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DoTF: Medina K’s 10, prospects’ homers galore

News & Notes

  • Gleyber Torres was hit in the hand in his final at-bat with Scranton tonight. Hopefully he’s okay and can rejoin the Yanks as planned for Friday’s opener against the Orioles.

Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders

A 9th inning comeback fell short as the RailRiders fell 5-3 to Buffalo.

  • Starting Pitcher: LHP Matt Krook: 5.1 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 5 K – 60% strikes…has 106 K in 86 IP
  • In Relief: RHP Nick Nelson: 0.2 IP, 2 H, 4 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 0 K – 58% strikes…rare to see 4 unearned runs but there ya go
  • In Relief: RHP Sal Romano: 1.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K – 63% strikes for Tri-State Sal
  • Rehab Watch: SS Gleyber Torres: 1-3, 1 HBP – the aforementioned HBP is one to watch
  • Leftovers: Only 5 hits in this one…Trey Amburgey had 2 of them, Rob Brantly had a double and Greg Allen had a triple

Double-A Somerset Patriots

Game 1: The Pats won game one of the doubleheader over Bowie 3-2 behind a strong start for Luis Medina.

  • Starting Pitcher: RHP Luis Medina: 4.2 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 10 K – 67% strikes…both runs were on solo homers…great to see a strong K/BB ratio for him
  • In Relief: RHP Kevin Gadea: 1.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K – 71% strikes
  • In Relief: RHP Addison Russ: 1.0 IP, zeroes, 1 BB, 1 K – 52% strikes
  • Offensive Star: 1B Dermis Garcia: 1-3, 1 HR, 3 RBI – all runs scored on his homerun
  • Leftovers: Oswald Peraza was 0-2 with a walk and a k…Oswaldo Cabrera went 1-2 also with a walk and a k

Game 2: They lost game 2 7-4 despite a great offensive display from Oswald Peraza.

  • Starting Pitcher: RHP Jhony Brito: 5.0 IP, 6 H, 7 R, 3 BB, 4 K – 60% strikes…got beat around in this one including allowing 2 homers
  • In Relief: RHP Zach Greene: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K – 50% strikes
  • Offensive Star: SS Oswald Peraza: 4-4, 1 R, 3 RBI – 4 singles and drove in 3
  • Leftovers: Oswaldo Cabrera and Josh Breaux were both 0-4…Mickey Gasper had 2 hits and 2 runs scored.

High-A Hudson Valley Renegades

Game 1: HV lost game one 2-0 against Greensboro because they couldn’t muster any offense against former first round pick Quinn Priester.

  • Starting Pitcher: RHP Mitch Spence: 5.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 3 BB, 5 K – 65% strikes
  • In Relief: RHP Freicer Perez: 1.0 IP, 1 H, zeroes, 1 K – 67% strikes…lowered his ERA from 5.74 to 3.72
  • First Round Watch: DH Anthony Volpe: 1-3
  • Leftovers: None really…Elijah Dunham had a single and the team had 5 hits total.

Game 2: The ‘Gades hit 3 homers in this one but it wasn’t enough to overcome a rough pitching performance that gave up 8 runs in the 6th inning. They lost 10-7.

  • Starting Pitcher: RHP Matt Sauer: 5.1 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 7 K – 65% strikes…love to see high K numbers
  • In Relief: LHP Matt Minnick: 0.0 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 0 BB, 0 K – 36% strikes…never seen a line like this before
  • In Relief: RHP Carlos Espinal: 0.2 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 0 BB, 2 K – 83% strikes…gave up a big 3 run homer
  • Volpe Watch: SS Anthony Volpe: 2-4, 1 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI – hit his 11th homer in High-A and is now back to hitting over .300 and OPS’ing over 1.000
  • First Round Watch: C Austin Wells: 2-4, 1 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI – great to see him have a strong game
  • Homer Watch: RF Elijah Dunham: 1-4, 1 HR, 1 R, 2 RBI
  • Leftovers: The other hits came from Everson Pereira, Andres Chaparro, Eric Wagaman, and Eduardo Torrealba

Low-A Tampa Tarpons

The Tarpons lost 9-6 to Bradenton. Keeping with the farm theme of the day, they squandered a late-inning lead. Tampa committed 5 errors in this one.

