances of his highly-selected high school catching brethren. Heading into this season though, Seigler had struggled to gain traction on his professional career but now with two months of strong play in the books, it looks like Seigler has turned a corner and has a chance to deliver on the potential that the Yankees saw in him on draft day.

Even with Gary Sánchez and Austin Romine in house, the Yankees’ system behind them was somewhat barren of catching prospects heading into the 2018 draft. Kyle Higashioka was a decent receiver, but when he’s your system’s next best hope, then there’s work to do. With an eye towards the future the Yankees used their two first picks in 2018 on catchers, taking Seigler and junior college catcher Josh Breaux in the second round.

After a 24-game professional debut in 2018, Seigler was sent to Low-A Charleston for the start of the following campaign, when he was slated to catch games for some of the best pitching prospects in the Yankees system. That roll call of names included Luis Gil, Luis Medina, Matt Sauer, Roansy Contreras, Jhony Brito, and Ron Marinaccio.

It was not to be, as Seigler battled an injury during spring training and only made his season debut on June 10th. His season would last just 30 games; a fractured kneecap ended his year in late July. While an injury of that nature is out of the player’s control, it was slightly concerning that Seigler struggled to produce much in his 120 plate appearances that year, posting just a .534 OPS.

After losing the 2020 season along with the rest of the minor leagues, Seigler again got a late start the next year, making his 2021 debut on June 1st at High-A Hudson Valley. He would only play 41 games before heading back to the injured list and finishing the season there once again.

Frequently ranked as one of the Yankees’ top 30 prospects since being drafted, Seigler started the 2022 season largely off the prospect radar. That status seemed confirmed when he started the campaign back at the Low-A level in Tampa, while Austin Wells worked as the primary catcher in High-A. Even at Low-A, Seigler found himself splitting time with well-regarded prospect Antonio Gomez to start the season.

However, Seigler came out strong with Low-A Tampa and quickly earned a majority of the reps behind the plate and a promotion to High-A Hudson Valley. Between the two levels, he is hitting .270/.450/.476, which is good for a 166 wRC+.

Incredibly, Seigler has walked over 24 percent of the time at both the Low-A and High-A levels. He has dramatically lowered his groundball rate this season by around 18 percent. Those balls that were on the ground in the past are now largely line drives, which he is hitting on almost 35 percent of his balls in play this year.

Seigler’s emergence this season came at a time when Yankees fans were feeling as good about the catching position as they have in a while. Wells acquitted himself nicely in the Arizona Fall League and was looking much better defensively behind the plate to start the 2022 season (prior to going down with an injury in mid-May). Josh Breaux also was starting to lose the label of raw catching prospect and earning some good reviews for his work behind the plate in Double-A.

The Yankees will have some decisions to make in the near future. Breaux and Seigler will both be Rule-5 eligible at the end of the season, and if they finish well, they could be on a rebuilding team’s radar. During the past few winters, the Yankees have only carried two catchers for much of the time as they managed their 40-man roster. Many teams carry a third or fourth catcher, but with Wells potentially inching closer to the majors by the end of this season, how the Yankees choose to manage the position moving forward is an interesting question.

More likely, Seigler has positioned either himself or Breaux to be traded, possibly as soon as the 2022 trade deadline. Seigler has long held the reputation of being the better all-around catcher, while Breaux’s offense was well ahead. That is not necessarily the case anymore, as Seigler is putting together a solid offensive season, especially in the on-base department. His strong display of tools likely has made him the more desirable trade chip., and he’s a year and a half younger, too. Much like Clay Holmes trade chips Diego Castillo and Hoy Park in 2021, Seigler has emerged from off the radar at the start of the season to establish — or more accurately re-establish — himself as a legitimate prospect early this season.

Anthony Seigler’s excellent start to 2022 has been a bright spot in the Yankees system. He has emerged and shown all the potential that made him the team’s first round pick in 2018. His rapid improvement has helped deepen a position that the team was already well-stocked across most of their minor league clubs. If Seigler can continue his solid play, he will either warrant a 40-man roster spot, or possibly be traded by the end of the season, but either scenario will demonstrate how much his value has increased since he first stepped on the field this year.

1 year ago  ::  Jun 16, 2022 - 9:42AM #275
Posts: 28,496

FanGraphs | Eric Longenhagen: It’s been a good season for Ken Waldichuk. The 24-year-old was recently promoted to Triple-A Scranton, where he’s posted a 1.69 ERA and is striking out more than 37 percent of the batters he’s faced. He also, now, finds himself among the top 50 prospects in the game, with FanGraphs releasing one of their periodic updates. As Dan Kelly said last week, the fact that Waldichuk has been this good and fans aren’t clamoring for him to join the MLB team is a true testament to the strength of the big league pitching staff right now.

