DotF: Tampa squanders Kaprielian’s dominant start

Some notes:

  • OF Cesar Puello was placed on the Triple-A Scranton DL with a concussion, so says Shane Hennigan. Apparently he was hit in the head with a bat in the dugout, presumably accidentally. Yikes. Puello has had concussion problems in the past. Hopefully this is nothing serious.
  • OF Lane Adams and LHP Daniel Camarena have been bumped up to Triple-A Scranton, reports Josh Norris. Adams is replacing Puello on the roster. Camarena is filling that 25th roster spot that has been sitting open all season for whatever reason.
  • RHP Nick Rumbelow told Hennigan his Tommy John surgery is scheduled for Tuesday. It was originally reported as Friday (yesterday), but either that was wrong or it was pushed back.

Triple-A Scranton (8-4 loss to Syracuse)

  • CF Ben Gamel: 1-5, 1 R, 3 K, 1 SB
  • 3B Rob Refsnyder: 1-4, 2 RBI, 1 E (throwing) — second error in five games at the hot corner
  • LF Slade Heathcott: 1-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 BB, 2 K, 1 SB
  • 1B Nick Swisher: 1-3, 2 BB, 1 K — 4-for-11 (.364) with a double, two walks, and two strikeouts in three games so far … Swisher’s a pretty smart hitter, I expect him to put up some nice numbers here as long as he’s healthy … the question is can he still hit big league pitching? there’s really one way to find out
  • RF Lane Adams: 0-4, 1 BB, 3 K — threw a runner out at third … he is 0-for-13 with eleven strikeouts in his last three games
  • RHP Ronald Herrera: 5 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 3 BB, 8 K, 1 WP, 3/2 GB/FB — 61 of 102 pitches were strikes (60%) … Triple-A debut for the 20-year-old, though I suspect this was only a spot start and not a permanent promotion
  • LHP Daniel Camarena: 4 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 6 K, 6/1 GB/FB — 44 of 63 pitches were strikes (70%) … this is his Triple-A debut after not pitching at all last season due to some kind of injury

[Read more…]

DotF: Judge goes deep, Swisher doubles in Scranton’s win

Two quick notes:

  • RHP Ronald Herrera, who came over in the Jose Pirela trade, has been promoted from Double-A Trenton to Triple-A Scranton, per Shane Hennigan. The RailRiders were playing one man short, so now the roster is full. Seems like Herrera was brought up on a temporary basis with LHP Tyler Olson in the show and RHP Luis Cessa on his way down. RHP Eric Ruth went from High-A Tampa to Trenton to replace Herrera, says Matt Kardos.
  • SS Jorge Mateo ranked eighth in this week’s Prospect Hot Sheet. “Thus far he has notched two doubles, two triples and four stolen bases in the pitcher-friendly Florida State League. With a good first half, Mateo should make his way to Double-A Trenton shortly after his 21st birthday,” said the write-up. Mateo’s birthday in June 23rd, since I know you’re wondering.

Triple-A Scranton (5-3 win over Syracuse)

  • CF Ben Gamel: 1-4, 1 R, 1 K
  • RF Aaron Judge: 2-4, 2 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 SB — first homer of the season — Shane Hennigan says it was an opposite field job — and his first steal as well
  • 3B Rob Refsnyder: 1-3, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K
  • C Gary Sanchez: 0-4, 2 K
  • DH Nick Swisher: 2-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 K
  • RHP Anthony Swarzak: 5 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 9/0 GB/FB — 51 of 74 pitches were strikes (69%)
  • RHP Diego Moreno: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 2/1 GB/FB — 23 of 38 pitches were strikes (61%)
  • LHP James Pazos: 1.2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 0/1 GB/FB — 22 of 40 pitches were strikes (55%)
  • RHP Conor Mullee: 0.1 IP, zeroes, 1 K — three of four pitches were strikes

[Read more…]

DotF: Sanchez’s walk-off homer gives Scranton a win in Swisher’s debut

Can't imagine many other big league veterans would be this happy to be in Triple-A. (Photo via @swbrailriders)
Can’t imagine many other big league veterans would be this happy to be in Triple-A. (Photo via @swbrailriders)

Triple-A Scranton (2-0 win over Syracuse in ten innings)

