MINOR LEAGUE NEWS UPDATES

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BigGuy
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Re: MINOR LEAGUE NEWS UPDATES

Postby BigGuy » Wed Jan 24, 2018 7:46 am

Andujar ranked third among top 3B prospects


By Bryan Hoch MLB.com @BryanHoch

NEW YORK -- Nearly every trade proposal that has crossed Brian Cashman's desk this winter mentioned Miguel Andujar's name, with competitors interested in prying the right-handed-hitting third baseman from the Yankees' clutches.

Thus far, Cashman has resisted any temptation to include the promising slugger in negotiations, including spiking a proposal from the Pirates that could have shipped right-hander Gerrit Cole to New York. If the season were to begin today, Andujar very likely would be in the Opening Day lineup.

"It's going to be interesting," Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner said recently. "We've got a situation [where] we'll see what happens at third base. One of the possibilities in my mind somewhere in the infield is Andujar. He had a really good August in Scranton offensively and defensively was much improved."

Andujar, 23, has been named as the No. 3 third base prospect in all of baseball by MLB Pipeline. Playing last season for Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Andujar batted a combined .315/.352/.498 with 36 doubles, two triples, 16 homers and 82 RBIs in 125 games.

The Yanks' highest-priced signee in the 2011-12 international class at $750,000, Andujar led all Yankees Minor Leaguers in batting average and doubles, ranked third in RBIs and set a career high in homers.

He has displayed the ability to make consistent contact, striking out in just 13.6 percent (71) of his 522 plate appearances in 2017. Though Andujar's defense has been described as a work in progress, he boasts an impressively strong arm and has improved his hands and range.

"The bat is not a question mark," Cashman said recently. "It's just, is he finished off defensively yet? He's a very exciting talent; one that's being insisted upon, it seems like, in every conversation I'm having with anything that's high-end out there."

Andujar also played in five games at the big league level, including a memorable debut on June 28 against the White Sox in Chicago. Starting at designated hitter, Andujar went 3-for-4 with a double, four RBIs, a walk and a stolen base, setting a franchise record for RBIs in a Major League debut.

"What an amazing day. I'm never going to forget this day," Andujar said that night through an interpreter. "Super happy to be here, to play with these guys here and have the opportunity to contribute and then get a victory."

MLB Pipeline's third base prospects ahead of Andujar were Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (Blue Jays) and Nick Senzel (Reds). After Andujar, Michael Chavis (Red Sox), Christian Arroyo (Rays), Austin Riley (Braves), Ryan Mountcastle (Orioles), Colton Welker (Rockies), Brian Anderson (Marlins) and Jake Burger (White Sox) earned recognition.
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Re: MINOR LEAGUE NEWS UPDATES

Postby BigGuy » Wed Jan 24, 2018 7:49 am

Yanks' Solak thriving in march through Minors

Former second-round pick named Majors' No. 5 2B prospect by MLB Pipeline

By Bryan Hoch MLB.com @BryanHoch

NEW YORK -- As he ascends to the higher levels of the Minor Leagues, Nick Solak has merited praise as a "winning-type player who can hit and has real attributes that are clutch," as Yankees director of amateur scouting Damon Oppenheimer recently said.

MLB Pipeline has agreed, announcing on Monday that they rate Solak as the No. 5 second-base prospect in all of baseball. The 23-year-old Solak played well at two levels of the Yanks' system last year, and though he is pegged to begin 2018 in the Double-A Eastern League, a big league promotion may not be far off.

"Being a young player in the organization, that's the goal," Solak told the New York Post. "You want to do everything you can to put yourself in a position to keep improving, to keep developing as a player so you can help the team win up in the big leagues."

A second-round selection in the 2016 MLB Draft out of the University of Louisville, Solak was among the hottest collegiate players that spring, batting .455 through his first 22 games. However, he missed a month of the season after being hit in the right hand by a pitch.

Signing with the Yankees for a slightly below slot $950,000, Solak immediately impressed at Class A Staten Island, ranking third in the New York-Penn League in batting average (.321) and on-base percentage (.412). That ability to hit and get on base came as no surprise to Yanks personnel, who have watched his right-handed swing for years.

"Solak just barrels up a ball really well," former Trenton manager Bobby Mitchell told NJ.com. "He has that knack that is hard to teach sometimes. It really is. He obviously sees the ball really well, barreling up the ball consistently."

