Archive for Minors
Derek Fisher | OF
Fisher is from a small town in Pennsylvania, a few miles outside Harrisburg, and he was drafted in the sixth round (204th overall pick) out of high school in the 2011 draft by the Rangers. He reportedly declined a seven-figure bonus offer and instead followed through on his commitment to Virginia. After hitting .290/.386/.495 during his first two years at school, Fisher is hitting .333/.393/.451 through 14 games this spring.
Fisher, who is listed at 6-foot-3 and 210 lbs., is one of the best athletes among this year’s crop of college players. That says more about the draft class than his ability, unfortunately. Fisher is a good but not great runner, and he’s already relegated to left field because of his poor arm and okay at best instincts. He is good enough defensively to stick in the outfield long-term as opposed to moving to first base or even DH, but forget about center or right.
Fisher’s draft stock is built around his left-handed swing, which is quick and compact. He shows lots of power in batting practice but has not yet to fully carry it over into games because of a tendency to drop his hands and let his swing get a little loopy. His approach and ability to recognize breaking balls need work. If Fisher can learn to take his power from batting practice into games, he has all the look of a future middle of the order guy who can swat 30+ homers at his peak.
In their latest rankings, Keith Law (subs. req’d) and Baseball America (no subs. req’d) ranked Fisher as the 24th and 39th best prospect in the draft. However, Fisher’s draft stock has taken a hit because he broke the hamate bone in his right wrist sliding into a base recently. He is not expected to return until mid-to-late May, right before the draft. Teams won’t have much of an opportunity to scout him this spring.
Fisher came into the spring looking like a top 20 pick but is now likely to slide out of the first round because of the injury. He is a prime target for teams with extra picks or teams hoping to land a top talent in the second round after surrendering their first rounder to sign a free agent. The latter describes the Yankees, whose first pick is in the second round (55th overall) after their offseason spending spree. They seem to have renewed interest in college bats these last two years and there’s a chance Fisher will fall into their laps this spring. It’s a stretch, but not impossible.
C Peter O’Brien was named the High-A Florida State League Offensive Player of the Week. He went 13-for-39 with two doubles and four homers during the first ten days of the season. Not bad.
Triple-A Scranton was rained out yet again. They’ve played ten games and had six rainouts this season. Crazy. They’ll try to play a doubleheader tomorrow, but the forecast isn’t much better.
Double-A Trenton (2-0 win over Akron)
- CF Mason Williams: 1-4
- LF Ben Gamel & 3B Rob Segedin: both 0-3, 1 BB — Gamel was caught stealing … Segedin scored a run and committed a throwing error
- DH Tyler Austin: 1-4, 2 RBI, 2 K
- RF Taylor Dugas: 1-4, 1 2B
- RHP Bryan Mitchell: 6 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 12 K, 3/4 GB/FB — 58 of 87 pitches were strikes (67%) … that’s a new career high in strikeouts for him, he had struck out ten on two occasions (once last year, once the year before)
Update: The Low-A Charleston game is over and has been added to the post.