  • RF Aaron Judge: 1-4, 1 BB, 2 K
  • DH Rob Refsnyder: 1-5
  • CF Slade Heathcott: 0-4, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K — in a 2-for-21 (.095) slump with nine strikeouts
  • C Gary Sanchez: 2-5, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 K — two-run walk-off monster dong
  • 1B Nick Swisher: 1-4 — can’t say I ever expected to write his name in DotFDonnie Collins says the base hit was an infield single, and that one of the outs was a long fly ball to right field that might have been a home run at Yankee Stadium
  • RHP Tyler Cloyd: 5 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 4 BB, 3 K, 1 WP, 3/5 GB/FB — 48 of 79 pitches were strikes (61%)
  • LHP Tyler Webb: 3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, 3/3 GB/FB — 26 of 36 pitches were strikes (72%)
  • RHP Nick Goody: 1.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 1/0 GB/FB — 19 of 30 pitches were strikes (63%) … hey, no homers allowed!
  • RHP Vinnie Pestano: 1.1 IP, zeroes, 3 K, 1/0 GB/FB — 13 of 22 pitches were strikes (59%)

[Read more…]

DotF: Scranton ekes out a win behind Haynes, Pinder

In case you missed it earlier, the Yankees’ minor league deal with 1B/OF Nick Swisher is now official. He’s expected to be in the Triple-A Scranton lineup tomorrow.

Triple-A Scranton (1-0 win over Pawtucket)

  • CF Ben Gamel: 1-4, 1 2B, 1 K — 6-for-13 (.462) with two doubles and a triple in his last three games
  • RF Aaron Judge: 0-4, 2 K — first hitless game of the year … we’re still waiting for his first strikeout-less game of the year … he has ten strikeouts in 28 plate appearances so far (35.7%), which is obviously way too many … still early though
  • LF Slade Heathcott: 0-3, 1 BB, 2 K
  • 2B Rob Refsnyder: 1-4, 3 K
  • DH Cesar Puello: 0-1, 1 BB, 1 K, 2 HBP — guessing he’s about to lose some playing time to Swisher
  • RHP Kyle Haynes: 6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 1 WP, 9/4 GB/FB — 58 of 88 pitches were strikes (66%) … the Yankees got him in the Chris Stewart trade with the Pirates a few years ago … I wouldn’t be surprised to see him take a trip or two on the shuttle this summer
  • RHP Branden Pinder: 3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K, 0/3 GB/FB — 32 of 48 pitches were strikes (67%) … eight strikeouts and no walks in five innings so far this year … this was his 12th outing of at least three innings in 159 career minor league appearances

[Read more…]

2016 Draft: Opening Thoughts

(Paige Calamari/Getty)
(Paige Calamari/Getty)

The 2016 amateur draft will begin roughly eight weeks from now, on June 9th. The three-day event starts on a Thursday this year rather than the usual Monday. The draft has started on a Thursday before and it’s kinda annoying because it spills over into the weekend. I prefer to have it early in the week, but that’s just me.

As usual, MLB Network will broadcast the First Round, Supplemental First Round, Competitive Balance Round A, Second Round, and Competitive Balance Round B live on Day One. Seventy-seven picks will be made that day. Rounds 2-10 follow on Day Two, then the draft wraps up with rounds 11-40 on Day Three.

The Yankees did not gain or lose any picks this year as a result of draft pick compensation, so they’ll make two picks during the MLB Network broadcast: their first (No. 18) and second rounders (No. 62). Everything moves to the league conference call after that. The conference call moves quick. The draft broadcast? Not so much.

Our draft coverage this year is going to be the same as previous years. I see no need to change something that isn’t broken. We’ll highlight individual prospects with short profiles — here’s the profile I wrote for RHP James Kaprielian last year — rather than group players together into larger posts. I used to do that. The individual posts work better.

There is a lot of great draft reporting nowadays, so our guesswork is at least somewhat educated. The Yankees were connected to Kaprielian an awful lot prior to the draft last year. Ditto three years ago with 3B Eric Jagielo. The element of surprise is what makes the draft fun though. Here are some Yankees-related thoughts on this year’s amateur draft.

