DotF: Holliday continues rehab, McKinney homers in AAA loss

2017 Futures Game (USA wins 7-6)

  • RHP Domingo Acevedo: 1 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, 0/1 GB/FB — 18 of 22 pitches were strikes (82%) … the first five batters squared him up pretty good … clearly Acevedo is a bust and the Yankees should trade him for [insert random middle reliever] before his stock drops any further
  • RF Estevan Florial: 0-1, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K — he entered the game in the fifth inning … Florial struck out against Royals LHP Foster Griffin and walked against Athletics LHP A.J. Puk … he also tagged up from first and advanced to second on a foul pop-up near the first base dugout, which is pretty nuts (here’s video)

Triple-A Scranton (5-2 loss to Lehigh Valley)

  • CF Mason Williams: 1-4, 1 R, 1 K, 1 SB — threw a runner out at second
  • DH Matt Holliday: 1-4, 1 RBI, 1 K — 3-for-8 (.375) with two strikeouts in his two rehab games
  • LF Billy McKinney: 1-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 K — four homers in his last eight games
  • 3B Miguel Andujar: 1-4
  • SS Abi Avelino: 0-4, 1 K
  • RHP Domingo German: 3.1 IP, 1 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 1/5 GB/FB — 29 of 44 pitches were strikes (66%)
  • RHP Gio Gallegos: 2 IP, zeroes, 4 K, 0/1 GB/FB — 19 of 26 pitches were strikes (73%)

[Read more…]

Yankees 5, Brewers 3: Frazier’s walk-off homer saves the day


Source: FanGraphs

Things weren’t looking too good the first seven or eight innings Saturday afternoon. The offense was pretty lifeless against Brewers finesse lefty Brent Suter. Then the Fighting Spirit kicked in, and the bats woke up against the Milwaukee bullpen. Clint Frazier turned a 3-2 deficit into a 5-3 win with one swing of the bat. The Yankees really needed a win like that. We all did. It’s a Saturday, so let’s recap this game with bullet points:

  • Sevy Settles Down: It took the Brewers five batters to build a 3-0 lead. Domingo Santana poked an opposite field three-run home run into the short porch one batter after Travis Shaw was allegedly grazed by a pitch. Replays were inconclusive at best. After that tough first inning, Luis Severino settled down beautifully and fired six scoreless innings. He struck out ten. Severino’s final line: 7 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 10 K. Tough first inning. Everything after that was great.
  • Quiet Bats: It wasn’t until the fifth inning that the Yankees registered a hit and it wasn’t until the seventh that they got on the board. Suter lulled them to sleep with 88 mph fastballs all afternoon. Frustrating. A ground rule double (Chase Headley), a single (Jacoby Ellsbury), and an error (Suter) plated the first run. Suter threw away a pickoff throw. The Brewers are so bad defensively. So, so bad. Frazier followed with a triple to bring the Yankees to within 3-2. Signs of life!
  • Battle of the Bullpens: The Yankees won a battle of the bullpens! That hasn’t happened much lately. Dellin Betances and Aroldis Chapman finally looked like Dellin Betances and Aroldis Chapman. Six up, six down, five strikeouts. Thanks for that, guys. The ninth inning rally was pretty straightforward. All-Star closer Corey Knebel walked Didi Gregorius and Ellsbury, then left a 97 mph fastball middle-middle to Frazier. Frazier legendary-bat-speed-ed the hell out of it into the left field seats for a walk-off homer. Awesome. Just awesome. Here’s the video.
  • Leftovers: Frazier went 3-for-4 and was a double short of the cycle. He drove in four of his team’s five runs. The rest of the Yankees went 3-for-27 (.111) … Frazier is the first Yankee with triples in back-to-back games since Robinson Cano in 2011 … Aaron Judge and Ellsbury both had a single and a walk … Brett Gardner and Gary Sanchez both went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts.

Here are the box score, video highlights, and updated standings. We also have a Bullpen Workload page. This series and the first half of the season comes to an end Sunday afternoon. Masahiro Tanaka and Jimmy Nelson are the scheduled starting pitchers. Maybe the Yankees will give us one last win before the All-Star break. That’d be cool.

Minor League Update: I have neither the time nor the energy for a full DotF tonight. Sorry. Here are the box scores. Peruse at your leisure. Matt Holliday is scheduled to start a rehab assignment with Triple-A Scranton tonight.

