MINOR LEAGUE NEWS UPDATES

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Re: MINOR LEAGUE NEWS UPDATES

Postby BigGuy » Mon Oct 17, 2016 11:48 am

2016 Yankees Roster Report Card: James Kaprielian

The Yankees’ 2015 first-round pick spent most of the season on the disabled list, but pitched very well when healthy.


by Caitlin Rogers Oct 17, 2016, 11:00a

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Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Grade: A*

2016 Statistics: 3 G, 1.50 ERA, 2.03 FIP, 11.00 K/9, 1.50 BB/9, 18 IP

2016 Level/Roster Status: High-A/Non-40


The Yankees selected James Kaprielian 16th overall in the first round of the 2015 MLB Draft straight out of UCLA. He briefly joined the Staten Island Yankees and Gulf Coast Yankees towards the end of the 2015 season. During that time he recorded 14 strikeouts over 11 and one-third innings, gave up five runs, and walked four batters.

Kaprielian received a non-roster invite to spring training, though he obviously didn’t have a real shot at making the team. He was sent down pretty early, but he received some high praise, and some people even thought he could even join the Yankees at some point during the season. Kaprielian started his minor league season in Tampa, and pitched extremely well. Through 18 innings, he surrendered just three runs, held opponents to a .136 batting average, and recorded 22 strikeouts. According to Erik Boland, Kaprielian was “consistently” hitting 99 MPH with his fastball, too.

Sadly, after just three starts, Kaprielian was put on the disabled list with elbow inflammation. After being shut down down completely for a few months, he was eventually diagnosed with a flexor tendon strain in his right elbow. The injury kept him out of action for the remainder of the season. As the Yankees’ season came to a close, there was some thought that Kaprielian could be ready to pitch by the time the Arizona Fall League started. Then he was added to the AFL roster, removed from the roster, and re-added all in the span of a few days. At the time it seemed very dramatic and everyone was worried that he had some kind of setback since the Yankees are notorious for keeping minor league injuries a mystery.

The good news is that he ultimately stayed on the roster, and he finally made his first pitching appearance since April. On Wednesday night, Kaprielian made his AFL debut and gave up just one hit through three innings of work. He notched six strikeouts, and the radar gun reportedly clocked him as high as 97 MPH, so it was an all-around encouraging outing. As of Sunday, he hadn’t pitched again, but the AFL stretches through October and into the middle of November. Provided that he stays healthy, we should hear many more updates on Kaprielian over the next few weeks.

In an ideal scenario, Kaprielian would have been ready to join the Yankees’ rotation when the 2017 season started, but things are not going to work out that way. He will likely receive a non-roster invite to spring training once again. Kaprielian will probably start the season back in Tampa since that was where he started last year. If everything goes according to plan, he could end up joining the Yankees at some point next season.

*I decided it didn’t seem fair to mark down his grade just because he was injured.
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Re: MINOR LEAGUE NEWS UPDATES

Postby BigGuy » Mon Oct 17, 2016 2:18 pm

Under the Radar Yankees Prospects: Shortstop Diego Castillo

by Evan Halpine-Berger Follow @ehalpineberger

Yanks Go Yard is combing through the New York Yankees minor league system in search of hidden gems in this ongoing series. Today, 18-year-old shortstop Diego Castillo.

One of the most overlooked talents of the New York Yankees famous 2014 international signing spree, shortstop Diego Castillo, made his U.S. debut this season, quietly turning in one of the stronger all-around seasons in the lower levels of the team’s system.

Other shortstops from the class of 2014 like Wilkerman Garcia and Hoy Jun Park have made more noise in the last year or two because of their impressive tools, but Castillo has a good chance to surpass them because of his polished, well-rounded game.

Just before the July 2nd signing period in 2014, Ben Badler of Baseball America listed Castillo as the 24th best international prospect available. In his writeup, he called Castillo one of the “most intelligent players in Latin America,” while going on to note that “he slows the game down, playing calmly and under control during all phases of the game.”

The team landed 16-year-old Castillo for just a $750,000 bonus during a month when they ended up shelling out north of $30 million when the 100% tax for exceeding their bonus pool was applied.

Fundamentals, “feel”, and intangibles are often cited in scouting reports of Castillo. He’s a guy whose tools are said to play up in games. Those types of players are often overlooked on prospects lists, but can sometimes surprise people once they sneak far enough up the minor league ladder.

