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Postby BigGuy » Sun Feb 11, 2018 12:10 pm

Yankees prospect Tyler Wade makes all KATOH team

by Chris Northrop1 hour agoFollow @CnorthBBall

On February 8, Chris Mitchell of Fangraphs released his 2018 Top 100 KATOH Prospects. Unsurprisingly, Yankees prospects Gleyber Torres (#14) and Chance Adams (#62) are on the list, as they have been on many top 100 prospect lists this season.
The surprise on the KATOH list was infielder Tyler Wade (#26), who has not shown up on any other of the lists. Yankees fans have reason to be excited about this recognition for Wade.

Wade is one of a corps of infielders, including Gleyber Torres, Ronald Torreyes, Danny Espinosa, and Jace Peterson vying for a spot in the infield, either at second base or as the utility infielder.

With Torres expected to win the job at second base, but to start the season in the minors for a number of reasons — four men will likely be doing battle for one utility role.

KATOH is a projection system which uses a minor leaguer’s performance to estimate the likelihood that he’ll achieve specific major league outcomes. Using what appears to me as alien, rocket science, KATOH produces a WAR forecast for a player’s first six major league seasons.

KATOH incorporates age, offensive performance, defensive performance and other characteristics from the past two seasons. Wade is projected to have a WAR of 7.3 in the big leagues.

Wade posted a slash line of .310/.460/.842 with seven home runs and 31 RBI in 2017 in Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. His weak offensive (.155/.222/.224) showing with the Yankees last season would not be taken into consideration for the KATOH projections, which are based solely on minor league statistics.

Most of the other top 100 best prospect lists depend heavily on scouting, while KATOH focuses on statistical performance.

The All KATOH Team, by Chris Mitchell of Fangraphs is made up of players, like Wade, who were excluded from the other top 100 lists. Mitchell says of these players:

These players have performed in a way that usually portends big league success. yet, for one reason or another, each has been overlooked by prospect evaluators.

Yankee fans have not overlooked Wade, who had a stellar year at Triple-A in 2017, despite struggling in the big leagues. However, there is plenty of upside for Wade going into 2018, as is clear from the KATOH selection.

Wade is an excellent defender with good range with great hands. He’s versatile and in ’17 at Triple-A, played every position besides pitcher, catcher and first base. His left-handed bat would also provide balance in manager Aaron Boone’s lineup, which is a little heavy with right-handers.

Speed is Wade’s best tool as he stole 26 bases in Triple-A last season. Speed is one of the missing elements of the current Yankees’ roster with the exceptions of Gardner and Ellsbury, who will not be an everyday player.

With a combination of good defense, versatility and speed, Wade makes a good case for a job in 2018 — and he has KATOH to thank for bringing his value to everyone’s attention.
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Postby rpimpsner » Sun Feb 11, 2018 12:30 pm

The most requested prospect profile of the last week is here.

https://pinstripedprospects.com/pinstri ... son-29742/

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Postby BigGuy » Mon Feb 12, 2018 5:28 pm

2018 Minor League Coaching Staffs Announced

February 12, 2018 by Mike Axisa 13 Comments

Bell. (Jennifer Stewart/Getty)

Over the last several weeks the Yankees have announced their 2018 minor league coaching staffs under new farm system head Kevin Reese. Reese replaces Gary Denbo, who left to join Derek Jeter with the Marlins. There is nothing sexy about minor league coaching staffs, but these guys are important. They help mold the next wave of prospects and Baby Bombers. Here are this year’s coaching staffs.

Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders
Manager: Bobby Mitchell
Pitching Coach: Tommy Phelps
Hitting Coach: Phil Plantier
Bullpen Coach: Doug Davis
Defensive Coach: Travis Chapman
Athletic Trainer: Darren London
Strength & Conditioning Coach: Brad Hyde

Al Pedrique, who’d managed in the farm system since 2013 and was Triple-A Scranton’s manager from 2016-17, left the Yankees this offseason to become the Athletics’ first base coach. He has been very open about wanting to manage in the big leagues again, but the Yankees didn’t interview him for their managerial opening, and I assume that contributed to his decision to join the A’s. So it goes.

