DotF: Sheffield dominant in Arizona Fall League opener

Now that the various fall and winter leagues have started their seasons, it’s time for a minor league update. I usually only do these once a week during the offseason. Before we get to the game action, here are some stray notes and links.

  • If you’re still holding out hope the Yankees will find a way to keep Gary Denbo, stop. The Marlins officially announced his hiring this past Tuesday. Here’s the press release. The Yankees have not yet announced who will replace Denbo as their player development department head. It might not happen until after the postseason.
  • Matt Eddy ranked the 30 teams by farm system production, and the Yankees led the way with +13.2 WAR from their prospect class in 2017. The Rockies were a distant second with +7.4 WAR. OF Aaron Judge is the headliner, obviously, but both LHP Jordan Montgomery and RHP Chad Green had close to +3 WAR seasons too.
  • Baseball America (subs. req’d) posted their 2017 draft report card for the Yankees recently. Most notably, the write-up says OF Steven Sensley has 70 power. Huh. Didn’t expect that. Sensley hit .292/.370/.584 (157 wRC+) with 13 homers in 50 games after being this year’s 12th round pick.
  • The Yankees have re-signed C Francisco Diaz, according to Eddy. Diaz, 27, hit .261/.315/.322 (79 wRC+) in 58 games at three levels as an organizational depth catcher this year. This is at least the second time he’s re-signed with the Yankees as a minor league free agent.

AzFL Scottsdale (7-4 win over Mesa) Tuesday’s game

  • SS Thairo Estrada: 2-4, 1 R, 1 RBI, 2 K — the Summer of Thairo is now the Autumn of Thairo (the Fall of Thairo sounds bad)
  • DH Billy McKinney: 1-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 K
  • RF Estevan Florial: 1-4, 2 K — threw a runner out at the plate
  • LHP Justus Sheffield: 5 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 6 K, 6/1 GB/FB — 40 of 62 pitches were strikes (65%) … Keith Law and Eric Longenhagen had Sheffield sitting 94-96 mph … Law said this game was the best he’s ever seen Sheffield, and a scout told Josh Norris: “That was No. 1 starter stuff right there” … in a post (subs. req’d), Law said Sheffield was “absolutely filthy in his AFL debut, sitting 94-96 with a plus slider at 86-87 and above-average changeup at 86-89, better at the 86-87 part of that range”
  • RHP Cody Carroll: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 3/0 GB/FB — 16 of 31 pitches were strikes (52%)

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DotF: Scranton’s season ends with Championship Series loss

Triple-A Scranton (6-4 loss to Durham) they lost the best-of-five International League Championship Series three games to one, so they will not repeat as Triple-A champs … their season is over

  • CF Mason Williams: 0-4, 1 BB, 1 K
  • 2B Donovan Solano: 1-5 — went 13-for-33 (.394) n the postseason
  • RF Billy McKinney: 1-4, 1 R, 1 BB, 2 K
  • 3B Miguel Andujar: 1-5, 1 2B, 1 K
  • DH Mike Ford: 3-5, 1 R, 2 2B — he did his part
  • 1B Garrett Cooper: 1-4, 1 HBP
  • C Kyle Higashioka: 0-3, 1 RBI, 2 BB, 1 K, 1 E (missed catch) — the missed catch on a play at the plate allowed a run to score
  • LF Jake Cave: 0-5, 1 RBI, 3 K — went 1-for-23 (.043) with 12 strikeouts in the postseason
  • SS Jonathan Diaz: 1-1, 2 R, 2 BB, 1 HBP
  • RHP Brady Lail: 5 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 5 K, 4/1 GB/FB — 49 of 76 pitches were strikes (64%)
  • RHP Jonathan Holder: 2 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 1/0 GB/FB — 26 of 38 pitches were strikes (68%)
  • RHP Nick Rumbelow: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 0/1 GB/FB — eight pitches, eleven strikes

The season is over for Double-A Trenton, High-A Tampa, Low-A Charleston, Short Season Staten Island, Rookie Pulaski, and the two Rookie GCL Yanks affiliates. GCL East won their league championship while GCL West did not qualify for the postseason. Every other affiliate has been knocked out of the postseason.

Two things now that the minor league season is over for the Yankees affiliates. One, I imagine there will be a few September call-ups tomorrow. Holder, Andujar, Higashioka, and Cooper seem likely. Domingo German too. And two, no more DotF. Season’s over. The minor league updates will return once the Arizona Fall League begins in October, though I usually only do those weekly or bi-weekly. Not every night. Thanks for sticking around and reading for another season, folks.

