Tag: Estevan Florial Page 1 of 2

Game 28: Ugh, not again

Embed from Getty Images

Make it six consecutive losses. It looked like the Yankees were about to break the losing streak as they were up 4-0 with Jordan Montgomery cruising. Alas, Chad Green had another clunker and the offense couldn’t tack on any runs against…checks notes…ah yes, Walter Lockett. Bad bad bad. Let’s get to the takeaways before the second game of this doubleheader.

Jordan Montgomery was terrific. Things were looking awfully cheery early in this one. Montgomery was absolutely dominant to start this one out and the offense actually scored some early runs. It seemed like a nice rebound game was in order. The 27 year-old exited this one with a 4-1 lead in the sixth, but as I’ll discuss shortly, that didn’t last long.

Gumby struck out the side in the first inning with ease: it only took him 13 pitches to do so. The Mets swung seven times, whiffed five times, and hit two foul balls. The southpaw also garnered two called strikes. Not a lot of wasted time to retire Jeff McNeill, J.D. Davis, and Michael Conforto.

The second was more of the same. Montgomery struck out Pete Alonso on a changeup to start the frame. Robinson Cano broke up the strikeout streak by looping a single to left, but Montgomery got right back on his horse thereafter. He punched out Wilson Ramos with yet another changeup. That pitch was really working for Monty today: he threw it 18 times and garnered 7 whiffs on 12 swings.

Montgomery threw scoreless third and fourth innings, but started to run into trouble in the fifth. It really wasn’t his fault, though. He recorded two relatively quick outs, but then plunked Smith. Up came Jake Marisnick, who bounced to Miguel Andújar in what should have been an inning ending 5-3. Instead, Miggy bobbled the grounder and then threw it away for two errors on the play, which allowed Smith to move to third. Up next: a wild pitch on a spiked changeup. It was the definition of a 55-footer, but it seemed like something Gary Sánchez could have blocked. Instead, it skipped away and Smith scored. Monty eventually got out of it with no more damage.

Monty started the sixth, but after back-to-back singles with Alonso coming up as the tying run, his night was done. In came Chad Green, and things unraveled as I’ll touch on in a moment. Montgomery’s final line: 5-plus innings, 5 hits, 3 runs (2 earned), no walks, and 6 strikeouts. Those two earned runs scored as inherited runners for Green.

What’s up with Chad Green? Green’s given up a season’s worth of back-breaking homers this week. First, it was Freddie Freeman in Atlanta as he tried to preserve a 1-0 lead. Today, with the Yankees up 4-1, he was tasked with escaping a first and second with no one out jam in the sixth with Pete Alonso at the plate. Here’s what happened.

But wait, there’s more.

By the time the inning was over, it was 6-4 Mets and Green was saddled with the loss.

Is there such a thing as What’s Wrong With Chad Green Week? We kinda had this last year, except it was roughly a month-long thing to start the season. Anyway, the big issue was his location. Green needs to paint the top of the strike zone with his fastball and mix in an occasional breaker to keep hitters honest. He didn’t get his fastball up enough today, and paid the price for it.

That’s just two fastballs at the top of the zone. Everything else he threw was either belt-high or thigh-high, and that’s not going to work even with as good of a heater as Green offers. These are the at-bat ending pitch locations which tell the story:

Clint deserves to stay. And I’m not just talking about Frazier staying with the big league club for the rest of this regular season — I mean next year as well. Before I make my case, let’s take a look at what Frazier did this afternoon.

In the first inning, after Leadoff Luke Voit single (he went 3-for-3 in this one, by the way), Clint hit a rocket into the gap off Michael Wacha:

Frazier got another shot against Wacha in the second inning. This time, he went from gap power to over-the-wall power:

Clint’s now up to a .300/.364/.600 (158 wRC+) batting line in 33 plate appearances. That’s an incredibly small sample size, but we’ve also been hearing about Frazier’s legendary bat speed and offensive potential for years. It shouldn’t necessarily come as a surprise to see him hit. And that’s a big part of why he needs to remain a long-term piece in the Bronx.

