DotF: Abreu dominates; Gregorius homers during rehab stint

Two quick notes to pass along:

  • The Yankees have released RHP Paddy O’Brien, according to Matt Eddy. The system just took a big hit in the prospect name rankings. O’Brien, 24, was New York’s 24th round pick in the 2015 draft. He was a catcher at UC Santana Barbara and the Yankees put him on the mound. O’Brien struck out 27 batters in 21 pro innings, all in rookie ball, but he also walked 13 and allowed 18 runs.
  • LHP Justus Sheffield was included in today’s Notes from the Field feature at Baseball Prospectus. Best of all, his write-up is above the paywall, so you can read the entire thing for free. “Sheffield showed the potential for a future plus fastball with two average grade secondaries,” said the write-up, which was based on Sunday’s start.

Triple-A Scranton (6-2 loss to Louisville)

  • SS Tyler Wade: 1-5, 1 CS, 1 E (fielding) — still hasn’t played a game in the outfield, though I imagine that’ll happen soon … I’m guessing the Yankees wanted to make sure he was ready to go at shortstop in case Ronald Torreyes didn’t cut it
  • LF Clint Frazier: 2-5, 1 2B — five of his last eight hits have gone for extra bases (three doubles, two homers)
  • CF Dustin Fowler: 0-4, 1 BB, 1 K
  • 1B Ji-Man Choi: 1-3, 2 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 SB, 1 E (fielding) — still crushing the ball
  • 2B Rob Refsnyder: 1-4, 1 K
  • RF Mason Williams: 2-3, 1 2B, 1 BB — now 9-for-50 (.180) on the season
  • LHP Caleb Smith: 5.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 4/9 GB/FB — 50 of 78 pitches were strikes (64%) … he’s done a very nice job filling in since the LHP Dietrich Enns injury
  • RHP Ben Heller: 1 IP, 3 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 3 WP, 1/0 GB/FB — 21 of 32 pitches were strikes (66%), though one of the walks was intentional … I suppose that doesn’t count against the pitch count anymore since intentional walks are automatic, right?

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DotF: Adams puts up zeroes, Gilliam has huge day at the plate

SS Gleyber Torres (shoulder) is inching closer to return. At least that’s what he said on Twitter. Torres was placed on the seven-day disabled list last Wednesday and he’s not expected to miss much time, so I suppose that means we could see him back as soon as the day after tomorrow. That’d be neat.

Triple-A Scranton had a scheduled off-day.

Double-A Trenton (2-1 win over New Hampshire)

  • CF Rashad Crawford & DH Billy McKinney: both 0-4 — McKinney struck out once, Crawford thrice
  • SS Thairo Estrada: 1-3, 1 BB — six strikeouts and eight walks in 13 games … he’s been on base 25 times in those 13 games
  • 3B Miguel Andujar: 0-3, 1 BB — Ben Badler says he did some light work at first base before the game, though I wouldn’t read too much into that … players work out at other positions all the time
  • 2B Abi Avelino: 1-3, 1 SB
  • RHP Chance Adams: 5.2 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 4 K, 5/4 GB/FB — 53 of 95 pitches were strikes (56%) … down to a 0.82 ERA on the season … ten walks in 22 innings so far, which isn’t great … he didn’t walk his tenth batter until his 30th inning last year

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2017 Draft: Bonus Pool, Top Prospect Lists, Mock Draft

(Matthew Ziegler/Getty)
(Matthew Ziegler/Getty)

Baseball’s annual three-day amateur draft will begin seven weeks from today. The 2017 draft runs from June 12th to 14th this season and it’s safe to assume MLB Network will again broadcast the first day. Based on previous years, the broadcast will cover 75 picks on Day One, stretching from the First Round to Competitive Balance Round B. Here is the full 2017 draft order.

The Yankees will make two selections on Day One — their first (16th overall) and second (54th overall) round picks — and for the third straight year, they will pick in the top 20. They held the 18th pick last year (OF Blake Rutherford) and the 16th pick (RHP James Kaprielian) the year before. Only once in the previous 19 years did the Yankees have a top 20 pick. They used the 17th pick to take SS C.J. Henry in 2005. He was later traded for Bobby Abreu.