Castillo was recently listed by Baseball America as the 19th best prospect in the Gulf Coast League this year, the only Yankees player to make that list. Here’s an excerpt from their scouting report:

Castillo is a fundamentally sound player who models his swing and setup after Derek Jeter, from his high hands to the same pre-pitch movement. He has great feel for the barrel with a short, simple stroke with good bat path. He is a high contact hitter with an inside-out approach, wearing out the opposite field. Castillo doesn’t have much power and probably won’t ever be more than a gap hitter. Once he learns to turn on pitches with more authority he should show more extra-base sock, with a chance for his tools to tick up once he gets stronger.
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Re: MINOR LEAGUE NEWS UPDATES

Postby BigGuy » Mon Oct 17, 2016 4:11 pm

MLB Pushing For International Draft In CBA Negotiations

By Steve Adams | October 17, 2016 at 3:04pm CDT

Major League Baseball is pushing hard to implement an international draft in the current wave of collective bargaining negotiations with the MLB Players Association, reports ESPN’s Buster Olney. The international draft would be a centerpiece in the changes brought forth with the new CBA, per Olney. The current agreement, which was collectively bargained in the 2011-12 offseason, expires in December.

According to Olney, current proposals have the first 10-round international draft slated for March 2018, and by the year 2021, the minimum age requirement for international draft eligibility would be 18 — a departure from the current system, which allows players to sign as early as their 16th birthday. The league would also operate facilities in the Dominican Republic where international talent could hone their skills before reaching the age of draft eligibility. Under MLB’s proposal, Olney reports that international draftees would receive bonuses that are comparable to those received by players currently selected in the annual June amateur (Rule 4) draft.

The current international signing system has come under great scrutiny, as the unregulated nature of negotiations with teams often leads to corruption. Trainers and handlers for prospects often are able to lay claim to a significant portion of prospects’ signing bonuses and, as Olney writes, at times to extract fees from teams in exchange for delivering talent. He adds that with no testing for international prospects, many teenagers are motivated to use performance enhancing drugs in order to secure a higher signing bonus on their first deal. Beyond that, there have been several harrowing tales of human trafficking to smuggle Cuban players into the country in exchange for exorbitant payments. In writing about this matter earlier this spring, Olney’s colleague Pedro Gomez cited an anonymous player that defected from Cuba within the past few years who said that he would be on the hook for payments to a cartel for the remainder of his Major League career.

As Olney notes, an international draft would be welcome by a number of small- and mid-market clubs due largely to the fact that the current measures implemented in the most recent CBA haven’t fostered the level of competitive balance for which the involved parties strove. The current CBA implemented slots and allotted bonus pools for both the amateur draft as well as international free agency, but only the penalties relating to the amateur draft have curbed spending as had been hoped.

The current international system bans any team that exceeds its league-allotted bonus pool by more than 15 percent from signing an international amateur for more than $300K for the next two signing periods — that penalty was only for one year in the first year of the system’s existence — but that hasn’t prevented teams from determining that the upside is greater than the punishment. To date, the Cubs, Red Sox, Rangers, Yankees, Dodgers and others have gone on extensive international spending sprees in order to bolster their farm systems in one fell swoop. While some small-market/lower-payroll clubs have also exceeded their limits — e.g. the Rays and Reds — the level at which they’ve exceeded international spending limitations hasn’t come close to the levels at which others have over-spent. The Red Sox, for interest, issued a $31.5MM signing bonus to Yoan Moncada (which came with a 100 percent luxury tax, bringing the total to $63MM) despite only possessing a $1.881MM bonus pool that season. The Dodgers, meanwhile, spent upwards of $90MM during that same international signing period (including luxury tax penalization).

Certainly, there are hurdles to be cleared in agreeing to any sort of international draft. Incorporating players from multiple countries, age and identity verification, PED testing/regulation and a number of other roadblocks figure to require a great deal of work, but there are incentives for all parties involved to standardize the means by which teams acquire amateur talent. MLB commissioner Rob Manfred has long been an advocate for eventually finding a way to implement an international draft, stating during Spring Training 2015: “I am of the view that at some point, for the good of the game, for the good of competitive balance, we are going to have an international draft.”
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Re: MINOR LEAGUE NEWS UPDATES

Postby BigGuy » Tue Oct 18, 2016 1:10 pm

Yankees' breakout prospect likes odds he'll get a chance, report says

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Yankees Triple-A catcher Kyle Higashioka jokes with major league pitching coach Larry Rothschild and a pitcher in spring training. (File photo)

Brendan Kuty | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com October 18, 2016 at 12:38 PM

The Yankees haven't done it yet, but they will put Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre catcher Kyle Higashioka on the 40-man roster to prevent another team from taking him in the Rule 5 Draft, general manager Brian Cashman has said.

