Almonte and Pirela continue strong winters as AzFL season wraps up

Cashman: First base "isn’t one of" the Yankees' priorities this winter
Weekend Open Thread

First, the notes:

  • The Yankees have hired Jody Reed as a roving instructor, reports Joel Sherman. The long time big league infielder worked in the organization from 2007-2010. He spent last year managing in Double-A for the Dodgers. This is one of the few personnel changes the team made to their development staff.
  • Matt Eddy has the list of all 550 minor league free agents, only ten of which are Yankees: RHP Cory Arbiso, RHP Sam Demel, RHP Yoshinori Tateyama, C Bobby Wilson, 1B Andrew Clark, 1B Randy Ruiz, IF Reegie Corona, IF Walt Ibarra, OF Fernando Martinez, and OF Corey Patterson. Ibarra is the only one of those guys who is even close to being considered a prospect and he’s already signed with the Cubs.
  • The Yankees have signed 3B Zelous Wheeler to a minor league contract, according to Eddy. No idea if he got an invite to Spring Training. The 26-year-old hit .275/.354/.414 (~117 wRC+) with eleven homers in 461 plate appearances splits between Double-A and Triple-A with the Orioles this past summer. Just a depth signing, the Bombers need all they can get on the left side of the infield.
  • Starting in 2015, the NCAA will switch to a flat-seamed baseball similar to what they use in the minors, reports Aaron Fitt. A study showed the flat-seam ball travels an average of 20-feet farther than the raised-seam ball they’ve been using forever. Breaking balls will also break a bit less. The NCAA is doing it boost offense, but the new ball will also make it a bit easier to evaluate pitching prospects at the collegiate level.

Second, the updates:

Arizona Fall League (season ended this week, so these stats are final)

  • OF Tyler Austin: 4 G, 4-12, 2 R, 1 3B, 3 RBI, 2 BB, 1 K, 1 HBP (.333/.438/.500) — his season ended early after the bone bruise in his right wrist flared up
  • UTIL Addison Maruszak: 10 G, 9-32, 8 R, 2 2B, 2 RBI, 10 BB, 5 K, 1 SB, 1 CS (.281/.452/.344) — replaced Austin on the roster
  • 3B/C Peter O’Brien: 16 G, 12-63, 5 R, 2 2B, 4 HR, 13 RBI, 2 BB, 26 K (.190/.212/.413) — 26 strikeouts in 66 plate appearances (39.4%)
  • OF Mason Williams: 22 G, 23-86, 11 R, 6 2B, 4 RBI, 8 BB, 18 K, 4 SB, 2 CS (.267/.330/.337) — was hoping for more considering how hitter-friendly the AzFL is
  • RHP Brett Gerritse: 9 G, 11.2 IP, 12 H, 12 R, 12 ER, 11 BB, 12 K, 2 HR,1 WP, 1 HB (9.26 ERA, 1.96 WHIP)
  • LHP Fred Lewis: 11 G, 11 IP, 8 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 5 BB, 10 K, 1 WP (0.00 ERA, 1.18 WHIP)
  • LHP Vidal Nuno: 5 G, 4 GS, 19.2 IP, 20 H, 10 R, 7 ER, 3 BB, 18 K, 1 HR (3.20 ERA, 1.17 WHIP) — a roster spot is his for the taking in Spring Training at this point
  • LHP James Pazos: 10 G, 10.1 IP, 13 H, 5 R, 2 ER, 7 BB, 9 K, 2 WP (1.74 ERA, 1.94 WHIP) — saw him during one of the televised games and he was pumping 97 from the left side, so that alone making him interesting

Dominican Winter League

  • OF Zoilo Almonte: 22 G, 26-86, 11 R, 5 2B, 2 HR, 11 RBI, 8 BB, 19 K, 4 SB, 2 CS (.302/.355/.430) — if nothing else, good to see him have a strong winter following the ankle injury that effectively ended his season in July
  • C Gary Sanchez: 9 G, 3-23, 1 R, 2 RBI, 7 K (.130/.130/.130) — hasn’t played in a while
  • LHP Francisco Rondon: 2 G, 2.1 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 2K, 1 WP (3.86 ERA, 2.56 WHIP) — hasn’t pitched in a few weeks

Mexican Pacific League

  • OF Jose Figueroa: 22 G, 3-14, 4 R, 2 2B, 1 BB, 5 K, 1 SB (.214/.267/.357)
  • UTIL Ronnie Mustelier: 25 G, 19-85, 9 R, 2 2B, 1 3B, 13 RBI, 13 BB, 14 K, 2 SB, 2 HBP (.224/.333/.271)
  • RHP Gio Gallegos: 5 G, 6.1 IP, 9 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 2 WP (4.26 ERA, 1.74 WHIP)

The Roberto Clemente Professional Baseball League (Puerto Rico) is underway but no Yankees farmhands have played.

