DotF: Greg Bird named Arizona Fall League MVP

1B Greg Bird was named the MVP of the Arizona Fall League earlier this week. He hit with .313/.391/.556 (156 wRC+) and led the league in homers (six, tied), finished second in RBI (21), total bases (55), and wRC+, third in SLG, sixth in AVG, seventh in OPS (.947), eighth in walks (13), and 12th in OBP. They’ve been handing out the AzFL MVP since 2002 and Bird is the second Yankees prospect to win it, joining Eric Duncan in 2005. Here are the rest of the week’s minor league notes:

  • OF Tyler Austin suffered a bone bruise in his left knee after an outfield collision last week, reports Josh Norris. “He has been diagnosed with a bone bruise. There is no damage to his meniscus or any ligament issues. He will rest for the next 2-3 weeks,” said assistant GM Billy Eppler to Chad Jennings.
  • Jonathan Mayo polled scouts and players about the best tools in the AzFL. OF Aaron Judge was voted as having the best outfield arm — “One scout said it’s a true 70 arm,” wrote Mayo — while Judge and Bird drew votes for best power and best hitter, respectively.
  • Ken Davidoff wrote profiles about both Judge and Bird. “I’m still on the fence with his bat,” said one scout about Judge. “Plus-plus power, but has some good at-bats here and then will chase off-speed. That worries me – at higher levels, that is what he will see.”
  • Baseball America compiled a list of all minor leaguers suspended in 2014. Yankees farmhands RHP Andy Beresford and 1B Bo Thompson were hit with 50-game suspensions after testing positive for a banned substance in August.
  • The Yankees have re-signed UTIL Ali Castillo after he became a minor league free agent, according to Matt Eddy. Also, OF Antoan Richardson elected free agency after being outrighted off the 40-man roster last week.
  • Both OF Zoilo Almonte and LHP Francisco Rondon have signed the Braves after becoming minor league free agents, says Eddy. Almonte managed to get a big league contract. Good for him.

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DotF: Austin carted off the field following outfield collision in Arizona Fall League

In case you missed it Friday, 13 players became minor league free agents, including SwP Pat Venditte, LHP Jeremy Bleich, LHP Nik Turley, 3B Scott Sizemore, SS Carmen Angelini, and OF Zoilo Almonte.

AzFL Scottsdale (6-5 loss to Peoria) Monday’s game

AzFL Scottsdale (5-2 loss to Peoria) Tuesday’s game

  • RF Aaron Judge: 1-5, 1 K
  • RHP Caleb Cotham: 1 IP, zeroes, 2/1 GB/FB — ten pitches, nine strikes

AzFL Scottsdale (8-4 loss to Salt River) Wednesday’s game

  • RF Tyler Austin: 1-4, 1 R
  • 1B Greg Bird: 0-2, 1 R, 2 BB, 1 K, 1 E (fielding)
  • 3B Dante Bichette Jr.: 1-4, 1 2B, 1 K
  • RHP Kyle Haynes: 1 IP, zeroes, 2/0 GB/FB — eleven of 19 pitches were strikes (58%)
  • RHP Alex Smith: 1 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 1/0 GB/FB — ten of 18 pitches were strikes (56%)

AzFL Scottsdale (5-3 loss to Peoria) Thursday’s game

  • RF Aaron Judge: 0-4, 2 K
  • DH Tyler Austin: 1-3, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K

AzFL Scottsdale (1-0 win over Glendale) Friday’s game

  • LF Tyler Austin: 0-2, 2 BB, 1 K, 1 SB, 1 CS – threw a runner out at the plate … hitting .304/.392/.449 in 19 games
  • RF Aaron Judge: 2-4, 1 K — threw a runner out at third
  • 1B Greg Bird: 0-4, 2 K
  • 3B Dante Bichette Jr.: 1-3

AzFL Scottsdale (5-1 loss to Glendale) Saturday’s game

  • DH Aaron Judge: 1-3, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K — he’s hitting .297/.404/.500 with four homers in 20 games
  • 1B Greg Bird: 0-2, 2 BB, 1 K, 1 SB — hitting .318/.392/.568 in 23 games, and he still leads the league with six homers
  • RF Tyler Austin: 0-1 — had to be carted off the field after colliding the wall trying to catch a fly ball according to Dennis Waters … no update on his status, hopefully the cart was just a precaution
  • 3B Dante Bichette Jr.: 0-3, 2 K — hitting .250/.315/.266 in 18 games
  • C Kyle Higashioka: 1-3, 1 2B — hitting .421/.476/.684 in only five games
  • RHP Caleb Cotham: 1 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, 2/0 GB/FB — ten of 17 pitches were strikes (59%)

