DotF: Mitchell tosses eight shutout innings in Triple-A win

Got some notes first:

  • 1B Greg Bird (shoulder) took batting practice in Tampa today, according to Nick Peruffo. There’s no timetable for his return — or at least no timetable that has been made public — but taking batting practice means the process of coming back has started.
  • Both 3B Eric Jagielo (No. 14) and SS Jorge Mateo (No. 20) made this week’s Prospect Hot Sheet. 2B Rob Refsnyder, meanwhile, made the Not So Hot Sheet. Zoinks.
  • Chris King posted some firsthand scouting notes on IF Abi Avelino and IF Tyler Wade, calling them a “fun middle-infield duo to watch.” Click the link for more on both players.

Triple-A Scranton (7-0 win over Norfolk)

  • CF Mason Williams: 1-4, 1 R, 1 BB
  • 2B Rob Refsnyder: 2-2, 1 R, 1 RBI, 2 BB — 10.1 BB% this year after 9.5 BB% last year and 14.8 BB% the year before that
  • LF Tyler Austin: 0-4, 2 K
  • RF Ben Gamel: 0-2, 2 R, 2 BB — four walks and two strikeouts in his last six games
  • RHP Bryan Mitchell: 8 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 11/6 GB/FB — 57 of 79 pitches were strikes (72%) … brilliant, wish he could have gotten a chance to finish the game
  • RHP Mark Montgomery: 1 IP, zeroes, 1 K, 2/0 GB/FB — nine pitches, six strikes … 16/5 K/BB in 17.1 innings

[Read more…]

2015 Draft: Ashe Russell

Ashe Russell | RHP

Background
The 18-year-old Russell attends Cathedral High School in Indianapolis and is committed to Texas A&M. He’s been on the radar as a draft prospect for years and has consistently performed well against elite high school competition in showcase events.

Scouting Report
At 6-foot-4 and 195 lbs., Russell has the big frame scouts love, and he generates a ton of movement thanks to his low arm slot. His fastball sits 92-95 mph and runs all over the place, though he’s able to command it well. A hard low-80s slider that takes a sharp left turn just before it reaches the plate is his out pitch. Russell doesn’t have a changeup — he hasn’t needed one in high school — and while he’ll need one at the next level, his fastball/slider combo will always be his break and butter. There’s some concern Russell won’t handle lefties well enough to remain in the rotation long-term.

Miscellany
MLB.com, Baseball America, and Keith Law (subs. req’d) ranked Russell as the 14th, 17th, and 31st best prospect in the draft class in their most recent rankings, respectively. For what it’s worth, Baseball America said the Yankees were in on Russell in their second to last mock draft. The Yankees pick 16th and 30th this year and Russell’s a divisive prospect — some see a high-end starter and others see a reliever. I’m not sure if he’s someone who will still be on the board when that 30th pick comes up.

2015 Draft: Baseball America’s Mock Draft v4.0

Ponce. (Cal Poly)
Ponce. (Cal Poly)

It’s Friday, which means John Manuel of Baseball America has posted his updated mock draft. It’s free to read. You don’t need a subscription. This week Manuel has the Diamondbacks taking Vanderbilt SS Dansby Swanson with the first overall pick, and that seems to be the consensus now. There is no clear top prospect this year, so the D’Backs have been in on everyone, but lately everything seems to be converging towards Swanson.

This week Manuel has the Yankees taking Cal Poly Pomona RHP Cody Ponce with their first pick, 16th overall. Here’s my profile on Ponce. The Yankees have been connected to Ponce, a big right-hander with a deep repertoire who isn’t as refined as the typical college hurler, for a few weeks now. Scouting director Damon Oppenheimer loves physically huge Southern California pitchers and that’s Ponce.

With the 30th overall selection, the compensation pick for David Robertson, Manuel has the Yankees selecting California HS C Chris Betts. Here’s my profile on Betts. Like Ponce, the Yankees have been connected to Betts for several weeks now. He’s a bat first catcher with huge left-handed power, maybe the most in the draft, but he’s not a lock to stay behind the plate. It’s not impossible, Betts just has work to do defensively.

Within the write-up Manuel notes the team “wants an arm,” and while the Yankees “don’t mind dealing with tough signability … they remain unlikely to gamble with difficult medical issues.” Manuel notes they also prefer Ponce to Louisville RHP Kyle Funkhouser, who has a big arm but is tumbling down draft boards because he was missing 5-6 mph in his last start. Yikes.