Here's what Higashioka told the New York Post's George King in a story published Monday:

"I do think there is a chance,'' Higashioka said about eventually catching for the Yankees. "I am being realistic about it. I know things need to happen. But the organization has liked me enough to keep me around, even with a crowded roster.''

A few things:

BREAKOUT: Higashioka, 26, finally broke out in 2016. The 2008 seventh-round pick out of high school showed unexpected power (21 homers), his usual strong defense and stayed healthy.

IS IT LEGIT?: The Yankees seem to think so. Triple-A hitting coach Tom Wilson broke down changes in Higashioka's swing and told NJ Advance Media he has no reason to think his pop won't continue. Cashman also said he's been told the power, which comes from an uppercut approach Higashioka has taken, seems for real, from what he's been told.

SOMETHING'S GOTTA GIVE: For Higashioka to make it, someone's got to go. That means either trading Brian McCann or Austin Romine — or maybe even both, considering Higashioka's No. 4 on the depth chart right now. Dealing McCann would seem the obvious choice — he'll be 33 years old next year and is owed $34 million over the next two seasons — but depth at catcher is rare, especially when a team has two All-Star caliber players. Gary Sanchez, if you've been living under a rock, would be the other one.

HE'S RIGHT: The Yankees could have let Higashioka walk before his big 2016, but they re-signed him last offseason. He's only improved his standing. Higashioka has had a reputation, too, for working well with pitching staffs and has been to several major league spring trainings. Clearly, the Yankees think highly of him, and all he needs is a chance. At worst for Higashioka, he's turned himself into potential trade bat, as Cashman has said teams had inquired on his availability.
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Re: MINOR LEAGUE NEWS UPDATES

Postby BigGuy » Wed Oct 19, 2016 12:59 pm

2016 Yankees Roster Report Card: Bryan Mitchell

Mitchell missed significant time with injury, but returned to pitch five solid starts down the stretch. Could this be promising news for his future?

by Ben Diamond @_BenDiamond Oct 19, 2016

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John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Grade: B-

2016 Statistics: 5 G, 25.0 IP, 3.24 ERA, 4.23 FIP, 3.96 K/9, 4.32 BB/9, 0.4 fWAR

2017 Roster Status: Pre-arbitration


As Bryan Mitchell began 2016 spring training with the Yankees, his role with the club was uncertain to say the least. There was a chance he would start in the bullpen as a middle reliever with high leverage upside, but he also had a slim shot at winning the fifth starter job over CC Sabathia and Ivan Nova. Then again, there was a non-zero chance Mitchell could be demoted to Triple-A to be groomed as a starter.

Mitchell answered the questions with 15.2 dominant innings (three starts and three relief appearances), allowing just one run while striking out 12 and walking three. Hype began to build around the 25-year old, but any excitement was quickly snuffed out when he suffered a fractured sesamoid bone at the end of March that was expected to keep him out until August.

Considering this injury, the fact that Mitchell even logged more than a handful of innings is an accomplishment. At one point, manager Joe Girardi wasn’t even confident Mitchell would return to the big leagues, yet the righty threw 25 solid innings out of the rotation at the end of the season.

The results weren’t exactly spectacular, but one can do much worse than Mitchell’s 3.24 ERA over the five starts. Although Mitchell walked more than he struck out while starting (11 strikeouts to 12 walks), the overall results were a pleasant surprise given the fact that he didn’t throw a pitch until August 8th (on a rehab assignment in Low-A).

Rather than looking at the small sample size over five emergency September starts, though, it may be more helpful to break down his stuff. Most notable was that he showed decreased velocity, with the fastball trending down from 96.7 mph in 2015 to 95.3 last season. This can partly be attributed to the injury, but the real reason for the drop was his usage as a starter (opposed to a reliever in 2015). While it would be reasonable to expect his velocity to rise a bit next season with health, a fastball sitting around 95 out of the rotation (compared to a tick or two higher as a reliever) is likely.

Also interesting is Mitchell’s pitch mix: the changeup was all but curbed, and he instead worked as a fastball/cutter/curveball pitcher in 2016. This isn’t a death sentence for the former 16th round pick, but sticking as a starter will be more challenging with the thin repertoire. That said, he brings legitimate weapons with the high velocity fastball and cutter. In addition, the curveball is a solid groundball pitch.

Still, Mitchell’s pitch arsenal may not be enough for him to turn over the lineup more than once. His fastball, despite its great velocity, was tattooed in 2015, so Mitchell may be showing symptoms of Nathan Eovaldi syndrome. Without other pitches for batters to worry about (the curveball and cutter haven’t induced many whiffs), the opposition can sit on the fastball. Also troubling is Mitchell’s wavering command, which resulted in a BB/9 hovering near five in 2015. His minor league walk rate isn’t much better, and Mitchell didn’t exactly show pinpoint precision in his cup of coffee last year.