Dominican Winter League

  • OF Eury Perez: 8 G, 9-37, 2 R, 2 2B, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 8 K, 2 CS (.243/.243/.378)
  • RHP Joel De La Cruz: 2 G, 1.2 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 1 HR (0.00 ERA, 1.80 WHIP)

Mexican Pacific League

  • OF Jose Figueroa: 16 G, 5-15, 5 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 2 BB, 5 K, 1 SB (.333/.412/.600)
  • RHP Gio Gallegos: 9 G, 8.2 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 7 K, 1 HR, 1 HB (1.04 ERA, 1.04 WHIP)
  • RHP Luis Niebla: 5 G, 5 GS, 18.2 IP, 17 H, 9 R, 9 ER, 8 BB, 16 K, 1 HR, 1 HB (4.34 ERA, 1.34 WHIP)

Roberto Clemente Professional Baseball League (Puerto Rico) started play last week. SS Vince Conde, 2B Angelo Gumbs, and OF Carlos Beltran are all listed on rosters but have not yet played. Beltran hasn’t played winter ball in years and won’t this year because of his recent elbow surgery.

Venezuelan Winter League

  • C Francisco Arcia: 14 G, 12-57, 3 R, 3 2B, 7 RBI, 2 BB, 14 K (.211/.237/.263)
  • UTIL Ali Castillo: 24 G, 34-103, 24 R, 5 2B, 2 3B, 1 HR, 12 RBI, 3 BB, 17 K, 10 SB, 3 CS, 2 HBP (.330/.358/.447) — nice winter for him
  • OF Ramon Flores: 19 G, 24-63, 9 R, 2 2B, 2 3B, 4 RBI, 7 BB, 9 K, 1 CS (.381/.443/.476) – he went 6-for-6 with a double on Wednesday
  • OF Adonis Garcia: 21 G, 26-88, 9 R, 2 2B, 1 HR, 7 RBI, 4 BB, 11 K, 3 SB, 1 CS, 3 HBP (.295/.344/.352)
  • OF Ericson Leonora: 5 G, 3-11, 2 R, 1 2B, 1 3B, 5 K (.273/.273/.545)
  • UTIL Jose Pirela: 12 G, 16-50, 13 R, 2 2B, 3 3B, 3 HR, 9 RBI, 4 BB, 7 K, 1 CS, 1 HBP (.320/.382/.660) — have to think he’ll come to camp next year with a legit chance to win a bench job, assuming the second base gig isn’t up for grabs
  • C Jackson Valera: 1 G, 0-0
  • RHP Diego Moreno: 11 G, 9.1 IP, 11 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 1 HR, 1 HB (4.82 ERA, 1.39 WHIP)
  • RHP Mark Montgomery, RHP Wilking Rodriguez, SS Angel Aguilar, and C Frankie Cervelli are all listed on rosters but have not yet played. They probably won’t at this point.

DotF: Bird named AzFL Fall Star Game MVP after mammoth homer

The video above is 1B Greg Bird‘s monster homerun off Reds RHP Nick Howard (19th overall pick in 2014) in the Arizona Fall League Fall Stars Game last night. Bird was named the game’s MVP. You’ve got to be mighty strong to hit a ball that far on a pitch on the outer half of the plate. Baseball America recently published articles on Bird (free), the Yankees’ players development changes (free), and RHP Jaron Long (subs. only), so check those out.