Update: Andujar and Holder will join the Yankees tomorrow, according to Conor Foley. Higashioka and German are going to Tampa to continue working, to stay sharp in case they’re needed later. No idea what’s up with Cooper. If he doesn’t get called up … yikes. Doesn’t bode well for his future in the organization.

DotF: Adams and Carter struggle in postseason losses

A couple notes before we get to the games:

  • Baseball America posted the Yankees’ Instructional League roster, if you’re interested. As always, it is mostly lower level kids and recent draftees, as well as Arizona Fall League players who need to stay sharp the next few weeks. Instructs should be starting any day, if they haven’t already.
  • Keith Law (subs. req’d) posted a bunch of scouting notes on Yankees prospects. He reiterated RHP Dillon Tate was back to where he was at the time of the 2015 draft — which means he still needs to improve his command — and also praised RHP Jonathan Loaisiga. “He has quickly established himself as one of the system’s best starting pitching prospects. Loaisiga was 92-96 that evening with a power two-plane curveball at 80-84 and some feel for a changeup at 85-87 … I like his chances to remain a starter given the potential for three pitches and the way he repeats his delivery,” said Law of Johnny Lasagna.

Triple-A Scranton (6-2 loss to Durham) they trail the best-of-five International League Championship Series two games to one

  • CF Mason Williams: 1-5, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 K
  • 2B Donovan Solano: 2-5, 1 RBI — he’s been their best player all postseason
  • RF Billy McKinney: 0-3, 1 BB, 1 K — 4-for-28 (.143) in the postseason and hitless in this series
  • 3B Miguel Andujar: 0-4, 3 K
  • 1B Garrett Cooper: 2-3, 1 BB, 1 K — 13-for-40 (.325) in his last ten games overall
  • C Kyle Higashioka: 1-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 2 K
  • RHP Chance Adams: 4 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 6 K, 1/5 GB/FB — 47 of 80 pitches were strikes (59%) … shortest start of the season (that didn’t involve a rain delay)
  • RHP J.P. Feyereisen: 1.1 IP, zeroes, 1 K, 0/2 GB/FB — ten of 14 pitches were strikes (71%)

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DotF: German dominates, Scranton evens championship series

Triple-A Scranton (4-0 win over Durham) the best-of-five International League Championship Series is now tied at a game apiece

  • CF Mason Williams: 1-5, 1 R, 1 K
  • 2B Donovan Solano: 2-3, 1 R, 1 RBI, 2 BB — he’s been a beast all postseason
  • RF Billy McKinney: 0-4, 1 BB, 2 K
  • 3B Miguel Andujar: 2-5, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 K
  • DH Garrett Cooper: 3-5, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI — got a hit against former Yankee Nathan Eovaldi, who threw an inning out of the bullpen this game … Eovaldi’s rehabbing from his second career Tommy John surgery
  • C Kyle Higashioka: 1-4
  • RHP Domingo German: 7 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 8 K, 1 WP, 9/3 GB/FB — 62 of 103 pitches were strikes (60%) … huge final start of the season for Domingo … I imagine he’ll get called up as soon as this series is over, though who knows whether he’ll actually pitch
  • RHP Nick Rumbelow: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 1/0 GB/FB — eleven of 17 pitches were strikes

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DotF: Scranton and Trenton drop championship series openers

Some quick notes to get us started:

  • OF Estevan Florial has been added to the Double-A Trenton roster for the Eastern League Championship Series, reports Josh Norris. He effectively replaces Clint Frazier on the roster. Matt Kardos says Florial may not start, however. He may only pinch-run or come in for defense, or serve as an injury replacement.
  • Randy Miller spoke to a scout about a whole bunch of Yankees prospects, so make sure you check it out. “(He) can play in multiple All-Star Games. I’ll put my neck out on the line for that one … This kid for me has a chance to be special,” said the scout of Florial. Also, SS Gleyber Torres got a Miguel Cabrera comp. Huh.
  • Baseball America released their Classification All-Stars this week. The Yankees have prospects on the Short Season (RHP Jorge Guzman), Low-A (Florial), and Triple-A (RHP Chance Adams) teams.
  • The Tampa complex suffered “minimal damage” during Hurricane Irma, farm system head Gary Denbo confirmed to George King. The Tampa offices reopen tomorrow, the team announced.