Draft Tendencies

This is, incredibly, scouting director Damon Oppenheimer’s 11th draft with the Yankees. It still feels like he just got here. Sheesh. We’re all old and going to die soon. Anyway, over the last ten drafts, the Yankees have had some very clear tendencies in their draft philosophy. Three stand out:

  1. College Players. This one is fairly new, actually. Years ago Oppenheimer & Co. were all about the shoot for the moon picks. The raw high-upside guys like RHP Andrew Brackman and OF Slade Heathcott. Now they lean towards polished college players because they’ve had more success developing them.
  2. Cape Cod League Success. This has been a constant since Oppenheimer arrived. The Yankees like players (both pitchers and position players) who have had success in the Cape Cod League. The Cape is the premier collegiate wood bat summer league, so it’s the best against the best.
  3. Southern California. SoCal is a baseball hotbed, so targeting players from that area is understandable, but Oppenheimer is also a USC guy, and he’s stayed close to home. Over the last three drafts, six of the eleven players the Yankees took in the top three rounds were from Southern California.

This is not to say the Yankees are a lock to draft a college player from SoCal who has had success on the Cape in the first round in a few weeks. It’s just that when you’re looking at possible targets, guys with one or three of those traits are a pretty good place to start. The Yankees go to these wells often.

Try For A High School Bat Again?

Okay, so even after all of that, I wonder if the Yankees will look for a high school bat with their first round pick this summer. Several reports indicated they wanted a prep bat with their first rounder last year, but all the guys they liked were off the board by time their pick rolled around, so they went with Kaprielian.

According to MLB.com, seven of the top 30 draft prospects this year are high school hitters. It’s nine of 30 according to Keith Law (subs. req’d). There are definitely some interesting prep bats this year. That doesn’t mean the Yankees will like them as much as the guys they liked last year, of course. I’m just saying. If Oppenheimer and his staff want to find a high school bat this year, there are some nice options available.

Avoid Injured Players?

Injuries have already cut through the top of the draft board. Florida LHP A.J. Puk (back) and Oklahoma RHP Alec Hanson (forearm) were the top two college starters in the draft coming into the spring, but their stock is down now due to injuries. Florida HS LHP Jesus Luzardo, a consensus first round talent, had Tommy John surgery a few weeks ago.

The Yankees have steered clear of injured players the last few drafts, choosing to minimize their risk. “We’re going to go with guys that are healthy. That’s something that’s more interesting to us than going with guys that aren’t,” said Oppenheimer last year after taking Kaprielian over the more highly regarded LHP Brady Aiken, who was coming off Tommy John surgery.

Given the current draft system, I think there are very few instances where taking an injured player in the first round makes sense. There’s just too much risk and too much draft pool space attached to that one pick. I thought Aiken was worth the risk last year because he was a legitimate No. 1 overall talent when healthy, but I didn’t see his medicals and it’s not my neck on the line.

I don’t see any prospect in this draft class that I think is worth taking in the first round if he’s hurt. (I mean a serious injury like Tommy John surgery. If a guy misses two weeks because he pulled his hamstring running to first, that’s not a huge deal.) Even New Jersey LHP Jason Groome, the consensus best prospect available, is not a truly elite draft prospect like Aiken. He’s No. 1 almost by default. I expect the Yankees to again stick to healthy players in 2016.

Small Bonus Pool

The Yankees have a $5.77M draft bonus pool this year, eighth smallest in baseball. That’s because they finished with a top ten record last year and didn’t add any picks through free agent compensation. There’s only so much pool manipulation — take college seniors in rounds 7-10 to save money, etc. — you can do to save space with that small a bonus pool.

Even in 2014, when they surrendered a bunch of picks to sign free agents (Carlos Beltran, Brian McCann, Jacoby Ellsbury), the Yankees still managed to massage their bonus pool and hand out a huge bonus. RHP Austin DeCarr received a $1M payday, nearly double his slot value as the team’s third rounder. I would be surprised if they didn’t find a way to give out one big overslot bonus this year.