  • Starting Pitcher: RHP Juan Carela: 3.2 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 4 BB, 5 K, 2 HR – 53% strikes…has a 12.46 ERA in Tampa after a 1.46 ERA in the FCL
  • In Relief: LHP Clay Aguilar: 4.0 IP, 1 H, 4 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 8 K – 72% strikes…that’s a tough luck loss if I’ve ever seen one
  • In Relief: RHP Carson Coleman: 0.1 IP, zeroes – 80% strikes
  • Martian Watch: CF Jasson Dominguez: 0-4, 1 BB – continues to get on base and great to see 0 K’s
  • First Round Watch: SS Trey Sweeney: 2-5, 1 HR, 1 3B 1 R, 2 RBI – OPS’ing .967 now after the rough start to A ball
  • Offensive Star: 1B Anthony Garcia: 2-4, 1 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI – has a ludicrous 1.262 OPS
  • Leftovers: Antonio Gomez had a double…Benjamin Cowles had a homer…Tyler Hardman had a double

The FCL Yankees game was postponed.

DSL Yankees 1 won 7-3

DSL Yankees 2 lost 9-2

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DoTF: Homers galore for top prospects

News & Notes

  • Oswald Peraza has not been traded. He was scratched from Somerset’s lineup due to a personal family matter per Eli Fishman on Twitter
  • The Athletic’s Keith Law was in Somerset this weekend to watch the Patriots and he has notes on Hayden Wesneski, Oswald Peraza, and Dermis Garcia. It’s behind a paywall, so here’s the skinny: Wesneski has reliever risk, Peraza has strong hands and power, and Garcia remains as committed to three true outcomes as anyone.

Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders

The RailRiders lost this one 7-4 to Rochester despite another home run from Hoy Park, his 2nd in 2 days. They are now 45-23 on the year.

  • Starting Pitcher: RHP Deivi García: 4.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 4 BB, 1 K – 58% strikes…has 38 walks in just 53 innings. Really struggling this year.
  • No relief: RHP Nick Nelson: 1.0 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 2 BB, 1 K – 54% strikes…nice to know he’s not getting it done in AAA either I guess
  • In relief: RHP Adam Warren: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K – 72% strikes…has a 2.67 ERA in 33.2 IP in AAA, wonder if he could get called back up sometime
  • In relief: RHP Brooks Kriske: 1.0 IP, zeroes, 1 K – 43% strikes…effectively wild as they say
  • In Relief: RHP Nick Green: 1.0 IP, zeroes, 1 BB, 1 K – 47% strikes
  • Hoy Parks One: DH Hoy Park: 1-3, 1 HR, 2 R, 1 BB – see video below of Park’s 2nd straight day with a homer
  • Multi-hit Watch: 3B Armando Alvarez: 2-4, 1 2B, 1 RBI
  • Leftovers: Andrew Velazquez had a triple…Socrates Brito, Frederick Cuevas, and Brandon Wagner had a single apiece to round out the offense.

Double-A Somerset Patriots

Fresh off #MedinaWatch, Luis Medina threw nearly 6 shutout innings to lead Somerset to a nice and easy 7-0 win over Altoona. They are now 43-28 overall.

  • Starting Pitcher: RHP Luis Medina: 5.2 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 4 BB, 6 K – 56% strikes…a few too many walks, see video of K’s below
  • In Relief: RHP Michael Gomez: 1.1 IP, zeroes, 1 K – 85% strikes!
  • In Relief: RHP Ron Marinaccio: 2.0 IP, 1 H, zeroes – 62% strikes
  • Offensive Star: 2B Jesus Bastidas: 2-4, 1 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI
  • Dermis Blastoff: DH Dermis Garcia: 1-5, 1 HR, 2 K
  • Multi-hit Watch: CF Brandon Lockridge and 3B Oswaldo Cabrera were both 2-5
  • Leftovers: Diego Castillo, Jason Lopez, and Max Burt each had one hit.

High-A Hudson Valley Renegades

The ‘Gades singled and walked (12 on the day!) their way to a 10-8 win over Aberdeen pushing them to 47-25 on the year.

  • Starting Pitcher: RHP Reid Anderson: 5.0 IP, 8 H, 5 R, 0 BB, 3 K – 63% strikes…got hit around but not walking anyone made the difference today, though he did hit 3 batters
  • In Relief: RHP Alexander Vizcaíno: 1.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 0 K – 68% strikes
  • In Relief: RHP Nelson Alvarez: 2.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 1 K – 67% strikes
  • In Relief: RHP Sean Boyle: 1.0 IP, 1 H, zeroes, 1 K – 77% strikes to pick up his first save…yet to allow a run in 12 High-A innings
  • First Round Watch: DH Anthony Volpe: 1-4, 1 HR, 1 BB, 3 R – has 15 home runs on the year now, more power than anyone expected
  • First Round Watch: C Anthony Seigler: 1-4, 2 BB – nice to see the walks
  • Multi-hit Watch: LF Jake Sanford: 2-4, 1 R, 1 BB – .952 OPS in High-A, look for a promotion soon
  • Leftovers: RF Elijah Dunham had a double…CF Pablo Olivares had the other hit…somehow scored 10 runs despite going 3-18 with RISP thanks to those 12 walks.

