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Postby BigGuy » Thu Feb 01, 2018 6:20 am

Yanks reportedly sign righty David Hale to minor league deal

January 31, 2018 by Mike Axisa 991 Comments

(Justin Edmonds/Getty)

10:24pm ET: Bob Nightengale says Hale did indeed get an invitation to Spring Training. He’ll earn $600,000 at the big league level.

8:00pm ET: According to Chris Cotillo, the Yankees have signed journeyman right-hander David Hale to a minor league contract. He has big league time, so I assume he received an invitation to Spring Training. We’ll find out when the Yankees announce all their non-roster players.

Hale, 30, had some prospect shine with the Braves back in the day, and he’s since bounced from the Braves to the Rockies to the Orioles back to the Braves to the Dodgers. He split last season between Double-A and Triple-A, throwing 81.2 innings with a 4.08 ERA (3.85 FIP) across 14 starts and one relief appearance.

In 178.2 big league innings with the Braves and Rockies, Hale has a 4.48 ERA (4.37 FIP) with 15.3% strikeouts and 7.9% walks. PitchFX had him averaging 90.8 mph with his sinker and 80.7 mph with his slider during a brief stint with Colorado in 2016. He also threw a few four-seamers and changeups.

Hale figures to be the veterans innings dude for Triple-A Scranton this summer. Always need a guy like that. Someone to soak up innings and make sure the prospects don’t get overworked. Hale is the fourth player the Yankees have signed to a minor league deal this winter, joining Erik Kratz, Jace Peterson, and Danny Espinosa.
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Postby rpimpsner » Thu Feb 01, 2018 10:40 am

So we are gearing up for minor league spring training, it looks like we will have about 3-4 writers there to cover the games so there is a good chance we can at least get a report from at least 2 of the games each day.

With that in mind, we are releasing several more scouting reports leading up to March. With our Top 75 list completed we wanted to make sure you guys had full scouting reports on as many guys as possible so without further ado here is our next report.

https://pinstripedprospects.com/pinstri ... der-28965/
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Postby BigGuy » Thu Feb 01, 2018 2:03 pm

Yankees on a roll with minor league deals, sign pitcher David Hale

by Mike CalendrilloFollow @macalendrillo

On Wednesday evening, the Yankees signed former Braves and Rockies right-handed pitcher David Hale to a minor league contract.

With reports swirling that free agent starter Yu Darvish is waiting to see if the Yankees or Dodgers can clear enough salary to appease his lofty contract demands, general manager Brian Cashman decided that less is more.

Cashman is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to signing veterans to minor league, no strings attached deals. First, there was Erik Kratz, then Jace Peterson, followed by Danny Espinosa and now right-handed shooter David Hale.
Hale, 30, split time last year at Double-A Tulsa and Triple-A Oklahoma City, part of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ organization.

Over the course of the 2017 minor league season, Hale compiled a 5-4 record, 4.66 ERA, 1.396 WHIP and 60:14 K:BB ratio, across 81.2 innings.

The 2009 third round draft pick by his hometown Braves — Hale made his major league debut in 2013, appearing in a career-high 45 games the following season.

Hale’s repertoire consists of four pitches — including his go-to 90 mph sinker, 80 mph slider and secondary four-seam fastball and changeup.

For his career, Hale is 10-10 with a 4.48 ERA, 1.461 WHIP and 15.3% strikeout rate in 178.2 innings pitched.

Should Hale make the big league team out of Spring Training, he’ll earn $600,000 — though that seems like a longshot at this point.

The Yankees already boast a formidable bullpen and will likely rely on Adam Warren and Chad Green once again to fill the long-relief role.

Should an injury occur in the Bronx, Hale could be in consideration to eat up innings — although in my opinion, Chance Adams deserves the first shot at solidifying any needs that arise.

I’d also like to see Ben Heller and his electric stuff get a legit shot to prove his worth in the ‘pen.

And don’t forget, the Yanks still have Luis Cessa and his frequent flyer miles to bounce between New York and Pennsylvania.

