DotF: Judge goes deep again in Trenton’s shutout win

3B Eric Jagielo‘s knee injury is not serious and he will only miss a few days, reports Nick Peruffo. 1B Matt Snyder isn’t so lucky — his ankle injury is serious and may require surgery. Snyder got hurt last night, Jagielo a day or two ago.

Also, as a reminder, the Short Season Staten Island season begins tomorrow night with their annual home-and-home series with Brooklyn. Rookie Pulaski and the two Rookie GCL Yanks affiliates start their seasons next week.

Triple-A Scranton (10-7 win over Rochester)

  • CF Ben Gamel: 2-6, 1 R, 2 K
  • LF Jose Pirela: 1-5
  • 2B Rob Refsnyder: 1-3, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 HBP
  • RF Ramon Flores: 1-5, 2 R
  • 3B Gregorio Petit: 3-4, 3 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB — 10-for-18 (.556) in five games at this level
  • C Austin Romine: 2-5, 1 R, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 1 K — first game back from the pitch to the head and he hits a grand slam against the team that plunked him
  • RHP Esmil Rogers: 2.2 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 3/2 GB/FB — 37 of 56 pitches were strikes (66%)
  • LHP Tyler Webb: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 2/2 GB/FB — 31 of 52 pitches were strikes (60%)

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DotF: Cave, Payton, and Fowler have big games in wins

Triple-A Scranton (7-1 loss to Rochester)

  • RF Ben Gamel: 2-5, 1 2B, 1 K
  • 2B Jose Pirela: 0-4, 2 K
  • DH Rob Refsnyder: 1-4, 1 K — he’s been okay but hasn’t forced the Yankees to consider calling him up … a ~.750 OPS in Triple-A for a bat only prospect isn’t anything special
  • CF Ramon Flores: 1-4, 1 R — 8-for-28 (.286) since being sent down
  • SS Gregorio Petit: 2-3, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 E (throwing)
  • RHP Kyle Davies: 4 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 1 WP, 3/5 GB/FB — 58 of 99 pitches were strikes (59%)
  • LHP James Pazos: 2 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, 3/1 GB/FB — 17 of 28 pitches were strikes (61%)
  • RHP Danny Burawa: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 1 K, 2/1 GB/FB — 21 of 37 pitches were strikes (57%)

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2015 Draft Signings: Finley, Hendrix, Adams, Wagner

Hendrix. (Taylor Wilder/Emerald)
Hendrix. (Taylor Wilder/Emerald)

Got a bunch more 2015 draft signings to pass along, including details on most of the players selected by the Yankees in the top ten rounds, the rounds tied to the all-important bonus pool. Away we go:

  • California HS RHP Drew Finley (3rd round) signed for $950,000, reports Jonathan Mayo. That’s well above the $626,600 slot and I’m not surprised — Finley was considered a late-first/early-second round talent. We heard he agreed to terms the other day.
  • Oregon State OF Jeff Hendrix (4th) has signed according to the school’s Twitter feed. MLB.com says he received a straight slot $456,800 bonus. Hendrix figures to join Short Season Staten Island when the season starts later this week.
  • Dallas Baptist RHP Chance Adams (5th) has signed for $330,000, reports Jim Callis. That’s a bit below the $342,000 slot value. Adams is a classic fastball/slider reliever who shouldn’t hang around the low minors too long.
  • Howard College 2B Brandon Wagner (6th) has signed for $256,000, so says MLB.com. That is exactly slot money. Wagner has a ton of power but no real position. The Yankees will try him at second for the time being.
  • Arizona HS 3B Donny Sands (8th) has signed for $100,000, according to MLB.com. That’s below the $170,300 slot value. Sands has two-way ability at third but his hit tool needs development.
  • Citadel LHP James Reeves (10th) has signed for $50,000, according to MLB.com. That is below the $149,700 slot value. Reeves has a funky low arm slot and tore through college lineups this spring.
  • San Diego State RHP Mark Seyler (19th) has signed based on his Instagram feed. No word on his bonus but I doubt it’ll exceed the $100,000 slot for picks after the tenth round.
  • Southern Mississippi RHP Cody Carroll (22nd) has signed for $70,000, reports Callis. Although he signed for less than the $100,000 slot, the Yankees do not get any draft pool savings.

As our 2015 Draft Pool Tracker shows, the Yankees have signed all but two of their eleven picks in the top ten rounds, and they have $219,500 in draft pool savings available even after Finley’s over-slot deal. I’m guessing at least part of that will go to UCLA RHP James Kaprielian (1st), a Scott Boras client.

Yankees should follow the Adam Warren blueprint with other pitching prospects this season

Severino. (MiLB.com)
Severino. (MiLB.com)

It’s easy to forget now, but Adam Warren only made the Opening Day roster in 2013 because Phil Hughes suffered a minor back injury late in Spring Training. Hughes went down, long man David Phelps had to step into the rotation, and Warren got the long relief job almost by default. Warren pitched well and stayed on the roster even after Hughes returned. (Cody Eppley went down instead.)