All of these concerns add up and make it unlikely that Mitchell is a starting pitcher long term. Although he’ll likely get his chance to make the rotation out of spring training (considering there are two spots up for grabs), the thin repertoire and shaky control make it much more likely Mitchell is a reliever. Maybe Mitchell can improve the changeup and make it a legitimate pitch, but expecting that development is unrealistic. Mitchell would still be valuable in a bullpen role, as the Yankees certainly need relief help and Mitchell’s fastball/curveball combination could prove deadly in short stints.
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Re: MINOR LEAGUE NEWS UPDATES

Postby BigGuy » Thu Oct 20, 2016 11:06 am

2016 Yankees Roster Report Card: Jordan Montgomery

Finally, some starting pitching to get excited about

by Jason Cohen @Jason00Cohen Oct 20, 2016, 11:00a

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Photo by Robin Marchant/Getty Images for NYCWFF

Grade: A

2016 Statistics: 25 GS, 139.1 IP, 2.13 ERA, 8.7 K/9, 2.9 BB/9

2016 Level/Roster Status: Triple-A/Non-40


In 2014, the Yankees went the sure route by almost exclusively drafting college talent that year. After taking a reliever Jacob Lindgren and high school starter Austin DeCarr, Jordan Montgomery was drafted in the fourth round and served as the linchpin to their new strategy of hoarding as many college arms as they possibly could. As it turns out, it worked pretty well for them, and Montgomery is easily the most advanced starting pitcher in his draft class.

The 2016 season was a an important year for his development. As an advanced arm, he had progressed faster than most of his peers, spending time in the Gulf Coast and Staten Island in 2014, and the Charleston and Tampa in 2015. This year was bound to be a real test as he headed into the upper minors. Despite the increased competition, Montgomery handled himself well by maintaining a 2.55 ERA with good peripherals over 102.1 innings in Double-A Trenton. He received a promotion to Triple-A in August, and continued to impress with a 0.97 ERA over six starts in Scranton.

Montgomery was never considered a big-time prospect when he was first drafted, but he’s elevated himself into the conversation by living up to his potential. He now ranks as the No. 19 prospect in the Yankees farm system, and he could have a future with the organization. Despite the influx of high-end talent this year, the Yankees still lack starting pitching depth, though Montgomery could help solve that problem.

Much of his success has come from his wide selection of pitches, including a fastball, changeup, curveball, and cutter. He is also noted for his clean delivery which allows him to locate his pitches consistently. Montgomery was also never a big velocity guy, sitting 88-92 mph when he was first drafted. However, now he is hitting 91-94 mph to give scouts something to be excited about.

Montgomery seems like a safe bet to become a major league contributor before too long. He projects to be a back of the rotation type arm, but his improved velocity could make him more than that. It’s also worth noting that he has been very durable over the last two seasons, pitching over 130 innings in 2015 and 2016. It’s safe to say that Montgomery will get a good look in spring training this year, and could ultimately earn a spot on the team as a swingman or eventual spot starter over the course of the season. He is definitely someone to watch in 2017.
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Re: MINOR LEAGUE NEWS UPDATES

Postby BigGuy » Thu Oct 20, 2016 11:15 am

12 things to know about Yankees prospect Brody Koerner

http://www.nj.com/yankees/index.ssf/201 ... koe.html#0
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Re: MINOR LEAGUE NEWS UPDATES

Postby BigGuy » Thu Oct 20, 2016 11:17 am

Yankees prospects who could have big impact in 2017: Early look

http://www.nj.com/yankees/index.ssf/201 ... rly.html#0
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Re: MINOR LEAGUE NEWS UPDATES

Postby BigGuy » Fri Oct 21, 2016 10:58 am

Under the Radar Yankees Prospects: Outfielder Mark Payton

by Evan Halpine-Berger @ehalpineberger

Yanks Go Yard is combing through the New York Yankees minor league system in search of hidden gems in this ongoing series. Today, outfielder Mark Payton.

While he is dismissed by some scouts as an “organizational player,” New York Yankees minor league outfielder Mark Payton continues to put up solid numbers during his steady climb up the minor league ladder, and seems likely to begin next year just one step away from the big show with Triple-A Scranton Wilkes-Barre.

Selected as a senior out of the University of Texas in the seventh round of the 2014 draft (212th overall), Payton was extremely productive during his NCAA career, hitting a combined .318/.425/.444 in 1083 PA during his four seasons with the Longhorns. Draft reports at the time weren’t thrilled about his limited size and lack of power potential however.