DotF: Mateo extends hitting streak in Trenton’s win

Got a bunch of notes to get us started:

  • Baseball America released their midseason top 100 prospects list earlier today. Seven Yankees made it: SS Gleyber Torres (3rd), OF Blake Rutherford (36th), OF Clint Frazier (48th), RHP Chance Adams (55th), OF Estevan Florial (70th), LHP Justus Sheffield (72nd), and OF Dustin Fowler (88th). I’ll have some thoughts on this next week.
  • The Yankees signed Alabama-Birmingham RHP Garrett Whitlock (18th round) to a $247,500 bonus, reports Jim Callis. That is over the $125,000 slot for each pick after the tenth round, so the remaining $122,500 counts against the bonus pool. The signing deadline was 4pm ET today. Here is our Draft Pool tracker.
  • 1B Mike Ford (hamstring) and RHP Ronald Herrera (shoulder) were placed on the Triple-A Scranton disabled list, the team announced. Ford isn’t expected to be out long. Also, RHP Bryan Mitchell was sent from Triple-A Scranton to High-A Tampa. That allows him to make a start next week during the Triple-A All-Star break.
  • Two Yankees made Baseball America’s Prospect Team of the Month for June and they are not among the team’s top prospects: 2B Nick Solak and RHP Zack Littell. Hooray farm system depth! Solak hit .392/.453/.595 (204 wRC+) with three homers in June. Goodness. Littell had a 0.58 ERA (1.92 FIP) in 31 innings.
  • A bunch of Yankees made this week’s Prospect Hot Sheet: SS Jorge Mateo (7th), RHP Dillon Tate (8th), RHP Jorge Guzman (11th), and OF Billy McKinney (16th). That’s a good sign. Mateo, Tate, and McKinney are trying to rebuild prospect stock right now while Guzman is trying to establish his.

Triple-A Scranton (4-1 loss to Lehigh Valley)

  • CF Jake Cave: 1-4, 1 K
  • 3B Miguel Andujar: 0-4, 1 K
  • RF Billy McKinney: 0-3, 1 K
  • SS Abe Avelino: 0-3
  • RHP Chance Adams: 5 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 6 K, 3/4 GB/FB — 62 of 95 pitches were strikes (65%) … he’s walked at least three batters in seven of his 17 starts this year, which is a few too many
  • RHP J.P. Feyereisen: 2.2 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 2/2 GB/FB — 28 of 44 pitches were strikes (64%)
  • RHP Gio Gallegos: 1.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 0/1 GB/FB — 14 of 21 pitches were strikes

[Read more…]

DotF: Scranton walks off with a win behind Andujar, McKinney

It’s been a while since I’ve updated the standings, so let’s do that today. Here are the day’s notes first:

  • LHP Justus Sheffield was placed on the Double-A Trenton disabled list with a right oblique strain, the team announced. Manager Bobby Mitchell admitted to Kyle Franko it is a pretty significant strain. Sucks. There is no timetable for Sheffield’s return. At least it’s not his arm, I guess.
  • Baseball Prospectus released their midseason top 50 prospects list, which includes three Yankees: SS Gleyber Torres (7th), RHP Chance Adams (37th), and Sheffield (47th). Prospect eligible players in the big leagues (so OF Clint Frazier, OF Dustin Fowler, and IF Tyler Wade) were not included, ditto 2017 draftees.
  • OF Zack Zehner and LHP Nestor Cortes have been added the Double-A Eastern League All-Star Game, it was announced. Zehner is replacing 1B Mike Ford (promoted) on the roster and Cortes is replacing Sheffield.
  • Welcome back, Mason Williams. He cleared waivers and has been outrighted to Triple-A Scranton, the Yankees announced. That’s good. Never hurts to have a spare center fielder lying around.

Triple-A Scranton (4-3 win over Buffalo in eleven innings, walk-off style) they are 54-32 and have a one-game lead in the North Division

  • DH Jake Cave: 2-6, 2 R, 1 2B, 1 K
  • 3B Miguel Andujar: 1-6, 2 RBI — two-run walk-off single in the 11th
  • 1B Mike Ford: 3-4, 1 R — Conor Foley says Ford left the game with hamstring soreness and he’ll be reevaluated tomorrow … the first base depth chart is really, really thin right now
  • RF Billy McKinney: 3-5
  • 2B Jonathan Diaz: 3-5, 1 R, 1 K — first game back with the RailRiders after yesterday’s minor trade
  • LHP Dietrich Enns: 6 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 7/3 GB/FB — 67 of 92 pitches were strikes (73%) … 28/5 K/BB in 28 innings around the shoulder injury
  • RHP Jonathan Holder: 1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 0/1 GB/FB — 13 of 24 pitches were strikes (54%) … he’s going to have to do better than that to get back to the big leagues
  • RHP Ben Heller: 2 IP, zeroes, 3 K, 1/2 GB/FB — 18 of 28 pitches were strikes (64%)

[Read more…]

2017 International Signings: Periera, Rojas, Chirinos, Garcia

The Yankees' academy in the Dominican Republic. (Groundskeeper.MLBlogs.com)
The Yankees’ academy in the Dominican Republic. (Groundskeeper.MLBlogs.com)

The 2017-18 international signing period opened this past Sunday, on July 2nd as always, and for the first time in three years, the Yankees are not hamstrung by the penalties associated with their 2014-15 signing period spending spree. They were limited to a $300,000 bonus maximum the last two signing periods, which took them out of play for the top international prospects.

