At long last, the 2017 minor league regular season has arrived. The Yankees have a loaded farm system and this should be a pretty fun year. Even after RHP James Kaprielian complained about pain in his elbow that will send him into various MRI tubes. Blah. Baseball can be such a jerk sometimes. Here are some notes before we get to the Opening Day games:
- High-A Tampa finally released their roster earlier today. RHP Dillon Tate is not listed on any of the four full season affiliate rosters and I’m not sure why. There’s been no word about an injury, so the Yankees probably held him back in Extended Spring Training. They’ve been working with Tate on all sorts of mechanical stuff since the trade last year, trying to get him back to his fourth overall pick form. We’ll see when he pops back up.
- OF Jake Cave (knee), 1B Chris Gittens (unknown), LHP Chaz Hebert (elbow), RHP Brody Koerner (unknown), RHP Branden Pinder (elbow), LHP James Reeves (elbow), RHP Nick Rumbelow (elbow), and LHP Stephen Tarpley (unknown) will all start the year on the DL, according to Donnie Collins and Nick Flammia. Hebert, Pinder, and Rumbelow are rehabbing from Tommy John surgery.
- LHP Miguel Sulbaran, who came over from the Twins in the Eduardo Nunez trade, has been suspended 25 games for violating the minor league drug program, MLB announced. The 25-game ban indicates he tested positive for a drug of abuse (in most cases the kid gets caught smoking pot), not a performance-enhancer. Sulbaran did not pitch last year due to injury.
- The Yankees have released 3B Drew Bridges, RHP Sean Carley, RHP Kyle Halbohn, RHP Cody Hamlin, RHP Tim Holmes, 1B Kane Sweeney, 2B Josh Gardiner, and OF Nathan Mikolas, according to Matt Eddy. There’s always a ton of cuts after Spring Training. The Yankees have also signed C Sharif Othman. Othman, 28, was with the Marlins from 2011-16. He hit .156/.208/.221 (23 wRC+) in 40 games between High-A and Double-A last season.
- MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo posted a feature on Yankees’ minor league camp as well an interview with OF Blake Rutherford, so make sure you check those out. Also, don’t miss Anthony Castrovince’s feature on LHP Justus Sheffield, who doesn’t get as much attention as he deserves for being a top pitching prospect.
- And finally, check out 20-80 Baseball’s massive Yankees organizational review. “They may not have the pitching to compete with a juggernaut Red Sox or a strong Toronto ball club in 2017, but don’t think that the rest of the American League doesn’t notice the stirring giant in the Bronx,” said the write-up.
Triple-A Scranton‘s game was rained out. They’ve already postponed tomorrow’s game too. One of the games will be made up as part of a doubleheader Sunday. They haven’t announced a makeup date for the other game yet. RHP Johnny Barbato will start the season opener Saturday, according to Shane Hennigan. LHP Dietrich Enns will start the first game of Sunday’s doubleheader and RHP Luis Cessa will start the home opener Monday. The starter for the second game of the doubleheader is TBA. Might be a bullpen game.
Double-A Trenton was also rained out. I’ll get the Prospect Watch up tomorrow since SS Gleyber Torres didn’t play tonight. This game will be made up as part of a doubleheader Sunday. Prior to the rainout, the rotation to start the season was going to be, in order, RHP Chance Adams, LHP Justin Sheffield, RHP Yefrey Ramirez, RHP Domingo German, and LHP Daniel Camarena, according to Matt Kardos. Not sure what the postponement and doubleheader do to the pitching plans.
- SS Jorge Mateo: 0-4, 1 K — would be nice to see him get off to a hot start this season … I’m curious to see how much center field he plays
- 3B Kyle Holder: 0-3, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 SB– first pro game at third base … I’m sure he’ll see plenty of time all around the infield this season
- LF Trey Amburgey: 1-4, 1 R, 1 K
- DH Matt Snyder: 0-3, 1 K, 1 HBP
- CF Tito Polo: 3-4, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 SB — nice season debut for Tito … he came over in the Ivan Nova trade and he’s got a pretty great chance to be someone’s fourth outfielder down the line
- 2B Nick Solak: 0-3, 1 BB — last year’s second rounder should do well at this level after spending three years at Louisville
- 1B Mandy Alvarez: 0-3, 1 K
- C Jorge Saez: 1-3, 1 K, 1 PB
- RF Austin Aune: 0-3, 3 K — there’s the Austin Aune we all know and love … the former TCU quarterback recruit threw a runner out at first base
- LHP Jordan Montgomery: 5 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 9 K, 2/3 GB/FB — he was supposed to start in Triple-A, but the Yankees bumped him down here due to the weather … they want to keep him lined up for April 16th, the first time they need a fifth starter at the MLB level … I don’t want to be a buzzkill, but it should be no surprise Montgomery chewed up a bunch of High-A kids
- RHP Chad Green: 4 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 5 K, 4/1 GB/FB — same deal as Montgomery, he was supposed to start in Double-A before being bumped down to make sure he remains a fifth starter candidate on April 16th
- SS Hoy Jun Park: 0-4, 1 BB
- 3B Oswaldo Cabrera: 1-5, 1 R, 1 K — he turned 18 last month and the Yankees have him in full season ball, which is pretty darn aggressive
- CF Blake Rutherford: 1-3, 1 R, 2 BB, 1 SB — nice little season debut for last year’s first rounder
- C Donny Sands: 0-3, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K — I thought he might start back in Extended Spring Training because he’s relatively new to catching, but the Yankees obviously feel good enough about where he’s at defensively to send him to full season ball
- RF Estevan Florial: 0-3, 1 BB
- DH Isiah Gilliam: 1-3, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K — since 3B Dermis Garcia is not here, he might have the most power on the team
- LF Leonardo Molina: 0-3, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 E (throwing)
- 1B Brandon Wagner: 1-4, 1 RBI, 2 K, 1 E (pick0ff)
- 2B Diego Castillo: 1-4 — kinda surprised they bumped him up here straight from the Gulf Coast League
- RHP Nick Green: 2.1 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 1 HB, 3/0 GB/FB — 39 of 65 pitches were strikes (60%) … not a great debut for one of the guys who came over in the Carlos Beltran trade
- RHP Albert Abreu: 4 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 4/0 GB/FB — 44 of 73 pitches were strikes (60%) … organizational debut for the guy who came over in the Brian McCann trade … supposedly the Yankees will use tandem starters here for a bit because they have more starting pitcher prospects than rotation spots
- RHP David Sosebee: 2.2 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 6 K, 1 WP, 2/0 GB/FB — 29 of 47 pitches were strikes (62%)
Short Season Staten Island begins their season on Monday, June 19th. Rookie Pulaski starts on Thursday, June 22nd, and the two Rookie GCL Yankees affiliates open on Monday, June 26th.