Expect Hale to fill an open rotation slot at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and little else.
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Postby T15D23 » Thu Feb 01, 2018 6:48 pm

Scout evaluates Yankees’ Miguel Andujar, Gleyber Torres and other top prospects
Mike Mazzeo

It's February, yet the free-agent market remains frozen. As it stands, the Yankees are set to go into spring training with Gleyber Torres and Miguel Andujar at second and third, though it's possible that could change.

Here's a scout's take on the duo:

Miguel Andujar

Miguel Andujar still has work to do on his defense, but his bat is just about MLB ready.
(Abbie Parr/Getty Images)

"I think he can be really special. He projects as an eventual middle-of-the-order bat with power. He's got incredible wrists, hits to all fields and doesn't strike out a lot. His defense isn't terrible, but it's inconsistent. He's got a great arm."

Andujar had 17 errors in the minors last season, but posted an .850 OPS and struck out 71 times in 522 plate appearances. He had four hits in eight plate appearances during his extremely short stint with the Yankees in 2017. It's possible the organization could want him to finish off his defensive development in the minors.

Gleyber Torres


"He's got good hands and a plus arm in the field, but he's a below-average runner. He's a line-drive, gap-to-gap hitter who projects at around 15 homers. He doesn't really profile at third base, but he will hit and he has good instincts and feel for the game. It wouldn't surprise me if they held him in the minors at the start of the year to get another year of control."

Torres has recovered from Tommy John surgery on his left elbow, but the Yankees have been brining him back slowly.

It's thought that they're going to give him every opportunity to win a starting job, but it's certainly plausible they do what they did last season, and allow him to get more seasoning and knock out rust in the minors before calling him up.

Granted, if he has another huge spring, who knows.

The Bombers have depth behind the youngsters in Ronald Torreyes, Thiaro Estrada, Tyler Wade, Jace Peterson and Danny Espinosa. But they could also use more of an established veteran presence, which is why names like Todd Frazier, Neil Walker and Mike Moustakas make sense.


The Yankees are loaded with right-handed, power-throwing pitching prospects, but one scout believes Frecier Perez, a 6-foot-8 righty who turns 22 in March, may have the biggest upside of all of them. Perez went 10-3 with a 2.84 ERA in 24 starts at Class A Charleston last season, cutting down on his walks (45) while posting 117 strikeouts in 123.2 innings.

Perez has drawn comparisons to four-time All-Star Dellin Betances, who struggled with mechanics/delivery as a starter/reliever in the minors before finding his way as a power arm with a great breaking ball in relief, because of his height.

"The biggest difference between them is Perez is super athletic, does it without any effort and has great mechanics. He gets up there - 96-100 - and is able to flash you four plus-pitches: curveball, slider and change. He needs to tighten it up and get more consistency, but he has a feel for pitching, and he's got a high ceiling if it all comes together."

A scout projects Chance Adams as a future reliever.
(Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

The scout believes Chance Adams profiles as a reliever.

"He's an aggressive bulldog who pounds the strike zone. His fastball is a little true though he does locate pretty good and he's got a pretty good breaking ball. His out-pitch is his slider. I don't see him as a starter long-term, more in the bullpen."

More scout takes:

OF Estevan Florial

"He's a five-tool guy, a potential 30-30 guy. He's so exciting, has incredible upside and plays hard.

SP Justus Sheffield

"He's taken tremendous strides, he's extremely athletic, he just needs to improve his fastball command."

SP Albert Abreu

"He's got electric stuff, four pitches, he just needs to be able to command and locate them."

SP Taylor Widener

"I really like him. He came out of nowhere in a way. His command and pitchability really improved."
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Postby BigGuy » Fri Feb 02, 2018 12:27 pm

Florial, Sheffield, Adams among 2018 Spring Training invitees

February 2, 2018 by Mike Axisa 52 Comments


Pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report to Tampa in one week and five days, and earlier this morning, the Yankees announced their list of non-roster Spring Training invitees. The list of 20 non-roster players includes some of the team’s best prospects. Here’s the list:

RHP Chance Adams
RHP Cody Carroll
RHP Cale Coshow
RHP Raynel Espinal
RHP J.P. Feyereisen
RHP David Hale
RHP Brady Lail
LHP Wade LeBlanc
LHP Justus Sheffield
RHP Dillon Tate
RHP Taylor Widener


Francisco Diaz
Erik Kratz
Chace Numata
Jorge Saez

Danny Espinosa
Kyle Holder
Jace Peterson
Nick Solak


Estevan Florial

As a reminder, all players on the 40-man roster will be in big league camp automatically. That includes top prospects like Gleyber Torres, Miguel Andujar, Domingo Acevedo, Albert Abreu, and Thairo Estrada. Ditto the no longer prospect eligible Clint Frazier. The 40-man roster is full, so the Yankees will have 60 players in camp total.

