International Signings: Medina, Garcia, Espinosa, Jimenez

The 2015-16 international signing period opened on July 2nd, just as it does every year, except this year the Yankees were effectively shut out from the top available talent. As a result of last year’s spending spree, the team can not sign a player to a bonus larger than $300,000 during both the 2015-16 and 2016-17 signing periods.

That’s okay, the Yankees signed about three years worth of top talent last summer, plus they are very good at finding under-the-radar prospects. Both Luis Severino ($225,000) and Jorge Mateo ($250,000) signed for relatively small bonuses, for example. Anyway, the Yankees did indeed sign several international prospects this year. Here’s the little bit of bonus and scouting information I could dig up.

The Top Prospect: RHP Luis Medina

Medina, 16, is the best prospect the Yankees have signed this signing period, as far as I can tell. He received a $280,000 bonus plus a $120,000 scholarship according to the Dominican Prospect League. Kiley McDaniel got a firsthand look at Medina late last year. Here’s his write-up:

The best of a so-so group of pitchers that made the trip was RHP Luis Medina.  He sat 89-91 and hit 94 mph in a short outing but one scout told me he saw Medina a few weeks before and he sat 93-95, hitting 96 mph.  It obviously isn’t a super clean or polished delivery, but the frame has some projection, the arm works, he has some feel to spin an average or better curveball and the arm speed is elite.  There predictably isn’t much of a changeup at this stage either, but Medina looks like a sure seven figure guy right now and there’s time for him to develop some starter traits before signing.

Obviously the seven-figure thing didn’t happen. Medina, like most non-elite prospects his age, is very raw and a work in progress. He has good velocity and a quick arm, so that’s a good start. He has the unteachables. Now the Yankees need to help Medina refine his offspeed stuff and command.

Known Bonuses

In addition to Medina, bonus information for four other Yankees signees has been reported. RHP Deivi Garcia signed for $100,000 according to MYN Baseball RD, while C Robert Espinosa, IF Brian Jimenez, and OF Vinicio Martinez all received $50,000 bonuses. Espinosa also received a $60,000 scholarship. That all comes from the Dominican Prospect League. Each team gets six $50,000 bonus exemptions that do not count against their bonus pool, so Espinosa, Jimenez, and Martinez take half of those slots. Garcia’s the lucky one. He got six figures.

Unknown Bonuses

The Yankees also signed 16-year-old LHP Heiner Moreno out of a prospect camp in Panama, MLB announced. His bonus is unknown. Matt Eddy reported a slew of signings without bonus information: 3B Sandy Acevedo, 2B Diego Duran, RHP Rony Garcia, SS Jesus Graterol, LHP Argelis Herrera, SS Brayan Jimenez, C Moises Lobo, SS Kleiber Maneiro, RHP Alex Mejias, RHP Luis Ojeda, RHP Elvis Peguero, and 3B Alfred Pujols. I would love to tell you more about each and every one of these players, but I can’t do it. No information to be found. That’s par for the course when it comes to non-top international guys.

* * *

The Yankees were allotted a $2.2628M bonus pool for international free agency this summer. They spent $380,000 of that on Heredia and Garcia. Who knows how much all of those other players received though. There are 13 players in that “Unknown Bonuses” section and I’m sure some of them received a decent chunk of change. The Yankees can also trade their four international slots, but they don’t have much value. Bonus slots been included as throw-ins and instead of players to be named later in trades around the league. Hopefully we get more information about all these kids the Yankees signed at some point. I’m sure we will … eventually.

DotF: Domingo Acevedo dominates in Staten Island’s win

Triple-A Scranton (8-1 loss to Rochester) one more win or one more Rochester loss clinches the division title

  • CF Ben Gamel: 0-4
  • RF Aaron Judge: 2-3, 1 BB
  • CF Jake Cave: 0-3, 1 BB, 3 K — no contact game in his first Triple-A start
  • DH Slade Heathcott: 1-3, 2 K
  • RHP Kyle Haynes: 5 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 1 WP, 1 Balk, 8/3 GB/FB — 47 of 81 pitches were strikes (58%)
  • RHP Conor Mullee: 1.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, 2/1 GB/FB — 13 of 24 pitches were strikes (54%) … Triple-A debut for the 27-year-old three-time Tommy John surgery survivor

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DotF: Finley pitches Pulaski to a win on final day of season

Some notes to pass along:

  • OF Slade Heathcott was not among the first wave of September call-ups nor did he lose his 40-man roster spot. As it turns out, he’s banged up. Donnie Collins says it’s his quad, which landed Slade on the DL for a few months earlier this season. Sucks.
  • To help cover following all the call-ups, RHP Mark Montgomery, RHP Cesar Vargas, RHP Conor Mullee, IF Ali Castillo, IF Cito Culver, IF Rob Segedin, OF Jake Cave, C Kyle Higashioka were all promoted to Triple-A Scranton, reports Chad Jennings.
  • OF Ben Gamel was named the Triple-A International League Rookie of the Year. He was also the only Yankees farmhand to make the league’s end-of-season All-Star Team, so congrats to him.
  • And finally, no Yankees farmhands were selected for the Low-A South Atlantic League end-of-season All-Star Team.