Triple-A Scranton (6-0 loss to Durham) they trail the best-of-five International League Championship Series one game to none

  • CF Mason Williams: 2-4, 1 K — 7-for–20 (.350) in the postseason so far
  • 2B Donovan Solano: 1-4, 2 K — 8-for-20 (.400) in the postseason so far
  • LF Billy McKinney, 3B Miguel Andujar, DH Mike Ford, C Kyle Higashioka & RF Jake Cave: all 0-3 — McKinney and Higashioka struck out
  • 1B Garrett Cooper: 0-2, 1 K, 1 HBP
  • RHP Ronald Herrera: 4.2 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 1 WP, 7/3 GB/FB — 55 of 77 pitches were strikes (71%) … allowed three runs in the first, so they were playing catch-up right from the start
  • RHP J.P. Feyereisen: 0.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 1 K, 0/1 GB/FB — half of his 22 pitches were strikes

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Game 143: A Road Series in New York

(Bruce Bennett/Getty)
(Bruce Bennett/Getty)

The Yankees are back home in New York but are still technically on a road trip. They’ll play the next three games against the Rays as the visiting team at Citi Field. Hurricane Irma forced MLB to move the series to a neutral site, and Citi Field was the best option. The crowd figures to be small and decidedly pro-Yankees. On one hand, it’s good the Yankees are back in New York. On the other, no one wanted this to be the reason. Hope everyone down in Florida is safe.

Thanks to a strong trip through Baltimore and Texas, the Yankees have created some breathing room in the wildcard race. They’re 3.5 games up on the Twins for the second wildcard spot and 4.5 games up on the Angels for a wildcard spot in general. They’re also only 3.5 games back of the Red Sox, though I’ve sorta given up on the division. If it happens, great. I’m focused on the wildcard for the time being. The Yankees have won three straight series. How about making it four? Here is the Rays’ lineup and here is the Yankees’ lineup:

  1. LF Brett Gardner
  2. RF Aaron Judge
  3. C Gary Sanchez
  4. SS Didi Gregorius
  5. 2B Starlin Castro
  6. DH Matt Holliday
  7. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  8. 3B Todd Frazier
  9. 1B Tyler Austin
    LHP CC Sabathia

It is cool and cloudy in New York this evening, and the tiny little bit of rain in the forecast isn’t supposed to arrive for another few hours. Tonight’s series opener will begin at 7:10pm ET and you’ll be able to watch on YES locally and MLB Network nationally. Enjoy the game.

Injury Update: Aaron Hicks (oblique) has not yet started swinging a bat, but he hopes to return before the end of the regular season. His ten days on the disabled list end Wednesday, though that doesn’t really matter if he hasn’t even started swinging a bat … Greg Bird was a late scratch from the lineup with lower back tightness.

Roster Move: The Yankees activated Clint Frazier off the 10-day DL, the team announced. They now have 33 players on the active roster. Frazier went 2-for-17 (.118) with ten strikeouts in four rehab games with Double-A Trenton following the oblique injury. I’m a bit surprised the Yankees activated him, but they were also carrying only three true outfielders on the roster, so I guess I shouldn’t be.

Minor League Update: There will be no DotF tonight, folks. There are no games. Tomorrow Triple-A Scranton and Double-A Trenton begin their league’s championship series, and Short Season Staten Island will resume their first round postseason series. They have off-days today and the season is over for the other affiliates.

DotF: Ford’s homer sends Scranton to championship series

Triple-A Scranton (1-0 win over Lehigh Valley) they win the best-of-five first round postseason series three games to one … they’ll take on Durham (Rays) in the best-of-five International League Championship Series, which starts Tuesday … they’re looking to become the first back-to-back IL champs (and back-to-back Triple-A champs) since Columbus in 2010 and 2011

  • CF Mason Williams, 2B Donovan Solano & RF Jake Cave: all 0-3 — Cave struck out twice and threw a runner out at second
  • LF Billy McKinney: 1-4, 1 K
  • 3B Miguel Andujar: 1-3, 1 2B — 5-for-16 (.313) with three doubles and a homer in the four-game series
  • 1B Mike Ford: 1-2, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 BB — his eighth inning solo homer accounted for the game’s only run
  • LHP Nestor Cortes: 7 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 8 K, 2/7 GB/FB — 67 of 98 pitches were strikes (68%) … wonder if he’s going to get popped in the Rule 5 Draft … stuff is iffy, but the performance at Double-A and Triple-A the last two years is undeniably great … seems like a rebuilding club could take a chance on him as a swingman
  • RHP Jonathan Holder: 1 IP, zeroes, 2 K, 0/1 GB/FB — 12 pitches, nine strikes
  • RHP Nick Rumbelow: 1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 0/1 GB/FB — ten of 15 pitches were strikes … by Triple-A standards, Holder/Rumbelow is a dominant setup man/closer tandem

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