AzFL Scottsdale (6-2 loss to Peoria) Monday’s game

  • RF Aaron Judge: 1-2, 2 R, 2 BB, 1 E (fielding)
  • DH Greg Bird: 1-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 3 RBI
  • RHP Alex Smith: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K — nine of 14 pitches were strikes (64%)

AzFL Scottsdale (4-3 loss to Surprise) Tuesday’s game

  • RF Aaron Judge: 1-3, 1 BB
  • LF Tyler Austin: 0-4, 2 K
  • DH Dante Bichette Jr.: 1-2, 1 R, 2 BB
  • RHP Kyle Haynes: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, 1/1 GB/FB — five of eight pitches were strikes
  • RHP Caleb Cotham: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, 0/1 GB/FB - seven of 12 pitches were strikes (58%)

AzFL Scottsdale (7-5 loss to Mesa) Wednesday’s game

  • DH Aaron Judge: 1-3, 1 R, 1 BB
  • 1B Greg Bird: 0-3, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 E (throwing)
  • C Kyle Higashioka: 1-3, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 BB – he’s hitting .438/.500/.688 in only four games played
  • RF Tyler Austin: 3-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 3 RBI – got picked off first
  • 3B Dante Bichette Jr.: 1-4, 1 K, 1 E (throwing)

AzFL Scottsdale (7-5 win over Mesa) Thursday’s game

  • RF Aaron Judge: 2-4, 2 R, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K — also threw a runner out at the plate
  • DH Greg Bird: 2-2, 2 BB
  • 1B Dante Bichette Jr.: 0-0 — took over as an injury replacement in the eighth but did not bat
  • LF Tyler Austin: 3-4, 1 R — he threw a runner out at the plate as well … hitting .322/.394/.492 with two homers in 15 games
  • RHP Caleb Cotham: 1.1 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 1/1 GB/FB — 17 of 25 pitches were strikes (68%)

AzFL Scottsdale (8-6 loss to Salt River) Friday’s game

  • RF Aaron Judge: 1-2, 1 R, 2 BB, 1 HBP — hitting .296/.418/.574 in 15 games and is tied for second in the league with four homers
  • 1B Greg Bird: 1-4, 2 RBI, 1 BB — hitting .342/.400/.632 with a league-leading six homers in 19 games
  • DH Dante Bichette Jr.: 1-4, 3 RBI — hitting .240/.310/.240 in 14 games
  • RHP Alex Smith: 1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, 3/0 GB/FB — eight of 12 pitches were strikes (67%)
  • RHP Kyle Haynes: 1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 1 K, 1/0 GB/FB — half of his 28 pitches were strikes

AzFL Fall Stars Game (East wins 6-2) Saturday’s game

  • 1B Greg Bird: 1-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K — batting cleanup and played the entire game
  • RF Aaron Judge: 0-2 – entered the game in the fifth inning

Dominican Winter League

  • OF Zoilo Almonte: 4 G, 5-14, 4 R, 1 2B,  RBI, 2 BB, 3 K (.333/.412/.400) — I believe he’s about to become a six-year minor league free agent
  • OF Eury Perez: 3 G, 3-14, 1 R, 1 2B, 2 K (.214/.214/.268) – likely to replace Zoilo as the up-and-down outfielder next year
  • LHP Ramon Benjamin: 2 G, 0.1 IP, 0 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 0 K (27.00 ERA, 6.00 WHIP)
  • RHP Joel De La Cruz: 2 G, 1.2 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 1 HR (0.00 ERA, 1.80 WHIP) — I can’t help but laugh whenever a homer counts as an unearned run
  • LHP Francisco Rondon: 3 G, 1.1 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 0 K (6.75 ERA, 3.75 WHIP)

Mexican Pacific League

  • OF Jose Figueroa: 13 G, 3-10, 4 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 2 K, 1 SB (.300/.364/.600)
  • RHP Gio Gallegos: 8 G, 7.1 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 6 K, 1 HB (1.23 ERA, 0.95 WHIP)
  • RHP Luis Niebla: 4 G, 4 GS, 16 IP, 11 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 5 BB, 14 K, 1 HB, 1 HR (2.81 ERA, 1.00 WHIP)

Roberto Clemente Professional Baseball League (Puerto Rico) started play on Thursday. SS Vince Conde, 2B Angelo Gumbs, and OF Carlos Beltran are all listed on rosters but have not yet played. Beltran hasn’t played winter ball in years and won’t this year because of his recent elbow surgery. He’s only listed on the roster because the team still controls his winter ball rights.