Mitchell joined the organization in 2016 and managed Double-A Trenton the last two seasons. Now he’s moving up to replace Pedrique. Mitchell played briefly in the big leagues (1980-83) and has extensive coaching and managerial experience in the minors. This will be his second Triple-A managerial gig after managing Triple-A Salt Lake (Angels) from 2008-10.

“From top to bottom, the Yankees have a lot of young talent moving up the ladder,” said Mitchell in a statement. “The whole system is packed with prospects and that is a really good thing. Honestly, the most satisfying part of the job is seeing guys make that jump to the big leagues. Knowing our guys are driven and are going to work hard for that goal makes us all excited to get this season going.”

Plantier is new to the organization and is replacing P.J. Pilittere as Scranton’s hitting coach. Pilittere is now the Yankees’ assistant hitting coach. Plantier played eight seasons in the show (1990-97) and, fun fact, he is the all-time home run leader among players born in New Hampshire. Since retiring as a player, Plantier has held several coaching and managerial jobs in the minors, and was the Padres’ hitting coach from 2012-14.

Phelps, Davis, London, and Hyde are all returning to the RailRiders. Phelps is entering his third season as the team’s pitching coach. Davis is not that Doug Davis, the former big league lefty. It’s a different Doug Davis. This will be his second year in the organization.

Double-A Trenton Thunder
Manager: Jay Bell
Pitching Coach: Tim Norton
Hitting Coach: Ty Hawkins
Bullpen Coach: Luis Dorante
Defensive Coach: Raul Dominguez
Athletic Trainer: Jimmy Downam
Strength & Conditioning Coach: Anthony Velasquez

With Mitchell going to Triple-A Scranton, Bell comes up from High-A Tampa to take over as Double-A Trenton manager. Last season was his first season in the farm system, and he has lots of coaching experience, including at the big league level with the Diamondbacks (bench coach from 2005-06), Pirates (hitting coach in 2013), and Reds (bench coach from 2014-15). He also worked in Arizona’s front office from 2007-09. Last year Baseball America named Bell the top managerial prospect in the High-A Florida State League.

Downam and Velasquez are returning, otherwise the rest of the coaching staff is new. Norton spent the last two seasons as pitching coach with High-A Tampa and this will be his seventh season coaching in the system overall. He pitched in the organization from 2006-11 and, as rumor has it, the Yankees were planning to call him up in 2011, but Norton came down with an injury. The Yankees then picked up Cory Wade as a replacement.

Hawkins is a Yankees lifer. This will be his 20th year coaching in the organization. He’s worked at every level at some point — Hawkins was Double-A Trenton’s hitting coach in 2005 — and most recently was a hitting coach in the rookie Gulf Coast League. Dorante has been in the system since 2011 and was rookie Pulaski’s manager last year. Dominguez was Bell’s defensive coach with High-A Tampa.

High-A Tampa Tarpons
Manager: Pat Osborn
Pitching Coach: Jose Rosado
Hitting Coach: Eric Duncan
Defensive Coach: Jose Javier
Catching Coach: Michel Hernandez
Athletic Trainer: Michael Becker
Strength & Conditioning Coach: Jacob Dunning

Yes, the Tarpons. Anyway, Tampa probably has the most interesting coaching staff in the organization, not that minor league coaching staffs are the most exciting things in the world. Osborn, who has been considered a rising managerial star the last few years, managed Low-A Charleston last season and returns to Tampa after managing the club in 2016. Javier was on Osborn’s staff as defensive coach last season, and he’s moving up as well. Becker and Dunning are returning.

Duncan is entering his fourth season coaching in the system and it’ll be his second straight season with Tampa. His mission this year: Help Estevan Florial make more consistent contact. Hernandez is the organizational catching guru. The Yankees move him from level-to-level each year to put him with a specific catching prospect. This year it’ll be Donny Sands, apparently. Hernandez has worked with Gary Sanchez and Luis Torrens in the past.