Solak played his first 100 games of 2017 for Class A Tampa, where the converted corner outfielder compiled a .301/.397/.460 slash line with 17 doubles, four triples, 10 homers, 44 RBIs and 13 stolen bases.

Solak played solidly after being promoted to Double-A Trenton, batting .286/.344/.429 with nine doubles, a triple, two homers and nine RBIs in 30 games. There is room for improvement, as the Yankees would like to see him cut down on his strikeouts (100 in 465 at-bats) and errors (17).

MLB Pipeline's second-base prospects ahead of Solak are Scott Kingery (Phillies), Luis Urias (Padres), Keston Hiura (Brewers) and Isan Diaz (Brewers). After Solak, Shed Long (Reds), Garrett Hampson (Rockies), Max Schrock (Cardinals), Brandon Lowe (Rays) and Kevin Kramer (Pirates) earned recognition.
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Re: MINOR LEAGUE NEWS UPDATES

Postby rpimpsner » Wed Jan 24, 2018 8:42 am

Hi all, here is this week's edition of the Pinstriped Prospects Podcast. We got two versions for you, an audio version and the video version.

This week we had Taylor Widener on the podcast and our panel discussed the recent Top 100 lists and the pitch clock.

Video:

Audio: https://pinstripedprospects.com/episode ... sts-28963/
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Re: MINOR LEAGUE NEWS UPDATES

Postby BigGuy » Wed Jan 24, 2018 9:51 am

Yankees state of the system: Catchers

by Ben Farber

Image

Gary Sanchez has established himself as a top-three catcher in all of baseball. But aside from him, the Yankees are thinner behind the plate than they’ve been in recent years.

At the major league level, Gary Sanchez’s studliness is obvious. He lit the Bronx on fire by smacking 20 home runs in 53 games as a Yankees rookie in 2016.

Then, in his first full season, El Gary rode 33 dingers, 90 RBI and a batting line of .278/.345/.531 to a Silver Slugger Award and an All-Star appearance. He’s got one of the best-throwing arms you’ll ever see.

Plus, he showed some serious cojones when he unseated Giancarlo Stanton in last summer’s Home Run Derby.

The dude is 25 years old. He’s already the best catcher in the American League (sorry, Salvador Perez), both now and for the future. Aside from Buster Posey, he’s probably the best catcher in the world.

Sanchez’s biggest weakness last season was the passed ball. A league-leading 16 of them, to be exact. However: a) the Yankees staff is insanely difficult to catch, what with Tanaka and Robertson throwing nothing but dirtballs, and b) he tightened up in the playoffs.

The defense will improve going forward. Again, Sanchez just turned 25 in December. He’ll figure out how to block better.

The other knock on Gary was his .192 playoff batting average and .214 playoff OBP. For such a talented hitter, he was insanely un-clutch. But playoff performances will improve with time.

As he plays in more Postseason games, there’s little doubt that Sanchez will grow comfortable enough to hit like the superstar he is. Notably, Sanchez did not allow any passed balls in 13 playoff games.

I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to say that Sanchez has a chance — a chance — to be the best Yankees catcher since Yogi Berra. Better than Posada, better than Munson.

I’m not saying it will happen. But Sanchez is already one of the best hitters in the game at any position. If Gary becomes a plus defender, he will be one of the very best players of his generation.

Behind Sanchez, the Yankees seem content to give Austin Romine another season as the second catcher.

It will be Romine’s third season as the team’s primary backup. Although he doesn’t hit at all (.218/.272/.293 with two home runs in 80 games last year), Romine is a sturdy defender and a trusted receiver.

He’s not great, but he’s good enough. Romine has the confidence of the coaching staff. If he didn’t, Cashman would have brought in another fringe catcher to compete with him.

Romine is out of options, so this might be his last year in pinstripes. He’s been with the team for a long time. Remember, he made his debut all the way back in 2011.

His finest moment has to be last August’s tussle with Miguel Cabrera. He evaded several punches before dropping the former MVP like a bad habit. Talk about cojones. That’s a guy I want on my team.
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Re: MINOR LEAGUE NEWS UPDATES

Postby BigGuy » Thu Jan 25, 2018 6:14 pm

Trenton Thunder renaming themselves the Trenton Pork Roll this summer

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The Trenton Pork Roll uniforms for Fridays during the 2018 season

By Olivia Rizzo
For NJ.com

Popcorn, peanuts - and pork roll.