DotF: Judge picks up four hits in Scranton’s win

Two quick notes:

  • One scout told Erik Boland that RHP James Kaprielian was “unbelievably good” in his season debut last night. His fastball was up to 97 mph — so the velocity bump has not yet faded — and his slider up to 86 mph. Pretty, pretty good.
  • IF Deibinson Romero has been placed on the Triple-A Scranton DL with an unknown injury, so says Shane Hennigan. They’re currently playing with a 23-man roster, if you can believe that. Soon enough 1B/OF Nick Swisher will join them, though they’ll still be a man short.

Triple-A Scranton (9-1 win over Pawtucket)

  • CF Ben Gamel: 2-5, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 SB
  • RF Aaron Judge: 4-6, 2 R, 1 RBI, 1 K — 9-for-23 (.391) in the early going
  • DH Slade Heathcott: 0-6, 1 R, 4 K — ouch … he’s been pretty great so far though, so shake it off
  • C Gary Sanchez: 1-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 PB — he’s thrown out all three runners who have tried to steal so far this year
  • 2B Rob Refsnyder: 1-5, 1 R, 1 3B, 1 RBI — first start at second base this year
  • RHP Chad Green: 3.2 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 5 BB, 4 K, 3/2 GB/FB — 55 of 92 pitches were strikes (60%) … not the most efficient night
  • RHP Conor Mullee: 3.1 IP, zeroes, 6 K, 2/2 GB/FB — 29 of 42 pitches were strikes (69%) … nice night for the three-time Tommy John surgery guy
  • LHP James Pazos: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 2/1 GB/FB — 22 of 39 pitches were strikes (56%)

[Read more…]

DotF: Kaprielian strikes out nine in season debut

Some news and notes:

  • In case you missed it earlier, RHP Nick Rumbelow needs Tommy John surgery. Donnie Collins says RHP Tyler Cloyd is moving into the rotation and RHP Conor Mullee is up from Double-A Trenton to fill Rumbelow’s roster spot. RHP Jonathan Holder goes from High-A Tampa to Trenton, per Matt Kardos. I figured that would happen soon. He threw over 100 innings in Tampa last year.
  • The Yankees released several players, per Matt Eddy: C K.J. Alexander, OF Chris Breen, OF Taylor Dugas, OF Frank Frias, C Jake Hernandez, and RHP Jaron Long. Dugas spent a few days in the big leagues last year, but did not actually play in a game. He still gets affordable health care for life though. Long is gonna sign with the Mets in a matter of days, I bet.
  • LHP Ian Clarkin was included in today’s Monday Morning Ten Pack. It is not behind the paywall, so check it out. “Clarkin checks a lot of boxes in what you are looking for out of a future starting pitcher: Athletic, clean arm action, above-average arm speed, pitches for strikes, athletic delivery. While the elbow injury does bring some cause for concern down the line, it hasn’t been an issue for him thus far and might’ve been a bump in the road instead of a detour,” said the write-up.
  • And finally, make sure you check out Chad Jennings’ comprehensive overview of the four full season minor league affiliates.

Triple-A Scranton (6-3 win over Pawtucket)

  • LF Ben Gamel:  3-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 3B, 1 BB, 1 SB — had one hit total in his first three games of the year
  • DH Aaron Judge: 2-5, 2 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 2 K — first time this season he didn’t go exactly 1-for-4
  • CF Slade Heathcott: 1-4, 1 RBI, 2 K
  • C Gary Sanchez: 0-4, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K
  • 2B Donovan Solano: 3-4, 1 R, 1 RBI
  • RF Cesar Puello: 1-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 2 K — he’s getting the short end of the playing time stick right now, but he made the most of his start tonight
  • LHP Tyler Olson: 4 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 6-1 GB/FB — 43 of 69 pitches were strikes (62%) … I’m not very optimistic the LOOGY will make a decent starter, but what the heck, might as well try
  • RHP Vinnie Pestano: 1 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 2 K — 18 of 30 pitches were strikes (60%)
  • RHP Diego Moreno: 3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 2/2 GB/FB — 24 of 30 pitches were strikes (80%) … chances we see him in the bullpen at some point this summer? I say 80%
  • RHP Nick Goody: 1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 1/0 GB/FB — 12 of 16 pitches were strikes (75%) … he gave up *another* homer … he’s up to two homers in two regular season innings after allowing five dingers in 10.2 innings during the spring

[Read more…]