DoTF: Rachel Balkovec wins managerial debut

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As promised, Down on the Farm isn’t going anywhere. It’s not going to be daily like last year, but rather, weekly. We plan to run this on Mondays because it’s almost always an off day in the minors now, at least until the Complex Leagues start I believe.

While the daily recaps may have been instant gratification, my personal opinion is that these weekly updates will reflect better analysis of the key players to follow in the organization. Weekly results are still a small sample, but still better represent how players are trending. Of course, it also eases our workload. Anyway, let’s jump in:

Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders

The RailRiders took four of five games from Syracuse last week, including a doubleheader sweep on Friday after a rainout Thursday. Sunday’s game was postponed due to rain.

  • Krookie Monster: LHP Matt Krook: 5.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, BB, 7 K — Done a nice job since the Yankees grabbed him from Tampa in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 before last season.
  • (Not) Dealing Deivi: RHP Deivi García: 3.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 HBP, 3 BB, K — After a great spring, he was pretty wild. Hopefully not a sign of things to come. Control was a huge issue last year due to mechanical issues.
  • King of the Gil: RHP Luis Gil: 3.2 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 HR, 1 BB, 5 K — Struck out five of the last six hitters he faced…Travis Blankenhorn took him deep.
  • On the Rise: RHP Hayden Wesneski: 5.0 IP, 2 H, 4 K, zeroes — His sweeping slider is nasty. Slam dunk 40-man roster addition no later than this winter, but if he pitches like this, he’ll be in the majors sooner.
  • Future Shortstop Watch: SS Oswald Peraza: 5-for-18, R, 2B, HR, 2 RBI, 0 BB, 3 K, 2 SB — Homered in his first plate appearance of the season.
  • Prospect Watch: 2B Oswaldo Cabrera: 5-for-16, 4 R, 3 2B, 3B, 3 RBI, 2 BB, 5 K, 2 SB — Filled up the box score. He can really hit. I know he doesn’t offer the veteran presence of Marwin Gonzalez, but he might be a better player. At the same time, Cabrera’s better off playing every day.
  • Prospect Watch: CF Estevan Florial: 5-for-16, 2 R, 5 H, 2B, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 3 BB, 3 K, 2 SB — Just three strikeouts in 19 plate appearances? Nice start for Flo, whose bat to ball skills have been a hug, huge problem.
  • Bird Watching: 1B Greg Bird: 2-for-9, HR, 2 RBI, BB, K — Welcome back, old friend.
  • Miggy Missiles: LF Miguel Andújar: 3-for-8, BB, 2 K — Who would have thought Miggy and Bird would be Triple-A teammates…in 2022?
  • Others of Note: OF Ender Inciarte hit two homers while C Rob Brantly and LF Matt Pita chipped in one a piece. OF Tim Locastro tallied three hits, all singles. RHP Shelby Miller appeared in a couple of games in relief and allowed one run. RHP Greg Weissert fanned 6 in 3 innings out of the ‘pen.

Double-A Somerset Patriots

Somerset took two of three from Reading, though they dropped yesterday’s chance to sweep the series. Anthony Volpe made his much anticipated season debut.

  • Starting pitcher: RHP Luis Medina: 1.2 IP, 0 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 4 BB, 2 K — Control is always going to be the concern here. This is Medina’s last option year and his second look at Double-A hitters after last year’s midseason promotion, so now’s the time to figure it out in the rotation before the Yankees instead try him in relief.
  • Starting pitcher: RHP Randy Vasquez: 4.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 3 K — Picked up right where he left off last season. This was just his fifth start in Double-A, so there’s still some seasoning left, but he’s not that far away from the big leagues.
  • Starting pitcher: LHP Ken Waldichuk: 5.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 7 K — Last three starts in 2021 with Somerset were good (3.07 ERA in 14.2 IP), and a hot start here could get the 2019 fifth rounder up to Triple-A in short order.
  • The Top Prospect: SS Anthony Volpe: 3-for-12, 4 R, 2B, RBI, BB, 3 K — This is the first taste of Double-A for the organization’s top prospect.
  • Behind the dish: C Josh Breaux: 4-for-13, 2 R, 2B, 2 HR, 6 RBI, BB, 4 K — The power has always been there, it’s just a matter of his ability to make enough contact and play adequate defense. Guessing the Yankees are doubters, considering they left him unprotected from the since canceled Rule 5 draft.
  • Possible breakout: LF Elijah Dunham: 5-for-13, 3 R, 2B, 3B, HR, 4 RBI, BB, 4 K, SB — Plenty of talk about Dunham as a breakout candidate this year, and this represents a very nice start.
  • Speedster: CF Brandon Lockridge: 3-for-12, 3 R, 2 2B, 2 BB, 4 K, 2 SB — Like Breaux, Lockridge was exposed to the Rule 5 draft, but I wonder if he’s a late season 40-man add as a pinch runner. FanGraphs gave him 80 speed on the 20-80 scale.
  • Other of Note: 2B Oliver Dunn went 3-for-3 with 3 doubles in his lone game…C Rodolfo Duran delivered a homer and three hits…LF Jeisson Rosario, claimed from Boston, went 0-for-4.

High-A Hudson Valley Renegades

After dropping the opener in Greenville, the Renegades won the next two in order to win its opening series.

