Mar
30

Minor League Notes: Rosters, De Leon, Mahoney

By
Sanchez is heading back to Double-A in 2014. (Presswire)

Sanchez is heading back to Double-A in 2014. (Presswire)

It’s easy to overlook, but Opening Day for the minor leagues is this coming Thursday, just two days after the Yankees open their season. Here are some minor league notes leading up to the start of the year, including some unofficial but well-sourced roster assignments from Josh Norris and Nicholas Flammia:

  • Starting at Triple-A Scranton: OF Zoilo Almonte, RHP Danny Burawa, OF Ramon Flores, IF Corban Joseph, C J.R. Murphy, and C Austin Romine. The rotation will reportedly be RHP Al Aceves, RHP Bruce Billings, RHP Brian Gordon, RHP Shane Greene, and RHP Chris Leroux, though not necessarily in that order. RHP Chase Whitley is said to be in the rotation mix as well.
  • Starting at Double-A Trenton: RHP Bryan Mitchell, 2B Rob Refsnyder, C Gary Sanchez, and OF Mason Williams. No real surprises here. Despite having some of the best prospects in the system, Trenton won’t be very interesting this year.
  • Starting at High-A Tampa: LHP Manny Banuelos, OF Jake Cave, SS Cito Culver, RHP Rafael DePaula, 2B Angelo Gumbs, 3B Eric Jagielo, and C Peter O’Brien. 3B Dante Bichette Jr. will reportedly be here as well. I’m sure Jagielo will get the playing time priority at third.
  • Starting at Low-A Charleston: 3B Miguel Andujar, SS Abi Avelino, RHP Rookie Davis, OF Aaron Judge, RHP Brady Lail, RHP Luis Severino, C Luis Torrens, and SS Tyler Wade. Based on his Twitter feed, RHP Jordan Cote will also be there. Pretty aggressive assignments for Andujar, Avelino, Torrens, and Wade. Also, if Wade is there, I wonder what that means for 2B Gosuke Katoh.
  • Starting in Extended Spring Training: RHP Domingo Acevedo, RHP Manolo Reyes, RHP Simon De La Rosa, LHP Ian Clarkin, OF Alex Palma, and OF Leonardo Molina. Reyes is an older (24) but interesting guy. Acevedo is someone to watch too. OF Tyler Austin (wrist), OF Slade Heathcott (knee), 1B Greg Bird (back), and RHP Jose Campos (being cautious) will all be here after being slowed in spring.
  • The Yankees have released OF Kelvin De Leon according to Matt Eddy. They signed him for $1.1M back in 2007, but he only hit .236/.304/.371 with a 27.1% strikeout rate in nearly 2,000 plate appearances across parts of six minor league seasons, never getting out of Single-A.
  • According to his Twitter feed, UTIL Kevin Mahoney has been released as well. He was the team’s 23rd round pick back in 2009, and he hit .252/.344/.404 with 34 homers in 381 games in parts of five seasons.

Based on these Opening Day assignments — reminder: these are not yet official — it looks like Low-A Charleston will be the affiliate to watch this summer. That’s an awful lot of young talent. High-A Tampa is really promising as well, but man that’s a ton of high-end prospects heading for Chucktown. The River Dogs will be fun this year.

Update: Katoh is also heading to Low-A Charleston, according to Norris. Seems like he will split second base, shortstop, and DH duties with Avelino and Wade.

Update Part Two: OF Michael O’Neill will also be at Low-A Charleston to start the season based on his Twitter feed.

Categories : Minors
  • lightSABR

    Anybody remember when the River Dogs were the team to watch partially because that’s where Dante Bichette was playing?

    The more things stay the same…

    • Havok9120

      DBJ, Williams, Sanchez, all the pitchers, Culver, Slade, Austin….

      It’s weird to me that they’re actually moving up the system and no longer in Charleston.

    • Roy

      I guess you need to re-read the article. Says that Jagielo will get the most attention at 3B.

      • Havok9120

        1) Why so snippy about a lighthearted observation, sirrah?

        2) That’s Mike’s guess. It’s a good one, but we really have no idea what kind of distribution of playing time the organization intends right now.

  • Havok9120

    Almost….there…..

  • CountryClub

    I agree that Charleston is the team to watch, but I’m not sure how Trenton isn’t interesting.

    • lightSABR

      Me, neither. Maybe just because Charleston is still a bunch of lottery tickets, while Trenton is our “If these guys don’t pan out, we’re in trouble” team?

  • I’m One

    I have to assume that Banuelos is being sent to High-A due to weather and will be promoted quickly as Spring moves towards Summer, right?

    • Havok9120

      That was what they seemed to be saying. They just wanted the better monitoring, facilities, and weather early on.

