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Random Minor League Notes: 2023 Edition
1 week ago  ::  Jan 20, 2023 - 2:10PM #61
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1 week ago  ::  Jan 20, 2023 - 2:55PM #62
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Yankees State of the Farm System Review: RHP Clayton Beeter


The New York Yankees employ an arm in Double-A Somerset, that can be extremely propitious towards the future of the 40-man roster — with the future being sooner than later. Right-handed pitcher Clayton Beeter ranks ninth among the Yankees top 30 prospects for 2023.


The 24-year-old out of Texas Tech University was selected in the second round (66th overall) in the 2020 MLB amateur draft by the Los Angeles Dodgers. In August of 2022, Joey Gallo was shipped out of the Bronx at the trade deadline and sent to LA in return for Beeter. At this time, Yankees nation was relieved of the departure of Gallo, paying only partial attention to what was exchanged. Beeter left the Tulsa Drillers (Double-A) with a ghastly 5.75 ERA, but slightly changed some emotions of evaluators with a short 25.1 innings in the Yankees organization to end 2022.


Can Beeter flourish with New York? Can we expect to see this arm in the big leagues soon?


Yankees: Clayton Beeter’s makeup, analysis, and estimated time of arrival to MLB


My evaluation style always puts the makeup and raw tools before advanced metrics and statistics. As a pitcher, the numbers and metrics paint a more accurate picture of projectability (most of the time). For an arm like Clayton Beeter, his physical analysis and tools outweigh what the numbers have said so far, good or bad.


Beeter’s collective college showcase earned him serious recognition among MLB teams. Additionally, let’s keep in mind he went under the knife for Tommy John surgery in 2017 to start his college career but didn’t get any starting opportunities until his final year at Texas Tech. Beeter was exclusively a reliever with evident closer attributes.


Fast forward to 2022, and between the Dodgers and Yankees organizations, Beeter started 23 games, throwing 77 innings. Obviously, there’s a willingness to test him in starting or mid-relief roles, as he hasn’t saved a game since 2019. Nonetheless, Beeter has strong potential to work any of these two roles in the Yankees organization.


He stands 6-foot-2, 220 pounds and is built very strong with an athletic frame and explosive movement. He delivers with a high-kick windup, repeated and consistent, releasing mostly over the top, with a mix of three-quarter delivery. Beeter can flash above-average fastball heat, but his value lies in the movement and spin of his pitches.


Other than the fastball, he offers a curveball, changeup, and an occasional slider. His fastball sits between 94-96 MPH, maxing at 98 MPH with good run. Fastball command is his area of improvement; the movement of the fastball can enter and exit the zone quickly, but it’s a good pitch to induce chases. His mid-80s curveball can work 12-6, breaking inside and down to righties, working low the majority of the time. He throws a changeup that works below the knees and dies low out of the hitter’s reach. His slider has been absent for some time, though. It would be a good option for the pitching arsenal later on when the repertoire is polished.


Although his fastball command is needs improvement, Beeter attacks the zone and pushes for the strikeout as he works to stay ahead in the counts.


In 2022, Beeter finished with a not-so-beautiful 4.56 ERA and 1.43 WHIP, but stood out with 129 strikeouts against 46 walks in 77 innings pitched. If he has a successful start to the 2023 season, there’s a chance we get close to seeing him at Yankee Stadium.


It’s my belief that the Yankees will allow him to start more while monitoring his innings and pitch counts. This arm is one of the more interesting profiles to keep track of come spring training. If all works out, Beeter could be a key piece to assist the Yankees bullpen, a unit that will undoubtedly need help as the year progresses.

1 week ago  ::  Jan 21, 2023 - 11:38AM #63
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2023 is a pivotal year for Yankees prospect Andrés Chaparro



The young thumper could find himself hitting bombs in the Bronx down the stretch if he keeps proving himself against high minors pitching.


www.pinstripealley.com/2023/1/21/2356490...


The Yankees have four men on the roster capable of playing third base: Josh Donaldson, Oswaldo Cabrera, Isiah Kiner-Falefa, and DJ LeMahieu. One of them will have to get the majority of starts at the position this season. Yet, none of them can be considered the “third baseman on the future.” LeMahieu and Donaldson are on the wrong side of 30, Cabrera will likely play a lot of left field in 2023, and IKF doesn’t have the bat to be considered as such.


Andrés Chaparro may or may not be that “third baseman of the future,” but if somebody other than Anthony Volpe and Oswaldo Peraza has a chance to come up and be a factor at least in a part time role that includes some starts at the hot corner, it’s Chaparro.