On paper, Clint is no better than the fourth best outfielder on this roster. But the cavalcade of outfielders ahead of him are on the injured list quite often. Frazier makes for a more than capable player in their stead. Hell, it might be time to let him just play everyday. If Giancarlo Stanton is going to be a designated hitter primarily, Frazier should be the regular left fielder. I love Brett Gardner, but there comes a point when it’s time to move on. I think after this season is that time. Mike Tauchman is fine in his own right, but he lacks Frazier’s upside and power. I like him more as a fourth outfielder. If Gardner departs, there’s room for both Tauchman and Frazier, who are both out of options.

Ultimately, whether Gardner is back or not, letting Frazier go is risky given how often Stanton, Aaron Judge, and Aaron Hicks are hurt. I know it may be tricky to keep him around without minor league options after this season, but the Yankees can’t really afford to lose outfield depth.


  • Estevan Florial’s debut went about as well as you could expect for a guy to never play above High-A (aside from Double-A playoff appearances). He struck out in ugly fashion in his first two at-bats, but collected his first big league hit later.
  • Voit, Frazier, and Brett Gardner reached base nine times today. Everyone else? Three times: the Florial single, a Sánchez walk, and a Mike Ford double. Not good. It was particularly troubling, even with this cast of replacements, to not score against Walter Lockett who entered with an 8.66 ERA in 43 2/3 innings. Really should have pulled away.
  • Tarp is on the field right now, but I’ll post the lineups below when available. Bobby will have the second game recap later. Have a nice night.

New York Yankees

  1. Luke Voit, 1B
  2. Clint Frazier, RF
  3. Aaron Hicks, CF
  4. Gary Sánchez, DH
  5. Mike Tauchman, LF
  6. Miguel Andújar, 3B
  7. Jordy Mercer, SS
  8. Thairo Estrada, 2B
  9. Erik Kratz, C

RHP Jonathan Loaisiga

New York Mets

  1. Brandon Nimmo, CF
  2. Michael Conforto, RF
  3. J.D. Davis, 3B
  4. Dom Smith, LF
  5. Robinson Canó, DH
  6. Pete Alonso, 1B
  7. Jeff McNeill, 2B
  8. Luis Guillorme, SS
  9. Ali Sánchez, C

LHP David Peterson

Games 28 & 29: Jackie Robinson Day

Today is Jackie Robinson Day across MLB. It was moved to this date as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic affecting its traditional celebration on April 15th. The timing couldn’t have aligned better with what we’ve seen in this week with (some) professional athletes and teams. Players are taking a stand after frustration with league’s whitewashed efforts for social justice. These players are represented in the short film above narrated by Mookie Betts, and I’m proud to mention that our blog’s co-founder Randy Wilkins directed it.

If you’re on Twitter, give Randy a shout out for this alongside everyone else he worked with to get this done.

Before I get to baseball to be played today, I want to share one more piece that I thought was terrific. It’s free to read over at Baseball Prospectus: Dear Jackie, by Shakeia Taylor.

Alright, as for the Yankees today. Per Aaron Boone, the team met for an hour earlier today and decided to play. I can’t say I’m surprised, but I hope we see some sort of action taken if they’re not going to sit out in solidarity with others. These are the lineups for the first game:

New York Mets (13-16)

  1. Jeff McNeil, 2B
  2. J.D. Davis, 3B
  3. Michael Conforto, RF
  4. Pete Alonso, 1B
  5. Robinson Canó, DH
  6. Wilson Ramos, C
  7. Dominic Smith, LF
  8. Jake Marisnick, CF
  9. Amed Rosario, SS

RHP Michael Wacha

New York Yankees (16-11)