To commemorate their 25th season in Trenton this summer, the Trenton Thunder - a minor league affiliate of the New York Yankees - will become the Trenton Pork Roll.

And the players will wear special, pork roll uniforms.

On Friday nights anyway.

"Pork Roll is a New Jersey staple that can be served on everything from breakfast sandwiches to burgers and we're thrilled to celebrate it on a daily basis at ARM & HAMMER Park," Thunder General Manager Jeff Hurley in an announcement.

"Re-branding ourselves as the Thunder Pork Roll on Friday nights is the perfect way to celebrate a Garden State favorite!" he said.

Carmen Cincotti, ranked number 2 in the world, came in as the heavy favorite after he ate 40 sandwiches last year

The pork roll Fridays kicks off May 18 with a giveaway and "Pork Roll Celebration," the club said.

The first 1,025 fans, ages 21 and older will get a pork roll apron, and the club will sell $1 pork roll sandwiches, courtesy of Case's Pork Roll, of Trenton.

The club's stadium, ARM & HAMMER Park in Riverview Plaza, is the site of the Trenton Thunder World Famous Case's Pork Roll Eating Contest, which held its third competition this past September.

The Thunder's 2018 season begins Thursday, April 5 when they host the Richmond Flying Squirrels (San Francisco Giants). Tickets, ticket plans and group sales are available at TrentonThunder.com and by phone at 609-394-3300.
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Re: MINOR LEAGUE NEWS UPDATES

Postby rpimpsner » Fri Jan 26, 2018 8:46 am

Pat Osborn is returning to Tampa to manage the Tampa Tarpons in 2018
https://pinstripedprospects.com/osborn- ... 018-29004/
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Re: MINOR LEAGUE NEWS UPDATES

Postby BigGuy » Fri Jan 26, 2018 12:21 pm

Yankees prospects: Chance Adams is a future relief ace

Despite solid prospect rankings, the young right-hander is probably destined for the bullpen

By Joshua Diemert@JoshuaDiemert Jan 26, 2018, 11:00am EST

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Photo by /Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

It’s been a big week in the prospect world, with Baseball America and Keith Law both releasing their lists of the top 100 MLB prospects. The Yankees have fared well in both rankings, with six on BA’s and five on ESPN’s, but one pitcher appearing on the former and excluded from the latter.

Chance Adams was ranked 81st on the Baseball America list and was left off of Law’s. The 23-year old is coming off a season in the high minors, posting a 2.89 ERA and 3.76 FIP in the highest level of minor league ball. After parts of three seasons in the Yankees organization, Adams seems poised to make his major-league debut at some point in the 2018 campaign, with many people believing he’s destined for a spot in the rotation.

Sadly, I don’t consider myself part of that group. Adams has some talent, and I think he’ll see time in the big leagues in 2018, but his repertoire and history suggest a bullpen role over a starting spot.

Chance was one of the few pitchers drafted out of college as a reliever before being converted to a starter. The appeal of this is obvious; starters are more valuable than relievers because of their increased workload, and so you’re willing to accept less-spectacular results in exchange for throwing three times as many innings. Adams has been able to do that, to a point, but it’s probably not sustainable for an entire big league career.

There’s no one reason why I’m bearish on Adams’ starting potential, but like a lot of things, it’s a series of smaller reasons. First is simply his arsenal. The biggest difference between starters and relievers is starting pitchers tend to have at least three pitches, and usually more. Pitchers who do rely on three pitches must compensate by having one of those three pitches be near-perfect, or else they become far too predictable facing the best hitters on the planet.

Luis Severino is an example of that type of three pitch pitcher, who sports arguably the best four-seam fastball in the game today. His ability to vary speed, hit his spot and maintain the pitch’s effectiveness compensates for his merely adequate third pitch, the changeup. Contrast that to a pitcher like Jordan Montgomery, who makes up for a less-than-perfect fastball by throwing five pitches from nearly identical arm slots.

Chance doesn’t really have either of those gifts. Both his fastball and slider are good enough, but not really enough to compensate for a lack of a reliable third pitch. That lack of a reliable third pitch is also a serious roadblock to developing four or five pitches like Montgomery throws. Adams, despite his talent, probably just doesn’t have the repertoire to reliably navigate a lineup multiple times.

Let’s return to Montgomery for a minute. Like Adams, Gumby forced himself onto the Yankees radar by pitching so well the front office had to pay attention. Montgomery looks to be secure in the starting rotation for the near future, but clues in his minor league performance show key differences between him and Adams.