    • Angelo

      I believe that’s the case. That’s what I figured when I read about him being sent to High-A a couple of weeks ago.

    • Bo Knows

      Better weather, they do this with pretty much all their guys coming back from major injury. Scranton at this time of the year is still really chilly so they want guys to train in about as perfect conditions as possible.

      • Cool Lester Smooth

        Hell, Georgia’s still chilly right now.

    • ALZ

      I think so. And his first games are really not going to be about the competition. It is going to be about going out there everyday and getting his throwing in. He has missed 2 years.

  • Angelo

    A little surprised Andujar, Avelino, and Torrens are going to start the year in Low-A ball. A little less surprised about Avelino. I wonder where Katoh will end up. SI or Charleston, I guess.

    • CountryClub

      He’s supposedly going to Charleston too.

      • lightSABR

        And I guess they’re going to play five infielders? Katoh will now be a shorterstop, to the right of second.

        • CountryClub

          Who knows, maybe they’re going to try to turn wade into a super utility guy.

    • Yankee$

      Katoh at Charleston playing 2B. There had been talk of trying him at SS. Maybe he stays in EST to work at SS and if they think a position change is a possibility they put him at Short Season in June at SS.

      • CountryClub

        They have two guys in charleston that can already play SS and they’re both real prospects. There definitely seems to be a log jam on that roster.

      • ALZ

        I saw them trying him at ss was just about flexibility. Even if you view him as long term 2B, it’s handy to have some players that have a little flexibility.

  • This Year

    Agree with CC– have no idea why Trenton will allegedly not be interesting to watch this year, especially when Austin and Heathcott re-appear (and maybe Campos?). Be curious as to your reasoning, Mike.

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      I’d say repeating a level isn’t all that exciting.

      Now Slade and Austin in AAA? I’d be excited about that for sure.

      • This Year

        Point taken. But to me it seems that the most interest is where the best prospects are, and to see if those prospects can overcome past injuries (Heathcott and Austin) and further progress (see Sanchez).

        • Jorge Steinbrenner

          Point taken as well, and I agree.

          • OB/GYN Kenobi, bushmaster

            So…that’s one point each for Gryffindor and Hufflepuff, yes?

      • Cool Lester Smooth

        Well, Gary and Mason aren’t really repeating the level, they only got a taste at the end of last year.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

      Sanchez, Williams, Mitchell, Refsnyder, and eventually Austin are going to be the only actual prospects there. Maybe Ben Gamel if you squint your eyes. I think Heathcott is ticketed for AAA. The rotation figures to be Mitchell, Scottie Allen, Zach Nuding, Matt Tracy, and ???.

      I dunno, outside of those six guys, the team is really light on interesting prospects.

      • Brandon

        Jairo Heredia ticketed for AA? Rotation and pitching in general in AAA is very full.

      • Cool Lester Smooth

        Well, I like Nuding, too.

        And Sanchez is numero uno, so that should count for something.

        • Poconos Adam

          AA is also a hell of a lot closer to the majors than low A — so I have far more interest in the AA prospects.

          I get the point — maybe the heavier mass is at Charleston.

          On the other hand, as we recently learned, being in Charleston means very little…..Kelvin De Leon made it to Charleston…..

  • CONservative governMENt

    Hoping this is a year where health and performance are plentiful on the farm.

    Like the mix of close prospects and high-end lottery tickets.

  • Eselquetodolosabe

    Mike, as I was reading the MiLB rosters, I was thinking the same thing; High A Tampa, and Charleston are going to be outrageous. The quality of our lower minors is rising up, and, imo, will raise the rankings of our entire system. Now all we need is a stellar International signing period. Exciting to track.

  • Eselquetodolosabe

    Does anyone know when the amateur draft takes place ?

    • vicki

      first week of june.

      what i wonder is how exhaustive mike’s prospect highlights will be, seeing as our first pick is 56th overall.

  • kevin

    Weird that they’d keep Katoh behind over Wade. I really liked the way he was described but no doubt they know better if he’s ready or not. Or maybe the rumors about a shortstop conversion are true.

    • CountryClub

      According to josh Norris he’s going to charleston

    • CountryClub

      @jnorris427: So that infield will be Andujar, Avelino, Katoh and Mike Ford at first. That’s quite prospecty.

      @jnorris427: “@scpotter41: @jnorris427 so is wade staying in extended?” From what I hear, also Charleston

  • TWTR

    I now understand why Aceves likes his chances while being a starter in waiting here.

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      Maybe going back to where it all began will be as good as psychotropics for him. :)

  • Bo Knows

    I know Molina was said to be the best athlete and the highest ceiling player from last years IFA class, but the fact he’s in ExST and is probably going to be in Rookie ball, while playing most of the season at age 16 (he only turns 17 in August) also says how much the Yankees believe in him. He’d basically be a HS sophomore, really look forward to seeing him play and progress and for G@d’s sake stay healthy.

    • vicki

      he and jose mateo will be lifelong bff’s, and will anchor the next dynasty.

      girl can dream.

    • Cool Lester Smooth

      Yeah, that’s nuts.

  • Yankee$

    I want to see Refsnyder insert himself into the 2B 2015 conversation.

    • Havok9120

      That’s the goal. Be a huge help if he could pull that off.

    • CountryClub

      Recent reports have the glove being good enough for him to stick at 2nd

  • dkidd

    will clarkin go to charleston as well?

    • Brandon

      he’s starting the season in extended spring

  • http://www.twitter.com/_swarlesbarkley Mark Teixeira – Ghostbutser (Formerly Drew) RIP Egon

    What about Montgomery? AAA I’m assuming…

  • Brandon

    Where’s Nik Turley starting? Shouldn’t be certainly be a lock for the AAA rotation? Had a successful stint in AA and is hogging up a 40 man spot, what’s the hold up?

    • Andy in Sunny Daytona

      He’s hurt

    • Fin

      Pretty sure Turley’s been hurt all ST. So, I assume it will be awhile until he pitches in any minor league games. EXST I suppose whenever he gets healthy.

  • OB/GYN Kenobi, bushmaster

    TL;DR

    All I know is that Cashman failed.

    • Havok9120

      Well said.

      Never forget.

  • 461deep

    Hope if some of these young players do well, the team calls them-up rather than having them languish in the minors forever as per the team MO. I’ll bet that might be causing some young prospects to try to avoid being drafted or otherwise obtained by the Yankees. Will signing McCann keep Sanchez down longer than need be ala Posada, Bernie, Mattingly & others who lost at least 1-2 years in the majors. Trout & Harper may have been kept down for the likes of Wells, A. Jones, Hafner & Ichiro. This policy worked okay in the 90’s when the teams core 5 plus other FA dominated a much weaker AL East before the Rays, Red Sox, & Orioles were as competitive as they are now. Now however, fielding a team with all over age 30 position players with a number being fragile, is not sound baseball.

    • vicki

      “i’ll bet that might be causing some young prospects to try to avoid being drafted or otherwise obtained by the Yankees.”

      you’re on.

      • Havok9120

        No kidding. Place your bets.

        Name me some players from the last few years who were languishing in the minors deserving of a chance they never got with the team. Heck, name me some guys who eventually got a shot here or elsewhere that were, in hindsight, probably ready to come up and fill a position of need despite the team’s hesitancy.

        Make your case.

        • Greg

          are you really trying to dispute that the Yankees are one of if not the most difficult teams to break into? The Yankees’ spending power makes it less likely that a prospect in the organization with earn ML paychecks with the team, and if they do, it’s likely to take longer to happen. That’s the most obvious thing in the world.

          Whether it actually makes prospects less inclined to sign with/be drafted by the Yankees is something else entirely, of course.

          • Fin

            I am arguing that. The Yankees are no harder to break into than any other team. If they don’t have a spot for your position they will trade you to a team that does for a piece they do have a spot for. Again, give me an example outside of bench players that coulda/shoulda/woulda been playing for the Yankees? There are none. The only position player in baseball that the Yankees could have used is Austin Jackson but they traded him when he was ready to come up for Granderson. It didn’t hold him back at all.

            • 461deep

              Yankees are harder to break into. Yes Montero has flaws but did well in his brief stint up. Trade was justified like it or not but wish he had more time with team. Mattingly hit near .350 for 3 years in minors. Should have come-up sooner. They scouted Trout poorly and had a chance for him. George wanted to win now so not patient with rookies. That attitude is changing but lingers some. With Romine plus other young catchers they went for Stewart even when Romine’s back was better. Posada 2B to C a good point but still kept down too long. Hard to say who I’d bring-up since right now the young talent is thin. But very few get the call and are given a chance. Almonte is last 1..

              • Fin

                LMAO, Mattingly hit near .350 for 3 seasons in the minors, such non sense, everyone can look it up. They wanted Trout but he was drafted before them, its been discussed a million times, there was no way the Yankees were going to be able to draft Trout. Essh, you argued without making a single point. Its painful to read.

                • 461deep

                  All I said was Yankees had a chance at Trout not they should have gotten him. It was not a no way situation. He went number 25 to LAA Yankees then picked Heathcott number 29. 3 more passes they get Trout.

                  Donnie>
                  .349, .358, .316 ==.341 3 year farm avg. As per Wiki below.
                  Mattingly began his professional career in Minor League Baseball with the Oneonta Yankees of the Class A-Short Season New York-Penn League in 1979. He hoped to bat .500 for Oneonta, and was disappointed with his .349 batting average, which never went lower than .340.[1] He batted .358 in 1980, and .316 in 1981. Despite Mattingly’s hitting ability, there was concern about his lack of speed and power. Bob Schaefer, his manager with the Greensboro Hornets of the Class A South Atlantic League in 1980, said that the organization considered moving Mattingly to second base, where he would throw right-handed.[1]

    • Fin

      Please name the last guy kept down? Bernie was a late bloomer, Posada started out as a 2nd baseman and switched to C, hence it took him awhile to hit MLB, Mattingly came up as a 21yr old. Cano and Jeter both came up at 21. People keep talking this none sence. Yea, maybe they should rush a couple more guys like Hughes and Joba, as that worked so well. Thinking that Trout and Harper would have been held down for guys like you mentioned is just fucking stupid. Also, the object is to bring them up when they are ready not before. This way you maximize their production while they are under team control.

      The fact is, the Yankees haven’t had any young talented position players to bring up, or they wouldn’t be singing these old FA’s. Get a grip. The only person being held back might be Zoilo, but that’s hardly a travesty as, he looks to be a 4th outfielder, its not like he forced them to keep him on the MLB team last year.

      • vicki

        you know the standard example is montero. thing is, for all their flaws, yanks’ development guys know stuff we don’t know.

        • Fin

          No way was Montero ready to be brought up as a MLB catcher. Not to mention he got his first taste of MLB at 21. Its pretty clear the Yankees knew he couldn’t catch, and I think it was a big question mark as to if he could hit well enough to be anything other than replacement level at 1st base. I don’t buy they left Montero down too long. LOL, in hindsight I definitely look correct. People over hyped what Montero was in minor league baseball. They were comparing him to freakin Miggy, when what he was a very good offensive catcher but nothing special at 1st base. I made this argument back then, when as fans we hoped he could catch but pretty much knew by every scout except the Yankees saying he couldn’t.

    • Aims

      Although I agree that the Yankees do tend to go with veterans over youngsters a little too often, I highly doubt that the Yankees would have done the same if they had a generational talent like Harper or Trout waiting in the minors. If the Yankees hadn’t brought in Wells last year, who else would it have been? Zolio Almonte? Ronnie Mustelier? The whole “let the kids play” idea only works if there are viable options waiting.

      • Fin

        I don’t even understand where the idea that they go with vets over youngsters too often comes from. Who was the last youngster that should have been brought up but was left in the minors too long? Hell the only positional player with any talent that reached AAA in years has been Nunez (outside of Montero) and it certainly isn’t hard to argue they brought him up too quick and tried to have him learn how to be a utility player at the major league level.

    • JMK

      Are you 13 years old?

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      And there are people who will just as easily claim that the team has rushed its prospects.

      Ya can’t win. Ya just can’t win.

      • Fin

        I think its easier to argue that the few prospects the Yankees have had outside of the bullpen, have been rushed and to the detrement of the team and the player. Hughes, Joba and maybe Nunez. Guys like Phelps, Warren and Nuno, who didn’t have the talent seem to be reaching or surpassing their expectations as they were ready for MLB when the Yankees brought them up.

        Someone needs to give 1 example of a player they Yankees left in the minor leagues when he was a better option than what they had on the major league team, other than a bench player.

  • RetroRob

    That AAA rotation is why I thought Nuno would be sent down to keep him stretched out to serve as the sixth starter, which will be needed a number of times. If Warren, Phelps and Nuno are all in the MLB pen, after a short while they won’t be the strongest options to fill in. Maybe as a group they could collectively do a spot start, yet that will impact the Yankees pen for several days before and after. As of now Aceves is going to be the one called up, and based on his recent performance, that’s not a good thing.

  • RetroRob

    The quote I was looking for the other day: A Jays scout who saw Abiatal Avelino recently said, “if he doesn’t end up on any of those prospect lists next year, stop reading.”

    Just one scout, but he obviously impressed that one.

    Andujar, Katoh and Avelino all playing together. Hopefully they keep progressing. Dare to dream. It is interesting that Wade is also there. Doesn’t seem the best way to get all of them proper playing time.

    • Fin

      It does seem odd, but I’m guessing they give it a month or 2 and see who needs to be sent down or up ect..

  • Wolfgang’s Fault

    Where is Andrew Clark? Released, injured, recovering, what?

  • measha

    Where is Phil Wetherell?