  1. Luke Voit, DH
  2. Clint Frazier, RF
  3. Brett Gardner, LF
  4. Gary Sánchez, C
  5. Mike Ford, 1B
  6. Miguel Andújar, 3B
  7. Estevan Florial, CF
  8. Thairo Estrada, 2B
  9. Tyler Wade, SS

LHP Jordan Montgomery

News & Notes:

  • You read that right: Estevan Florial is starting, batting seventh, and playing center field. It’s his major league debut. He’s the 29th man for the doubleheader today. Florial has never played above High-A (!!!), so this is a massive jump for the 22 year-old prospect. Injuries and a ridiculous amount of doubleheaders have really forced the Yankees hand.
  • Can’t go a day without another injury: Gio Urshela has a bone spur in his elbow, but the team doesn’t think it’s a long-term thing. Where have we heard that before? (Erik Boland)
  • There are other roster moves, by the way. Aaron Judge is back on the injured list with that same calf strain again. Sigh.
  • The team released lefty reliever Luis Avilán, who was on the injured list with shoulder inflammation. It sounds like they want to bring him back, but the 40-man crunch left the team no choice because…
  • …Jordy Mercer’s contract was selected from the Alternate Site. He’s added middle infield depth with DJ LeMahieu and Gleyber Torres out.
  • Speaking of LeMahieu, it seems like he’s getting closer to returning. He’s playing in a game at the Alternate Site today.
  • As for Torres, he’s expected to miss 3-6 weeks. Yikes.

Today’s action gets underway at 4:05 p.m. EDT on YES, and MLB Network (out-of-market). WFAN and WADO have the radio calls. We’ll give game two’s lineup in the first game’s recap. Enjoy the games.

Thoughts after the Yankees’ 40-man roster shakeup

A blast from the past.

The Yankees make the 40-man roster protection deadline an event last night by adding over a half-dozen players and jettisoning some big names to make room for them. ICYMI, here’s the summary of their moves:

Added: Deivi García, Luis Gil, Luis Medina, Estevan Florial, Nick Nelson, Miguel Yajure, Brooks Kriske
DFA’d: Nestor Cortes Jr., Greg Bird
Released: Jacoby Ellsbury

Here are my thoughts on the whole sequence of moves, starting with who the Yankees added:

1. The Easy Adds: As Derek so eloquently detailed Tuesday, the Yankees had four players perceived as locks to add by Wednesday’s deadline: García, Gil, Medina and Florial.

It’s well-known how electrifying Deivi can be, and he nearly earned a spot on the roster last September. With the 40-man spot secured, he could get strong consideration for the Opening Day roster in 2020, though it’s more likely he gets further reps in Triple-A after he struggled with the MLB ball and tired down the stretch in 2019.

Meanwhile, Gil, Medina and Florial are further away from the Majors. Gil and Medina raised their profiles with strikeout-laden 2019 seasons for Single-A Charleston, followed by brief stints with Single-A Tampa. Gil, funny enough, was acquired via trade in March 2018 when the Yankees needed to clear room on the 40-man roster. Medina doesn’t turn 21 until May while Gil will be 22 in June.

Florial had his second consecutive down year, both hampered by wrist/hand injuries in Spring Training. That’s part of why he didn’t make Baseball America’s top 10 Yankee prospects. His chances of reaching the Majors in 2020 are slim (as they are for Gil and Medina), but the outfielder would have easy to keep on a 26-man roster for a rebuilding team. Now, he has to find a way to cut down on strikeouts and tap into his potential before it’s too late.

2. The borderline additions: Yajure and Nelson were mentioned by most outlets as bubble players with some favoring Yajure as a “must add.” Kriske, though, came as a surprise even if his name was mentioned.

All three are right-handed pitchers who spent time in Double-A last season, but that’s where the similarities end. Yajure specializes in control, issuing just 30 walks in 138 2/3 innings across High-A and Double-A last season. Though just 21, he has missed development time with Tommy John surgery that knocked out his 2017 season, but he’s fully recovered and has hit 97 on the gun.

