DotF: Austin heads to winter ball, Abreu dominates in AzFL

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Last week SS Thairo Estrada finished third in the annual Arizona Fall League Hitting Challenge behind Twins 3B Chris Paul and Mets C Tomas Nido. During the Hitting Challenge players aim for targets on the field to accumulate points. It’s pretty neat. The video is above. Here are some minor league notes:

  • SS Gleyber Torres has started hitting off a tee as he continues his rehab from Tommy John surgery, according to his Instagram feed. Good news. Seems everything is going well. Torres blew out his non-throwing elbow sliding into home plate in June and is expected to be ready in time for Spring Training.
  • Both 3B Miguel Andujar and 1B Tyler Austin will play winter ball in the Dominican Republic this winter, according to MLB Pipeline. Austin missed a bunch of time with injuries this past season, and could be a 40-man roster casualty this winter. Andujar needs to work on his defense. The more reps, the better.
  • LHP Justus Sheffield (No. 1) topped last week’s Prospect Hot Sheet following his dominant Arizona Fall League debut, then both RHP Albert Abreu (No. 2 ) and OF Estevan Florial (No. 7 ) made this week’s Prospect Hot Sheet. I can’t remember the last time the Yankees had this strong a group of prospects in the AzFL.
  • Player development analyst Dan Greenlee has left the Yankees to join Gary Denbo with the Marlins, reports Joel Sherman. Greenlee will be Miami’s director of player personnel, which is quite the promotion. He’d been doing minor league analytical work for the Yankees.
  • The Yankees have started interviewing internal candidates to replace Denbo, reports George King. Pro scouting director Kevin Reese, director of minor league operations Eric Schmitt, director of performance science John Kremer, and field coordinator Carlos Mendoza have interviewed so far.
  • So long, 1B Ji-Man Choi. He elected free agency, reports Matt Eddy. We’ll always have those dingers. Also, the Yankees re-signed C Sharif Othman. The organizational depth catcher hit .223/.265/.345 (74 wRC+) in 72 games at three levels in 2017.

Arizona Fall League

  • SS Thairo Estrada: 10 G, 16-41, 9 R, 2 2B, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 1 BB, 9 K, 2 HBP, 2 SB (.390/.432/.512)
  • OF Estevan Florial: 10 G, 12-38, 9 R, 3 2B, 1 3B, 3 RBI, 6 BB, 18 K, 1 HBP, 1 SB, 1 CS (.316/.422/.447) — Josh Norris said Florial got chewed up by breaking balls in one of the games he saw, which included six swings and misses on breaking stuff
  • SS Kyle Holder: 6 G, 10-24, 3 R, 1 3B, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 1 BB, 2 K, 1 HBP, 1 CS (.417/.444/.625) — he’s on the taxi squad, so he only plays Wednesdays and Saturdays
  • 1B/OF Billy McKinney: 9 G, 11-36, 5 R, 3 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 17 RBI, 4 BB, 6 K, 1 HBP (.306/.372/.528) — so far he’s played five games at first base, three in left field, and one at DH … some AzFL parks are equipped with Statcast, and among the games recorded, McKinney had one of the ten hardest hit balls
  • RHP Albert Abreu: 3 G, 3 GS, 15 IP, 9 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 15 K, 1 HR (1.20 ERA and 0.80 WHIP)
  • RHP Cody Carroll: 5 G, 7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 4 BB, 11 K (0.00 ERA and 0.86 WHIP)
  • RHP Andrew Schwaab: 5 G, 4.1 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 2 K, 1 HB (8.31 ERA and 1.85 WHIP)
  • LHP Justus Sheffield: 4 G, 4 GS, 19 IP, 13 H, 6 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 21 K, 1 WP (2.39 ERA and 0.79 WHIP) — Josh Norris has a write-up of Sheffield’s second AzFL start, and said his stuff was as good as his first start … “The 21-year-old sat between 94-97 mph with his fastball for most of his 4.1 inning out and touched 98 once. Just like he did on Tuesday, he also showed two potential plus offerings in his mid-80s slider and high-80s slider,” said the report.

Dominican Winter League

  • 1B Tyler Austin: 1 G, 1-4, 1 2B, 2 K (.250/.250/.500) — he’s here, but Andujar hasn’t played yet
  • IF Abi Avelino: 5 G, 7-18, 2 R, 4 RBI, 1 K, 1 SB (.389/.389/.389)
  • 1B Mike Ford: 9 G, 5-31, 5 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 4 BB, 8 K, 1 HB (.161/.278/.194) — if he’s down here hoping to impress prior to the Rule 5 Draft, he’s going to have to pick it up soon
  • LHP Nestor Cortes: 1 G, 1 GS, 6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 7 K (0.00 ERA and 0.33 WHIP) — I’m not sure he has the stuff to get big leaguers out, but given his upper level success the last few years, I think he’s going to get popped in the Rule 5 Draft in a few weeks
  • RHP Raynel Espinal: 1 G, 0.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 1 K (0.00 ERA and 9.00 WHIP)
  • RHP Anyelo Gomez: 5 G, 3.1 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 1 WP (5.40 ERA and 1.20 WHIP) — 24-year-old quietly had a 1.92 ERA (2.19 FIP) with 31.0% strikeouts and 7.5% walks in 70.1 innings at four (!) levels last year
  • RHP Tyler Jones: 5 G, 4.1 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 1 WP (4.15 ERA and 0.92 WHIP)
  • RHP Adonis Rosa: 2 G, 1 GS, 5 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 K (1.80 ERA and 1.40 WHIP)
  • RHP Jose Pena and RHP Eduardo Rivera are listed on rosters but have not yet played.

Venezuelan Winter League

  • C Francisco Diaz: 9 G, 6-31, 4 R, 1 2B, 5 RBI, 1 B, 6 K (.194/.212/.226) — organizational depth catcher already re-signed after becoming a minor league free agent
  • OF Alex Palma: 16 G, 25-69, 14 R, 6 2B, 1 3B, 7 RBI, 1 BB, 5 K, 2 SB, 1 CS (.362/.371/.478) — 22-year-old is off to a nice start in winter ball after hitting .280/.322/.435 (120 wRC+) in 54 Single-A games this season
  • RHP Daniel Alvarez: 5 G, 6 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 4 K (1.50 ERA and 1.00 WHIP
  • RHP Luis Cedeno: 5 G, 3.2 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 1 HB (0.00 ERA and 1.64 WHIP)
  • RHP Gabriel Gonzalez is listed on a roster, but has not yet played.

The Yankees do not have any players in the Mexican Pacific League this winter. The Roberto Clemente Professional Baseball League announced winter ball will not be played in Puerto Rico this year due to the devastation from Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

Saturday Links: Coaching Staff, Qualifying Offer, Super Two
Weekend Open Thread