Even though he started 47 of his 64 Double-A games in 2022 at third base, it’s possible or even likely that isn’t his long-term home. He could profile better as a mashing first baseman. But everything seems to indicate Chaparro can hold his own there, and he has already had a successful stint at Double-A Somerset.


That means Chaparro, 23, is facing a pivotal year in his career. Whether he reaches the majors or not, 2023 will be crucial for him as the Yankees discover whether he can handle high minors pitching on a consistent basis, beyond a 64-game sample.


Over those 64 contests, Chaparro accumulated 271 excellent plate appearances. He was marvelous, with a .289/.369/.594 line, 19 home runs and a 158 wRC+. He is known for his big-boy exit velocities, as some of his hardest hit balls have reached as much as 117 mph.


He can expand the zone here and there, but Chaparro doesn’t have a strikeout problem. That’s ideal, especially for a guy with his kind of power. This past season with the Patriots, he had a 9.2 percent walk rate and an above-average 19.9 percent strikeout rate.


In many ways, Andrés Chaparro can be 2023’s Cabrera. He is not a highly-regarded infield prospect like Anthony Volpe or Oswald Peraza, he can play at least two positions, and he could have an impact during the stretch run with his power. He is obviously not as versatile as Cabrera, but has more power and a better bat overall.


But he will get tested in 2023. He will have to show that last year’s performance was no fluke. He could start back in Double-A this season, but even if he isn’t on Scranton’s roster at some point in the spring, he will eventually. And he needs to replicate his 2022 success at the more advanced level.


Defensively, he is somewhat passable at third, but probably needs to get better to be considered a real option to stick there long-term. Still, even without sizable improvement, there is a chance he earns a spot with the Yankees in the second half. He could be a part-time player making a few starts per week at third base, first base, or the DH spot. He will get as far as his bat takes him, similar to Cabrera last year.


Chaparro has already shown the drive required to succeed high levels. Whereas many prospects had the chance to rest on their laurels when the beginning of the pandemic wiped out the 2020 minor league season, others took the time off as an opportunity to rebuild their games or their physique.


Thankfully, Chaparro was on the latter group. As Dan Kelly pointed out last September, he was a different hitter when he returned to the Yankees’ system in 2021, with added strength in his lower half. He turned from a slap hitter to a huge power threat, and it showed in his performance.


For all we know, he can use that drive to will himself into a useful defender at third, or to keep improving as a hitter and reach the majors in 2023. If that’s the case, look out, because he has the kind of power that can be impactful in MLB games.

6 days ago  ::  Jan 23, 2023 - 10:34AM #64
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The Yankees’ Top 10 Prospects: No. 2 Oswald Peraza


The Yankees hope Peraza can graduate from a prospect to their everyday shortstop in 2023.


The Yankees’ publicly-stated need entering the 2021 offseason was a shortstop. As fortune would have it, the greatest shortstop free agent class of all-time was about to hit the market. Seager. Correa. Semien. Baez. Story. One by one, they signed with teams that were not the Yankees. Fans watched incredulously as the team opted to trade for Isiah Kiner-Falefa, and then irritably tolerated a season of subpar offense and defense at short. Improbably, another stellar class of shortstops became available following the 2022 season. Correa again. Turner. Bogaerts. Correa again. Swanson. Correa again. The Yankees never went near any of them. This would all be inexplicable if it weren’t for Oswald Peraza.


It has been declared that the starting shortstop for the New York Yankees this year will be the winner of a spring training competition. How much of a competition it will be is unknown, because it certainly feels like the job is Peraza’s to lose. It probably should be. He’s already had his taste of the big leagues and even boasts a Game 2 ALCS start on his resume. There is a legitimate complaint that he should have had more of an opportunity in the month of September to establish himself, but it is too late to do anything about that. Peraza’s domain is now the future.


There is perhaps some undue pressure on Peraza entering the 2023 season in that the Yankees did not upgrade their position player group in any way this offseason. The only way they can meaningfully improve their offense without relying upon the increased performance of players from the 2022 lineup is to have Peraza come in and surpass the production of Kiner-Falefa. The good news is he’s up to the task. At age 22, the right-handed hitter had a 139 OPS+ in just 49 at-bats for the big club. While it would be a surprise if Peraza performed at that level for a full season in 2023, the brief glimpse of his success as a hitter is not out of line with his potential.