1 year ago  ::  Jun 20, 2022 - 3:30PM #276
Posts: 28,496

Yankees’ top shortstop prospect turning heads as he hits his stride


Anthony Volpe, the New York Yankees‘ top prospect according to just about any publication, had an inauspicious start of the 2022 minor league season. Through May 15 (a little less than a month and a half of baseball), he was slashing a putrid .165/.286/.321 with a .607 OPS, struggling to adapt to Double-A pitching after acing both Low-A (1.078 OPS) and High-A (.977 OPS) last season.

People started doubting his 2021 performance after seeing him struggle so much to open the year against high-minors pitching. But the Yankees refused to bring in a star shortstop via free agency because they knew all along that Volpe was a special player. They had the patience to let him slump and work himself out of his funk eventually. And he did just that.

Volpe is repaying the Yankees’ faith with a stellar June that has seen him return to prominence. Since the calendar turned to June, the star shortstop prospect is hitting .294/.351/.485 with a .837 OPS. That’s more indicative of his immense talent.

Volpe has the Yankees excited about the future

Volpe has seven doubles and two home runs this month so far, together with six stolen bases. He is back to hitting the ball hard frequently, and looks like one of Double-A’s best players already.

For the year, the Yankees’ shortstop of the future already has a 102 wRC+, which means he is now an above-average offensive performer after his rough start. He is hitting .231/.323/.407 with seven home runs, 38 runs, 32 RBI, and an incredible 24 stolen bases. All of those numbers are on the rise, too.

If he keeps dominating at this pace, it’s not out of the question that he finishes the season in Triple-A Scranton Wilkes-Barre. Logic indicates that unless he forces a promotion this year, which seems unlikely but not impossible, he could be ready to take over as the Yankees’ shortstop at some point next year. The Yanks are not going to rush him, but organizational optimism surrounding his career prospects is really high at the moment.

1 year ago  ::  Jun 22, 2022 - 4:04PM #277
Posts: 28,496

Cooper Bowman is the next Yankees Stud prospect

Pin Striped Prospects

When I asked New York Yankees hitting coordinator Joe Migliaccio to name one player in the farm system who may not be getting the recognition they deserve, he didn’t blink before landing on the name Cooper Bowman, second-baseman for the High-A Hudson Valley Renegades. 

“He is a complete player,” agreed Renegades manager Tyson Blaser. “He’s that guy after a game, you look at him and he is covered head to toe in dirt. He’s gritty, and he plays hard every single night… he’s an enjoyable guy to watch play.”

The Yankees 2021 fourth-round draft pick out of the University of Louisville, Bowman is hitting .240 with seven home runs, 29 RBI’s, and a .785 OPS for the Renegades this season. His 26 stolen bases on the season lead the organization.

A native of Rapid City, South Dakota, where he starred in baseball and basketball at Stevens High School, Bowman opted to go the junior college route, spending the first two years of his collegiate career at Iowa Western Community College. He would hit .418 over 84 games in his career at IWCC, shattering the single-season program record with 90 runs scored in 2019, where he led the Reivers to a JUCO College World Series berth. 

Drawing interest from many of the top Dl programs following his sensational display in 2019, Bowman attended the University of Louisville, where he hit .293 with eight home runs and ranked second in the ACC with 20 stolen bases in 2021. 

Bowman grew up a die-hard Yankees fan, imitating Derek Jeter at shortstop, which is why he had no complaints when his agent texted on draft night letting him know the Bronx Bombers were planning on selecting him. “It was really cool to share with my parents who are both Yankee fans,” Bowman said. “It made for a more meaningful day, for sure.”

The 6’0” 205 lb Bowman spent time with the rookie-level FCL Yankees and Low-A Tampa Tarpons following the draft in 2021, swiping 13 bags in 30 games with four home runs and a .255 average. 

He formally introduced himself to Yankees fans during 2022 Spring Training, when Bowman hit a three-run home run in a Yankees exhibition victory over the Detroit Tigers on March 28.  

“It was really cool,” Bowman recalled. Explaining that the coolest part of his day may have been playing for Aaron Boone and returning to the dugout following his blast to be greeted with a celebration by the Yankees manager and 13-year major league infielder. “I grew up watching him, that’s a dude that I played as in video games. Aside from the homer, just high fiving him and hearing the stands (cheering) even at an away game, it was neat.” 

In addition to his offense, Bowman has proved valuable in the field, with only two errors in 215 defensive chances, good for a stellar .991 fielding percentage.

While primarily playing second base this season, Bowman has also seen significant time at shortstop, where he played collegiately, and has experience at third base and centerfield.