Hale, Kratz, Espinosa, and Peterson all signed minor league contracts in recent weeks. Everyone else is a product of the farm system. The only real surprise is Espinal, a 26-year-old righty who had an unreal minor league season a year ago, throwing 74.1 relief innings with a 1.09 ERA (2.23 FIP) and great strikeout (33.5%) and walk (5.4%) rates. He topped out at Double-A Trenton. Seems like Espinal impressed enough to get an invite to camp. Good for him.

Assuming everyone stays healthy and there are no surprise trades, the Yankees have three Opening Day roster spots available: second base, third base, and last bullpen spot. I imagine the out of options Chasen Shreve has a leg up on the final bullpen spot. Torres, Andujar, Estrada, Espinosa, Peterson, Ronald Torreyes, and Tyler Wade are the primary competitors for the second and third base jobs.

When I put together my non-roster players preview a few weeks ago, I came up with 20 names. Espinal, Widener, and Coshow were the only actual non-roster players I missed. They take the place of Stephen Tarpley, James Reeves, and mystery first baseman yet to be signed on my projected non-roster list. Not too shabby on my part.
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Postby BigGuy » Sat Feb 03, 2018 7:57 pm

Domingo Acevedo could be something special out of the bullpen

The Yankees have used Acevedo as a starter exclusively, but a switch to the bullpen might be in the cards

By Brock Hammond@BrockHammondPSA Feb 3, 2018, 2:00pm EST

Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

For Domingo Acevedo, 2018 could be a big year. After a successful 2017 campaign, the Yankees added Acevedo the 40-man roster to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft, and now he’s just a phone call away from the big leagues. Armed with a big fastball, the best changeup in the farm system, and a 6-foot-7 frame, Domingo Acevedo could see time in the rotation, or as an effective bullpen arm for the Yankees this season.

The last few seasons have seen Acevedo take some major steps forward in his development. Injuries limited him to just 18 starts in 2016, but the numbers from that season are still strong. Across Low-A Charleston and High-A Tampa, Acevedo had more strikeouts than innings pitched, and more importantly, he limited walks in his first season of A-ball. In 2017, Acevedo continued to climb the minor league ranks.

Despite a handful of shaky starts with High-A Tampa to begin the season, Acevedo still showed promising numbers—11.32 K/9, 1.96 BB/9, 3.17 FIP—and earned his first call-up to Double-A Trenton. While there, he really found a groove and was arguably the team’s best starter. His performance at Double-A earned Acevedo a couple of big time promotions, but they didn’t go well.

In two Triple-A spot starts in June, Acevedo gave up eight walks and six runs in 12 1/3 innings, and he gave up three runs on four hits in his one-inning appearance in the Futures Game during the All-Star break. All things considered, Acevedo still had a fantastic 2017. He pitched very effectively for Trenton and avoided injuries, allowing him to throw a career-high 123 innings.

As a member of the 40-man roster, Acevedo will at least open spring training with the big league club. Where he’ll go from there is still unclear. The Yankees were conservative with Chance Adams last season and sent him to Double-A to begin the year, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see them do the same thing with Acevedo. Given Acevedo’s tools, it might not be long before fans see him suit up for the Yankees in either the rotation or the bullpen.

The Yankees clearly see Acevedo as a starter, at least for now. He made just one relief appearance in the Dominican Summer League back in 2013, but that’s it. In an interview with Larry Rothschild last summer, Brendan Kuty asked the Yankees’ pitching coach about the possibility of moving Acevedo to the bullpen, even if just temporarily, but Rothschild shot that down. He stated, “I don’t know. I’m not even sure it’s time for that conversation. Right now, you develop him as a starter and see where that goes.”