Low-A Tampa Tarpons

After a close win yesterday, the Tarpons are back to their mashing ways hitting 3 home runs en route to an 8-3 win over Clearwater giving them a 48-23 record.

  • Starting Pitcher: RHP Jhonatan Munoz: 4.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 2 K – 76% strikes
  • In Relief: RHP Nicio Rodriguez: 2.2 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 4 K – 69% strikes
  • In Relief: LHP Edgar Barclay: 2.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5 K – 60% strikes…has 73 K’s in just 48.2 IP
  • Martian Watch: CF Jasson Dominguez: 0-3, 1 BB, 1 K – first hitless game with Tampa…bust! jk he still got on base
  • First Round Watch: C Austin Wells: 2-4, 1 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, 2 K – the hr had a 109 mph exit velo and the double a 106…that’ll play anywhere
  • Hauver Heat Check: 2B Trevor Hauver: 1-2, 1 HR, 2 BB – also hit a 109 mph exit velo homer
  • Homer Watch: DH Evan Alexander: 1-3, 1 HR
  • Leftovers: Ryder Green, Luis Santos, and Pedro Diaz had 1 hit each to round out the offense

Florida Complex League & Dominican Summer League

All had their regular Sunday days off

Starting pitching: Significant depth and prospects in the pipeline [2021 Season Preview]

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If you read my piece on the Yankees’ pitching depth last week, you know that the team is pretty deep in starting pitching. Sure, some of those pitchers have their warts, but there are also a number of viable options to pitch out of the rotation. Pitchers break — they always do — so it’s best to have a lot of them. By midsummer, the Yanks may have nearly a dozen major league caliber starters. Yes, some far better than others, but that’s a lot of insurance.

Today, it’s time to preview the organization’s starters. Not just those who’ll see major league time, either. Like my catcher preview or Dom’s corner infield breakdown, I’ll dive into the starters down the rungs of the minors.

A formidable front four

It’s awfully exciting to have a full season of Gerrit Cole ahead of us. In that sense, he still feels like a new addition to this team. I know we saw him for 12 regular season and 3 postseason starts in 2020, but there’s nothing quite like having a bona fide ace for 30-plus starts and 200 innings. And that’s what we can expect from Gerrit this season: a workhorse who could easily win the American League Cy Young award.

If there’s any uncertainty regarding Cole in 2021, it’s his battery mate. As you know, Kyle Higashioka became Cole’s personal catcher by last September. Cole had better numbers with Higgy behind the plate, and given Gary Sánchez’s struggles offensively, it was an easy decision at the time. This year, the Yankees are hoping to pair Cole and Sánchez, and understandably so. Ideally, the two mesh and Gary mashes once again.

After Cole is when folks start getting nervous, which I can understand. What’s a soon-to-be 35 year-old Corey Kluber going to look like after two injury-riddled seasons? How will Jameson Taillon rebound from his second Tommy John surgery? Will Jordan Montgomery‘s results catch up to his peripherals? And so it goes. No, this isn’t a rotation for the risk-averse. But at the same time, how many other big league rotations are full of sure things?

Yankees Top 100 Prospects Roundup

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One of the hallmarks of Spring Training is the opportunity to see several prospects we may not see in the Bronx for a while. After the regulars get their work in, these guys come in to replace the starters and get some cracks against major league competition. As a self-proclaimed prospect nut, I live for the latter innings of spring training games watching players most people have never heard of, and now you can too.

Over the past month, most major outlets have released their top 100 prospect lists. In preparing for who we can expect to see in games over the next month and hopefully up in the show later this year, it’s worth going through these lists and getting hyped. These lists come courtesy of Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo of MLB Pipeline, Eric Longenhagen of FanGraphs, the Baseball America staff, Keith Law of The Athletic, and Jeffrey Paternostro, Jarrett Seidler, and Keanan Lamb of Baseball Prospectus. Here are the Yankees’ players who made at least one of these lists.

Jasson Dominguez

  • MLB Pipeline: 32
  • FanGraphs: 51
  • Baseball America: 33
  • The Athletic: 66
  • Baseball Prospectus: 59

Dominguez is easily the most tantalizing prospect in the Yankees system with potential that is drool-worthy. He is the consensus top prospect despite not appearing in a single game stateside yet. The hype is real with International Scouting Director Donny Rowland describing him as having “possible the best combination of tools and performance that I’ve run across.” Dominguez is only one of five prospects in all of baseball with all tools graded at 60 or above on the 20-80 scale, which is absolutely insane.

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.

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