Rosado has, very quietly, played a big role in the Yankees turning around their player development system in recent years. He spent the last three seasons with Double-A Trenton and had a hand in getting pitching prospects like Luis Severino, Jordan Montgomery, Chance Adams, and Dietrich Enns to take a step forward in their development. This year he’ll work with a talented Tampa staff that figures to include Freicer Perez, Trevor Stephan, and Albert Abreu.

Low-A Charleston RiverDogs
Manager: Julio Mosquera
Pitching Coach: Justin Pope
Hitting Coach: Scott Seabol
Defensive Coach: Dan Fiorito
Athletic Trainer: Michael Sole
Strength & Conditioning Coach: Danny Russo

This will be Mosquera’s 13th season in the organization and his fourth as a manager. He managed Short Season Staten Island last year. Pope and Sole are returning to the RiverDogs, and Seabol was on the rookie Pulaski staff last season. It was his first year in the organization as a coach. He’s making the jump to full season ball this year. Fiorito, a Yonkers native, was an ultra-popular organizational player from 2013-16. He was released last season and is a rookie coach this year. Pretty cool. Can’t say I’m surprised the Yankees brought Fiorito back as a coach after reading this.

* * *

The Yankees have not yet announced their coaching staffs for Staten Island, Pulaski, or the two GCL affiliates. That doesn’t mean they haven’t been finalized. It just means they haven’t been announced yet. (The GCL staffs are never announced anyway.) The Yankees had six minor league instructors take big league jobs this offseason:

Al Pedrique: Triple-A Scranton manager to A’s first base coach.
P.J. Pilittere: Triple-A Scranton hitting coach to Yankees’ assistant hitting coach.
Carlos Mendoza: Infielder coordinator to Yankees’ quality control coach.
Josh Paul: Catching coordinator to Angels’ bench coach.
Tom Slater: Double-A Trenton hitting coach to Mets’ assistant hitting coach.
Reggie Willits: Outfield and baserunning coordinator to Yankees’ first base coach.

The Yankees have a strong player development system now, and when you have a good player development system, your instructors tend to get poached. The Yankees were able to keep Pilittere, Willits, and Mendoza in the organization, albeit with promotions to the big league staff. They weren’t as lucky with Pedrique, Slater, and Paul.
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Postby BigGuy » Wed Feb 14, 2018 4:06 pm

Justus Sheffield, Chance Adams working to make jump to Yankees pitching staff in 2018


Updated: Wednesday, February 14, 2018, 3:51 PM

TAMPA — The Yankees have a stockpile of young pitchers on the horizon, with Justus Sheffield and Chance Adams sitting highest on many top-prospect lists. Both obviously have big-league dreams, which they hope come true in 2018.

"I would be lying if I didn't say I want to be in the Bronx at some point this year," Sheffield said Wednesday. "That being said, all I can focus on is doing what I can do on the mound and producing."

Added Adams: "Absolutely. I wish it would've happened every year before. But it's just the way it works out. I just go out there and try to do my work, and when they see what they like, they'll bring me up if they think I can help the team win."

The Bombers already have their 2018 rotation filled out in the form of Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, CC Sabathia, Sonny Gray and Jordan Montgomery. Chad Green is being stretched out as a starter during the spring, and Brian Cashman has been attempting to add another starter during the offseason via free agency or trade.

But it's a long season, and things can change. Regardless, both hurlers — who could start 2018 at Triple-A Scranton — continue their respective developments.

Sheffield, a 21-year-old lefty, has drawn comparisons to Mike Hampton and projects as a No. 2-3 starter. His fastball sat between 94-96 mph this fall.

"He's got three-plus pitches, but he needs to improve his fastball command," said one scout who believes he's big-league ready. Another talent evaluator, though, feels Sheffield is still about a year away.

He spent most of last season with Double-A Trenton, going 7-6 with a 3.18 ERA in 17 starts but was also sidelined by an oblique injury. Sheffield did pitch in the Arizona Fall League, though, and produced a 3.10 ERA in five starts.