At some point soon, perhaps later this week, I’ll begin profiling draft prospects and potential draft targets for the Yankees. I never did profile Rutherford last summer because I didn’t think he’d fall all the way to 18th. It would be cool if something similar happened this year. Here’s the draft profile I wrote about OF Aaron Judge back in 2013. The profiles will look similar again this year. Here are a few draft notes seven weeks out from the main event.

Yankees will have a $6.91M bonus pool

A few weeks back it was reported the Yankees will have a $6.583M bonus pool, but it turns out that’s low. They’ll actually have a $6,912,800 pool this year, according to Jim Callis. More important than the overall bonus pool are the individual slots. Here are New York’s slot values for the 2017 draft:

  • First Round (16th overall): $3,458,600
  • Second Round (54th): $1,236,000
  • Third Round (92nd): $588,700
  • Fourth Round (122nd): $433, 100
  • Fifth Round (152nd): $323,400
  • Sixth Round (182nd): $247, 600
  • Seventh Round (212nd): $193,700
  • Eighth Round (242nd): $157,200
  • Ninth Round (272nd): $141,200
  • Tenth Round (302nd): $133,300

As a reminder, if the Yankees fail to sign a player in one of those slots, they lose the associated pool money. If they sign a player below the slot value, they can use the savings elsewhere. The Yankees, like many teams, tend to select college seniors in the sixth through tenth rounds, sign them dirt cheap, then spend the savings on other players. That’s the only way you can give out overslot bonuses now.

MLB and the MLBPA agreed to direct more bonus pool money to the top of the draft as part of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, which is why the first round slot is so high. Last year the Yankees had a $2,441,600 slot bonus for Rutherford and the 18th pick. Yeah. The money was distributed much more linearly through the top ten rounds. Now it’s top heavy.

Baseball America, MLB.com top draft prospects

In recent weeks both Baseball America (no subs. req’d) and MLB.com released their top draft prospect lists. Baseball America’s list runs 100 players deep at the moment. Eventually that will grow to 500 based on previous years. MLB.com’s list covers 50 players and will eventually expand to 200. As always the MLB.com information is completely free. Scouting reports, video, 20-80 grades, the whole nine. It’s an amazing resource.

The consensus top draft prospect this year is California HS SS/RHP Hunter Greene, who Keith Law recently said has a “chance (to be) a generational talent.” Greene is a legitimate prospect as both a shortstop and a pitcher, though most believe he has more upside on the mound. It’s worth noting a high school right-handed pitcher has never been selected first overall. Greene has a chance to make history this summer. (Don’t miss the Greene vs. Rutherford video above!)

As for potential Yankees targets, I’d start by looking at players from Southern California. That is scouting director Damon Oppenheimer’s wheelhouse. Both high school and college, and if the college guy has had success in the Cape Cod League, that’s a bonus. Rutherford, Kaprielian, LHP Ian Clarkin, RHP Gerrit Cole, RHP Ian Kennedy … all first round picks under Oppenheimer and all SoCal products.

Baseball America’s mock draft v2.0

Last month John Manuel posted his first mock draft of the year, though it only covered the top ten picks, so the Yankees were not included. He had the Twins selecting Greene (as a pitcher) with the No. 1 overall pick. Last week Manuel posted his second mock draft — this time he had the Twins taking Louisville 1B/LHP Brendan McKay — and this one covered the entire first round. He has the Yankees taking California HS 1B/OF Nick Pratto with the 18th overall selection. Here’s the blurb:

Fresh off Blake Rutherford’s strong start, the Yankees could go to the SoCal hitter well again with Pratto, who also has a fallback as a lefthanded pitcher. While the Yankees have had confidence in their ability to draft and develop pitching, the injuries to James Kaprielian and success of homegrown hitters such as Aaron Judge could nudge them back in the hitter direction. Pratto runs well enough to give the outfield corners a shot rather than just being limited to first base.