Although they are no longer held back by individual bonus limits, the Yankees are now dealing with the international free agency hard cap. Every team is. MLB and the MLBPA agreed to a hard spending cap as part of the latest Collective Bargaining Agreement. The Yankees have $4.75M to spend during the 2017-18 signing period. Some teams have $5.25M and others have $5.75M. It depends on market size and things like that.

The Yankees did, however, acquire more international spending money over the weekend. They shipped minor league righty Matt Wotherspoon to the Orioles for an undisclosed amount of bonus money. Teams can only acquire 50% of their original cap, so all we know is the Yankees did not receive more than $2.375M from the O’s. Chances are they acquired a smaller sum.

Now that they can once again be major players internationally — at least as much as their bonus pool allows — the Yankees dove in and signed several prospects since the open the signing period Sunday. More signings will trickle in over the next few weeks and months, though just about all of the top prospects sign on July 2nd. Here’s a recap of the Yankees’ latest international haul.

The Top Prospect: OF Everson Pereira

If Pereira’s name sounds familiar, it’s because the Yankees have been linked to him for some time now. We first heard about him back in February. Most of these international prospects agree to terms months in advance — sometimes even years in advance — even though those agreements are technically against the rules. MLB doesn’t enforce them though.

Pereira, a 16-year-old outfielder from Venezuela, received a $1.5M bonus according to Jesse Sanchez. Both Baseball America and MLB.com ranked him as the fourth best prospect in the international class while FanGraphs ranked him tenth. Here is a piece of MLB.com’s scouting report:

Scouts love this teenager from Venezuela. Pereira is a true center fielder, and if all goes according to plan, that’s the position he will play in the big leagues one day. He’s considered a plus defender and a plus runner … He has also shown good instincts and a good feel for the game on both sides of the ball. On offense, Pereira has displayed a good line-drive swing and has a chance to hit for average with some power in the future.

The Baseball America (subs. req’d) scouting report says Pereira has “one of the most balanced, well-rounded skill sets in the 2017 class, with a promising combination of tools and game awareness.” Once upon a time the Yankees were all about loud tools, and they still are, for sure. But it seems lately they’ve been emphasizing baseball instincts and things like that.

The Expected Signing: SS Ronny Rojas

Rojas is a shortstop from the Dominican Republic, and while he has not signed with the Yankees, Ben Badler says he expects it to happen. Why hasn’t Rojas signed yet? Because he’s still only 15. He has to wait until his 16th birthday on August 23rd to sign his first pro contract. The Yankees have been connected to Rojas for a while and it’s believed the two sides already have an agreement in place. They’re just waiting for his 16th birthday.

Baseball America, MLB.com, and FanGraphs all ranked Rojas as the 11th best prospect in this international class. Kinda weird they all agree like that. That rarely happens. Anyway, here’s a snippet of MLB.com’s scouting report:

Rojas succeeds in large part because of his quick hands and a good hitting approach from both sides of the plate. Scouts think he has a chance to hit for average and they love that he makes hard contact from both sides. In games, Rojas has displayed gap-to-gap power and there’s a chance he could hit home runs in the future … He makes all of the routine plays and has enough arm strength to keep him at the position now and in the future.

Both the MLB.com and Baseball America scouting reports tout Rojas as one of the best bats available this signing period. A switch-hitter with good offensive potential from both sides of the plate and a chance to stay on the middle infield? Sign me up.

The Second Best Prospect (For Now): SS Roberto Chirinos

Until Rojas signs, the second best prospect the Yankees landed this signing period is 16-year-old Venezuelan shortstop Roberto Chirinos. Sanchez says Chirinos received a $900,000 bonus. MLB.com ranks Chirinos has the 16th best prospect in the signing class while Baseball America ranks him 20th and FanGraphs ranks him 25th. Here is a piece of MLB.com’s scouting report:

A converted outfielder, Chirinos has all of the tools to stay at shortstop, specifically, a plus arm and good actions on defense. He makes all of the routine plays and has a feel for playing in the middle of the infield despite less than two years at the position. He has also impressed scouts with his quick hands and makeup … At the plate, Chirinos makes hard contact to all fields and has shown good bat speed.