Triple-A Scranton (2-1 win over Rochester)

  • CF Ben Gamel: 0-4, 1 BB, 1 K
  • 2B Ali Castillo: 3-5, 1 2B, 1 SB — at least September call-ups allowed them to upgrade at second for the postseason (kidding/trolling)
  • RF Aaron Judge: 0-4, 3 K
  • LF Slade Heathcott: 0-3, 1 R, 1 BB, 3 K — quad can’t be too bad if he’s running around the outfield
  • SS Gregorio Petit: 2-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 K
  • RHP Kyle Davies: 6 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 5 K, 1 WP, 3/6 GB/FB, 1 E (fielding) — 58 of 90 pitches were strikes (64%)
  • RHP Mark Montgomery: 1 IP, zeroes, 2 K, 0/1 GB/FB — ten pitches, eight strikes
  • RHP Nick Goody: 1 IP, zeroes, 1 K, 0/1 GB/FB — eight pitches, five strikes

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Sanchez, Jagielo, Wade headline 2015 Arizona Fall League rosters

Sanchez. (Presswire)
Sanchez. (Presswire)

Earlier today, the bulk of the 2015 Arizona Fall League rosters were announced. This year the Yankees are sending C Gary Sanchez, 3B Eric Jagielo, SS Tyler Wade, OF Dustin Fowler, LHP Chaz Hebert, and LHP Tyler Webb to the AzFL. Josh Norris says they still have two more pitching spots available, if they choose. They don’t have to send anyone else.

Sanchez and Jagielo are the headliners. I had them as New York’s No. 3 and No. 8 prospects in my most recent rankings, respectively. They’re both hurt right now — Sanchez pulled a hamstring last week while Jagielo has been out since mid-June following knee surgery — and will be making up for lost time in the desert. The fact both are on the roster is an indication the team expects them to be healthy.

Jagielo, 23, was scheduled to play in the AzFL last year before being hit in the face by a pitch in Instructional League. He hit .284/.347/.495 (140 wRC+) with nine home runs in 58 games for Double-A Trenton this season before the knee acted up. The 22-year-old Sanchez put up a .274/.330/.485 (134 wRC+) line with 18 homers in 93 games split between Double-A and Triple-A this summer.

I ranked Wade as the team’s No. 11 prospect a few weeks ago, so he’s not too far behind Sanchez and Jagielo. Wade, 20, has hit .258/.322/.332 (100 wRC+) in 119 games this year, doing most of the damage with High-A Tampa (117 wRC+ in 98 games) before struggling at Double-A (17 wRC+ in 21 games). The 20-year-old Fowler owns a .302/.339/.403 (117 wRC+) line with five homers in 118 games between Low-A and High-A this year.

Like Sanchez and Wade, the 25-year-old Webb is on the rehab trail after pitching to a 2.84 ERA (3.23 FIP) in 38 innings for Triple-A Scranton. He hasn’t pitched since late-June and I’m not sure why. Some kind of injury. Couldn’t have been too bad if the Yankees expect him to pitch in the AzFL. Hebert, 22, has had a breakout year, posting a 2.58 ERA (3.05 FIP) in 129 innings at three levels in 2015. Fowler, Webb, and Hebert did not make my most recent top 30 prospects list.

One of those last two pitching spots could go to LHP Jacob Lindgren, who’s been out since mid-June after having bone spurs removed from his elbow. He is currently on a throwing program but has not yet thrown off a mound, so he might not be ready in time for the AzFL season. The 22-year-old southpaw had a 1.23 ERA (1.88 FIP) in 22 Triple-A innings this season before throwing seven big league innings and getting hurt. The AzFL seems like a good opportunity to make up for some lost innings if healthy.

The other spot could go to LHP Ian Clarkin, I suppose, but that seems very unlikely. Clarkin, the team’s No. 7 prospect, has not pitched at all this season due to a lingering elbow problem. He is currently on a throwing program and has apparently been throwing off a mound recently. That said, the AzFL is an extreme hitter’s league, so most teams do not send their top pitching prospects. The Yankees might not want Clarkin pitching in such a rough environment after missing the season.

There’s no sense in adding Lindgren or Clarkin to the AzFL rosters before they complete their throwing programs, so we’ll just have to wait and see what happens with those last two spots. This season Yankees farmhands will play for the Surprise Saguaros alongside Royals, Brewers, Cardinals, and Rangers prospects. Here’s the full roster. The 32-game AzFL season begins October 13th and runs through November 19th. The Championship Game is scheduled for November 21st.

