MINOR LEAGUE NEWS UPDATES

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Re: MINOR LEAGUE NEWS UPDATES

Postby BigGuy » Tue May 07, 2019 11:57 am

Is Gosuke Katoh’s hot start for real?

The Yankees prospect has been putting together a breakout season — but is it sustainable?

By John Griffin May 7, 2019, 10:00am EDT

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

It’s easy to get lost in Aaron Judge’s shadow — both figuratively and literally. If you’re standing in an open plain and want some respite from the blistering sun, standing next to Judge is the way to go; you’ll have plenty of shade from the 6-foot-7 man’s shadow.

While I cannot say whether or not the comparatively-diminutive Gosuke Katoh (he’s 6-foot-2) has ever physically stood in Aaron Judge’s shadow, he has spent the majority of his minor league career lost in the depths of the Yankees’ farm system. Drafted out of high school in the second round of the 2013 amateur draft — the year in which the Yankees selected Judge with one of their three first-round picks — the infielder-turned-utilityman Katoh was once a noted prospect in the Yankees farm system.

Now in his seventh year in the organization, much of the luster has come off Katoh. Heading into this year, he had not strung together consecutive good seasons with the bat. Now at 24 years old, he is not even listed among the team’s top 30 prospects. While not entirely his fault, due to the much better state of the farm system, it’s nonetheless a sign of how his stock has fallen. Despite his rough stats, the Yankees have continued to bring him along through the system, and he began 2019 — quite possibly a make-or-break year for him — at Triple-A Scranton.

Katoh has answered the call admirably in the early goings of the season, posting a .350/.416/.663 line through 22 games. His 170 wRC+ is by far his highest since his season in the Gulf Coast League in 2013. He has already beaten his career high in home runs with seven, and he has been hitting extra-base hits at an almost 40% clip, up from his career average of 32%.

Should he continue this hot start to the season, Katoh could find his way to the Bronx at some point, using his bat to jump Tyler Wade and Thairo Estrada on the totem pole. His ability to play all positions in the infield, including shortstop, without being a black hole with the bat would provide extra protection for a Yankees offense that constantly needs to make repairs to keep its motor running.

That said, Yankees fans need to take Katoh’s success with a grain of salt at the moment, as there are numerous signs that his performance is not sustainable. Most notably, his BABIP is .467, more than 150 points higher than his career average of .299. While this value would certainly see an increase if he were hitting the ball harder than he had been, a .467 mark is still unsustainable and will see at least some regression.

Furthermore, his HR/FB ratio is a staggering 30.4%, up from 4% from last season and more than twice his previous best of 13.9% in 2015. While the Yankees hope that Katoh’s breakout is legitimate, he does not profile to have the bat of a J.D. Martinez or a Christian Yelich. Some regression is pretty much certain.

Taking all these stats into consideration, Yankees fans can be cautiously optimistic that Katoh may have turned a corner this season. Fans must remember, however, that prospects by definition are unproven, and that many former players looked to as possible reinforcements, such as Rob Refsnyder in previous years, cannot translate their minor league performance to the big league level. As encouraging as his stats may be, Katoh represents the quintessential “anything can happen” prospect.
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Re: MINOR LEAGUE NEWS UPDATES

Postby BigGuy » Wed May 08, 2019 11:34 am

Where does Yankees’ Estevan Florial rank among the top 10 center fielders in the minors?

Updated 11:08 AM; Today 11:01 AM

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New York Yankees center fielder Estevan Florial is sidelined by a broken right wrist.

By Mike Rosenstein | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

With injuries to Aaron Hicks, Clint Frazier, Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton and Jacoby Ellsbury, this could have been the perfect time for Yankees outfield prospect Estevan Florial to shine.

But he, like so many other Yankees this season, has been bit by the injury bug.

Florial is sidelined with a broken right wrist. He suffered the injury crashing into the center-field wall in a spring training game March 16. He was cashing a Danny Jansen drive to center in the eighth inning of a 17-7 win over the Blue Jays at George M. Steinbrenner Field.

It’s the second straight season Florial has dealt with a right wrist problem. He played just 84 minor-league games last year due to hamate bone surgery.