“That’s something that the organization likes in him, is that he can play some different positions,” Blaser said. “He’s fairly new to second base as well. There’s been vast improvement from early this year to where he is right now, and he’s only going to continue to get better.”

37-for-41 swiping bases in 80 career games, Bowman’s speed is simply put; game-changing. 

As he takes his initial lead off the first-base bag with an aggressive series of skips and hops, the attention of everyone in the ballpark turns to him. “You gotta dance with (the pitcher) a little, you know, get in rhythm,” Bowman joked.

While he may be one of the quickest players on the diamond, “It has nothing to do with speed,” Bowman admitted. “It’s all about reading pitchers and understanding what you have to look for… If you don’t do your homework and you don’t know what you’re looking for, it’s not going to work out.”

With a smooth, compact swing from the right side paired with an aggressive approach, elite speed, stellar defense, and a high baseball IQ, it’s no surprise why the Yankees are so high on Bowman. 

“He’s got really good bat-to-ball skills, does a nice job of controlling the zone,” Blaser added. “Right now he’s playing really well.”

“He’s shown high contact rates, he’s shown consistent quality of contact,” Migliaccio said. “What we see internally with a lot of our metrics, there’s a lot more to be desired when it comes to Cooper Bowman.”

1 year ago  ::  Jun 23, 2022 - 9:17AM #278
Posts: 28,496

NJ.com | Bridget Hyland: We’ve all heard the hype about Jasson Dominguez, the Yankees’ touted prospect. He’s been getting hot at the plate and seeing the ball really well as of late. Dominguez has hit .291/.446/.512 with four homers in his last 26 games. The 19-year-old could make a big impression if he keeps this up, perhaps playing his way into High-A later in the year.

1 year ago  ::  Jun 24, 2022 - 4:39PM #279
Posts: 28,496

Yankees Mailbag: Analyzing prospects and marvelous run-prevention on errors

Noel B. asks: Where is the team at with Jasson Dominguez? The hype for him was incredible and here we are a few years into his tenure and he is still at Low-A? Is the organization at a point now where they should be aggressively moving him through the minors, see what you have?

Hype aside, it’s important to once again iterate that Jasson Dominguez is a 19-year-old prospect. He’s going to take some time to get going and that’s okay, but plenty of people have grown skeptical after his rough start in his debut as a professional last year. Dominguez started out this year slow as well, slashing .225/.247/.324 with one homer at the end of April, but he’s turned it on since.

Dominguez’s season stats now show a respectable .263/.365/.430 mark with seven homers, good for a .795 OPS and 132 wRC+. It’s not been a tearing-up-the-minors performance, but it’s significant growth for a young prospect. If he can hold this up or improve through the summer, then a promotion to Hudson Valley this year isn’t out of the question. If he holds his own there, then you could start to dream about Dominguez climbing up the farm system.

Jtc4heels asks: Why aren’t we hearing much about Cooper Bowman, second baseman with High-A Hudson Valley? The kid seems to be flat out raking!

The Yankees sure seem to have found someone with their fourth-round pick last year. Bowman played in 30 games as a professional last year, 27 of them coming with the Low-A Tampa Tarpons, and he began this year in High-A Hudson Valley. Bowman’s bat has been one of the few in the organization to not start out cold, and he’s been steady throughout the year as a solid middle infield prospect. That includes getting some action at shortstop, which would be a major plus for Bowman’s development if he can handle both positions. Hudson Valley has found him to be a useful leadoff batter, and he could pair nicely with last year’s first-round pick Trey Sweeney as the second-tier of middle infield prospects to keep an eye on in the system.

1 year ago  ::  Jun 24, 2022 - 9:40PM #280
Posts: 28,496

Big Hype Prospects: Cruz, Abrams, Volpe, Veen, Wiemer

Anthony Volpe, 21, SS, Yankees (AA)
270 PA, 9 HR, 25 SB, .233/.326/.427

Over the offseason, I was virtually cornered by several Yankees fans who not-so-calmly explained that Volpe was the best prospect since Mike Trout. To the glee of everybody who loves to hate the Yankees, he performed particularly poorly until mid-May. Through May 17, he slashed a meager .170/.297/.330. Optimists cited four reasons he would rebound. First, the talent remained evident. He was working counts (13.8 percent walk rate). His .195 BABIP indicated poor luck. Lastly, he wasn’t the first prospect to wilt in chilly early-season weather.

As the calendar has heated up, so too has Volpe. He’s slashing .292/.356/.517 since May 18, a span of 132 plate appearances. He’s also putting more balls in play (6.8 percent walk rate, 15.9 percent strikeout rate) with a normal .319 BABIP. Volpe is on the shortlist for top prospect remaining in the minors. He’s also making a strong case for promotion to Triple-A – possibly by the end of this month.

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