DotF: September call-up candidates have big games in Scranton’s win

Got some notes to pass along:

  • Brian Cashman told Dan Barbarisi that C Gary Sanchez (hamstring) will not be part of the first wave of September call-ups tomorrow. He’s still hurting. That makes C Austin Romine the odds on favorite to be the third catcher down the stretch, at least until Sanchez gets healthy.
  • SS Jorge Mateo was placed on the High-A Tampa DL retroactive to Saturday, reports Nick Flammia. Mateo recently suffered some kind of leg injury running the bases. Tampa’s season ends Sunday and they’re not going to the playoffs, so Mateo’s season may be over.
  • OF Michael O’Neill and OF Trey Amburgey were named the Offensive Players of the Week in the High-A Florida State League and Short Season NY-Penn League, respectively. Also, LHP Jordan Montgomery was named the FSL Pitcher of the Week.
  • Late Update: OF Jake Cave, RHP Mark Montgomery, RHP Conor Mullee, and RHP Cesar Vargas have all been promoted to Triple-A Scranton, reports Josh Norris and Meister Sports. They’re all filling roster spots in the wave of September call-ups.

Triple-A Scranton (6-4 win over Buffalo)

  • CF Ben Gamel: 2-5, 2 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI — tenth homer of the year … he hit ten homers total from 2010-14
  • DH Rob Refsnyder: 2-5, 2 2B, 1 RBI — with rosters expanding tomorrow, I guess there is a non-zero chance this is the final Triple-A game he ever plays
  • 2B Dustin Ackley: 3-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 E (fielding) — played a full nine innings for the first time as part of his rehab … we’ll see him when rosters expand tomorrow
  • LF Jose Pirela: 0-4, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K
  • RF Aaron Judge: 2-5, 1 2B, 1 RBI
  • C Austin Romine: 1-5, 1 K, 1 PB — assuming he’s the third catcher in September, I’m kinda surprised they let him catch tonight given the risk of injury
  • RHP Brady Lail: 6 IP, 9 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 7/1 GB/FB — 59 of 95 pitches were strikes (62%) … he’s at 145.1 innings this year after throwing 134.1 last year
  • RHP Chris Martin: 2 IP, zeroes, 2 K, 4/1 GB/FB — 20 of 27 pitches were strikes (74%)
  • RHP Nick Rumbelow: 1 IP, zeroes, 2/1 GB/FB — ten pitches, six strikes

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DotF: Ackley plays second base in fourth rehab game

Triple-A Scranton (2-0 win over Buffalo)

  • CF-LF Slade Heathcott: 0-4, 1 K
  • DH Rob Refsnyder: 2-4, 1 2B, 1 RBI — three two-hit games and four no-hit games in his last seven games
  • 2B Dustin Ackley: 1-3, 1 RBI, 1 K, 1 HBP — left the game in the eighth after being hit by a pitch, though I’m unsure if he got hurt or if that was simply the plan for the day (he hasn’t played a full nine innings yet as part of his rehab) … interesting he played second base
  • LF-2B Jose Pirela: 1-4
  • RF-CF Aaron Judge: 0-4, 1 K — in an ugly 1-for-25 (.040) slump
  • C Austin Romine: 0-4, 1 K
  • RHP Chris Capuano: 3.2 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 1 WP, 5/2 GB/FB — 36 of 62 pitches were strikes (58%) … unless there’s a sudden need at the MLB level, I bet he stays here through the Triple-A postseason, then the team will figure out what happens after that
  • RHP Johnny Barbato: 3.1 IP, zeroes, 3 K, 6/0 GB/FB — 27 of 36 pitches were strikes (75%) … finishing his first season in the organization very well
  • RHP Nick Goody: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 2/0 GB/FB — 23 of 30 pitches were strikes (77%)

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DotF: Dustin Ackley goes deep in third rehab game

Triple-A Scranton (3-1 loss to Buffalo)

  • CF Ben Gamel & 2B Rob Refsnyder: both 0-4 — Gamel struck out once, Refsnyder twice
  • RF Dustin Ackley: 1-2, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI — played six innings in the field in his third rehab game
  • 3B Jose Pirela, CF Aaron Judge & C Austin Romine: all 0-3 — Judge struck out twice
  • LHP Eric Wooten: 5 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 4 K, 5/3 GB/FB — 39 of 56 pitches were strikes (70%)
  • RHP Caleb Cotham: 2 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 3/0 GB/FB — 23 of 30 pitches were strikes (77%)
  • RHP Andrew Bailey: 1 IP, zeroes, 1 K, 0/2 GB/FB — ten of 15 pitches were strikes (67%) … with rosters expanding Tuesday, I’m guessing he’ll be wearing pinstripes the next time he pitches

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