Interestingly enough, both the MLB.com and Baseball America scouting reports identify Chirinos as a candidate to convert to catcher given his tools and baseball aptitude. He’s also a very high-end energy guy. The Yankees have had a lot of success converting infielders into catchers — Jorge Posada, Francisco Cervelli, and John Ryan Murphy are all converted infielders, and Donny Sands is attempting to make the transition now — and I bet they try it again with Chirinos.

Miscellaneous Signings

Garcia. (@BaseballAmerica)
Garcia. (@BaseballAmerica)

Not every international signing is a top prospect, of course. The Yankees inked Venezuelan outfielder Anthony Garcia to a $450,000 bonus, according to Sanchez, though he does not rank among MLB.com’s top 30 international prospects. Baseball America ranks him 28th, however, and says he “could be a power-speed threat, though at (6-foot-5 and 205 lbs.) it’s more likely he slows down as he continues to add weight.”

Here are the last few signings, via Sanchez and Baseball America:

  • Dominican Republic OF Stanley Rosario ($300,000)
  • Dominican Republic SS Miguel Marte ($200,000)
  • Dominican Republic RHP Albert Vega ($100,000)
  • Venezuelan C Engelbert Ascanio (bonus unknown)
  • Dominican Republic SS Ezequiel Duran (bonus unknown)
  • Dominican Republic OF Nelson Medina (bonus known)
  • Dominican Republic 3B Jose Martinez (bonus unknown)

None of those seven players ranked among the top international free agents by MLB.com, Baseball America, or FanGraphs. The fact Rosario, Marte, and Vega received six-figure bonuses tells us the Yankees like them though. They don’t give nobodies six figures.

The Wild Cards

In his AL East signing forecast, Badler (subs. req’d) linked the Yankees to several players who have not yet signed. Here’s where those players are ranked by MLB.com and Baseball America:

  • Venezuelan OF Raimfer Salinas (6th by MLB.com, 10th by BA): “(There’s) a belief the young outfielder has the potential to be a legitimate five-tool player and an impact player in the near future,” says the MLB.com scouting report.
  • Venezuelan C Antonio Cabello (8th by MLB.com, 15th by BA): “(He) hits in games and his makeup is considered off of the charts. He has built a reputation as a tough and hard-nosed competitor who hates to lose,” says the MLB.com write-up.
  • Venezuelan SS Osleivis Basabe (NR by MLB.com, 46th by BA): “On pure athleticism, Basabe is one of the best in the class … Basabe is a great athlete with good bat speed but his hitting remains a project,” says the Baseball America scouting report.

Between Pereira, Chirinos, Garcia, Rosario, Marte, and Vega the Yankees have already spent $3.45M of their $4.75M hard cap space. There are surely other signings we haven’t heard about yet, so they may have less than $1M of their original hard cap space remaining. That doesn’t even include the presumed Rojas deal, which will likely be worth close to $1M if not more.

That said, the Yankees did make the trade with the Orioles, and they did that for a reason. They need the bonus space to sign players. They made that trade because they have deals lined up, not because they merely hope to work something out. Maybe they’re going to sign Salinas, or Cabello, or Basabe, or all three, or different players entirely. That money is going to somewhere though. We’ll find out soon.

So what’s the deal with Otani?

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Given everything that happened on July 2nd around the league, I can’t imagine Nippon Ham Fighters ace/slugger Shohei Otani is coming over to MLB this offseason. Every team used up their hard cap space, including potential Otani suitors like the Yankees, Red Sox, Mets, Mariners, Rangers, Phillies, and Angels. Other clubs like the Dodgers, Cubs, Nationals, Astros, Cardinals, Braves, Padres, and Giants are limited to $300,000 bonuses this signing period due to past international spending.

No team has significant bonus pool space remaining. They spent it all on international amateurs once the signing period opened Sunday. Either Otani is going to take a low six-figure bonus (nope) or he’s not coming over this winter (yup). He could wait two years until his 25th birthday, at which point he could sign a contract of any size. MLB and the MLBPA really screwed this up. They should be trying to attract players like Otani, not push them away.