Eric Jagielo in position to help the Yankees in the future … or at the trade deadline

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Two years ago the Yankees had three first round picks thanks to the free agent departures of Nick Swisher and Rafael Soriano. They desperately needed to add impact talent to the system at the time, and by and large they succeeded, mostly with OF Aaron Judge. Judge was the compensation pick for Swisher. LHP Ian Clarkin, the comp pick for Soriano, had a strong season in 2014 but has been dealing with elbow woes this year.

The third of those three first rounders — or really the first since it was New York’s natural first round pick — was 3B Eric Jagielo, who this year is emerging as a top power hitting prospect with Double-A Trenton. He went into yesterday’s doubleheader hitting .297/.380/.568 (166 wRC+) with an Eastern League leading nine home runs while ever so slightly cutting strikeout rate from 24.4% last year to 22.9%.

For some reason there seemed to be a sense of disappointment with Jagielo’s 2014 season, maybe because he wasn’t as overwhelmingly dominant as Judge. Jagielo, now 23, missed about a month with an oblique strain last year but otherwise hit .256/.351/.461 (132 wRC+) with a 10.6 BB% with High-A Tampa. Heck, he hit one more home run than Judge (18 to 17) in 178 fewer plate appearances.

Jagielo was supposed to join Judge in the Arizona Fall League last fall, but he took a pitch to the face in Instructional League and needed surgery to repair a fracture. Thankfully he fully recovered and is back to mashing baseballs, which is great for the Yankees. As a left-handed power hitter willing to draw walks, Jagielo is tailor made for Yankee Stadium, and he isn’t terrible far away from MLB. The second half of 2016 isn’t an unrealistic timetable.

There’s also this: Jagielo’s strong season makes him an attractive trade chip for the Yankees. Teams aren’t stupid, they make trades based on their own internal evaluations, not the player’s FanGraphs page, but Jagielo’s performance is the kind of performance that can get a player noticed and bring scouts back for another look. Offense and especially power are hard to find these days and Jagielo offers it. That he’s now doing it in Double-A instead of High-A will make him even more attractive.

(MiLB.com)
(MiLB.com)

Obviously Jagielo is not a perfect prospect. He doesn’t really have a position. He’s currently playing third base but his defense at the hot corner isn’t all that good, so much so that there’s at least some talk of moving him to a corner outfield spot or first base. Jagielo’s bat would play at either position though clearly he would be most valuable at third base, where the Yankees have Chase Headley in year one of his new four-year contract. Kind of a problem there.

Both Carlos Beltran and Mark Teixeira will be become free agents after next season, so right field and first base are opening up soon. Jagielo could be an option there. I know we’ve all kinda been earmarking those spots for Judge and 1B Greg Bird, respectively, but who knows? That’s a long time away in prospect years and lots can change. Who’s to say Jagielo won’t be the team’s best first base option in 16 months? I don’t think it’s farfetched at all.

Either way, the Yankees have lots of options with Jagielo, who is having a tremendous season to date and looks very much like the power/patience left-handed force he was expected to be at the time of the draft. They have the option of holding onto him, seeing what spots open up in the next year and change, or using him in a trade to bolster another part of the team this year since they do have Headley locked in at third base. There’s an argument to made both ways.

Personally, I think the Yankees are at a point where they should hang on to Jagielo and see how the roster shakes out. His offense could be a very welcome addition to the lineup at some point in the next two years. At the same time, they shouldn’t close the door on any trades. That would be foolish. Jagielo could net them a piece that better fits their roster going forward, say a young pitcher or middle infielder, and that’s a move they have to be open to making if the opportunity presents itself.

Right now, Jagielo is living up to his first round draft slot much like Judge, which is something the Yankees really needed given their run of (thus far) unproductive top picks from 2007-12. Jagielo’s success gives the team some options going forward, including the option to keep him and the option to use him in a trade.

DotF: Judge and Jagielo double, Sanchez homers in AA win

RHP Luis Severino has been promoted from Double-A Trenton to Triple-A Scranton, reports Josh Norris. The Yankees continue to be very aggressive with their top pitching prospect. Severino threw 67.2 innings at Low-A, 20.2 innings at High-A, and 63 innings at Double-A. That’s all. He had a 3.32 ERA (2.45 FIP) with a 30.6 K% and 6.4 BB% in eight starts and 38 innings for Trenton this year.

Triple-A Scranton had a scheduled off-day.