  • Starting pitcher: RHP Matt Sauer: 3.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 K — A few too many hits, but 6:1 K/BB ratio is a good look for the 2017 second rounder. He made 8 starts with Hudson Valley last year, and I wonder if the Yankees try to push the envelope here since he was already Rule 5 draft eligible in the offseason/
  • Starting pitcher: RHP Will Warren: 3.1 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 3 ER, HR, 3 BB, 5 K — Pro debut for last year’s 8th rounder
  • Starting pitcher: RHP Beck Way: 4.1 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 HR, 2 BB, 7 K — Respectable season debut for 2020’s fourth round selection. Gave up all three runs in the first inning before settling down.
  • Prospect Watch: CF Everson Pereira: 6-for-14, 5 R, 3B, 2 RBI, 3 BB, 2 K, 2 SB — Pereira posted a 159 wRC+ in 127 PA at this level last year, so this hot start shouldn’t be too much of a surprise.
  • An eye on the Top 100: SS Trey Sweeney: 4-for-14, 5 R, 2B, HR, 2 RBI, 2 BB, 4 K — First rounder from last year off to a good start. He’s someone to watch for on global top 100s at midseason. There’s a lot of belief in his ability to hit in spite of coming from lesser college competition.
  • First rounder: C Austin Wells: 3-for-11, 2 R, 2B, 4 RBI, 4 BB, 2 K, SB — Picked up a knock in all three games over the weekend.
  • Other of Note: LF Aldenis Sánchez singled three times and stole two bases…RF Pat DeMarco went 5-for-12, all singles…Last year’s fourth rounder 2B Cooper Bowman and 1B TJ Rumfield homered. RHP Rodney Hutchinson, sixth rounder in 2018, pitched in his first game (a relief outing) since 2019 and got shelled (5 runs, 4 hits, 1 homer in 1.2 innings).

Single-A Tampa Tarpons

The Tarpons won two out of three against Lakeland, including the season opener which was Rachel Balkovec’s first game at the helm. She’s the first woman to manage a Major League affiliate.

  • Starting pitcher: RHP Chandler Champlain: 3.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 5 K — Last year’s 9th rounder out of USC. This was his first professional game. Touched 98 MPH per Statcast, averaged 95.7 MPH. His curve (2864 RPM) and slider (2658 RPM) can really spin.
  • Starting pitcher: RHP Josue Panacual: 3.1 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6 K — Tallied 12 whiffs on 27 swings (44%). 92 percent of pitches he threw were sinkers (51%) and sliders (41%).
  • Starting pitcher: RHP Tyrone Yulie: 3.1 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 HR, 1 HBP, 3 BB, 4 K — Pretty wild outing for Yulie, who touched 98 in this one. Threw 80 percent sinkers and four-seamers.
  • The Martian: CF Jasson Dominguez: 3-for-13, 2 R, 2B, BB, 5 K — Too many strikeouts, but these were his exit velocities, in descending order: 112.7, 111.0, 109.7, 106.8, 104.2, 93.2, 78.1, 72.9 (98.6 MPH average, which is ridiculous albeit a small sample)
  • Prospect Watch: SS Alexander Vargas: 0-for-12, R, RBI, BB, 5 K, SB — Tough start, to say the least. Did have three hard hit balls, per Statcast, though three of those four were groundouts.
  • Catcher of the future?: C Antonio Gomez: 1-for-11, 2 R, 3B, 3 RBI, 3 BB, 4 K
  • Former catcher of the future: C Anthony Seigler: 3-for-6, 3 R, 2B, HR, 3 RBI, 4 BB, 0 K — Gomez is the priority at this level behind the plate, but Seigler is still somehow 22.
  • Other of Note: LF Ryder Green went hitless in 7 at-bats, but did walk once. He also struck out four times. 1B Anthony García picked up four hits, including a homer at 111.2 MPH off the bat. 3B Marcos Cabrera homered twice. RHP Carlos Gomez looks like a curveball machine, tossing 27 of them in 44 pitches on 4/9, while picking up 8 whiffs on 15 swings. It’s got a 2859 RPM.


Opening Day and a Look Ahead to 2022


Last night’s loss accentuated concerns about the 2022 Yankees


  1. MikeD

    Perhaps Seigler can pull a Volpe this year and show the talent they thought was there when he was their top pick.

    A-once-a-week DoTF is fine. It allows fans to keep track of the players, and we can always directly check out box scores.

  2. Anthony Rizzeddardo

    The late Meatloaf said two out of three ain’t bad, Derek. Not a bad start to the season especially for Stanton and Rizzo. Everybody else needs to kick it into gear. Everybody, including you, said there’d be no way we’d score any runs with two black holes at the bottom of the lineup. I didn’t see that this weekend. I saw a lineup that won 2/3 against the rival Sox. Higgy will get his home run stroke back soon and IKF had a big hit last night. It was Hicks that did absolutely nothing when it mattered most. If Stanton can play RF more I’d bench Hicks and get our best lineup out there. All Hicks does is strike out with men on base. He’s worse than Gallo who at least made hard contact. Josh is a great pick up and won the first game with his clutch hitting but I woulda found a way to get him without trading Gary Sanchez, who already hit a salami for the Twins. That trade is going to look really bad in a few years.

    A lot of these kids could help the MLB club. Florial could be up here playing CF every day. He showed last year that he could play and Hicks can’t. LoCastro should be here. Boone ran out of players in the first game. Why are there only 3 bench players? We don’t need 500 pitchers including 70 long men. Andujar can hit and should be here. Oswald is probably better than IKF at this point. I haven’t been too impressed with IKF’s defense which is the only reason he’s on the club. If he’s gonna boot the ball just put Gleyber there to get DJ’s bat in the lineup. There is no reason for DJ to be sitting on the bench. If DJ had been playing last night instead of Hicks we woulda swept the Sox and been on track for the World Series.

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