If keeping Acevedo as a starter is indeed still the plan, it would seem he has a way to go before cracking the big league rotation. Domingo German, Luis Cessa, and Chance Adams all seem like locks to open the season at Triple-A. Both Cessa and German already have Major League innings under their belts, and Hal Steinbrenner singled out Adams as a possible contributor to the big league rotation in 2018. There’s also questions about Acevedo’s arsenal that could potentially keep him out of the rotation, but make him a valuable asset in the bullpen.

If you’ve followed the Yankees minor league system at all the past couple of years, you’ve likely heard about Acevedo’s fastball. The righty has run his heater up to 103 MPH but is most effective when he works it between 95-100 MPH. However, Acevedo’s off-speed offerings—a slider and a change—aren’t on-par with his 75-to-80 grade fastball.

Baseball America called Acevedo’s changeup the best in the system, but take that with a grain of salt. Keith Law doesn’t see the changeup or the slider as a truly effective secondary offering, nor does he see Acevedo standing up to the rigors of starting because of his delivery. With that and the Yankees’ current rotation depth in mind, it would stand to reason that Acevedo could find a home in the bullpen sooner rather than later.

Despite the questions about Acevedo’s repertoire, he could still be a unique and effective piece in the bullpen. A fastball like Acevedo’s would obviously be a huge asset in one-inning spurts, and his massive size and low three-quarter arm slot could make him deadly against righties in particular. If he can touch 103 MPH as a starter, then watching him work as a reliever could be a lot of fun. Moreover, offsetting that big fastball with a good-but-not great changeup could just be enough to keep hitters honest.

As Yankees fans have seen, Chad Green and Aroldis Chapman have both found success primarily using fastballs, and Tommy Kahnle has shown that the rare fastball-changeup relief pitcher could also be extremely effective. While Acevedo probably needs more time before he’s ready for his big league debut, it’ll be interesting to see how the Yankees decide to use him. Whether it’s as a starter or as a reliever, Domingo Acevedo could be something special for the Yankees beginning as early as this summer.
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Postby rpimpsner » Sun Feb 04, 2018 11:40 am

Our full Yankees Top 75 Prospect list is out now and you can see it all in one place, here:
https://pinstripedprospects.com/2018-ne ... cts-29569/
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Postby BigGuy » Wed Feb 07, 2018 5:39 pm

What can MLB.com’s scouting grades tell us about Estevan Florial?

February 7, 2018 by Mike Axisa 329 Comments


Over the last two seasons, no prospect in the farm system has shot up the rankings more than Estevan Florial. The Yankees signed Florial as part of their 2014-15 international signing spree, though he was not a high profile signing. He signed for $200,000 late in the signing period after being suspended by MLB for a paperwork issue. (He moved from Haiti to the Dominican Republic and his mother enrolled him in school using a different name.)

Florial, who turned only 20 in November, came to the United States in 2016 and blew the doors off the rookie Appalachian League, then dominated last season at mostly Low-A Charleston. He hit .298/.372/.479 (145 wRC+) with 13 homers and 23 steals in 31 attempts (74%). Florial also drew a walk in 10.5% of his plate appearances. The problem? He struck out in 31.1% of his plate appearances. That’s an awful lot.

The strikeouts combined with the undeniably excellent natural tools make Florial a divisive prospect. Check out where he slots into the various top 100 prospect rankings this spring:

Baseball America: 38th
Baseball Prospectus: 26th
FanGraphs: 79th
Keith Law: Just missed (101-110 range)
MLB.com: 44th

Pretty big spread there, eh? Florial is ranked as high as 26th and as low as, well, unranked. There are always going to be differences of opinion and therefore differences in the rankings, but gosh, that is an especially huge gap. Florial is not necessarily difficult to evaluate. He’s difficult to project.

A few weeks ago Sunny looked at prospects who posted numbers similar to Florial in the minors, specifically prospects who combined great offensive output with high strikeout rates in Low-A. I want to examine Florial another way. I’m going to use MLB.com’s scouting grades. I’ve done the same exercise with Gleyber Torres and Blake Rutherford in the past.