Double-A Trenton Game One (4-3 win over Akron in eight innings) completion of yesterday’s game, which was suspended due to rain in the third inning

  • DH Jake Cave: 0-3, 1 BB
  • RF Aaron Judge: 1-4, 1 2B — the double came yesterday, before the rain
  • 3B Eric Jagielo: 2-4, 2 R, 1 2B — doubled yesterday as well
  • C Gary Sanchez: 2-4, 1 R 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 K — homered today … fifth homer in his last 12 games
  • RHP Kyle Haynes: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 0 K, 4/3 GB/FB — 21 of 35 pitches were strikes (60%) … he started yesterday because they knew it was going to rain, and they didn’t want to lose their starter after only an inning or two
  • RHP Brady Lail: 0.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 1/0 GB/FB — 14 of 23 pitches were strikes (61%) … replaced Haynes yesterday and then it started raining, naturally
  • RHP Nick Goody: 2.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 1/2 GB/FB — 21 of 30 pitches were strikes (70%)

[Read more…]

2015 Draft: Jacob Nix

Jacob Nix | RHP

Background
Nix, 19, was the Astros’ fifth round pick last year out of a California high school, and he agreed to sign for an above slot $1.5M. When Houston’s deal with first overall pick Brady Aiken fell apart, they backed out of the agreement with Nix because they no longer had the bonus pool savings from the Aiken pick. Nix filed a grievance and the two sides settled for $1.5M six figures before going to a hearing. He is now doing a post-graduate year at IMG Academy in Florida and is draft-eligible again this summer.

Scouting Report
At 6-foot-4 and 205 lbs., Nix has the model pitcher’s frame, and depending on the day you’ll see either a future ace or a future fifth starter. His fastball jumped this spring and he now sits in the 92-95 mph range with some run back in on righties. Nix’s curveball is inconsistent but is a true put-away pitch at its best. His changeup is more consistent but doesn’t show the same out pitch potential. Command is an issue but Nix has worked hard to spring to tighten up his mechanics. He’s still pretty raw, though Nix has made some nice strides since the Astros left him at the altar last year.

Miscellany
In their latest rankings, Keith Law (subs. req’d), Baseball America, and MLB.com ranked Nix as the 30th, 37th, and 45th best prospect in the draft class, respectively. Law said he heard the Yankees were in on Nix in his most recent mock draft. Nix is going to go much higher this year — he was more of a third rounder who fell to the fifth round due to bonus demands last summer — but he isn’t a slam dunk first rounder. He’s definitely not a quick to MLB prospect either. The Yankees pick 16th, 30th, and 57th this year. Nix won’t be around for 57th overall, so it would have to be 16th or 30th, likely 30th.

2015 Draft: Keith Law’s Mock Draft v2.0

Allard. (USA Baseball)
Allard. (USA Baseball)

Earlier today Keith Law posted his second mock draft of the season (subs. req’d), and this time he has the Diamondbacks taking Vanderbilt SS Dansby Swanson with the first overall pick. We’ve seen Swanson connected to Arizona in other mock drafts too. I’ve lost track of how many players have been considered for that spot though. There’s no consensus No. 1 pick this year.

Law has the Yankees selecting California HS LHP Kolby Allard with their top pick, the 16th overall selection. He had them taking Pennsylvania HS RHP Mike Nikorak in his first mock draft. Allard came into the spring as arguably the best left-handed pitcher in the draft before missing two months with a stress reaction in his back. He was unable to return before the end of his team’s season, though there was talk Allard would schedule some showcase events for scouts this month to show he’s healthy.

Here’s a snippet of Allard’s free MLB.com scouting report:

A UCLA recruit, he has two plus pitches in his 92-94 mph fastball that tops out at 96 and a tight curveball. Allard’s third pitch is a changeup that needs more work. He has an easy delivery that enhances his ability to command his pitches and his chances to remain a starter despite his smaller build.

Allard’s listed at 6-foot-0 and 170 lbs., so he’s not a big kid, but he has stuff and command. Law (subs. req’d) called him the best left-handed pitcher in the draft “in terms of ceiling and floor,” for what it’s worth. Obviously the back injury is a concern. Those tend to never go away. At least it’s not his arm though. If he’s healthy, Allard would be as close to the best case scenario as it gets for that 16th pick.

Also in the mock draft, Law says he hears the Yankees are in California HS C Chris Betts, New York HS OF Garrett Whitley, and Tennessee HS RHP Donny Everett as well. Nothing new, we’ve heard that before. Here are my profiles on Betts, Whitley, and Everett. The Yankees could conceivably end up with two of those guys because they have the 30th pick as well (compensation for David Robertson), plus a ton of draft pool space ($7.885M).