But that didn’t stop The Athletic’s Jim Duquette from ranking Florial as one of the top 10 center field prospects in minor league baseball. Florial placed No. 6 on Duquette’s list:

Florial has dealt with some difficult injuries to his hands over the past 12 months; he fractured his hamate bone last summer and is currently recovering from a right wrist fracture. These are the types of injuries that tend to slow a player’s development, and that’s why he slipped on my list this time around. Any evaluator who has seen Florial raves about his overall tools on offense and defense, and in limited at-bats last year, he had career highs with a 13 percent walk rate and 25 percent strikeout rate. The organization views him as a player with plus power, speed, arm and makeup, so the expectation is that Florial, in time, will make the additional adjustments to be the Yankees’ future center fielder.


Here is Duquette’s top 10:

1. Jo Adell, Angels

2. Jarred Kelenic, Mariners

3. Cristian Pache, Braves

4. Taylor Trammell, Reds

5. Luis Robert, White Sox

6. Estevan Florial, Yankees

7. Adam Haseley, Phillies

8. Daz Cameron, Tigers

9. Travis Swaggerty, Pirates

10. Víctor Víctor Mesa, Marlins



MLB Pipeline ranks Florial the Yankees’ No. 1 overall prospect and No. 66 in the minors.

Florial hit .255 with three homers, 27 RBI and 11 stolen bases in 75 High-A games last year.

He had a strong spring training, hitting .355 with a homer and four RBI in 13 games.
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Re: MINOR LEAGUE NEWS UPDATES

Postby BigGuy » Thu May 09, 2019 1:17 pm

Chance Adams is making a case to get another shot with the Yankees

Consecutive strong starts by the 24-year-old should have him catching the eyes of Yankees brass

By Adam Giardino May 9, 2019, 11:00am EDT

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

In this week’s episode of A Call Away, Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre radio broadcaster Adam Giardino catches up with infielder/outfielder Brad Miller and Chance Adams as they help the RailRiders continue their latest hot streak.

Miller, a 29-year-old with over five years of big league time, describes how it is that he came to arrive in the Yankees organization after being designated for assignment by the Cleveland Indianss. Adams, meanwhile, talks about his recent two starts and his relationship with teammates Kyle Higashioka and Mandy Alvarez.

Giardino is joined, as always during the podcast, by his broadcast partner with the RailRiders, Adam Marco. The two take a look at Adams’ prospects of getting some more time in New York this season, what Chad Green has shown through his first two appearances down in Triple-A working on his mechanics. and what it means for Mike Ford now that he’s back in the minors.

The podcast wraps up with reports from broadcasters Matt Dean of the Charleston RiverDogs (Single-A), Nick Flammia of the Tampa Tarpons (High-A) Jon Mozes of the Trenton Thunder (Double-A) and Marco in Triple-A.
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Re: MINOR LEAGUE NEWS UPDATES

Postby rpimpsner » Thu May 09, 2019 3:44 pm

Mandy Alvarez is making the most out of his opportunity with the RailRiders. Read more here: https://pinstripedprospects.com/mandy-a ... ers-40886/
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Re: MINOR LEAGUE NEWS UPDATES

Postby BigGuy » Wed May 15, 2019 11:15 am

The implications of Deivi Garcia’s rapid rise

The 19-year-old’s ascent through the Yankees’ farm system could portend big things to come.

By John Griffin May 15, 2019, 11:00am EDT

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Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

Over the past few years, the Yankees have quietly become one of the league’s better teams when it comes to developing starting pitching, with Luis Severino, Domingo German, and Jordan Montgomery taking major steps in their development that have culminated in, at minimum, flashes of an ability to excel at the Major League level.

The latest of these looks to be the 19-year-old phenom Deivi Garcia, the subject of a recent prospect profile posted in the New York Post. He’s drawn comparisons to Pedro Martinez due to his diminutive stature — he’s only 5’9” — and electric stuff. Recently promoted to Double-A Trenton after lighting the Florida State League on fire with the Tampa Tarpons, he has his sights set on the Bronx as early as this year, and it seems like the Yankees may agree; at the very least, his manager, Pat Osborn, agrees.

It remains to be seen whether or not the Yankees are actually fast-tracking Garcia, or if he simply showed that he had nothing left to prove at Tampa after ten starts there, posting a 1.96 ERA and striking out over 13 batters per nine. But if they are, that could give us a little bit of insight into the Yankees’ plans for the prospect, both for this year and for the future.