However, unlike the four locks, Yajure didn’t make either Baseball America or Baseball Prospectus’ Top 10s. He should start in Trenton after making two starts there in 2019 and could rise from there.

Nelson, meanwhile, reached Triple-A briefly after excelling in the Eastern League. High strikeout rate, high walk rate, the 2016 fourth-rounder has potential to make the Majors in 2020, though that would most likely come in relief as he’s behind García and Michael King for now.

Kriske was the lone full-time reliever of the bunch. Another pitcher who has gone under the knife for TJ, he’s the oldest player added at 25 and is a former sixth-round pick as a senior sign from USC. He could be the latest homegrown college reliever to find his way up the Yankees pipeline. The Bombers wouldn’t have added him to the 40-man as a 25-year-old reliever if he weren’t MLB ready in the near future.

The right-hander added a splitter after joining Trenton, and it appears to have worked wonders for him. Look at his funky motion (and the swings and misses).

3. Yankees not nearly done: So the Yankees are now at 40 men exactly with their 40-man roster. That leaves them no room for Domingo Germán when he’s eventually reinstated from the Commissioner’s exempt list, nor for retaining free agents like Brett Gardner, Dellin Betances, Cameron Maybin or Austin Romine. Or, if this is your cup of tea, Gerrit Cole.

The Yankees had to add the seven players above by Wednesday or else they would have been ripe for the Rule 5 draft in a couple of weeks. That doesn’t mean they couldn’t be used as trade bait between now and the start of 2020. In fact, the Bombers might have added one or two players to maintain leverage in ongoing trade talks.

As mentioned above, the Yankees acquired Gil in March 2018. They did so after adding Jake Cave to the 40-man roster the previous fall, only to need room for Brandon Drury in Spring Training. A similar fate could befall Nelson, Kriske or one of the other recent additions, or one of the higher-end prospects (Deivi, Gil, Medina Florial) could be packaged in a larger deal.

I thought the Yankees were going to swing a trade, hence why they went up until the 8 p.m. deadline. They could have been working on one and just didn’t find one that made sense. The Rays, meanwhile, dealt Jose De Leon and Christopher Sanchez to alleviate their own logjam, though they also DFA’d Matt Duffy.

4. Current 40-man roster composition: The Yankees are far from done and they’ll need to excise players currently on their 40-man to make any further MLB moves. But as they stand right now, they have 24 pitchers and just 16 hitters on the roster, with Germán still in the organization as a de facto 41st man while awaiting suspension. While that split remains lopsided, it’s because the Yankees like their pitching prospects. They had enough good ones that other teams would have snapped up, and now they’ll have to sort them out.

Chances are, not all 24 pitchers will make it through the next three months until pitchers and catchers report. Here’s how I see the current chopping block, in order:

  1. Stephen Tarpley
  2. Jonathan Holder
  3. Chance Adams
  4. Brooks Kriske
  5. Albert Abreu

Holder and Tarpley are each fine up-and-down arms, but they haven’t proven themselves more than OK middle relievers in a team full of pitchers. Holder is arb eligible for the first time and is projected to make $800K in 2020, but he also had a 6.31 ERA over 41 1/3 innings last year. Even with a strong 2018, he might struggle to make it through, as could Tarpley. Both had injuries that hampered their 2019 seasons.

Adams hasn’t taken as a starter, so it’s probably time to move him to relief full time and see if a healthy version of him can make it as a reliever. Kriske and Abreu, though both in Double-A and near the Majors, each have an injury history and could be expendable.

Luis Cessa, meanwhile, could fit on that list as he’s out of options, and the Yankees have that glut of pitchers on the roster. If J.A. Happ, Jonathan Loaisiga or Germán are moved to long relief in 2020, Cessa’s spot becomes tenuous, as it does if Adams breaks through.