Real quick primer on the 20-80 scouting scale: 20 is terrible, 80 is great, 50 is average. MLB.com’s scouting grades are future grades, not present grades. They’re what the player projects to have when fully matured. For the purposes of this exercise, I’m using this criteria to determine a prospect similar to Florial:

Left-handed hitting outfielder. (The platoon advantage matters!)
Spent his entire age 19 season in Single-A.
Ranked as an MLB.com top 100 prospect going into his age 20 season.
Simple enough, right? MLB.com has been providing scouting grades for top 100 prospects since 2013, and from 2013-17, only nine players other than Florial fit my criteria. Smaller sample than I expected! Here are those nine prospects (and Florial) and their scouting grades going into their age 20 season:


Cells in green are tools that match or exceed Florial’s. Interestingly enough, eight of the nine prospects similar to Florial are drafted players. Only Mazara was signed internationally. Huh. A few thoughts and observations.

1. Wow is Florial unique. The nine other prospects all beat Florial’s hit tool by at least a full grade, and five of the other nine prospects match or beat Florial’s power tool. However, Florial dominates the other categories. He’s the only 70 runner among those prospects — only two others are even 60 runners — and only one matches his arm while two match his fielding.

So, put it all together and Florial has the worst hit tool of the bunch, a similar power tool as everyone else, and unmatched speed and defensive ability. No one else has such a run/defense heavy profile. MLB.com and the scouts evaluating these players had less confidence in Florial’s hitting ability than anyone else’s, but also trusted his speed and defense more. Pretty unique.

2. None of these prospects reached MLB in their age 20 season. And only one (Mazara) received more than a cup of coffee in his age 21 season. Mazara spent nearly his entire age 21 season in the show. Verdugo got a September call-up at age 21. Dahl reached the show at age 22, Winker and Williams debuted at age 23, and the other four (Meadows, Tucker, Clark, McKinney) have yet to make their MLB debuts.

Florial did play in the Double-A postseason at age 19 last season only because High-A Tampa’s season was over and Trenton’s was not, and the Yankees wanted him to keep playing. Last year Florial played 91 games with Low-A Charleston and another 19 with Tampa. Returning to Tampa to start this season before a midseason promotion to Trenton seems like the likely path, and based on our comparable prospects, that is a standard assignment. Five the other nine split their age 20 season between High-A and Double-A.

There are always exceptions, but recent history indicates that if you’re hoping to see Florial in the Bronx this season, even a brief stint as a September call-up, you’re going to be disappointed. Heck, you might not even see Florial as a September call-up next year, though he will be added to the 40-man roster next winter, so he has that going for him. Point is, these toolsy kids who spend their entire age 19 season in Single-A don’t always make it to the big leagues as quickly as you might expect.

3. Let’s compare their plate discipline numbers. This is going to tie back into the point about their hit tools. Florial swings and misses a lot and that is the long-term concern in his game. The other prospects in the sample? Well, look at the strikeout and walk numbers in their age 19 season:

Florial 31.1% 10.5% ? ? ? ?
Williams 27.3% 3.7% 28.8% 4.5% +1.5% +0.8%
Clark 26.0% 14.1% 24.8% 17.2% -1.2% +3.1%
Mazara 21.7% 11.8% 18.3% 9.3% -3.4% -2.5%
Dahl 19.0% 4.8% 16.8% 5.1% -2.2% +0.3%
McKinney 18.4% 11.2% 13.9% 10.2% -4.5% -1.0%
Meadows 17.6% 10.1% 14.4% 7.4% -3.2% -2.7%
Tucker 16.3% 10.1% 20.8% 8.8% +4.5% -1.3%
Winker 15.4% 13.0% 19.9% 15.8% +4.5% +2.8%
Verdugo 12.0% 3.9% 12.7% 8.3% +0.7% +4.4%

Florial has the highest strikeout by far. He’s over 30% while no one else was over 27.5%, and only two others were over 22.0%. Also, Florial’s walk rate, while impressive, is not exactly uncommon. Six of our nine comparable outfield prospects also had double digit walk rates in their age 19 season. Most saw a decline in walk rate in their age 20 season, which makes sense. They moved up a level, where pitchers are better and throw more strikes.