Back in 2015, the Yankees promoted Luis Severino in early August in lieu of adding a starting pitcher at the deadline; he provided a shot in the arm to the rotation down the stretch, posting a 2.89 ERA (4.37 FIP) in 11 starts, finishing with a 5-3 record. The Yankees could look for a similar boost from Garcia, particularly if they find the mid-season free agent and trade markets uninspiring. While I’m not going to debate the merits of relying on an unproven commodity in the middle of a tight divisional race — there are many other opportunities for that — there is a clear precedent in recent years that the Yankees can draw on, should Garcia force the Yankees’ hand through his performance.

Beyond this year, the Yankees clearly need to begin looking towards the rotation of the future, for as of now, the 2021 rotation consists of Luis Severino, Domingo German, Jonathan Loaisiga, and Chance Adams (Masahiro Tanaka and James Paxton will be free agents, while J.A. Happ has a vesting option for 2021). While we cannot speak definitively of where these players will be in three years — if I had that kind of foresight, I’d be in the business, or play lotto — it is easy to dream of a future rotation topped by a Cerberus of Severino, German, and Garcia.

It remains to be seen whether or not Garcia can continue his rapid rise through the farm system, or if the 19-year-old will finally slow down while playing against competition that is, on average, more than four years older than him. The fact that he can, however, gives us a bit of an insight into where the Yankees are looking for the future, both this year and in upcoming years.
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Re: MINOR LEAGUE NEWS UPDATES

Postby BigGuy » Wed May 22, 2019 2:37 pm

4 unsung Yankees outfield prospects breaking out in 2019

The Yankees have a number of outfield prospects that have begun to turn heads this season.

By Aaron Esposito May 22, 2019, 2:00pm EDT

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Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports

Entering the 2019 season, MLB.com included six outfielders on the Yankees Top 30 Prospects list. Of those six, four are teenage prospects that have yet to play this season. Estevan Florial, the Yankees’ top prospect, is recovering from a fractured wrist. Josh Stowers, the number 26 prospect, plays Class-A Charleston.

Meanwhile, a handful of lesser known outfield prospects have started to open some eyes with breakout performances across the farm system. The major league outfield is set for the long term, but not every team has the same level of depth. Breakout prospects provide much needed trade value for Brian Cashman to work with come deadline season. They might not be seen on the top prospects lists, but these players have been making noise with their performances so far this season.

Canaan Smith, Class-A Charleston
Smith is probably the least surprising of all the outfield prospects that have thrived early in 2019. The Yankees used their fourth round pick in 2017 on Smith coming out of high school, and he performed well in his first taste of professional baseball that year. He struggled, however, to the tune of a .191 average in 45 games at Staten Island in 2018.

This season for the RiverDogs, though, Smith seems to be putting it all together. He owns a .338/.409/.515 slash line in 35 games and has doubled his line drive percentage from 14.9% last season to 30.0% so far this year. That’s a big reason his BABIP is a shockingly high .414, compared to .268 last season. That number won’t stand all season, but it’s a good sign that Smith is hitting the ball with authority and establishing himself as an up-and-coming bat in the Yankees’ system at just 20 years old. Don’t be surprised to see Smith start cracking the top prospect lists this season. Also don’t be surprised if he’s dealt at the trade deadline while his stock is rising.

Isiah Gilliam, High-A Tampa
Gilliam got his breakout started early with four hits and three walks in 13 spring training plate appearances, including an impressive opposite field blast against the Tigers. Unlike Smith, Gilliam was a sleeper coming into pro ball. The Yankees took Gilliam in the 20th round in 2015 out of Chipola College.

He’s currently slashing .280/.375/.462 with seven stolen bases in 37 games. His .400 BABIP is unsustainable during a full season, but it’s Gilliam’s improved plate discipline that should impress the Yankees the most. He’s raised his walk rate from 6.9% in 2018 to 11.2% this season, a welcome sign for the 22-year-old outfielder as he makes his way up the prospect ladder. Gilliam, a switch hitter, posted 28 home runs over the past two seasons, so he’s on the right track to become a solid three outcome hitter and a potential Aaron Hicks-lite.

Brandon Lockridge, Class-A Charleston
Lockridge, a six-foot-one right-handed hitter was the Yankees fifth round draft pick out of Troy University in 2018. He struggled with injuries and only played 26 games the past two seasons, but he’s having some success through 40 games this year. Lockridge’s slash line of .250/.309/.442 won’t blow anyone away but he leads all Yankees prospects with 21 extra-base hits and 28 runs scored this season. Lockridge also has six steals, showing some of the power/speed combo that makes him an intriguing prospect. The Yankees will want to see him raise his .32 BB/K rate, but he’s trending in the right direction during the first reasonable sample of his minor league career.