Even with the draft six weeks away, it’s still a bit too early to start connecting teams to individual players. Lots and lots can and will change between now and draft day. As I said before, Southern California is a safe bet for the Yankees, so I guess that means Pratto fits.

DotF: Gregorius continues rehab assignment in Tampa’s loss

The Yankees announced their first notable prospect promotion of the season earlier today: RHP Albert Abreu has been bumped up from Low-A Charleston to High-A Tampa. The team’s No. 9 prospect had a 1.84 ERA (2.54 FIP) with 22 strikeouts and three walks in three outings and 14.2 innings with the RiverDogs. Abreu, who came over from the Astros in the Brian McCann trade, threw 90 innings at Low-A last season as well.

Triple-A Scranton (4-2 loss to Indianapolis)

  • SS Tyler Wade: 0-4, 2 K
  • LF Clint Frazier: 0-3, 1 R, 1 BB, 2 K — here’s video of yesterday’s homer (talk about a hanger)
  • DH Rob Refsnyder: 1-4, 1 R, 1 3B, 1 RBI, 1 K — started the season 1-for-13 (.077) … he’s gone 11-for-35 (.314) since
  • 1B Ji-Man Choi: 0-3, 1 BB, 1 K
  • CF Mason Williams: 0-3
  • RHP Brady Lail: 6 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 2 K, 4/5 GB/FB — 53 of 91 pitches were strikes (58%)
  • LHP Chasen Shreve: 1.1 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 3/0 GB/FB — 15 of 21 pitches were strikes (71%)

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DotF: Frazier homers, Gregorius continues rehab assignment

OF Blake Rutherford made SportsCenter’s top ten plays yesterday. He flipped over the wall making a catch in foul territory. The video is above. Hopefully that’s not the last time we see Rutherford on the top ten, eh?

Triple-A Scranton (1-0 win over Indianapolis)

  • SS Tyler Wade: 0-4, 1 BB — in a little 1-for-15 (.067) downswing
  • LF Clint Frazier: 2-3, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 SB — only his second multi-hit game of the season … hopefully we see more of this Clint Frazier going forward, this dude kicks butt
  • CF Dustin Fowler: 2-4 — 9-for-24 (.375) during his six-game hitting streak
  • 1B Rob Refsnyder: 1-3, 1 BB
  • DH Ji-Man Choi: 1-4, 1 2B, 1 K
  • LHP Daniel Camarena: 6.1 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 K, 7/3 GB/FB — 51 of 72 pitches were strikes (71%) … he’s up here to help fill one of the rotation spots vacated by RHP Johnny Barbato (traded) and LHP Dietrich Enns (injury), so he should get to stick around a while … Shane Hennigan says RHP J.R. Graham was sent to Double-A Trenton to clear a roster spot
  • RHP Ernesto Frieri: 1 IP, zeroes, 1 K, 1/1 GB/FB — nine pitches, eight strikes

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Saturday Links: Top 50 Prospects, Cabrera, Forbes, Uniforms

Gleyber. (Presswire)
Gleyber. (Presswire)

The Yankees and Pirates will resume their three-game series with the middle game later this afternoon. Until then, here are a few bits of news and notes to check out.

Three Yankees on Law’s updated top 50 prospects list

I missed this last week, but Keith Law (subs. req’d) posted an updated list of the top 50 prospects in baseball. This isn’t a re-ranking. It’s more of an update to Law’s preseason top 100 to reflect prospects who have either graduated to MLB or will soon. Here are the Yankees in the updated top 50 list:

2. SS Gleyber Torres (No. 4 preseason)
16. OF Blake Rutherford (No. 22 preseason)
20. OF Clint Frazier (No. 27 preseason)

Torres is behind only Mets SS Amed Rosario. He was also behind Red Sox OF Andrew Benintendi and Braves SS Dansby Swanson on the preseason list, but those two have since graduated to the big leagues, which is why Gleyber has moved up two spots.

