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Yankees 2021 Rule 5 Draft Protection Preview

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The clock is ticking on the Yankees’ front office. Friday is the deadline for the team to protect Rule 5 draft eligible prospects by adding them to the team’s 40-man roster. Doing so will be a tad more challenging this season because the 40-man is currently full, so we could be in for a handful of roster moves over the next 48 hours.

Pinstriped Prospects has the list of all minor leaguers in the organization who are draft eligible. Today, I’ll briefly touch on a bunch of prospects who deserve the most consideration for a roster spot. I’ve included their position, age, highest level reached, and MLB Pipeline ranking if applicable. One final note before getting into the prospect snapshots: pitching prospect Randy Vasquez is not eligible, as we found out Monday.

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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

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

The Magnificent Middle Infield [2021 Season Preview]

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The Keystone King

Yankees fans everywhere exhaled a collective sigh of relief on the morning of January 15. On that day, which will hopefully not live in infamy, represented the end of a too-long tango between the team’s front office and DJ LeMahieu, when the 32-year-old re-signed for 6-years and $90 million. The idea of an offense without LeMahieu – who led the team in batting average, on-base percentage, wRC+, and WAR over the last two years – was the baseball equivalent of existential dread, so the news of his return may well have been the best possible news for Yankees fans this off-season.

LeMahieu’s excellence in pinstripes cannot be overstated, either. He’s 12th in the majors in fWAR since the beginning of 2019, sandwiched between Ronald Acuña Jr. and JT Realtmuto. His 146 wRC+ is 10th, just behind reigning NL MVP Cody Bellinger. And his .336 batting average, passé as it may be, is the best in the business. LeMahieu has been nothing short of elite in pinstripes, and I can’t wait to see what he’ll do next.

Speaking of, let’s check-in on the projection systems:

SystemPAHRAVG/OBP/SLG (+)WAR
PECOTA64419.295/.360/.450 (122 DRC+)4.6
ZiPS59818.306/.357/.463 (117 wRC+)4.2
Steamer68321.294/.353/.453 (114 wRC+)3.8

All three projection systems are essentially splitting the difference between LeMahieu’s last season in Colorado (87 wRC+) and his first season in the Bronx (135 wRC+), and I’m not all that surprised. After all, he’s 32 and has more than four times as many plate appearances in Colorado. And, given that 2020 was heavily abbreviated, his back-to-back career years involve just 871 PA. I would be at least a bit disappointed in any of those lines – though, all three would be rock solid.

That said: I’m betting the over.

Yankees’ 2020 Rule 5 Draft Protection Preview

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Friday is the deadline for teams to add minor leaguers to the 40-man roster in order to protect them from the Rule 5 draft (for other key offseason dates, be sure to check out our offseason calendar). As of this writing, the Yankees have four open slots available. They could open up another spot or two via trade in the coming days, but at the same time, the organization may not feel the need to protect more than four players.

For a full list of draft eligible minor leaguers, head over to Pinstriped Prospects. I’ll briefly profile a few of the notable players the Yankees have to consider protecting.

Top prospects

Oswald Peraza | SS | 20 y/o | Single-A | 4th-best team prospect per MLB Pipeline

Peraza’s minor league numbers don’t jump off the page, but he has a good contact-oriented approach, plenty of speed, and is projected to stick at shortstop. It’s hard to imagine him sticking in the majors next year, but his prospect status makes it risky to expose him. I wonder if the Yankees are still scarred from losing catcher Luis Torrens, who was at the same level and age when the Padres drafted and stashed him.

Alexander Vizcaino | RHP | 23 y/o | High-A | 8th | 2020 Player Pool

Vizcaino was an older J2 signing in 2016 but has impressed in the minors. He can touch triple-digits with his fastball and has a plus changeup to boot. Clearly, the Yankees like the righty quite a bit because he spent this summer in Scranton. Even though he’s pitched exclusively as a starter over the past couple of minor league seasons, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him hold his own in a big league bullpen next season. I expect the Yankees to add him the 40-man this week.

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