Key date to watch out for: Dec. 2. That’s the non-tender deadline, which could be Holder, Cessa or Tarpley’s last stand.

5. Bird’s likely exit: Though the Yankees could potentially retain Bird after designating him for assignment Wednesday, I wouldn’t count on it. As he has more than three years of service time, he can elect free agency if he clears waivers.

With Luke Voit, DJ LeMahieu and Mike Ford all on the roster, the Yankees scarcely have room for a first base-only player like Bird that can barely stay on the field. His one-week stint in the Dominican Winter League was encouraging but not enough to save his roster spot.

If he hits free agency, maybe New York could work a Minor League deal with their erstwhile first baseman. The organization has certainly believed in him enough to keep him through a laundry list of injuries, and they were rewarded briefly in the 2017 postseason.

Ah, well. At this point, Bird is better off seeking greener pastures with an organization that has more of an opening at first. The talent has always been there, so hopefully his body can hold up wherever he ends up in 2020.

6. The end of the Ellsbury Era: It was time for the Yankees to move on from the veteran outfielder, even if it meant eating $26 million in the process. It’s been 25 months since Ellsbury donned Yankee pinstripes and Brian Cashman didn’t seem confident in Ellsbury’s renewed health during the GM’s end-of-year press conference.

“It’s hard to say based on how things have played out,” Cashman said of Ellsbury’s availability after Aaron Hicks’ surgery. “Right now he’s not someone in a position health-wise where I can answer anything in the affirmative.”

Ellsbury had $21 million due his way in 2020, though the New York Post reported that was uninsured. The Yankees had previously been able to insure his contract, so they weren’t on the hook for all of his 2018 and ’19 salaries. (To clarify, Ellsbury got all the money owed to him, but an insurance company partially compensated the Bombers.) He also is due $5 million to buy out his option for 2021.

The seven-year, $153 million contract is a notable blemish on Cashman’s strong history of signing position players in free agency. In the same offseason, Shin-Soo Choo earned a similar seven-year deal from the Rangers and was an All-Star in 2018. He was worth 14.1 WAR to Ellsbury’s 9.5 ove the last six seasons, and he still has another year to go.

Meanwhile, the Ellsbury signing came on the heels of Robinson Cano’s exit to Seattle. The Yankees reportedly offered him $175 million over seven years, but the second baseman signed for less AAV ($24 million) over 10 seasons. After a lackluster 2013 season where the Bombers’ offense cratered, the team might have felt it needed to make a splash on offense when they signed Ellsbury in addition to Carlos Beltran and Brian McCann.

Ultimately, the signing did not work out at all, outside of Ellsbury’s single-season, career and postseason catcher’s interference records, all set with the Yankees. OK, I guess I’m the only one who cares about that last part. It was time for the Yankees to close this chapter.

7. Bye to Nasty Nestor: Lastly, the Yankees removed Cortes from the 40-man roster. He doesn’t have as big a name as Ellsbury or Bird, but baseball’s Mr. 305 should be remembered fondly for his contributions to the 2019 Yankees.

The final numbers are ugly. He had a 5.67 ERA/5.57 FIP and a 79 ERA+, allowing 16 home runs over 66 2/3 innings. The soft-tossing left-hander rarely topped 90 mph, but he got by on guile and an advanced pitching acumen.

Cortes was the bulk guy to form an impressive tandem with opener Chad Green from May well into the summer. The duo helped the Yankees stave off rotation armageddon. Green obviously deserves more of the accolades when it comes to the Yankees’ opener success, but Cortes kept it going. As the bulk pitcher, he helped the Yankees get wins over the Rays (x2), Indians, Astros and Twins, among others.

As the Yankees have previously DFA’d him and the Orioles sent him back in the 2018 Rule 5 draft, I’m pretty certain he can elect free agency. Another team could use him in a bulk/opener role. For whatever reason, I feel as if he’d fit the Seattle Mariners well.