Listed at just 5’7 180lbs, Payton looks like the definition of the scrappy fourth outfielder with no power, although he did hit double-digit home runs for the first time as a professional in 2016. His biggest strength on offense is plus plate discipline. He has a .363 OBP and 10.6% walk rate across his first three minor league seasons.

Although he hasn’t put up gaudy stolen base totals, Payton does have 60 grade speed and has swiped a respectable 11 bags each of the last two seasons. His plus wheels also help make him a competent defender at all three outfield spots, but he’s not a stand out in the field. His arm strength is also just average.

The 24-year-old began 2016 with High-A Tampa, but spend the majority of the year playing for the Double-A Trenton Thunder, hitting .272/.337.408 with seven home runs in 381 plate appearances during his second go-round in the Eastern League.
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Payton made it to the highest level of the Yankees minor league system for the first time this season, and acquitted himself well during a cup of coffee with the Railriders. Notably, he hit leadoff and picked up a hit and a run in Scranton Wilkes-Barre’s 3-1 victory in the Triple-A Championship game.

His continued success gives him a strong case for playing time in the Yankees crowded Triple-A outfield picture next season, but he’ll face stiff competition from top prospects like Mason Williams, Clint Frazier, Jake Cave, and Dustin Fowler.

Payton still doesn’t look like a future MLB starter, but he is also not far off from a shot at a big league bench job. If he turns in a strong 2017 campaign in the International League, he could be a favorite to be selected in the Rule 5 draft because of New York’s outfield log jam.
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Re: MINOR LEAGUE NEWS UPDATES

Postby BigGuy » Fri Oct 21, 2016 11:23 am

2016 Yankees Roster Report Card: Blake Rutherford

Rutherford, the 2016 Yankees top draft prospect, is one of the most exciting and talented players in the farm system.

by Matt Provenzano @mattprov94 Oct 21, 2016

Grade: A-

2016 Statistics: 33 G, .351/.415/.570, 3 HR, 8 2B, 4 3B

2016 Level/Roster Status: Rookie ball/Non-40


The Yankees organization has had a ton of success in the past 20 years, but the draft is not a place where fans or members of the front office pride themselves. The Yankees, as we know, have other strengths: financial clout, international scouting, major league coaching, and a pro-analytics front office. However, as far as draft picks go, there really hasn’t been a better one than Blake Rutherford in a long time.

Back in June I wrote a great deal about the Rutherford pick—I said, “You can't deny, though, that the Yankees have not drafted a legitimate top ten-type talent in a very long time, and that last player was probably Derek Jeter.” Rutherford, 19, was drafted 18th overall in this past year’s draft, and it was one of the best steals of the round, in my opinion. He was a legitimate top-five candidate, but some signability issues pushed him further down the board, and right into the Yankees’ lap.

In that post I wrote you can see a lot of the pre-draft scouting reports: most of the reports focus on Rutherford’s immense upside. If everything clicks into place, as Baseball America notes, “Some scouts see him as a potential power-hitting center fielder in the Jim Edmonds mold.”

In his first year of play, Rutherford largely followed a standard path of development—at the very least, there weren’t any surprises about the player the Yankees received. He hit an incredible .351/.415/.570 across two Rookie leagues, which is to be expected for someone of his talent level. He did have some injury issues—he had a hamstring strain that sidelined him for the end of the minor league season—but the physical tools seemed to be there. Dave DeFreitas, of 2080Baseball, wrote about Rutherford as recently as September. He said:

“He has a narrow frame and a relatively unassuming physique—and his slightly rolled shoulders suggest that he has room to really get stronger. He also moves with a certain smoothness that works to hide some of his explosive, fast-twitch capabilities... At the plate, he does a good job keeping the barrel in the zone, looks to use the middle of the field, and just looks comfortable overall for such a young player... As the body matures and he adds strength, I expect a fair amount of those line-drives will start clearing the fences... Defensively, Rutherford has the tools to stay in center field... He showed a 45-grade arm with a quick release and throws that stayed online, but given how well the arm works I wouldn’t be surprised if he has a little more arm strength in there.”
Like I wrote with the Jorge Mateo review, reviews for prospects are tricky. With Rutherford, as with Mateo, a grade can be assigned not only on the actual, empirical performance of the player, but also based on evaluators who assess the physical tools in play.

Based on those factors, I think Rutherford had a nice start to his Yankees career. The expectations aren’t going to be this low going forward, though, as he’ll have to succeed in a Low-A/High-A environment to prove that his skills translate at a higher level. If his talent is anything like people are saying it is, then Rutherford co
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