"That was really big for me coming off my injury," Sheffield said. "I felt really good out there."

He is currently working on maintaining his delivery and developing his backdoor slider — a pitch CC Sabathia is extremely successful with.

"I've always been throwing it 'back-foot,' so being able to have that pitch in my back pocket and being able to pull it out would help me a lot," said Sheffield, who hasn't yet been told which minor-league team he's going to play for.

Adams, a 23-year-old righty, has a bulldog mentality on the mound, and scouts are mixed on whether he ultimately ends up as a starter or reliever.

"He's a bulldog who pounds the zone with his fastball (94-96 mph) and has a plus breaking ball," a scout said. "I see him more as a reliever at the end of games."

Adams has always won in the minors, though, going 15-5 with a 2.45 ERA in 27 starts between Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton in 2017.

"Whatever I can do to help the team: starter, reliever, doesn't matter," Adams said.

Adams is currently focusing on improving his fastball command and developing his changeup with Larry Rothschild. His out pitch is his slider.

"It's a very important pitch," Adams said of his change. "Against lefties, everything is going into them, so it's nice to have something that goes away."

Chance Adams. (MATT ROURKE/AP)

Sheffield and Adams have also cultivated a friendship.

"I love the way he plays the game and attacks hitters," Sheffield said.

The two play the popular video-game Fortnite with fellow prospects and Greg Bird, who is said to be pretty good, according to Sheffield.

Sheffield and Adams both got a brief taste of facing big-league hitters in their first big-league camps a year ago.

"I'm still going to have the butterflies," said Sheffield, who retired Hanley Ramirez at Fenway South last spring. "But I feel like I'm ready to face those guys. I feel like I've put myself in a spot to compete against those higher-up guys. I'm excited to get it going."

As part of Captain's Camp, Sheffield said the Baby Bombers went to dinner with Aaron Judge, Tyler Wade and Bird on Tuesday night.

What doesn't matter: top-prospect lists.

"To me it's just a list with a bunch of names," Sheffield said. "Once you're out there on the mound, everything is equal."
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Postby BigGuy » Thu Feb 15, 2018 6:15 am

The stud arms of Yankees future don’t want to wait much longer

By Dan Martin

Justus Sheffield; Chance Adams; Dillon Tate Chalres Wenzelberg

TAMPA — A year ago at this time, James Kaprielian was the top pitching prospect in the Yankees’ minor league system.

Less than a month into the season, Kaprielian learned he would have to undergo Tommy John surgery and then the right-hander was sent to the A’s in July as part of the deal that brought Sonny Gray to The Bronx.

Kaprielian’s departure left Chance Adams, Dillon Tate and Justus Sheffield as some of the best arms the Yankees have — and while there doesn’t appear to be any room for them at the major league level, all three will be watched closely, since the Yankees will undoubtedly need more than five starters this season.

“We really do feed off each other,” Sheffield said Wednesday prior to the team’s first workout of the spring. “That’s going to push us.”

Sheffield will turn 22 in May and dealt with a strained oblique that limited him to 19 games last year before he returned for the playoffs with Double-A Trenton and then the Arizona Fall League, where he pitched well.

“I just have to focus on me,” said Sheffield, who was part of the return when Andrew Miller was sent to the Indians in 2016. “They’re gonna call me up whenever they think I’m ready. For me to push and push won’t do anything, but I’d be lying if I told you I didn’t want to be in The Bronx tomorrow. I know I have to focus and produce, though.”

Sheffield, a southpaw, will be vying for a spot in the majors with Adams and Tate, as well as Domingo German, Domingo Acevedo and perhaps Albert Abreu, at some point.

Adams, 23, went a combined 15-5 with a 2.69 ERA in 27 starts split between Trenton and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. That, after he went 13-1 with a 2.33 ERA with Class-A Tampa and Trenton in his first full season as a pro out of Dallas Baptist University.

Adams was one of the prospects whose name surfaced in trade rumors during the offseason, and the right-hander admitted he noticed.