Triple-A Scranton (7-1 win over Syracuse)
- RF Ramon Flores: 4-4, 4 R, 2 2B, 1 3B, 1 BB — had four hits in his first 27 at-bats of the season (.148)
- 3B Scott Sizemore: 2-5, 1 3B, 3 RBI, 2 K
- LF Zoilo Almonte: 3-5, 1 RBI — six hits in his last 12 at-bats
- DH John Ryan Murphy: 1-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 K — five hits in his last 16 at-bats (.313) with three doubles
- C Austin Romine: 1-3, 2 R, 1 BB
- RHP Bruce Billings: 7 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 1 WP, 7/8 GB/FB — 54 of 90 pitches were strikes (60%) … helluva start
- RHP Danny Burawa: 1 IP, zeroes, 1 K, 2/0 GB/FB — eight of eleven pitches were strikes (73%) … 8/1 K/BB in four innings
- RHP Mark Montgomery: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 0/1 GB/FB — 13 of 17 pitches were strikes (76%)
Triple-A Scranton Game One (7-1 loss to Syracuse in seven innings)
- DH Jose Pirela, 2B Scott Sizemore & C Austin Romine: all 0-3 — Sizemore made a throwing error and struck out twice, giving him 12 strikeouts in 24 at-bats
- RF Zoilo Almonte: 1-3, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 K – threw a runner out at second
- 3B Russ Canzler & LF Ramon Flores: both 0-2, 1 BB — Canzler struck out
- RHP Brian Gordon: 5 IP, 9 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 1 HB, 4/3 GB/FB — 61 of 86 pitches were strikes (71%)
- LHP Fred Lewis: 2 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 1 WP, 3/1 GB/FB — 25 of 45 pitches were strikes (56%)
In case you’re wondering, RHP Gabe Encinas is currently throwing bullpen sessions as he works his way back from Tommy John surgery, according to his Twitter feed. He was on his way to becoming one of the team’s top pitching prospects before blowing out his elbow last summer. Also, no Yankees farmhands made the first Prospect Hot Sheet of the season.
Triple-A Scranton was rained out. The season started last Thursday and this is already their fifth rain out. Stuff like this is why LHP Manny Banuelos is in Tampa right now. Anyway, they’ll play a doubleheader tomorrow.
Double-A Trenton (5-4 loss to Erie)
- CF Mason Williams: 0-5, 1 K
- DH Ben Gamel: 1-4, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K
- 3B Tyler Austin: 2-5, 2 K, 1 E (throwing) — they said they wanted to try to maintain some of his versatility, so he’ll see time at third and first base in addition to his usual right field
- C Gary Sanchez: 2-5
- 2B Rob Refsnyder: 2-5, 2 R, 1 2B, 2 K — 13 strikeouts in 29 at-bats
- RHP Zach Nuding: 5 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 6/1 GB/FB — 58 of 88 pitches were strikes (66%)
- RHP Jairo Heredia: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 3/1 GB/FB — 12 of 21 pitches were strikes (57%)
Baseball America published their updated list of the top 50 prospects for this year’s draft yesterday (no subs. req’d). NC State LHP Carlos Rodon came into the spring as the overwhelming favorite to go first overall, but his stuff has not been as electric this spring and he is no longer a lock to go even in the top three. California HS LHP Brady Aiken is the consensus top prospect for the draft right now.
The Yankees do not pick until the second round (55th overall) because of their offseason spending spree, but in all likelihood a few of the players in this edition of the top 50 will be available when that selection comes around. This draft is very deep in right-handed pitchers — 19 of the top 50 are righties — and really light on impact bats. The Yankees need some arms, and while drafting for need in the early rounds isn’t ideal, they could definitely add a quality pitching prospect to the organization with that 55th pick this year.
Here is a really excellent article from Ben Badler about teams scouting 14-year-old kids down in Latin America. Agents are scouting 12-year-olds. Thanks to MLB’s international spending restrictions, clubs are looking to find prospects and get them to agree to contracts as soon as possible to keep them away from the competition. You don’t need a subscription to read the article, so make sure you check it out.