Venezuelan Winter League

  • C Francisco Arcia: 14 G, 10-34, 3 R, 2 2B, 1 HR, 7 RBI, 2 BB, 9 K, 2 HBP (.294/.359/.441)
  • IF Ali Castillo: 22 G, 17-64, 7 R, 2 2B, 5 RBI, 1 BB, 5 K, 1 SB (.266/.277/.297)
  • OF Ramon Flores: 3 G, 0-6, 1 BB (.000/.143/.000) — hasn’t played in weeks
  • OF Adonis Garcia: 23 G, 25-91, 16 R, 5 2B, 3 HR, 13 HR, 6 BB, 17 K, 1 SB, 1 HBP (.275/.327/.429)
  • C Jose Gil: 24 G, 25-77, 15 R, 5 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 16 RBI, 16 BB, 12 K, 1 SB, 2 CS, 1 HBP (.325/.447/.532)
  • UTIL Jose Pirela: 33 G, 43-126, 28 R, 9 2B, 3 3B, 2 2B, 16 RBI, 17 BB, 14 K, 3 SB, 2 CS, 2 HBP (.341/.422/.508) — huge winter should earn him a look in camp, if nothing else
  • OF Antoan Richardson: 32 G, 30-122, 18 R, 6 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 8 RBI, 16 BB, 19 K, 6 SB, 2 CS, 5 HBP (.246/.350/.336) — recently signed with the team as a minor league free agent
Cashman: First base "isn’t one of" the Yankees' priorities this winter
Weekend Open Thread
  • qwerty

    Zoilo Almonte may be the yankees’s top prospect at this point.

    • Mac

      Most MLB ready prospect =/= top prospect.

  • Robinson Tilapia

    Yanks cornering the market on guys with really odd first names signed for MiLB depth this off-season. Zelous?

    • hogsmog


    • Havok9120

      Not even just first names. We’ve got some pretty great surnames scattered throughout the system.

      Now we just need some patronymics and we’ll have a monopoly.

      • Robinson Tilapia

        I am so saddened that injury and Cashmanfailed means that Graham Stoneburner will probably never become a star reliever.

  • Buddy

    More like cornering the market on prospects who suck.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      They aren’t being brought in because they’re prospects. I’m going to assume you actually know that.

  • greg

    I’d trade out top six prospects for Stanton. And the rest for someone half as good.

    • qwerty

      Which team’s six top prospects are you trading for Stanton?

  • Mac

    For whatever reason I sort of assumed Wheeler was just an org guy, but upon further inspection he actually looks like a nice 4A depth piece.

    • Farewell Mo

      Depth piece for Scranton or Trenton maybe

      A 4A player is someone who has conquered AAA which this guy has not with a .752 OPS over 450 ABs over 3 seasons in AAA.

      If he ever plays a game for the Yankees, something will have gone very very wrong

      • RetroRob

        Yup. So what do you think, he’s on the big league team by May, or June?

      • Mac

        I know what a 4A player is, thanks. Your argument comes down to semantics. I would call an IF with a wRC+ above 100 in AAA (114 in the only season he’s seen meaningful playing time there) someone who has basically “conquered” the level, and therefore would consider him a nice 4A player in terms of someone who is ready to move up from AAA but isn’t good enough to secure a role in MLB. (3B, by the way, is no longer a premium offensive position in the post-PEDs era. It’s become a position where finding a decent hitter is somewhat difficult.) Carson Cistulli has some complementary write ups of him on fangraphs, and Steamer projects his MLB wRC+ at 89. A wRC+ of 89 would be bad for a starting 3B, but it wouldn’t be embarrassing. For a backup who can play at least some 2B and SS, it wouldn’t be bad at all. If you google him you’re going to find a lot of people who thought he should have been given a chance to play in both Milwaukee and Baltimore.

        I don’t think he’s likely to be a real contributor at the MLB level, but I think he could be one injury away from playing in the Bronx. Something would have gone wrong, but not very, very wrong if one guy gets hurt.

  • Chris

    The mason Williams underachievement train continues to gain momentum. At least he has a good attitude… Oh, wait..