“I saw it,” said Adams, selected in the fifth round of the 2015 draft. “I didn’t watch every second of it. My goal is to get to The Bronx this season. I’d love to see it happen. But that’s up to me to execute.”

Tate, who arrived in 2016 when Carlos Beltran went to the Rangers, missed part of last season with a shoulder injury.

He went 1-2 with a 3.24 ERA with Trenton after dazzling in nine starts with Tampa.

“For me, health is the biggest thing,” said Tate, also 23. “I’ve played with Sheffield at Trenton and I’ve seen Chance throw and I think we can build on what everyone else is doing. That’s what this spring is about for me, to learn from anyone I can.”
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Postby BigGuy » Fri Feb 16, 2018 11:26 am

How the Yankees’ farm system depth could prove invaluable

The Yankees’ remarkably deep prospect cache just may enable them to make midseason upgrades for years to come.

By Jake Devin@JakePDevin Feb 16, 2018, 11:00am EST

Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

Over the past few weeks, most major outlets have published their prospect rankings for the upcoming season, and the consensus is in: the Yankees still have one of the best prospect groups in all of baseball. Despite a number of graduations and trades, the Yankees’ farm system ranks as one of the most talented in the game.

There is no question the system has elite prospects. Even after the likes of Aaron Judge and Clint Frazier lost prospect eligibility in 2017, the farm is not lacking for premier talent, in the form of Gleyber Torres, Justus Sheffield, and Estevan Florial among others. However, what really might set the Yankees’ farm system apart from the rest is its depth.

MLB Pipeline recently unveiled its top 100 list, on which six Yankees appeared. Beyond that, though, is where the system really shines. MLB’s Jim Callis was asked about a hypothetical Top 1000 prospect list, and while no such ranking exists, Callis speculated that the Yankees and Padres had the deepest systems in the league, and that the Yankees could put 50 or 60 prospects on such a list.

When you consider that an average farm system, in theory, would put 33 prospects on a league-wide top 1000, that number is staggering. It means that the Yankees have literally dozens of prospects outside of their own top 10 that could fit snugly on other teams’ top 20’s and 30’s. It means that the Yankees not only have the top-end prospects, but also countless lower-end ones that project to fringy or average in the future.

This depth in all likelihood resulted from a confluence of factors, ranging from the team’s focus on investing in international prospects, the relatively higher spots they’ve picked in recent drafts, as well as the farm’s consistent ability to develop prospects once they enter the system.

That last point is crucial, as every year there are countless stories of Yankees’ prospects taking leaps forward, or showing up with added ticks of velocity. Whether it’s teenage right-hander Luis Medina clocking triple digit fastballs, import Dillon Tate rediscovering his lost velocity after coming over from the Rangers, or outfielder Billy McKinney finding his stroke in Triple-A after falling off the radar with Cubs, it doesn’t seem like a coincidence that the Yankees consistently make real prospects out of lower-tier players.

And yet, with an already stacked major league roster, one that PECOTA projects to win 96 games in 2018, as well as an ample number of elite prospects, does this depth really matter? Is there any point to having a farm stocked to the brim with lower-level prospects that project to become quality relievers, back-end starters, and potentially average starting position players?

The value of those kinds of prospects to the Yankees’ actual big league club, now that the team is a bona fide contender, isn’t huge. While it certainly will help the team to likely have a steady stream of hard-throwing relievers and bench players if needed, those kinds of role 45 players are much more useful for teams with more glaring holes and smaller payrolls.

Where the Yankees’ system depth could really come in handy, however, is when the team is making alterations midseason. Every year, even the best teams take stock of their roster during the summer, and gauge what holes they need to patch to best make a playoff run. The Yankees certainly did that last season in bringing in Todd Frazier, Tommy Kahnle, David Robertson, Jaime Garcia, and Sonny Gray prior to the trade deadline.

Having up to 60 of the best 1000 prospects in the league could prove to be invaluable as the Yankees continue to try to contend in the coming years. While those lower end prospects may not be able to fetch players under long term control like Gray every summer, the Yankees’ depth just might enable them to patch their roster with rentals whenever they please.