Yankees add Florial, six others to 40-man roster; DFA Bird, Cortes and release Ellsbury

Deivi García

The Yankees added OF Estevan Florial and RHPs Deivi García, Luis Gil, Luis Medina, Brooks Kriske, Nick Nelson and Miguel Yajure to the 40-man roster Wednesday. To make additional room on the roster, New York designated Greg Bird and Nestor Cortes Jr. for assignment while Jacoby Ellsbury was released.

After today’s moves, the Yankees now have a full 40-man roster before making any free agent moves. Assuming they don’t make further room, they won’t be able to select a player in next month’s Rule 5 draft.

While the Yankees were expected to add many of those seven players to the roster, it was surprising that they fit all of them, including Kriske, Nelson and Yajure, who weren’t locks. Meanwhile, the moves to jettison both Bird and Ellsbury alongside Cortes comes as a shock. Bird made just 41 plate appearances last season while Cortes pitched to a 5.67 ERA.

The Bombers kept Ellsbury on their roster for the last two seasons despite him last playing during the 2017 ALCS. He is owed a $21 million salary in 2020 as well as a $5 million buyout of his 2021 option. The New York Post reported that his final season was not insured, unlike his 2018 and 2019 salaries.

Oswaldo Cabrera, Chris Gittens, Hoy Jun Park and Rony García are among the players the Yankees left unprotected. For more on those names and others, check out Derek’s Rule 5 primer from Tuesday.

In the past, the Yankees have lost plenty of players in the Rule 5 draft, though players are often returned. Cortes, Mike Ford, Caleb Smith and Iván Nova were each selected then returned in recent seasons. The Yankees weren’t so fortunate with Tommy Kahnle and Luis Torrens, each of whom stuck in their new locales.

The last time New York selected a player in the Rule 5 draft was 2011, when the Bombers chose Brad Meyers and purchased the contract of Cesar Cabral, though neither ultimately lasted long in the Bronx.

While the Pinstripers made the aforementioned moves Wednesday, they had previously culled their system of players who they would have needed to add Wednesday. OF Blake Rutherford (White Sox, Robertson/Kahnle/Frazier deal), RHPs Taylor Widener (D-backs, Drury deal) and J.P. Feyereisen (Brewers) were all added to their respective 40-man rosters.

INF Nick Solak, also part of the Brandon Drury deal, was dealt from Tampa Bay to Texas at the deadline last year due to the Rays’ own roster crunch. The Yankees also dealt 1B Ryan McBroom to Kansas City last August and he has remained on the Royals’ 40-man roster. Dom Thompson-Williams (Paxton trade) was not added to the Mariners’ 40-man roster.

How the Yankees’ farm system looks after a stagnant deadline

So the Yankees didn’t make any Major League trades yesterday. Some of that was circumstance and high asking prices, but I think it also reflects on certain parts of the Yankees’ farm system.

Here are my thoughts/notes on the system, the deadline and more:

1. The Yankees’ system didn’t take the step forward everyone expected: Going into the season, Baseball America had the Yankees ranked as the No. 20 system in baseball. That was the general consensus: Not the worst system, but clearly not in the upper echelon.

However, with plenty of young, talented players, primarily pitchers, in the lower minors, the Yankees’ farm system was projected to move up as those pitchers did.

Instead, most of the system stagnated or slowed, giving the team very little upper minors depth from which to deal. They’re now No. 21 on BA. As much as one would love to just trade a bunch of Low-A and rookie-ball players for Marcus Stroman, the Blue Jays and Mets rightfully would want something more than a lottery ticket.

That isn’t to say there haven’t been some risers. Deivi Garcia and Luis Gil are great examples even despite Deivi’s rough Triple-A debut. They both give the Yankees a chance to have a homegrown talent in the rotation soon.

