Minors Notes: Top Ten, Murphy, DePaula, Jagielo

Finding possible trade matches for Ichiro Suzuki
Third base option off the board: Marlins sign Jeff Baker
DePaula. (David Schofield/Lakewood Blue Claws)
DePaula. (David Schofield/Lakewood Blue Claws)

These last few years I’ve posted my annual Preseason Top 30 Prospects List the Friday before pitchers and catchers report, which would be this coming Friday. I’m going to be out of town these next few days though, so I’m going to push the Top 30 back to next Thursday, the day before pitchers and catchers are supposed to show up to Tampa. Here are some minor league notes to hold you over until then:

  • Marc Hulet at FanGraphs posted his list of the top ten Yankees prospects today. C Gary Sanchez sits in the top spot (duh) and then the usual suspects fill out the next nine slots. I really feel like you could put those nine guys in almost any order and it would be defensible. There isn’t much separation there.
  • Keith Law (Insider req’d) posted a list of ten players who just missed his top 100 list last week, and C J.R. Murphy is one of the ten. Law says he “looks like a solid-average everyday catcher, probably not more, but not a whole lot less. His game management skills are exceptional, from game-calling to reading hitters to understanding situations.”
  • MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo, meanwhile, posted some players who missed their top 100 list this year but could make the jump in the future. RHP Rafael DePaula is one of those guys, and Mayo says he “has the chance to have three average or better pitches and could start moving fast.”
  • Baseball America’s Ben Balder reports that the Yankees spent $2.45M on international players during the 2013 calendar year, seventh lowest in baseball. That’s a function of the spending restrictions more than anything. Note that the $2.45M spans two signing periods (2012-13 and 2013-14), so it doesn’t tell us how close they are to their 2013-14 pool.
  • In another FanGraphs piece, David Laurila interviewed Murphy about his development as a catcher. “I was not very good when I was drafted. I’ve come a long way,” he said. Murphy also talked about learning to call a game and his approach as a hitter.
  • Danny Wild at MLB.com interviewed 3B Eric Jagielo, the first of the Yankees’ three first round picks in last summer’s draft. It’s a pretty generic Q&A, though Jagielo did talk about what he learned from a rehabbing Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez in Tampa last year.
  • Here’s a fun Sporcle quiz: name every Yankees prospect to make Baseball America’s top 100 prospect list over the years. I got 72 of 93 and didn’t miss anyone obvious. Not sure I would have gotten the last 21 with unlimited time.
  • And lastly, Triple-A Scranton is holding a fun promotion this summer. Donnie Collins says August 8th will be “What If Night,” when they will play as the Trolley Frogs instead of the RailRiders. Trolley Frogs inexcusably lost a fan vote to Railriders when the team was renamed prior to last season.
Finding possible trade matches for Ichiro Suzuki
Third base option off the board: Marlins sign Jeff Baker
  • http://www.penuel-law.com/ Cuso

    Cool quiz 68/93…only missed 1 in the first column though

    • Angelo

      64/93. Got them all in the last column. I’ve only really followed baseball like a madman since 2001, so I guess that makes sense…

  • lou

    I’m very excited about Eric Jagielo. He has a pretty good bat and hopefully can help the Yankees in the infield in the next couple of years. I’m not sure but I think the Yankees were thinking about moving him up this year. Eric Jagielo 3b of the future for the Yankees?

  • I’m One

    Eric Jagielo 3b of the future for the Yankees?

    That’s what they’re drafted for. Let’s hope he’s got what it takes. Should be interesting to follow him.

  • Jorge Steinbrenner

    Wow. A non-premium write-up with some length to it!

  • Hank and Hal’s Excellent Adventure

    I’m consistently amazed by how Murphy seems to fly under the radar. I remember last year that Law said he was comparable to Swihart, yet Swihart gets far more prospect love.

    I don’t get it – Murphy has been very young for his level, has the pedigree as a high round pick, and plays the toughest position.

    If Murphy is anything more than average, many folks will look very silly. Hopefully the Yankees don’t pull a Lowell and assume they have depth. McCann’s platoon splits are very scary, and Murphy seems to do everything right to warrant confidence even above Sanchez.

    My question: Why not give Murphy some time at 3B? With both McCann and Johnson having trouble against LHP, Murphy could help cover.

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      “If Murphy is anything more than average, many folks will look very silly.”

      I don’t follow. Please explain how this is so.

      • Hank and Hal’s Excellent Adventure

        His prospect ranking – like with Law – assumes he’s an average catcher.

        His SLG needs to move very little this year to indicate above average offense in MLB. If he’s an average receiver – and still learning! – ergo he’s an above average catcher.

        That’s very, very valuable in MLB.

        Why I don’t get is why he doesn’t get more prospect love – at least equivalent to someone like Swihart. Murphy is a year older but has consistently been two levels higher and showing similar results. Both were high draft picks.

        • Jorge Steinbrenner


          It’s an imperfect science. He seems like more of a late bloomer. Doesn’t count until he’s doing it in the majors. Yadda yadda yadda.