Evaluators noticed Peraza’s ability to square up the baseball before he ever had any numbers to show for it. MLB Pipeline mentions that, “pound for pound, Peraza hits the ball as hard as anyone in the Yankees system.” A superior athlete, he brings strength and body control to the batter’s box, along with an ability to make adjustments and close up holes in his swing and approach. After noting that Triple-A pitchers were attacking him with sliders breaking down and away, Josh Norris of Baseball America wrote that Peraza worked hard behind the scenes to improve against them. Meanwhile, he started to hit the ball in the air more often, leading to the 19 home runs and 16 doubles he hit with Scranton before coming up to New York.


While some scouts label Peraza’s power tool as a tick below average, others view it as average, and that passes the eye test. It will come as no shock if Peraza hits 20 homers in a full big-league season. Generally he is viewed as an above-average hitter, and he has maintained an upward trajectory throughout his offensive development. He is still on the ascent, but he should be able to contribute right away on the bases, with above-average speed that has produced 71 steals in the last two seasons combined. That coveted speed should play up due to both his efficiency in taking bases and his ability to put the bat on the ball and get on base.


Peraza has seen his offensive profile improve during his climb through the minors, but his ability to play shortstop has never been in question. His quickness, range, hands, above-average arm, and instincts leave nothing to be desired, and only repetition at the big-league level is missing from his report card. Peraza’s defensive prowess is enough to not only greatly impact the Yankees’ season this year, but it could also alter the career path of fellow top prospect Anthony Volpe. Whereas Volpe is a fine defender who can handle shortstop, Peraza could be mentioned among the league’s better defenders at the position in the near future. As long as Peraza is competent offensively, Volpe may be moved to second or third when he is eventually promoted to the Bronx.


Peraza likely enters the 2023 season without the hype or name recognition that will follow Volpe, but people know who he is and still have expectations for him. There are some who simply need him to be better than who played short last year, and others will see him as an upgrade as long as he doesn’t fall on his face. That’s really the only thing that could stop Peraza right now. He could struggle mightily in spring training and force the Yankees to go in another direction, but that is certainly not Plan A. Manager Aaron Boone has spoken about the impression Peraza made in September and October, noting the way he fit in and went about his business with the quiet confidence of a major league player.


The Yankees likely have their hopes set on him establishing himself this year next to fellow Venezuelan Gleyber Torres, making the plays at short and contributing to the lineup. Don’t be surprised if he does significantly more than that.

5 days ago  ::  Jan 24, 2023 - 2:58PM #65
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Here are the Top 10 SS prospects for 2023


www.mlb.com/news/top-shortstop-prospects...


The Top 10 (ETA)
1. Anthony Volpe, Yankees (2023)
2. Marcelo Mayer, Red Sox (2024)
3. Elly De La Cruz, Reds (2023)
4. Jordan Lawlar, D-backs (2024)
5. Jackson Holliday, Orioles (2025)
6. Jackson Merrill, Padres (2024)
7. Marco Luciano, Giants (2024)
8. Ezequiel Tovar, Rockies (2023)
9. Noelvi Marte, Reds (2024)
10. Brooks Lee, Twins (2024)
Complete list »





Highest floor: Volpe
Early concerns about Volpe’s ability to hit upper-level pitching were eased when he took off in June at Double-A last year, and while there are some arm concerns, he’s a steady defensive presence at short too. He isn’t far from taking a middle-infield spot in the Bronx, and barring any significant changes to his profile, he seems a safe bet to hold down that place for years to come.


Rookie of the Year candidate: Volpe


After teaming with future No. 2 overall pick Jack Leiter to lead the Delbarton School (Morristown, N.J.) to a state non-public Class A championship in 2019, Volpe turned down the opportunity to join him at Vanderbilt to sign with the Yankees for $2,740,300 as the No. 30 overall choice. Mononucleosis contributed to a lackluster pro debut that summer before he used the pandemic layoff in 2020 to rework his swing and add strength. He has been a different player since, winning MLB Pipeline's Hitting Prospect of the Year award in 2021 and encoring last season by recovering from a slow start to become the first 20-homer, 50-steal Minor Leaguer since Andruw Jones in 1995. 


Volpe stood out as much for his intangibles as his tools when he entered pro ball, but that's no longer the case after he transformed himself physically. He still has as much pure hitting ability as anyone in the system, but he now has a right-handed stroke geared for loft and produces high exit velocities and power to all fields. He struggled at times against sliders in 2022 and occasionally looked like he was trying to do too much at the plate, but he made adjustments over the course of the year. 


Volpe's work ethic and instincts continue to allow him to get the most out of his physical ability. His solid speed and aggressive nature on the bases led to 50 steals in 57 attempts last season. The lone question is whether his finely tuned internal clock can help him stay at shortstop with average range and arm strength (albeit with a quick release) that may be better suited for second base. 