Thinking back to that beautiful Futures Game

However, the upper minors remain barren. Just eight of BA’s Yankees Top 30 prospects at midseason were at Double-A or higher. Thairo Estrada, at No. 22, is the highest-ranked position player above High-A. That obviously doesn’t include Clint Frazier, who is still prospect-y and can help team from Triple-A. Furthermore, the team doesn’t need much offensive help at the MLB level right now, though there’s still little from which to trade.

2. The Harvey trade and 40-man crunch: The one trade the Yankees did make was for LHP Alfredo Garcia of the Rockies in exchange for RHP Joe Harvey. Garcia just turned 20 and is in full-season ball for the first time. He has an ugly 6.28 ERA with 109 hits, 11 homers and 38 walks in 90.1 IP, though he’s fanned 103 batters. Surely, the Yankees see something more than those first few numbers suggest.

But this deal is indicative of the Yankees’ roster situation. As Fangraphs detailed in recent days, the Yankees are one of many teams in an upcoming 40-man roster crunch. Harvey is the first casualty. The Bombers have had to make many trades of a similar ilk in recent seasons with players like James Pazos, Caleb Smith and Garrett Cooper. Funny enough, Zack Littell was acquired for Pazos, then dealt instead of being added to the 40-man a year later.

The Yankees have had success on their end of these deals, adding Gil (in the Tyler Austin/Lance Lynn trade last year) and Michael King (for Smith/Cooper), though the latter trade doesn’t look quite as good in retrospect.

The point being: The Yankees exchanged a 40-man player they’d have otherwise likely non-tendered for a younger player a few years from Rule 5 eligibility. There will be a few more trades like that this offseason (or in August with non-40-man players) and some players exposed to the Rule 5 draft.

3. Don’t forget about recent graduations and trades: When evaluating a team’s MiLB system in a snapshot, it’s easy to forget about the recent past. The Yankees have gotten a lot out of their farm system.

Gleyber Torres, Miguel Andujar, Domingo German and Frazier, plus Nestor Cortes Jr., are recent graduations from the farm system to help the big league team stay afloat the last couple seasons. They wouldn’t be on pace to win 100+ games for the second straight season without them. (Again, that doesn’t even include Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez and Luis Severino).

The Yankees already used plenty of prospect depth: The Yankees have been active at the previous few trade deadlines and offseasons, dealing over a dozen prospects for Sonny Gray, J.A. Happ, James Paxton, Tommy Kahnle and others.

Plenty of those players dealt, as I wrote about earlier this year, haven’t been good enough in their new homes for the Yankees to regret trading them. Some also would have been 40-man roster casualties.

But all of that adds up to players the Yankees can no longer trade, chips already cashed in. They still have some, or had some in relation to yesterday, but some of their depth was no longer free to trade.

Florial with a very good boy! (@TampaTarpons on Twitter)

4. Injuries and Florial’s step back hurting team: Part of why the Yankees’ farm system hasn’t taken a step forward is the ole injury bug. 2018 draft picks Josh Breaux and Anthony Seigler are both on the IL with Breaux dealing with an arm issue after an impressive beginning to his South Atlantic League season. Seigler, meanwhile, didn’t hit when healthy but was also delayed by injuries this year and likely has been banged up for all of his first full pro season.

The Yankees’ top Triple-A pitching prospect, Michael King, just made it to Triple-A yesterday after an arm injury kept him out for 3+ months. That’s a killer. If he’d continued on his trajectory from 2018, he could have helped the Major League roster by midseason or been a useful trade chip.

Furthermore, Garrett Whitlock was one of this season’s risers as a former 16th-round pick, but now he needs Tommy John surgery after showing well in Trenton.

However, Estevan Florial’s season has to be the most disappointing. The Yankees’ only consensus top 100 prospect going into the year, Florial suffered a significant injury for the second straight year: A dislocated wrist during Spring Training.

The injury kept him out until June, and he hasn’t found his swing since. In fact, he’s taken a step back from his 110 wRC+ with High-A Tampa last year. Repeating the level, he’s batting just .227/.277/.343 with an 85 wRC+. His walk rate has been halved and his strikeout rate is back up to concerning levels (34.7 percent).