Ben Ruta, Double-A Trenton
Ruta, another spring training invitee, didn’t make the same impression as Gilliam, but he’s been nothing short of incredible for Trenton through 37 games this season. Ruta’s .355/.441/.551 line is impressive, and his ability to get on base bodes well for his future. He doubled his BB/K rate from .44 last season to .88 this season and he has 19 extra-base hits, compared to the the nine he posted in 36 Double-A games last season.

The very definition of a longshot prospect, the Yankees selected Ruta in the 30th round (908 overall) in the 2016 MLB Draft out of Wagner College. The 24-year-old might be playing his way into a legitimate shot with another team at some point.

The Yankees’ system isn’t supposed to be rich with outfield talent at the higher levels, with the exception of Florial, but these four prospects are making the Yankees player development department look good early in the 2019 season. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see at least one of these outfielders thrown into a deal for pitching help as trade deadline season rolls around in July. For now, the Yankees will hope they can keep showing improvements and producing at a high level across the farm system.
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Re: MINOR LEAGUE NEWS UPDATES

Postby BigGuy » Thu May 23, 2019 6:51 am

Yankees prospect thrives after escaping the Shohei Ohtani hype

By Mark W. Sanchez May 22, 2019 | 10:30pm

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Dermis Garcia AP

The Yankees had dreams of their version of Shohei Ohtani.

Dermis Garcia had his own dreams to consider.

“All of my life — all of my baseball-playing life — what I wanted to do was hit,” the Yankees’ slugging prospect, who currently is playing for Single-A Tampa, said over the phone this week.

Similar words ended a brief experiment of developing a power bat into something rarer. At the end of last season, the Yankees moved Garcia, who had been a first baseman and third baseman, from the corners to the mound, wanting to see how the live arm from a 6-foot-3, 200-pound prospect could translate. They had whiffed on signing Ohtani, whom they watched excel on both sides with the Angels, earning Rookie of the Year honors.

If the Yankees still envision their own answer to Ohtani, Garcia hopes it’s not him. In all, he said, the trial lasted three weeks. A Yankees executive said Garcia has placed the experiment on the “back-burner.”

Free of secondary burdens, Garcia “is proving to the organization, ‘I don’t want to be a pitcher. I’m a position player,’ ” said his manager, Aaron Holbert.

Entering Wednesday, the 21-year-old was tied atop the Florida State League with 10 home runs in 40 games. His 32 RBIs were best in the league. Garcia — a 16-year-old Dominican prospect who was ranked by MLB.com as No. 1 in the 2014 international class (which also brought in top-prospect Estevan Florial) — has begun to show signs of living up to his potential, posting a .248 average and .821 OPS.

It has been a journey for the right-handed hitter, who arrived in the United States in 2015 at 17 years old and batted .159 in his first, 23-game stint in the Gulf Coast League.

“What I think I have to do is to learn to lay off bad pitches, to concentrate on the strike zone and to work on my defense,” Garcia said through a translator.

The long-term Yankees project — solely as a hitter now — who has struggled to make contact has, well, continued struggling to make contact this year. The Yankees want him to cut down on his strikeouts, which reached 49 in his first 141 at-bats this season. The too-high 35 percent is about in line with his production last year at Single-A Charleston.

Holbert said he has seen steadily improving at-bats from Garcia, and while his plate discipline needs work, it will come.
Up to a point, at least.

“We’d love to see him be more patient,” Holbert said, but “big power hitters are going to strike out.”

And when Garcia connects, he shows off the raw power the Yankees originally identified.

“I’m learning what I have to do to hit,” Garcia said.

Holbert praised the “all-around baseball acumen” of a player who was drafted as a shortstop, moved to third, takes ground balls all around the infield, but has settled at first. Garcia is learning his way around the position, and is likely not fast enough to move off of it.

“He’s big, strong and willing to work,” Holbert said.

In a system with a dearth of top-quality first basemenbeneath major leaguers Luke Voit and Greg Bird, Garcia, the Yankees’ No. 27 prospect, has room to ascend. He had bounced between short-season stints from 2015-17, but is finally emerging as the developmental prize the Yankees signed for $3.2 million.