I suppose the encouraging thing is five of our nine comparable prospects lowered their strikeout rate in their age 20 season while another (Verdugo) saw basically no change. If there’s a reason to believe Florial can improve his strikeout rate, it’s his experience, or lack thereof. He didn’t play much baseball growing up — Haiti is not a baseball country at all — so the hope is the more he plays, the more adjustments he’ll make. That’s the hope.

* * *

I was surprised to see so few prospects with Florial’s profile, that speed/defense/raw tools guy with questionable contact rates. Seems like there are lots of those guys in the minors. I guess a bunch are right-handed hitters or middle infielders though, or didn’t play a full season in Single-A at age 19. Whatever. Point is, a left-handed hitting outfielder with Florial’s tools and contact issues is surprisingly uncommon. He’s probably not going to climb the ladder quickly, though there is at least some hope the contact rate will improve.

The Yankees like Florial enough that he was reportedly off-limits in trade talks this offseason — and supposedly at the trade deadline as well — so while he is unrefined and his contact issues are a concern, they’re willing to be patient with him. After all, the Yankees helped another toolsy minor leaguer with swing-and-miss issues become an MVP candidate recently. Be patient with Florial and the reward could be considerable.
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Postby BigGuy » Thu Feb 08, 2018 11:51 am

Yankees pitching prospect has surgery scare, source says

Updated 11:32 AM; Posted 11:31 AM

Yankees pitching prospect Albert Abreu. (Zach Bland | Charleston RiverDogs)

By Brendan Kuty bkuty@njadvancemedia.com,
NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

Yankees pitching prospect Albert Abreu had appendix surgery Wednesday, a source told NJ Advance Media.

He's expected to leave the hospital Friday, the source said.

Baseball America ranks Abreu the Yankees' No. 6 overall prospect and the 77th best in the game. According to MLB.com, Abreu finished 2017 as the team's No. 7 prospect and he'll go into 2018 as No. 74 in the game.

It was unclear how much time the 22-year-old right-hander will miss. Yankees pitchers and catchers report to major-league spring training at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Florida, on Tuesday. Their first workout is Wednesday.

Abreu seems poised to start the season at Double-A Trenton with an outside shot at reaching the majors in 2018. The Yankees put him on their 40-man roster in the offseason to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft.

Last year, he went 1-3 with a 4.19 ERA in nine starts at High-A Tampa and 1-0 with a 1.84 ERA in three games (two starts) at Low-A Charleston. In the Arizona Fall League, Abreu continued to impress, going 1-2 with a 2.60 ERA in six starts.

The Yankees acquired Abreu in a trade that sent veteran catcher Brian McCann to the Astros in November 2016. In the deal, the Yankees also got right-handed pitching prospect Jorge Guzman, whom they dealt to the Marlins in a pact that landed them reigning National League MVP Giancarlo Stanton.

In 2013, Jason Heyward's appendectomy kept him on the disabled list for about three weeks. In 2011, Adam Dunn had an appendectomy and he missed five games.

Here's what a big-league scout whose seen Abreu extensively told NJ Advance Media's Randy Miller recently:

"I love him. You're going to like this kid. I saw him in the Fall League. He was throwing 91-97 (mph). He sat 94. He'll show you a plus curveball at times that is tight with depth. His changeup needs some refinement, but it has a chance to be a plus pitch in the future. He's aggressive. He gets swings and misses. He's pretty good with a good body. And he's a good makeup kid. His delivery gets out of whack at times and it affects his stuff. When he stays square and direct to the plate and he's working downhill, he's good. I give him a chance to be a No. 3 starter, a middle-of-the-rotation type guy. If everything comes, he has an outside chance to be a No. 2 starter. Based on what I've seen, I like him better than Chance Adams."
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Postby BigGuy » Fri Feb 09, 2018 5:19 pm

The Yankees have agreed to a minor-league deal with outfielder Shane Robinson, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today (via Twitter). He could earn at a $950K rate in the majors and will receive an invitation to MLB camp this spring. The 33-year-old Robinson has long been a reserve/depth piece, seeing action in eight MLB campaigns but compiling only 795 total plate appearances at the game’s highest level. He spent most of 2017 with the Angels’ top affiliate, slashing a sturdy .319/.370/.425 in his 385 trips to the plate.
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