Since then, Warren has developed into a pretty important piece of the pitching staff. He was the long man back in 2013, a setup man in 2014, and now a starter early in 2015. Chances are Warren will lose his rotation spot when Ivan Nova returns in a week or so, though not because he’s pitched poorly. He’s just the low man on the rotation totem pole, and hey, the Yankees need another quality reliever with Andrew Miller hurt. Warren showed he can be that guy last season.

Warren’s path to the big leagues and into the team’s rotation is not uncommon — lots of pitchers have started their careers in the bullpen before graduating to the starting staff. Adam Wainwright and Chris Sale are probably the two most notable recent examples but it is a very long list. Warren did something many other pitchers have done and it’s something the Yankees should consider doing again with other pitching prospects, especially since the middle relief situation is … unsettled. Let’s put it that way.

The most obvious candidate for the Warren blueprint is Luis Severino, New York’s top pitching prospect and one of the best in minor league baseball. The Yankees have moved Severino through the system very aggressively — he threw 85.1 innings in Low-A, 20.1 in High-A, 63 in Double-A, and is at 21.2 in Triple-A and counting — and a second half call-up would hardly be surprising. Everything the Yankees have done with Severino the last two years suggests his MLB debut will come sooner rather than later.

“Can that happen? I wouldn’t rule it out,” Brian Cashman recently said to David Lennon when asked about using Severino in the bullpen later this year. “But it’s not something we’re talking about right now. I’m not opposed to it. It’s just right now, I think we have some other people legitimately before him for the bullpen category … If they’re the best option to help us, whether they’re a starter, and the best option for the pen, then I’m open to any of that stuff.”

Severino threw a career high 113 innings last season and he is still only 21, so he’s not going to throw 180+ innings this year or something like that. (He’s at 59.2 innings right now.) His innings limit might be in the 140-150 innings range this summer, 160 tops. Severino only has another month or so before workload limits starting taking over — capped at five innings per start, something along those lines — and if he’s dominating, why not let him throw his last 20 or so innings of the year out of the big league bullpen? I don’t see much downside.

Mitchell. (Scranton Times Tribune)
Mitchell. (Scranton Times Tribune)

The other bullpen candidate in the Triple-A Scranton rotation is Bryan Mitchell, who has a 2.79 ERA (3.11 FIP) in 67.2 innings despite mediocre strikeout (19.1%) and walk (12.0%) rates. Mitchell has a strong ground ball rate (53.5%) and has yet to allow a homer, but that doesn’t mean much. Any pitching prospect worth a damn should have a very good ground ball rate in the minors. There are a lot of bad hitters who are overwhelmed at the plate down there. A lot. Mitchell got his first taste of the show last year, for what it’s worth.

The Yankees initially worked Warren into the big leagues as a relief pitcher before reintroducing him to the rotation, which by and large has been a success. He helped the bullpen and is now helping the rotation. They could follow a similar path with Severino and Mitchell, getting them acclimated to MLB life as relievers this year — and potentially solidifying the middle innings later in the process — before moving them back into the rotation next year. Again, teams have been doing this with young pitchers for decades.

That last part is important though. The going back to the rotation part. Especially for Severino. It’s too early to shoehorn either guy into permanent relief roles, though that does happen often these days. The Yankees tried and mostly failed to put Joba Chamberlain back into the rotation years ago, and while that may make you skeptical about their ability to pull it off with Mitchell or Severino, I’d like to think it was a learning experience. They seem to have gotten it right with Warren, mostly because the bullpen-to-rotation transition didn’t happen at midseason.

Anyway, the imminent return of Ivan Nova gives the Yankees some more rotation depth, as does Esmil Rogers‘ decision to remain in the organization after being outrighted. (Don’t laugh, Rogers could stretch back out as a starter in Triple-A and be an emergency option if necessary.) Mitchell had been sitting around as the sixth starter by default the last few weeks but keeping him in that sixth starter role is no longer imperative. Moving him to the bullpen would be a relatively easy move. Same with Severino.

The Yankees do have some more bullpen options in Triple-A — Nick Rumbelow, Danny Burawa, Branden Pinder, etc. — they could try out before turning to a starter-to-bullpen candidate like Mitchell or Severino. Those two guys should not be off the table as bullpen options though, especially in the second half. The Warren blueprint — bullpen now, rotation later — is one that could really benefit the Yankees this season without sabotaging the future of their young hurlers.