To start, Monty consistently increased his strikeout rate in the minors, with his K/9 steadily climbing as he progressed through Low-A to Trenton. At the same time, his walk rate declined the same way, as he gradually faced older and better competition, he issued fewer free passes, down to 2.19 in his final full season in the minors.

Adams is the opposite. His strikeout numbers have dropped while his walk rate has climbed. Even more concerning, his groundball rate has also dropped from 46.1% in 2016 to just 40% this past season. Adams is increasingly relying on outs from fly balls to work through an order, and that’s just not a sustainable strategy when you start 30 games a year.

The best path forward for the Yankees is to focus Adams on working two or three innings at a time. This allows him to go “all out” with his fastball, as he doesn’t have to save energy for a sixth or seventh inning. You’d probably see a bump in his strikeouts closer to his Low and High-A levels, and limit the number of fly ball opportunities he has.

I don’t want to be seen as someone who’s brushing off Chance Adams completely. He has a lot of natural talent, and we’ve seen the impact a reliever can have when he can pitch two innings at a time. David Robertson, Chad Green and Andrew Miller have all been able to work five, six or seven outs for the Yankees in the past few seasons, and their value has been undisputed. Chance Adams is still probably going to be a major league talent, he’ll just likely be working at the end of a game instead of the beginning.
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Re: MINOR LEAGUE NEWS UPDATES

Postby T15D23 » Fri Jan 26, 2018 8:04 pm

Yankees' farm system ranked second by ESPN's Keith Law

Chris Carelli

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New York Yankees second baseman Gleyber Torres against the Pittsburgh Pirates at George M. Steinbrenner Field. (Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports)

ESPN's Keith Law ranked the Yankees' farm system as No. 2 in baseball after he ranked five Yankees prospects in his top 100 list.

Despite trading several big prospects away during last season's trade deadline, the Yankees maintained their No. 2 ranking from last year by keeping their most valuable prospects, including infielder Gleyber Torres.

Torres, 21, was ranked fifth on Law's list, sixth by Baseball America and MLB.com's No. 1 shortstop prospect. Though he has spent most of his career as a shortstop, he is expected to compete for a spot at either second base or third base on the Yankees' Opening Day roster.

Acquired from the Cubs in the 2016 trade that sent Aroldis Chapman to Chicago, Torres debuted in 2014 and has a lifetime .282/.360/.416 batting line with 23 home runs, 197 RBIs and 60 stolen bases in the minors. He was limited to 55 games at the Double-A and Triple-A levels last season after undergoing Tommy John surgery on his left arm when he suffered an injury while baserunning.

Law also ranked LHP Justus Sheffield 16th, third baseman Miguel Andujar 54th, RHP Freicer Perez 73rd and RHP Albert Abreu 99th, and said outfielder Estevan Florial and RHP Domingo Acevedo were on the fringe of being ranked.

The Yankees trail only the Atlanta Braves, according to Law, even after trading several prominent prospects, including RHP James Kaprielian, shortstop Jorge Mateo and outfielder Blake Rutherford, last season.

"Even in trades for Giancarlo Stanton and three players from the White Sox at the deadline," Law wrote, "the Yankees have kept their top tier of prospects intact. The result is a system with five guys in the top 100, three more with strong cases and continued depth for future acquisitions."

The Yankees have made huge strides toward building their farm system in recent seasons, and it is evident this was not a practice in generating short-term gains. Rather, this has intentions of securing long-term benefits.

The Yankees are credited with creating the bulk of their system through the trades at the deadline in the summer of 2016, however the club has also done a fine job in recent drafts and continues to fill the organization with the top international players. The depth of the system is so strong that the Yankees can deal from the top part of their organizational ranks without feeling as though they are gutting the entire system.

The Yankees have re-committed to creating balance at all levels of the farm system and how they will use the collection of players. Having young inexpensive players ready to contribute to the major league roster allows the Yankees the ability to add high-priced players whether via trade or free agency. Further, the Yankees have demonstrated that they are willing to deal prospects for proven major leaguers when required. As of now, the Yankees farm system has the potential to produce dividends in various ways for years to come.
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Re: MINOR LEAGUE NEWS UPDATES

Postby BigGuy » Mon Jan 29, 2018 3:11 pm

Yankees prospects: Justus Sheffield could make the next step in 2018

Sheffield could be poised to be the next left-handed stud in the rotation, if it all breaks right.