DotF: Mateo stays hot, Sheffield hurt in Trenton’s win

Some notes to get us started:

  • So long, Tommy Layne. He has been released, the Yankees announced. Layne was pitching well with Triple-A Scranton, but the Yankees need roster space as players get healthy and get promoted, so the 32-year-old journeyman gets the axe.
  • The Yankees have acquired IF Jonathan Diaz from the Blue Jays, the team announced. Diaz spent all of last season with the RailRiders. Scranton is short on position players due to injuries and all the recent call-ups. Diaz is just a warm body to fill out the roster.
  • 1B Mike Ford was bumped up from Double-A Trenton to Triple-A Scranton, it was announced. IF Billy Fleming and LHP Daniel Camarena were sent the other way. Also, RHP Gio Gallegos has been activated off the disabled list. Whatever was bothering him couldn’t have been that bad.
  • Great stuff from Michael Peng on RHP Jorge Guzman, one of the players who came over in the Brian McCann trade. “We are teaching him not to throw but how to actually pitch, how to read hitters and how to throw different pitch sequences. And to me, seeing him learn these different things has been the biggest adjustment he has made. He seems seems to pick on the things we’re trying to teach him,” said Staten Island Yankees pitching coach Travis Phelps.

Triple-A Scranton (3-1 win over Buffalo)

  • LF Jake Cave & 2B Donovan Solano: both 1-4, 2 K
  • 1B Mike Ford: 0-3, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K
  • DH Miguel Andujar: 0-3, 1 BB
  • RF Billy McKinney: 1-3, 2 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 K, 1 HBP — 8-for-22 (.364) with one double, two triples, and three homers in six games at Triple-A … he’s hit seven homers in his last 21 games after hitting four homers in 123 games last year and seven homers in 106 games the year before
  • SS Cito Culver: 1-3, 1 BB, 2 K, 1 E (fielding) — he’s hitting .262/.332/.492 this year, you know
  • 3B Abi Avelino: 0-3, 1 CS
  • RHP Bryan Mitchell: 7 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, 1 WP, 12/1 GB/FB — 60 of 85 pitches were strikes (71%) … Good Bryan showed up tonight

[Read more…]

DotF: Gomez homers, Guzman dominates in Staten Island win

Got some notes to get us started:

  • RHP Nick Rumbelow has been moved up from Double-A Trenton to Triple-A Scranton, the team announced. Rumblin’ Rumbelow has a 2.38 ERA (1.40 FIP) with 15 strikeouts and three walks in his first 11.1 innings back from Tommy John surgery.
  • SS Jorge Mateo was named the Eastern League Offensive Player of the Week following his first week in Double-A. He’s went 12-for-23 (.522) with three triples and a homer in six games last week. It would be so rad if Mateo could rebuild some prospect value these final two months of the minor league season. The more productive high-end prospects at the upper levels, the better.
  • Make sure you check out 2080 Baseball’s latest scouting reports on Mateo, 2B Nick Solak, and RHP Dillon Tate. “(He) projects to have three plus-or-better pitches in his arsenal, which are the makings of a future Role 60 number three starter at maturity,” said the Tate write-up.
  • The Yankees have signed Alabama-Birmingham RHP Garrett Whitlock, their 18th round pick, according to a family member on Twitter. No word on his bonus, though I doubt it exceeds the $125,000 slot for picks after the tenth round. Whitlock was awesome in the Cape Cod League last year, sitting mid-90s with a nasty slider. He had a back injury this spring and his stuff backed up.
  • The Yankees have signed Manhattan SS Jose Carrera as an undrafted free agent, reports Dan Martin. “This game is not about size. The biggest thing you can have in this game is your heart, and the mental side of it. If you’re tough and you believe in yourself, you can succeed,” said the 5-foot-2 Carrera. He hit .274/.344/.381 in four years with the Jaspers.

Triple-A Scranton (6-5 win over Pawtucket) they scored five runs in the top of the ninth to win

  • 2B Donovan Solano: 2-4, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB — 15-for-38 (.395) during his nine-game hitting streak
  • DH Ji-Man Choi: 2-5, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 1 K — had the go-ahead two-run double during that ninth inning rally … Bill Koch says it clanked off a rehabbing Brock Holt’s glove in left field
  • 3B Miguel Andujar: 1-5, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 K, 1 E (throwing)
  • LF Billy McKinney: 3-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI — 6-for-16 (.375) with a double and two homers in four Triple-A games
  • SS Abi Avelino: 0-2, 1 R, 1 BB
  • RHP Ronald Herrera: 6 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 4/6 GB/FB — 48 of 73 pitches were strikes (66%)
  • RHP Jonathan Holder: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 1/0 GB/FB — eleven of 16 pitches were strikes (69%) … first appearance since being sent down
  • RHP Nick Rumbelow: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 2/1 GB/FB — 21 of 38 pitches were strikes (55%) … first Triple-A appearance since blowing out his elbow last April

[Read more…]