Just look at the trades the team consummated in 2017. With a hole in the rotation, the Yankees flipped Zack Littell, their 22nd ranked prospect at the time per MLB Pipeline, for Garcia. While Garcia’s tenure with the Yankees was poor, this is exactly the kind of the trade the Yankees will be able to make ten times over thanks to their depth. Prior to bringing in Gray, the addition of a solid veteran like Garcia was a significant upgrade over Caleb Smith and Luis Cessa.

In bringing in Frazier, the Yankees essentially flipped lower prospects Ian Clarkin and Tito Polo (top prospect Blake Rutherford was included primarily because of the team control brought by premier relievers Robertson and Kahnle). Frazier, like Garcia, profiled as a large, short term upgrade at a position of need at the cost of prospects the Yankees would hardly miss.

Look around baseball, and there are plenty of examples of the price of solid veteran rentals at the deadline. The Red Sox flipped Jamie Callahan and Gerson Bautista to the Mets for Addison Reed, one of the best relief rentals on the market last year. Callahan and Bautista slid immediately into the final spots of the Mets’ Top 30 on MLB.com. Elsewhere, the Brewers flipped Ryan Cordell, a 25-year-old outfielder in Triple-A, for old friend Anthony Swarzak, another one of the top relief rentals.

These types of interesting but lower-end prospects don’t headline packages for the Chris Archers and Christian Yelichs of the world, but instead are highly useful in securing rentals of quality players midseason. The Yankees are likely to be exactly the kind of team that will be looking to make such maneuvers at the trade deadline in the coming years.

And they are just the kind of team that will be able to make these kinds of moves perhaps in perpetuity. If the player development machine that has yielded one the game’s deepest farms continues apace, the Yankees will be able to flip decent prospects for veteran help midseason over and over. The ultra-deep parts of their farm may not directly contribute much to the big league roster, but could still prove to be invaluable as the Yankees look to make playoff pushes for years to come.
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Postby BigGuy » Fri Feb 16, 2018 1:10 pm

Yankees prospect Thairo Estrada was shot in Venezuela last week

Thairo Estrada was shot, but he is said to be ok

By Jason Cohen@Jason00Cohen Feb 16, 2018, 1:00pm EST

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Spring training is finally upon us, and now we have updates on some of our favorite players. It should be an overall positive experience, until you find out that one of your favorite players was shot. That’s the word new Yankees manager shared with the media today, as he announced that shortstop prospect Thairo Estrada was shot in the right hop last week during a robbery.

The incident took place in his home country of Venezuela, and the bullet is still said to be embedded in his body. All things considered, the 21-year-old and the Yankees organization appear to be optimistic about his chances to play this season. Estrada has still reported to spring training on time, and though he won’t be performing any baseball activities right now, he is still working out with the other players.

Joel Sherman

Boone announces that #Yankees prospect Thairo Estrada was shot once in right hip last wee
k in Venezuela during a robbery attempt. Said he is in camp and doing well. Thinks will be able to play “bulk of season.”

Estrada spent the 2017 season in High-A Tampa where he hit .301/.353/.392 in over 500 plate appearances. Though he is certainly behind in the pecking order to top infield prospects, MLB.com still considers him the no. 16 prospect in the system. Estrada could use another big year in 2018 in order to solidify his status, so hopefully he will be able to return before too long.

The most important thing, though, is that Estrada is alive and relatively ok after this ordeal. Little is known of the incident at this moment, but it isn’t unheard of for talented professional athletes to be targeted in their home countries because of their conceived financial gains in America.

Jack Curry

Boone said Estrada was shot in a robbery attempt. He added that the bullet is still lodged in Estrada’s hip and he is dealing with some pain from the incision. Said Estrada is in a good frame of mind.