          I get your point, though.

    • TWTR

      I would be happy if he is made the primary backup catcher at the start of the season.

      • Hank and Hal’s Excellent Adventure

        I don’t think that helps him. They needed McCann but the backup catcher should be someone fungible – like Cervelli or Romine.

        Let Murphy take reps at 3B in Scranton when Sanchez starts.

        • TWTR

          I think it should be the guy with the most upside, and that’s Murphy, by far.

          As for 3B, either they believe he can play there or not. I mean, they’ve stuck Nunez there so, why not have Murphy play there a little bit?

          • ALZ

            But is Murphy any better than Cervelli this year? I don’t think so even if Murphy looks to be better long term. No need to rush him up here and start his clock when he really doesn’t provide a big upgrade. People complain Yankees don’t have prospects, but want to bring them up and have them sit on the bench 70% of the time, so in 6 years when they are really good they will be free agents. Keep him down, the team doesn’t need to start his clock, and he really won’t help much over Cervelli.

          • Anthony Landon

            This is off the beaten track but I personally hope that the Yanks start their international spending early and sign Rusney Castillo. Castillo is fast, he plays 2nd, 3rd, both corner outfield positions and could spell Tex. at first. He hits @ 319 in the Cuban league and we could finally put the Nunie failed experiment to rest.

    • The Great Gonzo

      The part I agree with most here is the Lowell comp in terms of projection. I would HATE to see him be moved as a ‘position of depth’ and he be the one that sticks. I see the correlation.

      • Jorge Steinbrenner

        I know. He’s also too close to the majors to wait out the first few years of a multi-year deal for one of the best catchers in baseball. He just smells of tradebait to me right now.

        It’s a risk the team would take. Thankfully, Ed Yarnall has not fathered any children who we’d potentially recieve in return.

        • The Great Gonzo

          So play this out with me…

          McCann has a 5/6 year deal. Murphy plays AAA in yr 1, gets the back up job in yr 2, split duties in yr 3, and is full time by year 4 pushing McCann to 1B just in time for Tex’s walk year. McCann plays out the contract at 1B.

          Disclaimer: ALOT needs to go right for Murphy to take that path, and you are paying alot for a catcher to end up not being a catcher (although that is expected for a 30 Y.O. catcher NOT named Posada), and this potentially throws Sanchez into the same situation Murphy is now, BUT… it could fit.

          And having good catching coming up year over year is what we should consider a good problem.

          But yeah, he’s trade bait right now.

          • Jorge Steinbrenner

            Too long a break-in curve, to me. If he winds up being as above-average as we’re talking in this thread, I might be more interested in the player he helps us get and just roll the dice on Sanchez being the chosen one.

            It always felt like, once Montero got traded, this was how it was going to play out.

            • ALZ

              prospects take time. The way this team is going to get younger is by keeping their prospects and developing them. Even if he spends 2.5 years of developing, then he will still have the other 4 years of strong production.

              • Jorge Steinbrenner

                He’ll be repeating AAA next season after a relatively normal climb up the system. Your point applies. It may not apply to this particular player.

      • Kevin

        Not that I have any idea what I’m doing, but my fantasy scenario is to have Romine or Murphy take the back up job, platoon with McCann, produce fantastic numbers playing part time against left handers, then get traded to a team who buys that they are legit.

  • Hank and Hal’s Excellent Adventure

    By the way, if Murphy puts up a .800-.825 OPS in AAA this year, isn’t that an MLE of an above average catcher?

  • King of Fruitless Hypotheticals

    I’m torn on Jose Ramirez: he might be able to close the bullpen gap we have this year cheap and easily. On the other hand, if you say his comp might be Wacha, then I don’t want him anywhere other than starting every 5th day…

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      That surprised me.

      Even before we get to comparative talent, durability may tell the tale there.

      • King of Fruitless Hypotheticals

        How much are you willing to spend to find out? Tactical Patience is an expensive one-way road.

        I would throw half a year at it easily, and maybe an entire year and you still may not miss much–he can come relieve at the end of the year in NY if he’s healthy, and still be a starter. If he’s not healthy, its a moo point.

    • ALZ

      I’d keep him starting. He was good in Trenton last year, and really should only move him if starting really doesn’t work out. Betances is already moved to relief, elite starters are harder to find.

  • Macho Man “Randy Levine”

    I got 71. Missed some real easy ones, though.

  • Jorge Steinbrenner

    55/93. Most obvious misses were ManBan, Brackman, Eric Duncan, Russ Davis, and Carl Everett, who I forgot was even a Yankee prospect.

    I have no clue who Cullen Hertzog and Rafael Medina are.

    I also am shocked that no one in the entire early 90’s pitching staff, other than Hitchcock, was ever a top 100 prospect.

    • Macho Man “Randy Levine”

      The ballad of Sam Militello?

      • Jorge Steinbrenner

        I guessed him.

  • chris

    Jagielo Q/A- “Favorite baseball player growing up: David Wright”

    David Wright!? … geez I’m getting old…