DotF: Flores and Severino lead RailRiders to a win

Got some notes to pass along:

  • Matt Kardos says C Gary Sanchez has been placed on the Double-A Trenton DL with a hand injury. He was hit by a foul tip the other day and has a bone bruise. X-rays showed no fracture. Sanchez is a few days away from returning to baseball activities according to Trenton manager Al Pedrique.
  • LHP Jacob Lindgren has been placed on the Triple-A Scranton DL, reports Chad Jennings. Not sure what’s wrong there but he hasn’t pitched since being demoted this past weekend. If it’s something Lindgren suffered while in MLB, the Yankees will have to call him back up and place him on the big league DL, allowing him accrue service time and receive MLB salary.
  • According to his Twitter feed, SS Kyle Holder is heading to Short Season Staten Island, which makes sense. He was the team’s supplemental first rounder last week ($1.8M bonus). Also, Robert Pimpsner says IF Thairo Estrada and RHP Domingo Acevedo will be with Staten Island as well. The season starts Friday.
  • Nick Peruffo says LHP James Pazos has been bumped up to Triple-A Scranton while RHP Caleb Cotham was send down to Double-A Trenton to clear a roster spot

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

  • CF Ben Gamel, RF Jose Pirela & 2B Rob Refsnyder: all 0-4 — Gamel and Pirela both drew a walk and struck out
  • LF Ramon Flores: 3-4, 3 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI
  • SS Gregorio Petit: 2-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 K
  • RHP Luis Severino: 5 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, 2/7 GB/FB — 59 of 103 pitches were strikes (57%) … this strikes me as the kind of performance that would have been much uglier against big leaguers … lots of fly balls, same number of walks as strikeouts, inefficient, etc.
  • RHP Jaron Long: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 4/1 GB/FB — 14 of 19 pitches were strikes (74%) … temporarily working out of the bullpen because Ivan Nova is in his rotation spot
  • LHP Tyler Webb: 1 IP, zeroes, 1 K, 1/0 GB/FB — nine of 13 pitches were strikes (69%)
  • RHP Branden Pinder: 0 IP, 1 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 0 K — only one of four pitches were strikes … he was ejected in the middle of an at-bat, hence the pitch count weirdness … also he’s allowed five runs in six innings since being sent down

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Sanchez: 2014-15 international signing period now closed

Martinez. (MLB.com)
Martinez. (MLB.com)

According to Jesse Sanchez, the 2014-15 international signing period closed at midnight last night. It was reported weeks ago that the signing period closed on June 25th, but, like most things with the international market, that report was off slightly. Anyway, the Yankees can no longer sign an international prospect and have the bonus applied to the 2014-15 signing period.

Sanchez says the Yankees “made a run” at free agent Cuban outfielder Eddy Julio Martinez, who was cleared to sign a few weeks ago, prior to the end of the signing period last night. Martinez, 20, has been described as an “impact talent” and the Yankees were interested in signing him following his recent workouts. He’ll now wait until the 2015-16 signing period opens July 2nd to sign.

As far as we know the Yankees did not sign any last minute free agents prior to the end of the signing period, though there weren’t many available either. The big names in addition to Martinez are Cuban infielder Andy Ibanez and Bahamian SS Lucius Fox. That’s about it. Cuban righty Yadier Alvarez was not eligible to sign during the 2014-15 signing period.

Because the Yankees blew their bonus pool out of the water during the 2014-15 signing period — we don’t have an exact number, but the bonuses and penalties are around $30M total — the Yankees will be unable to sign any player to a bonus in excess of $300,000 during the 2015-16 and 2016-17 signing period. They won’t be able to make a serious play for any big name prospects.

The Yankees will, however, still be able to sign older Cuban free agents should any come stateside these next two years. And by older I mean age 23+ per the Collective Bargaining Agreement. Yeah, younger guys are more desirable, but Yoenis Cespedes, Jose Abreu, Yasmany Tomas, and Rusney Castillo were among the big name “older” Cuban free agents in recent years. The Yankees won’t be completely shut out of the top of the international market the next two signing periods.

DotF: Breen and Aune have huge games in Charleston’s win

I missed this last week, but UCLA RHP James Kaprielian (1st round) had the best future projection among this year’s first round pitchers according to Chris Mitchell’s KATOH system. Also, Oregon State OF Jeff Hendrix (4th) was among the best projected hitters taken on Day Two of the draft, so says KATOH.

Both Triple-A Scranton and Double-A Trenton had scheduled off-days.

High-A Tampa (3-2 loss to Bradenton)

  • 2B Abi Avelino: 0-2 — left the game in the fourth for an unknown reason
  • SS Tyler Wade: 0-4
  • DH Miguel Andujar: 0-4, 1 K
  • RF Mark Payton: 1-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 K
  • LF Ericson Leonora: 1-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 K — that’s his tenth homer of the season and fourth in his last three games
  • CF Michael O’Neill: 1-3, 1 BB, 2 K
  • RHP Gabe Encinas: 5.2 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 6 K, 3/5 GB/FB — 64 of 97 pitches were strikes (66%)

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