Back-to-back years with hand injuries has made it so he hasn’t shown much power in 2018 or ’19. Still, he’s just 21 years old and will be 22 next year. The Yankees will still add him to the 40-man roster, or be able to use him in trade. However, his value has diminished significantly from top-prospect status.

5. A closer look at a few full-season pitchers: We got an email this week about Clarke Schmidt, and then he promptly figured into the Yankees’ failed Robbie Ray pursuit. While BA has him at No. 16 on their Yankees list, the right-hander is No. 11 on Fangraphs’ big board and is all the way to No. 5 for MLB.com.

The Yankees’ first-round pick in 2017 (No. 16 overall), Schmidt has pitched sparingly in the Minors. He was selected despite having undergone Tommy John surgery just before the draft and he’s dealt with injuries since turning pro. Still, the 23-year-old college arm has had a strong season.

In 53.1 IP for High-A Tampa, he has a 3.38 ERA (2.97 FIP) with 56 strikeouts to 19 walks, allowing just two home runs. Between his injuries and 6-foot-1 stature, some evaluators believe he’s ticketed for the bullpen long-term. Still, he has a future in the org.

Meanwhile, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Miguel Yajure. The 21-year-old has a 2.06 ERA with Tampa while keeping the ball onto the ground. Unlike Schmidt, he’s been able to go full-tilt this year a few seasons removed from TJ surgery, throwing a career-high 109.1 IP so far this year. He doesn’t overpower with his fastball-changeup combo, but he’s shown enough to get 40-man consideration after the year.

Finally, Albert Abreu is No. 7 on both MLB.com and BA, though Fangraphs has him at No. 20. The soon-to-be 24-year-old has struggled to find the plate consistently but is still able to get outs anyway, unlike fellow Yankees prospect Luis Medina, who has an ERA and BB/9 above 6.8. Abreu could be feeling the roster crunch this offseason as he’s already on the 40-man.

6. Brief notes on Canaan Smith and Kyle Holder: I really like Canaan Smith. As a 20-year-old in Single-A, he’s batting .317/.415/.474 with a 158 wRC+ and a walk rate (14.3 percent) just 6.4 percent lower than his K rate. At this point, he’s shown all he can in Charleston.

However, the question with Smith isn’t just his bat. As a corner outfielder, the question is whether he can hit enough to justify his place at a lesser position in the Majors. The Yankees have plenty of outfield depth in the Majors right now, though plenty can change by the time Smith would be ready.

Kyle Holder, meanwhile, has been one of Double-A Trenton’s best hitters with a .278/.335/.434 batting line and 124 wRC+ this year. He’s good at putting his bat on the ball and already was a wizard with the glove. His future as a middle infielder in the Majors looks brighter than it did a year ago.

7. Recent picks showing off in Pulaski, Staten Island: As the last point, just want to point out some of the good hitting going on in the low Minors for the Yankees. I’m of the belief that you can judge most pitching prospects until they get at least to Single-A, so I’ll hold off on T.J. Sikkema’s strong debut for now.

But Anthony Volpe and Josh Smith have gotten off to good starts. Volpe didn’t hit for about a month — He is, after all, an 18-year-old, playing pro ball — but he’s started to find his swing and he’s raised his wRC+ to 98 after being about half that a few weeks ago. Best part is his walks as he posts a 14.6 percent walk rate. Smith only debuted a week ago after signing later. Still, it’s hard not to like how he’s walked five times and struck out just once in Staten Island.

Meanwhile, keep an eye on Chad Bell, Ryder Green and Ezequiel Duran at those same levels. Bell, a 19-round pick out of college, has a 146 wRC+ thus far, though also sports a 32.8 percent K rate, while Green (138 wRC+) and Duran (164 wRC+) have taken real steps forward as they repeat the low minors.

Page 1 of 2

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén