2014 Minor League Awards

Kuroda and McCann carry Yankees to 5-1 win over Red Sox
Heyman: Yankees intend to offer Cashman a new contract after season
Judge. (MiLB.com)
Judge. (MiLB.com)

After the nightmare that was 2013, the Yankees’ farm system rebounded to have a strong but not really great year in 2014. It was more of a normal season than anything. There were a few surprises, a few disappointments, a bunch of injuries, and several comebacks. Pretty typical year for a minor league system, and, for the Yankees, a typical year meant a huge step up from last season.

The team’s seven domestic minor league affiliates combined to go 387-373 (.509) this summer, so after having their consecutive winning season streak snapped at 30+ years last year, they got turned things around quickly. None of the four full season affiliates qualified for the postseason, however. Only the two Rookie GCL Yankees squads did. The system did not have at least one league champion for only the third time in the last eight years.

As a reminder, this annual awards post has nothing to do with prospect status. This is all about recognizing 2014’s notable performances in the farm system. Pure production with future outlook taking a backseat. These are also my awards and my opinions, so you’re welcome to disagree. There is no right answer with stuff like this. Here are my 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013 awards posts. So, without further delay:

Minor League Player of the Year: 2B Rob Refsnyder
From start to finish, the best and most consistent player in the system this year was Refsnyder. The 23-year-old opened the year with Double-A Trenton, hit .342/.385/.548 (159 wRC+) with 19 doubles and six homers in 60 games, then was promoted up to Triple-A Scranton. Refsnyder hit .296/.386/.453 (135 wRC+) with 19 doubles and eight homers in 77 games with the RailRiders, giving him an overall .317/.385/.495 (~145 wRC+) batting line. The team’s fifth round pick in the 2012 draft led the farm system in batting average (min. 400 PA), doubles (38), and total bases (255) while placing second in hits (163). He also cut his error total from 25 in 108 games last season to 12 in 122 games this season. Refsnyder put himself on the map a year ago and this year he proved he was no fluke. He’s played his way into big league consideration just two years after being drafted and asked to change positions.

Minor League Pitcher of the Year: RHP Luis Severino
It’s been quite a while since the Yankees had a young pitcher tear up the minor leagues and shoot up three levels in one year. You have to go back to Joba Chamberlain and Ian Kennedy in 2007. Severino, 20, started the season with Low-A Charleston and ended it with Double-A Trenton, throwing 113.1 total innings across 24 starts. He pitched to a 2.46 ERA (~2.41 FIP) with 127 strikeouts and only 27 walks, a 4.70 K/BB that ranked second best in the system among pitchers with at least 100 innings. At one point from late-May through late-July, Severino had a 1.84 ERA with 71 strikeouts and 15 walks in 58.2 innings across three different levels. He was so good that he only made four starts with High-A Tampa before being promoted up to the Thunder. Severino did more than just establish himself as the best pitching prospect in the system, he emerged as one of the top pitching prospects in all of baseball. Honorable Mention: RHP Jaron Long

Minor League Hitter of the Year: 1B Kyle Roller
The season started a little late for the 26-year-old Roller due to a minor injury, but once he returned to the field in mid-April, he started hitting and simply never stopped. Roller put up a mammoth .385/.456/.808 (241 wRC+) line with nine homers in 21 games for Double-A Trenton before being moved up to Triple-A Scranton, where he hit .283/.378/.497 (143 wRC+) with 24 doubles and 17 homeruns in his final 104 games of the year. The combined line is .300/.391/.550 (~160 wRC+) with 30 doubles and a system-leading 26 homers in 125 games. (Well, technically Pete O’Brien led the system with 33 homers, but he’s been traded away.) Roller hit five homers in the span of ten games not once, but twice this year. He mashed all summer long. Right from his first game (1-for-4 with a homer and a walk) until his last (2-for-3 with a double). Honorable Mention: Refsnyder, OF Aaron Judge

Breakout Player of the Year: OF Aaron Judge
It’s weird to call one of last year’s first round pick the Breakout Player of the Year, but Judge proved to be an even better and a more advanced hitter than expected. The 22-year-old started his pro career with Low-A Charleston, hit .333/.428/.530 (167 wRC+) with 15 doubles and nine homers in 65 games, then moved up to High-A Tampa and hit .283/.411/.442 (149 wRC+) with nine doubles and eight homers in 67 games. The final tally is a .308/.419/.486 (~158 wRC+) batting line with 24 doubles and 17 homers, the fifth most in the system. Judge also led the farm system with 89 walks, 18 more than anyone else. He was described as a brute masher who would swing and miss a bunch as a pro, but Judge showed a sound approach and the ability to drive the ball in all counts in 2014. Honorable Mention: LHP Tyler Webb, RHP Nick Rumbelow

Best Pro Debut: OF Mark Payton
Payton, 22, was the team’s seventh round pick back in June, though the start of his pro career was slightly delayed because Texas went to the College World Series. He signed early enough to appear in 48 games split between Low-A Charleston and High-A Tampa, where he hit .320/.418/.497 (~160 wRC+) with 15 doubles, four homers, and nearly as many walks (29) as strikeouts (32). Payton reached base 87 times in 48 pro games. Quite a few draftees and debuting international signees had strong summers, but Payton’s was the best. Honorable Mention: LHP Justin Kamplain, LHP Jacob Lindgren

Comeback Player of the Year: 3B Dante Bichette Jr.
Bichette’s career has not played out as hoped since the Yankees took him with their top selection in the 2011 draft. He did not hit at all with Low-A Charleston in either 2012 (84 wRC+) or 2013 (82 wRC+), but he turned his career around and regained some prospect luster with a big 2014 season. Bichette, 21, spent most of the year with High-A Tampa and hit .271/.352/.410 (120 wRC+) with 27 doubles and nine homers, though a late-season cameo with Double-A Trenton didn’t go as well (73 wRC+). He finished the year as the owner of a .264/.345/.397 (113 wRC+) overall batting line with 30 doubles and ten homeruns in 127 games. The Yankees had a bunch of Comeback Player of the Year candidates this season, but Bichette was an easy call. Honorable Mention: LHP Manny Banuelos, RHP Nick Goody, RHP Conor Mullee, RHP Ty Hensley

Bounceback Player of the Year (started slow, finished strong): 3B Miguel Andujar
Andujar has one of the most exciting tool sets in the farm system, though he got off to a very slow start in his full season debut, hitting .212/.267/.335 (67 wRC+) with ten doubles, five homers, 16 walks, and 46 strikeouts in his first 63 games with Low-A Charleston. The 19-year-old then managed to hit .319/.367/.456 (129 wRC+) with 15 doubles, five homers, 19 walks, and 37 strikeouts in his final 64 games. That all works out to an overall season batting line of .267/.318/.397 (99 wRC+) with 25 doubles and ten homers in 127 games. That’s quite the rebound for a teenager in a full season league. Honorable Mention: OF Tyler Austin

Most Disappointing Player of the Year: OF Mason Williams
Two years ago Williams was arguably the top prospect in the system. Now he’s the back-to-back Most Disappointing Player of the Year. Williams, 23, spent the entire season with Double-A Trenton, hitting a weak .223/.290/.304 (66 wRC+) with 18 doubles, five homers, and 21 steals in 128 games. He was also benched on several occasions for not running out balls, insubordination, stuff like that. Last season was a bad season for Williams and this year was an opportunity for redemption. Instead, he only further played his way out of the team’s long-term plans. Dishonorable Mention: 2B Gosuke Katoh

Individual Level Awards (click for larger)

2014 Minor League Award Individual LevelsAll Minor League Teams

2014 Minor League Award Teams

Lifetime Achievement Award: LHP Jeremy Bleich
This year’s Lifetime Achievement Award honoree was the team’s highest signed pick from the 2008 draft. He was their second choice between RHP Gerrit Cole and RHP Scott Bittle, neither of whom signed, and he is one of only five players from that draft class still in the organization. Hard to believe that draft was six years ago now.

Bleich, now 27, has been through it all as a pro, including major shoulder surgery that cost him most of the 2010 and 2012 seasons as well as the entire 2011 season. He returned primarily as a reliever and pitched to a 2.76 ERA in 98 innings from 2012-13 before settling into a swingman role this year. Bleich has thrown 397.1 innings across 68 starts and 37 relief appearances in his career, posting a 4.19 ERA and 7.2 K/9.

The shoulder injury derailed Bleich’s career but he is still continuing to plug away. He has helped the Yankees these last two years at Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton by soaking up innings and making spot starts whenever necessary. Since he is a lefty, Bleich will continue to get opportunities and could eventually find his way to MLB, even if it’s with another organization. The injury was unfortunate but he’s been a quality organizational player since returning.

Kuroda and McCann carry Yankees to 5-1 win over Red Sox
Heyman: Yankees intend to offer Cashman a new contract after season
  • Dos Luises

    Gosuke has simply set himself up to be bounce back player of the year in 2015.

  • frogbogg
  • galactus

    Not one team made playoffs. Great year. Hal isn’t his father. In real world results matter.

    • http://riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

      Those aren’t the results that matter in the minors.

      • Bpdelia

        Omg. Who gives a crap whether minor league teams make the playoffs? It’s the nature of the minor leagues that the best players on your team will leave you early on or at the all star break. And they will be replaced with teenagers being pushed aggressively.

        For instance: Tampa lost its very best pitcher, it’s starting third baseman, it’s best two relievers. Trenton lost its best player and it’s best pitcher. The low Ab affiliate lost severino, judge, jagielo, etc.

        Each of those teams basically lost their very best players less than half way through the season.

        Absurd complaint.

        And in fact two of the teams made the playoffs with one going losing the championship in the last possible game.

        • CashmanNinja

          I could care less about the minor league playoffs, but some people like to complain no matter what (like the OP). I’d rather the minor league teams focus on DEVELOPING players rather than winning a pointless minor league playoff game. Plus, as stated above, players are constantly on the move because of injuries or guys being promoted or demoted. Managers have their hands tied because rosters are constantly in a state of flux. But who cares? It’s done so certain players can face new challenges or refine areas that need work. And you know what? I’m GLAD they didn’t make it to any playoffs. Why? Because our farm system has done nothing when they were winning them…if we have to sacrifice the minor league playoffs in order to produce better players then that’s a sacrifice I’d make any day.

    • ChrisS

      I’d rather the minor league teams lose, because that indicates that the prospects are being challenged and not simply allowed to feast on weaker players. You want winning teams, just dump all your advanced players into A- and watch the wins roll in.

    • blake

      It’s good for your minor league teams to win I think…..I think it conditions players to expect to win……however winning games is very much the secondary goal in the minors. Developing players to help the parent club is by far the primary goal

    • Maas Knuckle

      Last year Trenton made the playoffs and won the EL but the season was pretty much a lost year for prospect development at AA. Winning and losing at the minor league level has a lot more to do with organizational types in the lineup than it does with how well players are or aren’t developing.

    • Get Phelps Up

      The GCL team made the playoffs, no?

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      Yeah, his father won every year and kept that system nice and packed.

      *flush*

  • Maas Knuckle

    Katoh began and ended the season on a pretty awful skid (still had a second-half OPS of .719), but he’s a better hitter than he showed. He needs to address his passivity at the plate but his contact tool is much better than his wretched K numbers indicate – he takes too many pitches and gets behind in the counts. He is still just 19 though and his time to bounce back.
    Williams had an awful season but there are some positives in there. His August was very good, .281/.343/.427, and his approach at the plate was visibly improved form earlier in the year. If he was a lesser talent they might have given up on him already but there is too much athleticism (and he got a seven-figure bonus) so they’ll give him another chance next year.

    • Eric MacLaurin

      yeah, some people have a hard time with the concept of the minor leagues as a development process that requires peaks and valleys.

    • CashmanNinja

      Katoh has got to cut that K rate down. It’s abnormally high if I recall correctly. His K% was over 30%. That just won’t fly. His slugging % was also way down, but his walk rate was higher, so he does show promise. If he can drop his K% by 10-15% then I think he’ll easily rebound to the type of player he was last year (especially if his improved walk rate stays for good). He improved his stolen base numbers, but was caught a bit more than one would like since he attempted more. If he can be more efficient in that department then this guy has all the tools to be a very solid hitting infielder, but he has got to cut the strikeouts down a bit.

      • Maas Knuckle

        It’s a fine line between being patient and being passive. Bird generally treads it very well. Culver, at least in the past, did not. Hopefully Katoh can be patient but doesn’t leave the bat on his shoulder when something decent crosses the plate.

        • CashmanNinja

          You’re right about that. I don’t want a guy to stand there and watch every pitch go by, but I also don’t want a guy who will go up there hacking. That’s why I love established players who can work the count until they get the pitch that they want to hit instead of hitting the one that the pitcher wants them to. I’d love if Katoh could find some middle ground. He’s always going to strike out a bit, but if he can manipulate the strikezone a bit with a sharp eye then he can find ways to get on base and utilize his speed.

        • Call Me Carlos the Dwarf

          Yeah, while it’s certainly nice that he walked 20% of the time in the second half, he should be looking for pitches to drive, especially in Low-A.

          It’s like the leap Gardner’s taken over the last couple of years.

  • Robert

    So Refsynder’s defense got better was best player in the system yet he doesnt get a call up!

    • Posada_20

      because he would then have to be protected from the Rule 5 draft this winter. Now he doesn’t

    • Eric MacLaurin

      Ref and Roller are proof that winning was a secondary goal this year

      • Pkyankfan69

        I don’t know how bad Refsnyder’s defense is at 2B… If they thought he could have been adequate or better defensively (no way to know that) then he should have been up awhile ago instead of trading for Stephen Drew. At this point in September it’s not worth calling him up anymore because we’re already finished and facing the 40 man crunch. Roller, by most accounts, is a AAAA guy with big holes in his swing that would be exploited by MLB quality pitching. Didn’t really mind them not turning to him.

        • Eric MacLaurin

          I’m not talking about what to do now. I’m talking about things that weren’t done while the season drifted out of reach & while guys were tearing it up IN AAA.

          • Pkyankfan69

            Like I said, if they thought Ref’s defense would have been at least adequate they should have called him up earlier in the year. Impossible for you or I to know that. Based on their decision to not call him up I would assume they did not think his defense was passable. Roller is a AAAA guy, at least Tex can still play good defense.

            • Eric MacLaurin

              and like I said. If you don’t at least try the options at your disposal you aren’t committed to doing whatever it takes to win.

              2nd base defense has nothing to do with anything

              • Pkyankfan69

                How does 2nd base defense have nothing to do with the decision to call up Refsnyder or not? Are you watching and evaluating his defense on a daily basis? You have no idea whether he can play 2B defensively at the major league level. Considering how well he hit this year and the Yankees need for a 2B the logical conclusion is that the Yankees felt he was not ready to field the position at an adequate ML level…. If the Yankees thought process was that he would have been OK enough defensively and they just preferred going with a veteran like Roberts/Drew then I would agree with you, but I assume that is not the case.

                • Eric MacLaurin

                  Because the DH was terrible on so many nights. Because the right fielder was bad on so many nights.

                  You don’t know if he can play defense at the Major league level but most people in the world do know he can. He plays the position in AAA and he isn’t that bad. He isn’t a gold glove defender but we didn’t have an all star playing second.

                  The point isn’t if he is a solution, the solution or not a solution. It’s not letting the ship sink when you have things you can try. Hiding behind the idea that another 100 games at 2nd is going to make the difference between his ability to play in the majors or not is absurd.

                  You have awfully strong opinions for someone who is talking only about assumptions of the Yankees reason for hot promoting their hottest hitters when the big club struggles so bad. You shouldn’t assume that no one else is watching and able to make any conclusions about anything.

                  • Pkyankfan69

                    “You don’t know if he can play defense at the Major league level but most people in the world do know he can.”

                    I stopped reading when I got to this line. Have a nice day!

                    • Eric MacLaurin

                      You should stop commenting when you stop reading.

                      I’m sorry if it was a shock to hear that not everyone is ignorant. I think the internet can be really helpful if you look things up instead of relying on comments you hear people make about things other people said. Most people don’t argue points without wasting a second to make sure they have a clue.

                      http://www.google.com is a good place to start.

                      Maybe even ask one of the guys that covers the AAA club on Twitter.

                      Donnie Collins seems to think he’s fine and has talked to scouts who agree.

                      Who are you quoting? RAB trolls or people making excuses for the front office because that “must ” be what’s happening?

                    • Pkyankfan69

                      Thanks Eric… I know now to ignore your posts going forward.

                    • Eric MacLaurin

                      You’re welcome.

                      I think you’ll really like that google site!

                    • Pkyankfan69

                      Thanks again, I’ll have to check that out. I’m happy that you and ‘most people in the world’ are so informed on RR’s defense.

                    • Eric MacLaurin

                      You bet.

                      I think you’ll feel much better about yourself now that you know how to find out if you know what you’re talking about before saying anything.

                      It should save a lot of embarrassment.

                    • Pkyankfan69

                      Yes, I’m the one embarrassing myself…

                    • Eric MacLaurin

                      Some people always find a way to play the fool.

                      Knowledge doesn’t solve everything.

      • blake

        I don’t see how winning was a secondary goal when they spent as much as they did in the offseason and did all they did at the deadline……I think they were trying like crazy to win this year but it’s baseball and it just hasn’t happened. Refsynder hasn’t been up because of the 40 man issue and because it doesn’t seem like they thought he was ready defensively at 2b…..probably also because they though drew woukd be better than he’s been

        • mitch

          Everyone wants the Yankees to developed players like STL or TB, yet they complain when they don’t rush guys to the big leagues.

          • Eric MacLaurin

            Everyone doesn’t anything.

            Your life will be much better when you realize that every group of people disagrees about lots of things.

            • mitch

              in English please?

              • Eric MacLaurin

                What language do you speak? It might be easier for you to understand if I translate it out of english since you don’t seem to track very well.

              • Eric MacLaurin

                If you really didn’t get that I’m sorry for being a jerk.

                I object to your use of the word “everyone” as though you can group people together and assume they all agree on things.

        • Eric MacLaurin

          The offense has been terrible this year. You simply cannot say they did everything they could do when you give you minor league hitting awards to players that spent significant time in AAA.

          Defense at 2nd isn’t relevant when your DH can’t hit either.

      • Call Me Carlos the Dwarf

        Roller is 26 and can’t make regular contact against AAA pitching.

        He’s a worse version of Dan Johnson.

        • Eric MacLaurin

          Only an idiot doesn’t even care to see if he might help. Anyone that confident isn’t qualified for his job.

          • Call Me Carlos the Dwarf

            Or they just know that he sucks, and don’t want to give the at bats to someone who sucks at the expense of someone with the track record to suggest that they might stop sucking at some point.

            • Eric MacLaurin

              What part of the Johnson Roberts combo gave you a track record showing anything but likely replacement level or below work?

              If they think they know he sucks without trying him out they need to find jobs they can handle because they are way over their heads.

              • Call Me Carlos the Dwarf

                …Roller is a shitty defensive first baseman. He could not have less to do with Kelly Johnson and Brian Roberts getting too much playing time.

                • Eric MacLaurin

                  i got my ref & roller conversations mixed up.

                  Roller is a DH. Defense doesn’t matter at all. With that said his combination of defense and hitting would probably help more than what you get from Johnson at 1b

                  I’m a little surprised people are defending the Yankees offense as the best they could do and their scouting as incapable of missing a player.

                  Who are you talking about that Roller would be taking at bats from?

                  • Call Me Carlos the Dwarf

                    Teixeira and Beltran are the two players whose spots he would be taking in the lineup. Each have been roughly average offensive players this season. Roller, who is essentially Shelley Duncan, minus the defense and “contact” would almost certainly be a downgrade from either option, even in one of the worst full offensive seasons of each’s career.

                    Ref isn’t up because he doesn’t have major league caliber defense at second base yet. That’s the beginning and end of the discussion, as far as the Yankees are concerned (and I can’t really blame them). They were considering calling him up and putting him in RF, but then they got Prado.

                    • Eric MacLaurin

                      You can repeat your lame scouting reports as many times as you want but we both know you aren’t qualified in any way and are just talking out your rear end. It’s amazing to watch people like you make statements like you know things. Are you trying to be a tool or is it just natural?

                      If you had followed the team you might have noticed both beltran and tex have been injured this year and both play positions when they aren’t injured.

                      Ref isn’t up because of roster considerations. Lie to yourself all you want.

                    • Call Me Carlos the Dwarf

                      No, I’m just cognizant of the fact that I don’t know as much as people who have seen the players. I also know that not a single 26 year old first baseman who strikes out 28% of the time at AAA has ever become an average major league hitter.

                      If not being aggressively ignorant and uninformed about baseball, and then making personal attacks on anyone who disagrees, makes me a tool, then I guess I’m naturally a tool.

                      I’m really, really starting to understand why Chad decided to go for Facebook registration.

                    • Eric MacLaurin

                      Knowing that they know more than other people about their players doesn’t mean you know what they are thinking, what they plan to do or why they plan to do it.
                      Knowing that you haven’t seen the players or talked to anyone that sees them on a regular basis should have you assuming you should be quiet and listen instead of telling everyone what you have assumed from your complete lack of information.

                      You keep defending what you say by saying something true that isn’t even directly related to what you are trying to justify.

                      Who said anything about Roller being anything more than someone that might have been able to help a really bad offense at some point this year?

                      You’re a tool because you don’t have any points of your own. You misquote people, assume whatever you want about their motives and assume your assumption of their reasoning is beyond a doubt.

                      You’re a clown because you can’t follow a line from one statement to a question to an answer.

                      I don’t think your beginning to understand anything. You just barf up words and try to dance out of your own way.

                    • Call Me Carlos the Dwarf

                      I’m going to ignore the ad hominem stuff. It’s not a good look, though. If you’re going to be uninformed, don’t be rude about it when people disagree.

                      Anyway, anyone who says Roller “might have been able to help a really bad offense at some point this year” is flat out wrong. Roller isn’t as good a hitter as the washed-up, injured ghosts of Beltran and Teixeira. I doubt he’d be able to pull off Jon Singleton’s current line, which is actually worse than what Kelly Johnson put up for the Yanks, because he’s literally worse at everything to do with hitting a baseball than Singleton.

                      26 year olds with superficially strong stat lines in AAA aren’t potential major league contributors. They aren’t kids who “Cash isn’t giving a chance.” They are just 26 year olds with superficially strong stat lines in AAA. They don’t deserve spots on the 40 man roster, much less the 25 man.

                      Some people, such as yourself, don’t seem to understand that.

                      Then, when someone tries to explain to you why “Cashman won’t give these kids a chance,” you get really pissy and take personal offense.

                      Then you make personal attacks on people for disagreeing with your stupid, uninformed opinion.

                      Then, comment threads get filled up with bullshit, and we have to get fucking Disqus, my username isn’t Cool Lester Smooth anymore, and all the people I enjoy talking to on this site leave.

                      It’s really, really annoying. So stop it.

                    • Eric MacLaurin

                      Maybe dipstick is still available.

                      Did you really write all of that just to say Roller isn’t any good and you know it? LOL Do you really not know how stupid it looks for someone to say something, admit they don’t know anything about what they are saying and then keep repeating it as though it’s a fact.

                      I love the extra paragraphs where you get sad about losing your screen name and how you’re a victim of clueless people who just don’t know how to read minds or connect completely irrelevant information where only you can see the connection.

                      Singleton proves what?

                      You’re a troubled young man aren’t you?

                    • Call Me Carlos the Dwarf

                      Nah, I just deal poorly with aggressively uninformed dumbasses with poor reading comprehension skills and, unfortunately, they seem to have descended upon this site like a plague of locusts since their former Mecca went under.

                    • Eric MacLaurin

                      You seem to deal poorly with a lot of things. I’m sorry to hear life is so tough for you. Don’t get caught up in a cycle of self loathing! That can be dangerous.

                      Get some help. Maybe a break from RAB might help you gain some perspective and help you regain some self control.

                      Maybe you can go look for all your lost friends & find some peace with them wherever they’ve gone.

    • http://LeighMayo.com/ Rational Yankee Fan

      It is because he is not on the 40-man roster and the Yankees have a serious roster crunch coming up prior to the Rule-5 draft.

      It has nothing to do with the franchise not wanting to win. Even if they had called up Refsynder, he wasn’t going to be the difference between making the playoffs or not. No reason to force a DFA of another player or cause someone to not be protected in the Rule-5 draft.

      The decision not to call up Refsynder was made with the mid and long term future of the franchise in mind.

  • Posada_20

    Connor Mullee was once considered the hardest thrower in the system before the injuries, Anyone know how hard he was throwing when he came back late this season. He was impressive once he came back.

  • http://www.google.com Tanuki Tanaka

    Jeremy Bleich is still trying. Good for him. Makes me hate Pavano even more.

    • CashmanNinja

      I remember how thrilled I was when we drafted Bleich, but it’s sad how far he’s fallen since that draft. But you have to give him credit for trying. The guy won’t go away, but I like that. I respect it. And hopefully he latches on somewhere, even if it’s just as a lefty in the pen for someone.

      • http://www.google.com Tanuki Tanaka

        Kinda feels like Christian Garcia.

  • GregD

    I hope the Yanks play Refsnyder at 2B next year……I know they have Prado but they will never turn the corner until they start adding young players and let them develop as major league players……..Free Agency can only be used to add pieces that compliment the core…..and they have no core now……..

    • Pkyankfan69

      Just watch… We’ll go with Arod @ 3B, Prado @ 2B, and Refs in AAA to start the year… Once Arod heads to the DL (shouldn’t be more than a few weeks) Prado will slide to 3B and Refsnyder will get his chance at the 2B job.

      • GregD

        I think that’s a decent plan…gives Refsnyder more time to hone his skills at 2B

        • Call Me Carlos the Dwarf

          Exactly, and it makes him work for it.

          Also, the nice thing about Prado is that he can replace whichever of A-Rod and Beltran goes down/starts having to DH first.

      • Cliff

        I’m still waiting for Jeter to get hurt…

    • Jake

      Hopefully Pirela gets a good look too.

  • JLC 776

    It’s fun to see Venditte slowly go from ‘humorous side-note’ to ‘potential MLB contributor’. I can’t wait to see that guy make an appearance in the Bronx.

    • CashmanNinja

      I think the guy flat out deserves a shot. He does have the whole sideshow act going with him, but he’s also actually put up some solid numbers in his minor league career. I understand not rushing him to the majors right away, but the guy has paid his dues in the minors. I’d love to see how his stuff plays out at the major league level. Plus, if it doesn’t, then at least it’ll let us all know now so we can stop fantasizing about seeing him switch his glove to the other hand while on the mound. I’m actually a bit bummed he didn’t get a September call up, especially if we fell even farther behind. But I guess there wasn’t exactly a roster spot available. Pity.

      • JLC 776

        Well said, exactly how I feel!

      • Angelo

        Read a scouting report. Also, his numbers are solid (talking specifically about AAA) not great for an old reliever in the minors.

        The reason he isn’t getting a chance is because the Yankees already know that he has no chance of surviving in MLB.

        It boggles my mind that people think numbers alone suggests success. If he wasn’t a switch pitcher none of us would ever even talk about him.

        • JLC 776

          Not everyone is called up because they are expected to contribute for a long MLB career. Guys get called up all the time to eat some innings while another player is on the DL. Venditte has been a classic organizational player for a long time but surprised everyone by actually doing well at AAA. No, he’s not a future every-day pitcher, but he very likely will get a chance to at least eat a few innings here and there if he maintains his AAA success.

          Let’s not forget something else – the guy missed a good chunk of 2013 following shoulder surgery, so his success now is definitely a positive.

          Anyway, I’m just taking offense to your ‘boggles the mind’ statement. I get the feeling you don’t know as much as you condescendingly seem to suggest.

          • Angelo

            I apologize if it sounded condescending.

            I’ve just seen a lot of comments this year about players who have little to no value as MLB players, being talked up because of their stats. Also, I think I understand what you’re saying a little better now.

            I wouldn’t care either way as long as Venditte was just pitching in garbage time :)

            • JLC 776

              Yeah, that’s pretty much all I envision for him, too. Garbage time – possibly only playing to the splits at that. Maybe he plays his way to more, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.

        • Eric MacLaurin

          Numbers alone do suggest success. Unless you want to go even further and say they define success.

          I think a big problem is people dismissing numbers because they don’t have the scouting report to back them up. People also can read too much into numbers but that is what you default to when you try to decide if someone was actually good.

          It doesn’t guarantee future success if that’s your angle but it’s the absolute best tool

          • Angelo

            It doesn’t guarantee future success at all. Numbers need to be put into cotext. Age, scouting reports, and stats, all matter in combination.

            Having one or two of the three isn’t enough. So I disagree that stats is the best tool. Out of context, they’re completely useless. There are plenty of guys that perform very well in AAA (for several years sometimes) but can’t do anything in MLB.

            • Jorge Steinbrenner

              How many orgs have multiple Kyle Rollers in their system?

            • Eric MacLaurin

              Nothing guarantees future success. No one ever claimed stats were a guarantee of anything.

              All information needs to be put in context. Words are worthless if they aren’t in order.

              What tool is better than stats and why do you think there are only 3 stats? What are you referring to as stats? It means the numerical information related to the performance of the athlete. Do you prefer hair color or favorite food?

              • Angelo

                I don’t think there are only 3 stats. I never said that. I just don’t think stats are the best tool. I just think numbers need context. A lot of it. That is all.

                I don’t think we’re disagreeing all that much, tbh.

            • BearNJ

              There are also plenty of pitchers who couldn’t break a pane of glass that had major league success. The organization does have to make decisions but a lot of times the die is cast and why certain guys with measurables are given multiple chances over guy dismissed as non prospects. Your right that Triple AAA success doesn’t always translate to the bigs (Jeff Johnson was a Yankee example) but dismissing guys without a fair evaluation can be self defeating.

        • Jorge Steinbrenner

          People want to simplify the difficult, even when it really shouldn’t be simplified. Everyone wants to draw the straightest line between two dots.

    • http://LeighMayo.com/ Rational Yankee Fan

      Forget being called up, I would bet my condo that he never even makes the 40-man roster.

      • JLC 776

        I don’t want your condo, but the Yankees aren’t deep enough to not give him a shot at some point unless he falls off a cliff next year or they miraculously don’t lose a parade of players to injury. He’s been solid enough at AAA to earn a spot-relief appearance at some point.

        • Jorge Steinbrenner

          You’ve never seen his condo.

        • Deep Thoughts

          Typo – he meant “condom.”

        • http://LeighMayo.com/ Rational Yankee Fan

          Never going to happen. They keep him on the roster as an organization piece and because fans like to see a guy who can throw with both arms – he is a circus act. I’m sure he is a great guy, but he will never throw one pitch in MLB for any team. He has been substantially older than the other players at every level and still took him six years to reach and stick at AAA.

      • Eric MacLaurin

        He’ll probably go in the rule 5 to someone not that serious about winning.

        • http://LeighMayo.com/ Rational Yankee Fan

          I can’t see any team taking him in the Rule-5 draft because they would have to keep him on the MLB roster all season. Even a non-contending team can’t keep waste that roster spot on a guy with no future. Venditte has been Rule-5 eligible for 2 years and no one has drafted him – I don’t see that changing now.

          • Eric MacLaurin

            I wouldn’t bet either way but it’s an entertainment industry and I think people would pay to see him.

            I could see a team taking a shot on him, especially now that he has shown the ability to be effective in AAA.

            My conditional, of course, was it would have to be a team that doesn’t expect to contend. I think he could make sense and I would take him if I was running the Padres or Astros. He would make money for the team and could be the center of an effective long term fan development program. He won’t be a sure thing but as the last guy in the pen he isn’t taking anyone’s spot.

            Even if he isn’t good he can be effective taking up innings in games that are out of reach.

            Seems a cheap bet for an engaged front office and marketing staff.

    • Deep Thoughts

      Ask your doctor if minor-league season tickets are right for you.

  • http://LeighMayo.com/ Rational Yankee Fan

    I never get too excited about a prospect unless he is a can’t miss player – and I mean a player who is a no doubt MLB All-Star caliber player – someone like a Strasburg, Harper, Arod, etc, but those guys come along infrequently and the Yankees are unlikely to be in a draft position that would allow them to draft a player like that.

    However, once in a while I let myself dream on some of these guys for late 2016 and the 2017 or 2108 seasons. I like to dream about the prospect of the 2017/2018 squad having half a dozen home grown, league average or better players, under 26 – Judge, Sanchez, Refsynder, Severino, Jagielo, and maybe Clarkin. But I know it is just a dream – if two of those players become regular contributors at the MLB level, I will be very happy. It’s all too common for a prospect to hit a wall in upper-MiLB or just not be able to cut it once he hits the MLB level.

    • CashmanNinja

      It’s quite exciting when a young guy looks like he could be a future star in the league. I know it’s very early with Judge, but there’s just something about him that makes me think he’ll be successful. I’m a little more wary when it comes to pitching, but Severino has got some electric stuff and Clarkin looks more polished than I had expected. The farm system has a load of talent, but most of it is because of guys in the lower levels who are brimming with potential. The good thing about that is that soon they’ll earn promotions and what not and eventually make it to the Show. It takes time, but damn that is exciting. If even one of them can make it to the majors and be an above average player…I’d consider that a success.

      • mrbulkyc

        I hate that term “electric stuff”

        • Gil Mac

          Circuit breakers, contacts, relays. Things like that.

          • JimK

            Gil Mac, great line, I tried to up vote your reply, but for some reason the circuit may be overloaded.

            • Gil Mac

              That’s quite okay. :)

              • JimK

                It worked; I guess they fixed the “circuits, or relays.” and were able to reduce the “resistance.”

    • JimK

      I understand your sentiment, but there really is no such thing as a “can’t miss” prospect. The can’t miss prospects such as former 91′ Yankee 1st round Brien Taylor, outnumber the Strasburg’s, Trout’s, and Harper’s by the hundreds, if not the thousands.
      If you look at the most successful Y’s prospects over the past decade, such as Cano, Wang(before the injury), I do not believe either of these players were ever considered “can’t miss.” Even the WS, Abreu came with question marks; he was probably considered a gamble more than a “can’t miss.”
      Therefore, you are allowed to indulge your fantasies, that one of the Y’s minor league players will develop into a bona fide major league star, and he may not even be on Mike’s list.
      However, I would probably rule out any player over the age of 25, such as Kyle Roller, who in prior year’s may have been this year’s Shane Spencer.

      • BearNJ

        Is it really possible that Taylor is 42 years old? For the record I hate when I see Taylor is the bust list. He threw two excellent initial seasons in high A and AA before he helped his brother in a fight during the off season and was thrown to the ground which ruined his shoulder. He was sentenced to three years in jail a few years ago for selling crack. What a waste.

    • Drew

      Also Pineda and Tanaka will both be 27 at that time, though Tanaka will probably just be coming back from TJ surgery. 2016 Yankees are looking very very good….

  • blake

    I wonder what they’ll do with Mason Williams…..he’s 23 and still can’t hit AA pitching.

    • Mayan Brickann

      Is he on the 40? If so, and he’s taken off, that makes him available in the Rule V, no? I would think that might be the way they go.

      • CashmanNinja

        I’m pretty sure he’s going to be Rule V eligible. Normally I’d say that the talent is too risky to lose, but he’s really done very little for us. He has speed and plays good defense, but is it really worth using that space for a 4th/5th outfielder? I’d hate to lose someone else over that. I can see another team taking him, but usually pitching is what gets poached because it’s always needed and a guy can always be hidden away in the bullpen. But you’re right…it’s probably best that they leave him off the roster because he hasn’t done anything worthy of being called up and it would be blocking someone else (which would also be unfair). He’s had back-to-back awful seasons, his attitude is getting worse, and he’s still more athlete than baseball player.

        • Mayan Brickann

          Don’t know enough about Williams’ defense or base stealing capability. Can he be a poor man’s Jarrod Dyson? A 4th/5th OF who can be slotted for defense and/or pinch running?

          • mitch

            Reviews about his defense are good, but his SB numbers aren’t great. Either way, he’ll have to hit a little more to even be considered for that type of role.

        • Jorge Steinbrenner

          I find it extremely hard to believe that Williams would stick on another team’s 25-man roster. He’d be returned by the end of Spring Training. Expose, expose, expose.

    • GregD

      he has been nothing but disappointing……I don’t think they give up on him just yet…give him one more year……..

    • Mayan Brickann

      Does this question apply to Slade Heathcott as well?

      • blake

        Yea but I think it’s a different situation…..Heathcott has actually shown some ability to play pro baseball…..he just can’t stay healthy. Mason hasn’t shown any ability to be able to hit pro pitching and he doesn’t seem all that interested in playing either according to the reports

        • Mayan Brickann

          Yeah, but neither type helps you any. In 5 full seasons of pro ball, Heathcott has played in just over 300 games. I’d be inclined to go another year w/ him, but it’s hard to be optimistic.

          • blake

            Yea just saying I think they’ll give Hearhcott more leash

            • Lou Zullo

              Neither belongs on the 40 man

      • Call Me Carlos the Dwarf

        Slade Heathcott has been an above average hitter relative to his league in the worst offensive ballpark in AA…so, no. Not at all.

        The question with Slade is if he’ll ever stay healthy enough for it to matter, and the answer is increasingly looking like “no.”

    • JimK

      His hit song, “Classical Gas,” was almost 50 years ago; I think he is lying about his age.

      • Gil Mac

        This has come up before. Something doesn’t quite meet the eye, does it?

        • JimK

          Maybe he discovered the “Fountain of Youth.”

          • Gil Mac

            He’s hiding something.

            • JimK

              Pretty well, I would say, but he is certainly not hiding the fact that he cannot hit; maybe he should go to the plate with a guitar.

      • Jorge Steinbrenner

        There’s aging yourself, and then there’s…… :)

        • JimK

          I am definitely aging, but fortunately I am not………there.

    • Terry Noack

      He reminds me of Jackie Bradley Jr. Great defense, but can’t hit a lick!

      • Jorge Steinbrenner

        Except Bradley hit well enough to graduate from AA, at least.

  • JimK

    “Lifetime Achievement Award” for a minor league player; it sounds more like its “The Time to Find a New Line of Work Award.”

  • Call Me Carlos the Dwarf

    Eh, I don’t think Gosuke did all that horribly, all things considered. A 96 wRC+ from a 19 year old in full season ball, while not ideal, is more than fine.

    In the second half of the season, he actually put up a .257/.393/.348 line, good for a 118 wRC+, while “cutting” his K-rate down to 25% and walking 18% of the time.

    It wasn’t a very good year, and the Ks are a huge red flag for his performance going forward, but I don’t think he should be the runner up for “most disappointing player,” unless you had outsized expectations for him coming in.

    • Angelo

      I just wonder how much of that BB% is related to not seeing the ball well enough. I haven’t looked into it, but a high walk rate along with a high strike out rate doesn’t look good when accompanied with little to no power.

      Still, he’s young. Plenty of time to figure it out.

      • Call Me Carlos the Dwarf

        Yes. To all of this.

      • Preston

        Yup, sounds like he’s keeping his bat on his shoulder a lot. He’s not hitting for average or power, and as he climbs the ladder pitchers are going to throw more strikes than they do in Charleston.

  • Jorge Steinbrenner

    Roller and Payton win awards, and Long gets an honorable mention.

    That should play well with a certain segment of the readership here.

    • Gil Mac

      Hey, plays well with me.

  • Eric S.

    Have a feeling this team is going to be mediocre for years but still charge obscenely high prices for an inferior product

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      No one’s asking you to attend games.

    • JimK

      People have the option of not paying to go to the games, or watch them on TV for that matter; I have the feeling that since a new reply showed up while I was writing someone beat me to the punch.

      • Eric S.

        Nice comment – see my reply to Mike Axisa

      • Gil Mac

        “If people don’t want to come to the ballpark how are you going to stop them?”

        • JimK

          Tell them no one goes there anymore because “its to crowded.”

          • Gil Mac

            Exactly!

    • OldYanksFan

      Just another true blue Yankee fan.
      Ya know…. there’s a REALLY good team in Queens.
      Maybe you should check them out (and their blogs).

      • Jorge Steinbrenner

        People go see them when they lose.

        • Eric S.

          See my reply to Mike Axisa.

          • Jorge Steinbrenner

            See how unnecessary it is to type that several times.

      • Eric S.

        see my reply to Mike Axisa

    • http://riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

      Ticket prices are not determined by the quality of the team. It’s simple supply and demand.

      • Mayan Brickann

        ‘Cept for those front row seats we see empty on television all the time. Plenty of supply and exceedingly low demand for those bad boys.

        • JimK

          They may be sold, just not used very often, but I am just speculating.

          • Jorge Steinbrenner

            Always the more likely scenario.

          • BearNJ

            Or they are just going back for thirds of pork loin at the free buffet line and watching it in air conditioning inside on jumbo flat screen TVs in a fine dining environment.

      • Eric S.

        Just blowing off steam but think this team is in transition and it is now in position of being good enough to dream of the playoffs but unlikely to get there – prices though do take tickets more out of realm of the passionate fan who is not well off.

        • JimK

          There is always the after market, where tickets can be purchased below face value; and as long as you stay away from the concessions you can still see a game for a moderate price.
          However, the prices will never come back to the 50’s and 60’s levels, when the game was considered more of a Blue Collar pastime.

        • Jorge Steinbrenner

          How is that different when they’re winning? If you’re not “well off,” you’re not “well off.”

      • Preston

        Well, the Cubs dropped ticket prices pretty drastically the last few years. But they’ve been purposefully losing, and fielding 65 win teams, so it’s not the same situation.

  • Hankflorida

    Rome wasn’t built in a day, and after two years of averaging four runs a game, next year having Refsnyder at 2nd will not alter the course that much unless he is Canoesque. Having an infield of Prado, Drew and Headly would help the pitching, and since this team has to excel in pitching to win and if Refsnyder can’t give us Willie Randolph or Bobby Richardson numbers both in offense and defense, he is not ready for prime time at 2nd.

    • JimK

      When Cano 1st came up, he was not Canoesque either; he arrived with very little hype.
      He also had the luxury of being surrounded by good hitters, much like Richardson was with the old Y’s.

      • Hankflorida

        Jim, you hit the nail on the head as Refsnyder needs that comfort zone that both Cano and Richardson had. Except for Babe Ruth, most Yankees who excelled had a great supporting cast when they joined the team and were not thrust into the leading role.

        • ACX

          Sadly, Refs will NOT have that comfort zone. The only shade he will have is the Alex Rodriguez annual circus.

          • Gil Mac

            Which is generally caused by people besides Alex turning it into a circus. No one is leaving that kind of money on the table. Not the 1st baseman who can no longer hit. Not that slovenly, overweight, out of shape, broken down pitcher, who can no longer pitch.
            Do you expect Alex to quit and say, “Keep the change.”

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      That’s a pretty high bar to set for him. I don’t feel he needs to be wiz-level defensively in order to play an effective second base for this team. I do think he needs to be better than “below average.”

      • Mayan Brickann

        Really high. Doesn’t seem to be a full appreciation for just how good an offensive player Randolph was.

        • Gil Mac

          Randolph? He was above league average for his career (104 OPS+). A much better all around hitter than little Bobby. He averaged 161 hits and 91 walks a season and led in walks with 119 a year. Had over a .400 OBP at least twice. To me it takes a good eye to get a lot of walks with Mattingly and Winfield batting behind you.

        • Preston

          Asking any player to be like a player who had a career total of 62 WAR is a little much. Randolph only had a K rate higher than 10% once in his career, and never had a walk rate below 10% that is a pretty amazing career.

      • Gil Mac

        To play 2B and hit like Cano is asking to much. Of course you want more the below average. As it stands now, prior to Prado, they pretty much settled for below average for some time this season.

  • OldYanksFan

    If I didn’t know better (because we all know our farm system sucks), I would say we have some legit talent on the way.

  • Posada_20

    Still don’t get why they kept Antoan Richardson and DFAed Almonte. Makes no sense

    • Gil Mac

      They just never thought very highly of Almonte. Particularly Giradi. Even if thy brought him up, the manager wouldn’t use him. Cashman went so far as to tell reporters he was no more then a 4th or 5th outfielder. It does make sense with me. When Cashman doesn’t think much of a minor league guy he makes it known. Nunez, Almonte, and Refs, that I can think of right now. Not sure about Pirela.

      • JimK

        Girardi does not trust anyone who does not have a “baseball card.”

        • ACX

          Cashman downplays everything. Remember the ok defender named Chase Headley? And despite what he said about Refsnyder, I think he will actually get a shot to be the everyday 2B in Spring Training. They can afford it now that they have Prado. If Refs proves himself, Prado becomes utility guy. If not, he plays 2B everyday.

        • Preston

          Almonte just isn’t very good. He hit .261/.311/.436 at AAA while repeating the level as a 25 year old, and in his big league stints he’s hit .211/.242/.282. He’s a corner OFer, who provides little to no value with anything other than the bat. I think it’s possible that teams pass on him and he comes back to us as a minor league FA.

      • Yanks

        Cashman has never said bad things about Ref…

        • Gil Mac

          Said his defense was flawed when asked why he wasn’t going to bring him up IIRC.

        • BearNJ

          Exactly right. He also held on to Nunez in the Cliff Lee trade discussion. He didn’t knock Nunez until after he proved he could field a ground ball.

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      Almonte wore out his welcome. Richardson is there for his sheer disposability.

      • Nick

        it only took 149 PA

    • Nick

      I was disappointed that they cut him too but obviously they did not think he could contribute. I thought he would be the teams 4th outfielder next season

  • Hankflorida

    If a team is more dependent on pitching as the Yankees are and will be next year, Refsnyder has to play a darn good 2nd base. I see that Cashman has stocked his pitching staff with sinker ball pitchers as he is at least following the play book of Ed Barrow and George Weiss in this capacity if not on offense. I remember only three pitchers with rising fastballs at high speeds in the old days and they were Lefty Gomez, Allie Reynolds and Ron Guidry. McCarthy, Greene, Nova and Tanaka have to have a player at 2nd who can handle the glove.

  • Mickey Scheister

    I wonder what kind of numbers Teix would put up in AAA.

    • Robert Ramundo

      If they used the shift, 220, 15 and 60.

  • BillyBall

    Next years team will have more youth before seasons end.
    Firstbase we are stuck w/ Tex unless he gets hurt and than you have Kyle Roller or Bird
    2nd-Refsnyder
    SS-??
    #b- Headley
    Outfield-Elsbury, Gardner, Beltran and Peyton, Judge, and maybeeee Heathcott by years end
    Catcher-McCann and either Murphy or Romine
    DH-ARod

    That offense of vets with some youth might actually be exciting to watch.

    Refsynder Judge and maybe Payton bring some life and iffff ARod can give us 25Hr’s next year that team isn’t awful.

    • RetroRob

      Judge won’t see the majors until 2016, and that’s if all goes well next year and he advances through AA and then AAA. Payton is further off. Roller is a AAAA player.

      Refsnyder has the best chance of making the team next season. I wouldn’t rule out Severino at some point next year. Austin too.