Venezuelan Winter League

  • C Francisco Arcia: 13 G, 10-52, 2 R, 3 2B, 6 RBI, 2 BB, 14 K (.192/.222/.250)
  • UTIL Ali Castillo: 19 G, 29-79, 17 R, 5 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 10 RBI, 2 BB, 11 K, 9 SB, 2 CS, 2 HBP (.367/.393/.494)
  • OF Ramon Flores: 13 G, 12-37, 5 R, 1 2B, 2 3B, 2 RBI, 6 BB, 7 K (.324/.419/.459)
  • UTIL Adonis Garcia: 18 G, 21-77, 7 R, 2 2B, 5 RBI, 4 BB, 8 K, 2 SB, 1 HBP (.273/.317/.299)
  • C Jose Gil: 11 G, 11-39, 9 R, 4 2B, 1 HR, 7 RBI, 2 BB, 7 K, 1 SB, 1 HBP (.344/.400/.563)
  • OF Ericson Leonora: 4 G, 3-11, 2 R, 1 2B, 1 3B, 5 K (.273/.273/.545)
  • UTIL Jose Pirela: 7 G, 10-28, 8 R, 1 2B, 2 3B, 3 HR, 7 RBI, 2 BB, 4 K (.357/.400/.857)
  • C Jackson Valera: 1 G, 0-0
  • RHP Diego Moreno: 9 G, 8 IP, 9 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 1 HB, 1 HR (5.68 ERA, 1.38 WHIP) — allowed four runs in an inning of work in his only appearance this week
  • RHP Mark Montgomery, RHP Wilking Rodriguez, SS Angel Aguilar, and C Frankie Cervelli are all listed on rosters but have not yet played. They probably won’t at this point.

DotF: Bird continues to rake in the Arizona Fall League

In the video above, Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo chat about some of the Yankees prospects playing in the Arizona Fall League this month. Here is Callis’ companion piece with more on each prospect. Also, 1B Greg Bird was named the AzFL Player of the Week last week and Matt Eddy says LHP Cesar Cabral has elected free agency. He’s no longer with the organization.

AzFL Scottsdale (7-3 win over Glendale) Monday’s game

  • RF Aaron Judge: 1-5, 1 RBI, 2 K
  • DH Greg Bird: 1-5, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI
  • RHP Caleb Cotham: 2 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 4 K, 1 WP, 0/1 GB/FB — 26 of 39 pitches were strikes (67%)

AzFL Scottsdale (7-6 win over Glendale) Tuesday’s game

AzFL Scottsdale (9-3 loss to Mesa) Wednesday’s game

  • RF Aaron Judge: 0-4, 1 K
  • DH Greg Bird: 1-4, 1 R
  • RHP Alex Smith: 1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 0 K, 1/1 GB/FB — 11 of 21 pitches were strikes (52%) … nine runs and 4/6 K/BB in 5.1 innings so far

AzFL Scottsdale (7-3 loss to Mesa) Thursday’s game

  • LF Tyler Austin: 1-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 E (fielding)
  • RF Aaron Judge: 1-4, 1 2B, 1 K
  • 1B Greg Bird: 2-4, 1 2B
  • RHP Kyle Haynes: 1 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 1 WP, 0/1 GB/FB — 17 of 34 pitches were strikes (50%) … 7/5 K/BB in 6.2 innings
  • RHP Caleb Cotham: 1 IP, zeroes, 1 K, 1/0 GB/FB — ten pitches, eight strikes … 11/2 K/BB in eight innings so far

AzFL Scottsdale (2-1 loss to Surprise) Friday’s game

  • RF Aaron Judge: 0-3, 1 BB, 1 K — threw a runner out at the plate
  • 1B Greg Bird: 1-4, 1 RBI, 1 K
  • LF Tyler Austin: 0-2, 2 BB
  • 3B Dante Bichette Jr.: 2-4

AzFL Scottsdale (12-3 win over Mesa) Saturday’s game

  • DH Aaron Judge: 1-4, 2 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K — hitting .250/.311/.475 with two homers and nine strikeouts in ten games
  • 1B Greg Bird: 2-4, 2 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 K — leads the league with five homers … .349/.382/.651 with 16 strikeouts and three walks in 15 games
  • RF Tyler Austin: 2-5, 2 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI — hitting .277/.370/.468 with seven walks and eight strikeouts in 12 games
  • 3B Dante Bichette Jr.: 0-5, 1 RBI, 3 K — he’s at .225/.289/.225 with eleven strikeouts in ten games
  • C Kyle Higashioka: 1-3, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 CS — 6-for-13 (.462) in his three games