OF Aaron Judge ranked 44th preseason but recently graduated to MLB, so he’s no longer a prospect. RHP James Kaprielian went from 28th before the season to out of the top 50 in the update, presumably due to his continued elbow problems. LHP Justus Sheffield was 88th preseason and did not jump into the top 50. So, in the eyes of at least one prospect ranker, the Yankees currently have three of baseball’s 20 best prospects in their farm system. And Judge and Gary Sanchez and Greg Bird and Luis Severino at the MLB level. Hooray.

Cabrera among top DSL prospects

Ben Badler (subs. req’d) recently put together a list of the top 20 prospects who spent time in the Dominican Summer League last year. The players are listed alphabetically. Not ranked. The Yankees had one player in the top 20: SS Oswaldo Cabrera. He tore up the DSL in 26 games last year before the Yankees brought him stateside. Here’s a piece of Badler’s scouting report:

He’s a true all-fields hitter with a sound swing and natural hitter’s actions in the box. When he swings, he doesn’t miss much, with innate feel for the barrel and good plate coverage with a chance to develop into a plus hitter. Cabrera isn’t that big and will probably always have a hit-over-power profile … He should be able to stick at shortstop.

Badler also notes Cabrera, who signed for $100,000 in 2015, made a slight adjustment after signing that has paid big dividends. He backed up a bit in the batter’s box, giving him more time to react and allowing him to use his hands more efficiently. The just turned 18-year-old Cabrera is off a slow start with Low-A Charleston — he’s the youngest player in the South Atlantic League by several months — but he hit .345/.396/.523 (193 wRC+) in 52 rookie balls games last year. A spot in the organizational top 30 prospects list awaits.

MLB unveils 2017 special event uniforms

Earlier this month MLB unveiled their special event uniforms for the 2017 season. These cover Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and the All-Star Game. Rather than wear the special uniforms only on the day of the event, this year players will wear them the entire holiday weekend. Everything will then be auctioned off for charity. Here are the Yankees special event hats and jerseys, via Chris Creamer:

2017-special-event-uniforms

That stars and stripes hat for the Fourth of July is pretty awesome. These special event caps usually don’t do anything for me, but I dig that one. Also, during the All-Star Game this year, each player will wear a patch on their sleeve that includes the number of All-Star Games they’ve been selected to in their careers. That’s pretty cool.

Yankees are still the most valuable franchise in MLB

Surprise surprise, the Yankees remain the most valuable franchise in baseball, according to Forbes. By a lot, too. The Yankees are worth an estimated $3.7 billion. The Dodgers are a distant second at $2.75 billion. Yeah. This is the 20th consecutive year the Yankees have ranked as baseball’s most valuable franchise. They generated an MLB best $526M in revenue in 2016 despite a 10% drop in attendance the last few years.

Amazingly, the average MLB franchise is now worth $1.54 billion, up a whopping 19% from last year. Incredible. The league can thank new television contracts and the rapid growth of the MLB Advanced Media juggernaut for that. The Yankees were worth an estimated $3.4 billion last year. Back in 2010 they were worth a comparatively tiny $1.6 billion. The franchise could very well triple in value before the decade is over. Owning an MLB team is good work if you can get it.

DotF: Gregorius begins rehab assignment in Tampa’s loss

Triple-A Scranton (1-0 win over Indianapolis)

  • 2B Tyler Wade: 1-3, 1 3B, 1 RBI, 2 K — he was ejected for arguing balls and strikes in the fifth inning
  • DH Clint Frazer: 0-3, 1 HBP — off to a 9-for-46 (.196) start, so so much for forcing an early season call-up
  • CF Dustin Fowler: 1-4, 2 K
  • RF Rob Refsnyder: 1-3, 1 BB
  • LF Mason Williams: 0-4, 3 K — off to a 7-for-44 (.159) start … can’t help but wonder how much longer he’ll be around … can’t imagine his 40-man roster spot is all that safe
  • RHP Chad Green: 6 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 8 K, 6/1 GB/FB — 66 of 98 pitches were strikes (67%) … 28/4 K/BB in 22 minor league innings so far this year … we know he can get Triple-A hitters out … now we have to see if he can get big leaguers out consistently
  • RHP Gio Gallegos: 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, 2/0 GB/FB — 19 of 29 pitches were strikes (66%)

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