5 days ago  ::  Jan 24, 2023 - 8:29PM #66
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3 days ago  ::  Jan 26, 2023 - 2:05PM #67
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The Yankees’ Top 10 Prospects: No. 1 Anthony Volpe



Is 2023 the year we see the Yankees’ top prospect reach the Bronx?


Perhaps you’ve heard this story before. Kid born in New Jersey, lifelong Yankee fan, plays shortstop, draws national attention as a draft prospect, is taken in the first round out of high school by the Yankees, gains recognition for his mental makeup and his all-around baseball skills. That is Derek Jeter’s story, and we know how it ends. It is also part of the Anthony Volpe story, and that one is just beginning.


It seems inappropriate and maybe even blasphemous to bring up Jeter’s name in relation to Volpe, and this is not a suggestion that Volpe is about to embark on a Hall of Fame career. Volpe and Jeter are different athletes and aesthetically dissimilar players. Where the comparison may be apt is in something intangible. Will Warren, a teammate and fellow top prospect, may have put it best in an interview with Randy Miller of NJ.com. On Volpe: “He’s the best player I’ve ever played with. When the Derek Jeter documentary came out in the middle of this season, we watched it and were like, ‘Dang, this is crazy. This is who we’re playing with!’” This may be irresponsible to claim, but in the way Jeter, Don Mattingly, and Aaron Judge have the “IT” factor that draws the adoration of fans and the admiration of teammates, Volpe has something special about him.


Volpe is not a physical specimen. He’s not going to draw your eye with his stature or athleticism. He’ll catch your attention with his style of play. If you’ve coached before, Volpe is your dream of a player. He will stand out for his energy, the way he moves and talks on defense, his intensity in the batter’s box, and the knack he has for the moment. He does everything like it’s very important. He leaves the impression, from a distance, that he is all about winning a baseball game. When you watch him in action, even for a short while, you think of the word ballplayer.


While the raves about Volpe come for his baseball IQ, instincts, and work ethic, let’s not forget he’s a prospect because he has major league tools. He consistently gets above-average grades as a right-handed hitter, which could have been anticipated when he was drafted, but now he also receives equal grades for his power, and that was in question when he entered professional baseball. Volpe took advantage of the pandemic shutdown to get stronger and work on his swing, and the results were extraordinary. His monster 2021 season, split between Tampa and Hudson Valley, saw him put up a line of .294/.423/.604 with 27 homers. That slugging percentage came with more than half his hits going for extra bases.


You may have heard some say Volpe scuffled out of the gate at Double-A Somerset in 2022, but if you live in the northeast you understand why anyone would have struggled to hit in April. The weather was miserably cold and it seemed to rain nearly every day, and when you are trying to adjust to a new level as a hitter, those are the last conditions you want to experience. Once it warmed up, so did Volpe. His best months came in June and July, where he hit 10 home runs with an OPS north of .900. He was still hitting the ball hard after a promotion to Scranton when the cold returned in late September.


Volpe’s speed also rates as above average, and he has put it to good use in stealing 33 and 50 bases the last two seasons, respectively. The Yankees have put an emphasis on base stealing in the development system, and, though Volpe is not a burner, his instincts, aptitude, and aggressiveness may push him into the upper tier of baserunners once he reaches the majors.


His elite work ethic and desire for greatness have impacted all aspects of his game, and that clearly includes his defense. One of the knocks on Volpe was a suspect throwing arm, so in the offseason before 2022 he went to the state-of-the-art Wake Forest throwing lab for help. They taught him to be more efficient with his arm path and worked with him to mechanically improve what he was already doing well. Volpe came out of the winter with a noticeably-improved throwing arm, to go with his quick feet, hands, and release, and saw the concerns about his ability to consistently make the throws from short disappear. In an interview with Lindsey Adler of The Athletic, Wake Forest pitching coach Corey Muscara echoed what so many others have noticed about Volpe. “Where he’s head and shoulders above everyone else is in the way he thinks about the game, the instincts, and his ability to learn and grow,” said Muscara.


Volpe is universally regarded as a top-20 prospect in all of baseball. MLB Pipeline recently named him the top shortstop prospect in the minors. Keith Law of The Athletic, who can be rightfully stingy with praise, wrote that Volpe is “almost certainly the reason the Yankees haven’t gone after one of the big shortstop free agents, and I think they’re right. He’s going to be a star, and very soon at that.”