Dominican Winter League

  • LHP Ramon Benjamin: 2 G, 0.1 IP, 0 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 0 K (27.00 ERA, 6.00 WHIP)
  • RHP Joel De La Cruz: 1 G, 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K (0.00 ERA, 2.00 WHIP)
  • LHP Francisco Rondon: 2 G, 0.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K (0.00 ERA, 3.00 WHIP)

Mexican Pacific League

  • OF Jose Figueroa: 10 G, 3-8, 4 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 2 K, 1 SB (.375/.444/.750)
  • RHP Gio Gallegos: 6 G, 5.2 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 1 HB (0.00 ERA, 0.88 WHIP)
  • RHP Luis Niebla: 3 G, 3 GS, 11 IP, 10 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 4 BB, 10 K, 1 HB, 1 HR (4.09 ERA, 1.27 WHIP)

The Roberto Clemente Professional Baseball League (Puerto Rico) doesn’t begin play until Thursday. No rosters yet.

Venezuelan Winter League

  • C Francisco Arcia: 12 G, 10-49, 2 R, 3 2B, 6 RBI, 2 BB, 13 K (.204/.235/.265)
  • UTIL Ali Castillo: 13 G, 19-51, 12 R, 4 2B, 5 RBI, 2 BB, 5 K, 6 SB, 2 CS, 1 HBP (.373/.400/.451)
  • OF Ramon Flores: 8 G, 6-22, 4 R, 1 2B, 1 3B, 1 RBI, 3 BB, 5 K (.273/.360/.409)
  • UTIL Adonis Garcia: 13 G, 17-56, 6 R, 1 2B, 3 RBI, 3 BB, 6 K, 2 SB, 1 HBP (.304/.350/.321)
  • C Jose Gil: 7 G, 6-18, 6 R, 2 2B, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 1 BB, 3 K, 1 HBP (.333/.400/.611)
  • UTIL Jose Pirela: 2 G, 4-7, 3 R, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 2 BB (.571/.667/1.429) — gotta think he’ll come to camp next year with a legit chance to win a bench job
  • C Jackson Valera: 1 G, 0-0
  • RHP Diego Moreno: 7 G, 6.1 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 1 HB (1.42 ERA, 0.63 WHIP)
  • OF Ericson Leonora, RHP Mark Montgomery, RHP Wilking Rodriguez, SS Angel Aguilar, and C Frankie Cervelli are all listed on rosters but have not yet played.

DotF: Judge, Bird continue to rake in the Arizona Fall League

The video above, which comes courtesy of Kiley McDaniel, is OF Juan De Leon at Instructional League a few weeks go. The Yankees signed the 16-year-old out of the Dominican Republic for $2M back in July and he’s arguably the best prospect they signed during their international spending spree. The video isn’t much, but it’s more than we get to see from many of these guys. Here are some more minor league notes before the weekly fall/winter ball recaps:

  • Keith Law (subs. req’d) recently saw several Yankees farmhands in the Arizona Fall League. He said 1B Greg Bird‘s “swing is very short to the ball, with great hand acceleration to produce that hard contact,” but notes Bird has issues defensively. OF Tyler Austin “looks better in BP than he has in a while” due to his nagging wrist injury while 3B Dante Bichette Jr. “looks the same as ever: He possesses a huge, out-of-control swing with a big backside collapse, and poor defense at third.”
  • Jeff Moore (subs. req’d) provided a firsthand scouting report on OF Aaron Judge recently. “While others his size tend to sell out for the power that is expected of them, Judge employs an up-the-middle approach, using the whole field and looking for line drives … His bat stays through the strike zone for a long time, giving him good plate coverage and the ability to handle pitches on the outer half that selling out for power would leave him exposed to,” he wrote.
  • Zeke Fine recently wrote up a firsthand scouting report on SS Jorge Mateo. “His projectable frame, elite speed, and natural hitting ability suggest that he could become an above average shortstop at the major league level. How he develops physically will help to determine his ultimate ceiling,” he said.
  • John Manuel went back and handed out grades for the 2009 draft. The Angels, Cardinals, Diamondbacks, and Nationals all received A’s while the Dodgers, Orioles, and Rays received F’s. The Yankees received a C. With of OF Slade Heathcott unable to stay healthy, this class boils down to RHP Adam Warren, RHP Shane Greene, RHP Bryan Mitchell, and C John Ryan Murphy.

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