Venezuela is currently in a state of turmoil and events like this have taken place before. Pirates catcher Elias Diaz just experienced the kidnapping of his mother. Back in 2011, Wilson Ramos was kidnapped and ransomed. Both were natives of Venezuela and both had happy endings, thankfully.
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Postby rpimpsner » Sat Feb 17, 2018 1:42 pm

The Yankees have a new minor league infield coordinator in the person of Miguel Cairo

https://pinstripedprospects.com/miguel- ... tor-29831/

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Postby BigGuy » Tue Feb 20, 2018 5:55 am

Miguel Andujar wants to start at third base for Yankees, but he must improve his defense first


Monday, February 19, 2018, 4:49 PM

TAMPA — Miguel Andujar feels ready for a full-time role with the Yankees.

Whether he gets one could largely depend on his glove.

“I’ve been working very hard ever since I was a kid to get to this point,” Andujar said Monday through a translator. “You ask me that question — and to me, I feel ready.”

Andujar, who turns 23 on March 2, will be competing for the starting spot at third. His defense has been a frequent topic of conversation, and to address the issue he’s been working with infield coordinator Carlos Mendoza.

“I want to be more consistent and grounded when I’m playing defense,” Andujar said.

Andujar posted an .850 OPS with 16 homers and 82 RBI in the minors last season. He also came up and had three hits and four RBI in his big-league debut on June 28. The team loves his potential at the plate, but he committed 17 errors in the field in the minors.

“He’s put himself in position to compete for a job and he's made tremendous strides on both sides of the ball,” Yankees VP of baseball operations Tim Naehring said. “Once again, tremendous work-ethic, and tools to be as good as he wants to be.

“We just keep working on the lower half (defensively): start at the feet and move it up. Proper angles. Working through the baseball, good mechanically techniques for securing the baseball and turning it into an out. He’s a young kid. The arrow’s pointing up.”

As for the team potentially pursuing the likes of Mike Moustakas, Neil Walker or Josh Harrison for the hot corner, Andujar replied: “That’s something that I have no control of. What I’d like to do is just focus on my job and what I need to do to prepare for this year.”
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Postby BigGuy » Tue Feb 20, 2018 1:39 pm

Why Yankees tabbed Kevin Reese to lead next youth movement

Updated 9:40 AM

New York Yankees Senior Director of Player Development Kevin Reese. (Courtesy of New York Yankees)

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

TAMPA -- The story of Kevin Reese -- the man recently tasked with making sure the Yankees' flush minor leagues produces more Aaron Judge-type stars -- should start with one of the most ridiculous player development tales in franchise history.

In 1997, then-Yankees farm director Mark Newman watched Bernie Castro -- skinny, baby faced -- work out at Eastadio La Normal in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Newman could have sworn Castro was the fastest 13-year-old he'd ever seen.

Then Castro told the Yankees he was 17 and had the paperwork to prove it. Weird, Newman thought, considering that in an era when many Latin American players fudged their ages to appear a year or two younger, here was Castro, seemingly claiming he was older.

"Dick Clark looked like he was 40 when he was 70," Newman said. "This kid had the Dick Clark gene."

Still, the Yankees quickly signed him.

Fast-forward to February 2002. Two months after general manager Brian Cashman dealt Castro to the Padres for Reese -- a lefty outfielder whose patient approach, speed and sneaky pop intrigued the Yankees -- Cashman's phone rang.

It was midnight. It was Kevin Towers, then San Diego's GM.

And Towers was flipping out.

Castro, it turned out, was actually a full five years older than he told everyone. The Yankees had no idea, Cashman said. And Towers, at the time, couldn't get Castro back into the country because of the problems that revelation caused.

"(Towers) thought he was getting a 23-year-old guy who's like a (blazing) runner and he was getting a 28-year-old," Cashman said at the General Managers Meetings in November.

"To this day, I still laugh."

Outfielder Clint Frazier breaks down the changes he made to force the Yankees to think twice about sending him to Triple-
On Saturday, Reese, 39, made an appearance when reporters were in the clubhouse at George M. Steinbrenner Field -- a rare sight, especially since that as senior director of player development, he'll spend the overwhelming majority of his time at the team's training complex across the street. Reese took over for Gary Denbo, who ran the system from 2014 until October when he left for the same job with his friend Derek Jeter's Marlins.