Before the season began, without pitching in his peripheries, Garcia set a goal.

“I wanted to help my team 100 percent,” he said, “and hopefully even make the major leagues this year.”

It’s a distant dream, but he’s keeping it in sight. First with his conviction, then with his persuasion, and now with his bat.
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Re: MINOR LEAGUE NEWS UPDATES

Postby BigGuy » Thu May 23, 2019 7:02 am

Why Yankees just got reason to be excited about top prospect

Updated May 22, 4:04 PM; Posted May 22, 3:49 PM

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Yankees outfielder prospect Estevan Florial hit .368 with a homer and four steals in four attempts over his first eight Grapefruit League games. (John Raoux | AP)

By Brendan Kuty | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

BALTIMORE — Top Yankees prospect Estevan Florial took a big step Wednesday.

Florial, out since spring training with a fractured right wrist, was added to the Yankees’ extended spring training roster. He’d been working out at the team’s player development complex in Tampa all season. It’s unclear when he’ll start playing in games, but it should be soon.


MLB Pipeline ranks Florial, a 21-year-old center fielder, the Yankees’ top overall prospect.

Florial suffered the injury crashing into the center-field wall in a spring training game March 16. He was cashing a Danny Jansen drive to center in the eighth inning of a 17-7 win over the Blue Jays at George M. Steinbrenner Field.

It’s the second straight season Florial has dealt with a right wrist problem. He played just 84 minor-league games last year due to hamate bone surgery.

Florial hit .255 with three homers, 27 RBI and 11 stolen bases in 75 High-A games last year.

He had a strong spring training, hitting .355 with a homer and four RBI in 13 games.

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Here’s a portion of MLB Pipeline’s scouting report on Florial:

Florial excites scouts with three tools that grade as well above average: his raw power, speed and arm strength. With the bat speed and loft in his left-handed swing, he’s well equipped to take advantage of Yankee Stadium. He’s still raw and overly aggressive as a hitter, leading to concerns about whether he can make enough contact to realize his full potential, though he did post the best walk rate (13 percent) and second-best strikeout rate (25 percent) of his career during his truncated 2018 season.
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Re: MINOR LEAGUE NEWS UPDATES

Postby rpimpsner » Sat May 25, 2019 10:50 am

Canaan Smith is off to a scorching start of the season with the RiverDogs. Here is our feature on him:

https://pinstripedprospects.com/smiths- ... art-41041/
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Re: MINOR LEAGUE NEWS UPDATES

Postby BigGuy » Sun May 26, 2019 10:03 am

The adjustment that has Yankees’ Chance Adams surging

Today 9:41 AM

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Yankees prospect Chance Adams says he's found a fix that has him surging. He earned his first MLB win Saturday. (Kathy Willens | AP)

By Brendan Kuty | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

KANSAS CITY — Yankees Triple-A pitching coach Tommy Phelps noticed it while watching video. Starting pitcher Chance Adams had been hunching his back before he pitched. Phelps wanted him to stop it.

Since the adjustment, Adams has pitched much better, and it showed as he picked up his first MLB win in the Yankees’ 6-5 victory over the Royals at Kauffman Stadium on Sunday, the second game of a doubleheader. The Yankees won the first game.

Why has standing taller on the mound helped Adams?

“I don’t know,” he said. “But it’s working.”

Adams threw much better than his final line indicated.

Entering in the second inning — he took over for Chad Green, who pitched the first inning as the team’s opener — Adams lasted four innings. He gave up three runs, but they were in large part the result of some bad luck and rough outfield defense.

Adams came up Saturday as the Yankees’ 26th man, eligible only to pitch in the second game of the doubleheader. He was required to be sent back down after the game.

“I feel good right now,” said Adams, who added that he got to keep a ball from the game to commemorate his first win. “Just been tweaking some things. Just feel good with myself out there.”

Adams gave up a whopping 13 earned runs through his first three starts and 11 1/3 innings at Triple-A.

Over his last four outings at Triple-A, he’s posted a 1.25 ERA in 21 2/3 innings.

“Big pickup for us,” Adams said. “He’s come up here twice now obviously and it’s pitched well both times and hopefully it’s something that’s a building block for him. He’s been throwing the ball well in Triple-A. You can tell he’s pitching with more confidence up here. He’ll be back and he’ll help us at some point this year, no question about that.”
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