It is easy to envision Volpe as a good player in the major leagues, but there are, of course, many things yet to be determined about his near future. He will likely begin the year at shortstop in Triple-A Scranton, though Brian Cashman informed him he will be given an opportunity to win a job with the Yankees in spring training. Volpe doesn’t need to be protected on the 40-man roster until after the 2023 season, but he could force himself onto it sooner if he declares himself to be the best option for the big league club.


If the Yankees had their way, they would probably love if Oswald Peraza established himself at shortstop, considering he is the superior defender, and Volpe reached the majors as a second baseman. That is the ideal outcome for the franchise going forward, but plans rarely have a way of working out so smoothly, and it would be wise to at least temper enthusiasm about what is to come for Volpe, who is still only 21. We don’t know when he becomes a major league player, what position he’ll play when he gets there, or how good he will end up being. What we do know is that Volpe has spent the last two years turning doubters into believers, and while cynicism is prudent when it comes to making predictions on the futures of baseball players, Anthony Volpe hasn’t given us any reason to be cynical.

3 days ago  ::  Jan 26, 2023 - 7:53PM #68
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Yankees Top 10 prospect Austin Wells sets lofty goals after reaching MLB


Austin Wells continues his path to the majors and is certainly not letting the doubters and naysayers change his ambitions. The Yankees know they have a big talent on their hands, and the chances of him coming up this year seem more likely than ever.


Despite some questioning his defensive abilities, though never the offensive upside, Wells has seemingly taken them to heart and looks to prove everyone wrong.


Wells flew up the Yankees’ prospect lists over the past two seasons, and this year he looks to be featured in their T5 organizational prospect rankings for a wide number of publications. He’s been upfront and open about his goals and what he wants his future to look like.


In a recent piece by Chris Kirschner for The Athletic, Wells was outspoken about the doubt around him being a full-time big-league catcher.



“There’s always been that doubt and there’s still that doubt. I feel like continuing to prove that I can play the position at a higher level is the goal, and not necessarily because of what other people say but because I want to be the catcher of the New York Yankees. I want to be an All-Star catcher. I want to be known for not just being able to hit. I want to do both, and I want to do both extremely well. The more that people say I can’t, it definitely fires me up to work harder and be in a better spot each day.” 


Assuming Wells’s defensive improvement that we saw last year does end up sticking, he will likely see time behind the dish at some point this season. Wells has been highly touted because of his bat, but if the glove and arm come with it, he could be a regular in the MLB when his time comes. Last year alone, he flew up the minors and ended the year with AA Somerset. Now, it seems like he’ll be on AAA Scranton to start the year, likely with Ben Rortvedt as his competition at that level.


Across 55 games with Somerset, he clubbed 12 HR and stole seven bags — one of the best qualities of Wells’ is that he is very athletic for a catcher, think of JT Realmuto or Jason Kendall on the basepaths. He posted a wRC+ of 129, to go with a 11.7% BB Rate and an .839 OPS in his time with the Patriots. He certainly has the tools to be great, and he knows what heights he wants to reach. Confidence is key with a vast majority of prospects, as having the aspirations to be elite at the big leagues is certainly a shared goal.


Wells, in his interview with Kirschner, continued with his ambitions, stating:



“Being a catcher is a priority because I love the grind of the position,” Wells said. “Getting beat up and coming back the next day and going out there like nothing happened the night before — I love that and it drives me to play the game of baseball, because being back there is a different feeling.”


Austin Wells cont.

His defense improved dramatically year-over-year, and as he progressed through the levels in the farm, he was able to fine-tune certain aspects of his game over time. Still just 23-years-old, Wells has plenty of time to keep rounding out his skillset, and with the automated strike zone becoming a more and more likely reality, perhaps he doesn’t need to be an excellent framer to get by. There may not be another Jose Trevino in baseball, and it truly is very difficult to reach the level of defensive excellence that he is at. However, if Wells keeps working hard, he should get his chance sooner than later.


The Yanks are currently running the same tandem they did last year, with Trevino and Higashioka getting set for duties behind the plate. However, there’s still plenty of time until the season gets going, and Wells could have a phenomenal spring, thus making the organization have to think about the catcher situation this season. This will also likely be Higgy’s last year with the organization, so it’ll be interesting to see how the Yankees prioritize youth and wanting to test out what talent they have in the farm.


3 days ago  ::  Jan 26, 2023 - 8:00PM #69
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There are three Yankees on MLB's new Top 100 prospects list #5 Anthony Volpe #47 Jasson Dominguez #52 Oswald Peraza

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