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By Matt Provenzano Jan 29, 2018, 2:00pm EST


What made the acquisitions of Gleyber Torres, Justus Sheffield, Clint Frazier, Al Abreu, and Jorge Guzman so great isn’t just that Brian Cashman flipped extra depth for prospects, it’s that he flipped extra depth for prospects with a rising stock. Frazier was a top 50-type, Torres is now a top 10-type, and Abreu and Guzman round out the back of most of the industry’s top 100 lists after being unranked. Justus Sheffield has now made the jump from 80th-90th overall to a top 50-type himself.

Sheffield was born in Tullahoma, Tennessee on May 13, 1996, and graduated from Tullahoma High School, tossing multiple no-hitters and finishing his senior year with a 0.34 ERA. He was recruited to play at Vanderbilt, a storied program for future major league players, and was drafted by the Indians as the 31st pick in the 2014 draft.

The draft report is remarkably similar to industry consensus right now, which is good and bad in a couple of ways. His fastball sat in the 89-92 mph range, and he featured a slider and change that could be plus. He had the necessary athleticism considering his shorter stature, which would always make him a higher risk selection during a time when the concept of safer college bats was coming into vogue.

Fast forward three and a half years, and clarity is coming into the picture. After being packaged with Clint Frazier, Ben Heller, and J.P. Feyereisen in the Andrew Miller deal in 2016, Sheffield has only seen his stock rise. After being ranked 91st, 79th, and 52nd by Baseball America, MLB.com, and Baseball Prospectus, respectively, he has since seen his ranking jump to 41st by Baseball America and 48th by MLB.com. Here’s what MLB.com had to say:

“Sheffield could have three plus pitches when all is said and done. His 92-97 mph fastball features some run and sink and is his most consistent offering, though his mid-80s slider may have more upside. His changeup isn’t as reliable as his first two options, yet he still shows the ability to miss bats with it.

Though Sheffield is a little shorter than desired for a starter at 5-foot-11, he still creates downhill plane with his delivery and doesn’t throw with excessive effort. He’s athletic and has been durable as a pro outside of his oblique injury. He improved his control in 2017 and has the potential to become a No. 3 starter.”

That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s all roses, though. Here is what Baseball Prospectus’ Jarrett Seidler said about the lefty back in November:

“The Good: He’s a lefty that can sit in the mid-90s with explosive movement, and projects for a possible plus slider and change... The Bad: The command comes and goes with an inconsistent release. Between his short stature, a spotty health history (2017’s injury du jour was an oblique that cost him a couple months), and an occasionally violent delivery, it’s safe to say there are some really significant durability issues present... The Risks: Unusually high for a top Double-A pitching prospect. The mercurial command profile would make us mention a reliever risk here even if there weren’t frame and health signs pointing there too.”

I can’t say I disagree with that. There’s some evidence to suggest that shorter pitchers are actually underrated, but it also could be a survivor bias feature where only elite pitchers can survive if they’re not above six feet. It also isn’t helped by the fact that Sheffield does actually have an injury history, and the best predictor of future injuries are past injuries.

You can see both the good and the bad wrapped up in two images. You can see the tight spin on his slider, and how his command, when effective, would make it a deadly out pitch when the fastball—also pictured—is as explosive as it does appear.

The issue is the violent and whipping delivery, and that’s something that needs to be hammered out. We actually saw this with Luis Severino as well, where that final arm whip after the delivery has to be minimized such that you can maintain the force in delivery, but still keeping stress off the forearm. While he has learned to drive off his back leg to bump his fastball five mph or so since draft day, the short stride combined with the relative lack of balance could make him a risk.

That being said, there is still a lot to like. While his command is still a question mark to an extent, he has still seen positive results in both Double-A and the Arizona Fall League against some of the best competition in the league. There’s still a lot of work to be done, but there’s an outside chance we see him in pinstripes by the end of 2018. Luckily the Yankees won’t be antsy to promote him because of the depth, so he will have as much time as he needs to refine his skills. If the past two years have been an indicator, this could be the year he finally rises to the top of heap.
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Re: MINOR LEAGUE NEWS UPDATES

Postby rpimpsner » Wed Jan 31, 2018 8:56 am

This week on the Pinstriped Prospects Podcast we talked with Yankees outfield prospect Canaan Smith as well as talked about the latest news and rumors.

Listen now at:
https://pinstripedprospects.com/podcast ... hes-29534/

or

Watch the podcast here:
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