Standing 5-foot-11 with a frame about as sturdy as it was when he had cups of coffee with the Yankees in 2005 and 2006, he didn't look that much different from the players surrounding him. Except he was wearing a baby blue polo with a Chargers logo, a nod to San Diego, his hometown.

That Reese is still young -- there are three active big-leaguers older than him -- and that he's played in the majors will be huge for him as he works to gain the trust of pupils he's tasked with developing, Newman said.

Dan Giese agreed. Giese has succeeded Reese as the Yankees' director of professional scouting and worked as Reese's assistant.

"He's had boots on the ground," said Giese, who pitched parts of three seasons in the majors, including 2008 with the Yankees. "He can float into (Triple-A) Scranton-Wilkes-Barre and understand the struggles of a player who hasn't been to the bigs and be able to speak to them on their level. I think guys will respect him knowing that he made it to the big leagues and was one of them and was a Yankee."

Reese said he believes the six seasons he spent in the organization and his eight years as a professional baseball player helps him understand youngsters who are "always kind of looking for that edge."

"I was kind of doing it blind a little bit," he said. "That's always been intriguing to me. I can't turn back the clock, but I can have a positive impact on people and give them the best information and equipment and guidance and help them reach their individual ceilings."

Cashman, however, said it was Reese's experience as a professional scout and then pro scouting director that pushed him ahead of other serious candidates.

"Being trained by how we evaluate talent and why we acquire talent the way we do, and then he was deployed as the player development director ... I have someone who was trained in the pro scouting arena with us, and now is deployed into the player development lead and armed with that knowledge. I think (that) benefits us," Cashman said

Reese officially got his start in scouting in late 2007. The Yankees had just released him. He didn't want "hope for a job" at another team's big-league spring training, not with his son just 1 1/2 years old, not after suffering several injuries. So, after talking with then-pro scouting director Billy Eppler -- now the Angels' general manager -- Reese quit playing and started Phase 2 of his career.

But, Eppler said, Reese had essentially been one of his scouts for years.

Eppler, another San Diego native, and Reese had a strong relationship during Reese's time in the minors. Eppler would occasionally ask Reese what he was seeing.

Eppler now half-jokes that Reese discovered Robinson Cano.

Reese and Cano were roommates at Double-A Trenton in 2003. While the Yankees' front office suspected they had something special in Cano, Reese, in his talks with Eppler, affirmed it.

"When I had the conversation with Kevin about it," Eppler said, "Kevin was speaking from a different lens. He didn't have any training in evaluating players. ... He was just such a smart player, a pretty mindful guy. ... He said, 'That guy's going to play in an All-Star Game some day."

Cano has played in eight.

Newman said he believes Reese has the tools to succeed in the role, similar to the job Newman held for a long time.

"He is really prepared to do this," Newman said. "Good person, great background. He should do well."

The story of Reese, whose paycheck will depend on if young stars such as Gleyber Torres, Miguel Andujar and Justus Sheffield play to their potential, should end with a how it all started.

Like lots of fathers, Reese's coached him in baseball. Unlike lots of coaching fathers, Reese's dad didn't know much about baseball and bought books to teach himself the game on the fly.

Like lots of mothers, Reese's would drive him far and wide and spend full days at doubleheaders. Unlike lots of mothers -- probably -- Reese's would feed balls into a pitching machine so that he could hit in the batting cage they bought him.

Like lots of high school pitchers who never lost a game as a senior, Reese played Division I, landing at the University of San Diego. Unlike lots of those pitchers, it was important to Reese to also play a position -- an experience that helps him relate to everyone on a diamond.

And like lots of pro players, Reese's foresight told him when it was time to call it a career. But unlike lots of them, Reese listened right away, never looking back.

"He's got the aptitude, the work ethic, the character, the mindfulness, the even keel to deal with the number of issues you deal with," Eppler said. "Those characteristics will be strengths with him going forward. Ultimately, the Yankees, they're better off."
"Leave the gun. Take the cannoli."

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