Triple-A Scranton (7-2 win over Syracuse)
- 3B Scott Sizemore: 1-3, 1 BB, 1 K
- LF Zoilo Almonte: 0-3, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1CS
- RF Ramon Flores: 0-3, 1 R, 1 BB, 2 K
- C J.R. Murphy: 2-4, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 K — four hits in his last nine at-bats after going 0-for-10 to start the year
- SS Zelous Wheeler: 0-0, 1 E (throwing) – left the game with some kind of back or side injury according to Donnie Collins
- RHP Graham Stoneburner: 5 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 5/3 GB/FB — 48 of 76 pitches were strikes (63%)
- RHP Danny Burawa: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 1 WP, 1/1 GB/FB — 20 of 30 pitches were strikes … 8/1 K/BB in four innings
- RHP Mark Montgomery: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 1/1 GB/FB — 23 of 38 pitches were strikes (61%)
Triple-A Scranton (7-6 loss to Rochester)
- 2B Jose Pirela: 2-5, 2 R, 1 2B
- 3B Scott Sizemore: 2-3, 1 R, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 1 K — eight hits and three are doubles
- C John Ryan Murphy: 2-5, 2 2B, 2 RBI, 1 K — that’s more like it
- LF Zoilo Almonte: 0-4, 1 BB, 4 K
- SS Zelous Wheeler: 2-4, 2 R, 1 2B, 1 BB, 1 K – having a nice little start to the season
- RHP Chase Whitley: 3 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, 3/1 GB/FB — picked a runner off first … 38 of 51 pitches were strikes (75%)
- RHP David Herndon: 2 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 0 K, 4/1 GB/FB — 23 of 37 pitches were strikes (62%)
In my opinion, the 2013 draft was the Yankees’ strongest in several years. Obviously having three first round picks helped — their natural first rounder plus compensation picks for Nick Swisher and Rafael Soriano — but they landed three legitimate first round talents with those picks, plus they unearthed some gems in the middle rounds. The farm system has been in need of impact talent, and they definitely added some last summer.
Thanks to their offseason spending spree, the Yankees forfeited their top three picks in this June’s draft. That means their first rounder is gone, ditto the compensation picks for Curtis Granderson and Robinson Cano. Their top selection right now comes in the second round, the 55th overall pick, but they could always surrender that to sign Stephen Drew or Kendrys Morales. Heck, they could sign both and forfeit their second and third round picks. I’d bet against that though. Here is the team’s draft pool situation, courtesy of Baseball America (no subs. req’d):
- Second round, 55th overall: $1,018,700
- Third round, 91st overall: $585,100
- Fourth round, 122nd overall: $424,000
- Fifth round, 152nd overall: $317,500
- Sixth round, 182nd overall: $232, 600
- Seventh round, 212nd overall: $178,300
- Eighth round, 242nd overall: $157,000
- Ninth round, 272nd overall: $146,500
- Tenth round, 302nd overall: $137,600
That all adds up to $3,202,300 for the top ten rounds, or $3,359,212 if you include the 4.9% each team is allowed to exceed their pool before getting slapped with the really harsh penalties, specifically forfeiting future first rounders. The Yankees did exceed their draft pool last year, but only by 1.4%. Exceeding by the pool by no more than 4.9% results in a tax of 75% on the overage, which is a pittance for most MLB clubs.
It’s easy to say the Yankees will grab whatever top talent falls into their lap for that 55th overall pick, and while that’s probably true, they have shown a tendency to take “their guy” in the early rounds. It’s not just SS Cito Culver and 3B Dante Bichette Jr., either. The Yankees took both OF Slade Heathcott and 2B Gosuke Katoh higher than projected. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it does make it tough to pin down the players they could be targeting.
In the past, the Yankees were all about high school position players and polished college pitchers. The gears have shifted the last two years, as they’ve taken high school arms (RHP Ty Hensley, LHP Ian Clarkin) and college bats (3B Eric Jagielo, OF Aaron Judge, C Peter O’Brien) in the early rounds. In fact, they took two college hitters (Jagielo and Judge) in the first round last summer after taking one college hitter (OF John-Ford Griffin) in the first round from 2001-12. Is this a new trend, or a blip in the radar? I think it’s the former, but again, this makes it tough to pin down who they are looking at.
The Yankees are reportedly planning a huge international spending spree, and that’s how they will add the bulk of their young talent in 2014. Draft talent has come off the board much more linearly — the best players go early and very few fall into the later rounds, and those that do usually end up not signing — since the spending limits were implemented, so club can only add so much talent this draft. This year’s class is very deep in college right-handed pitchers and I do think the Yankees will look to replenish the pitching pipeline this year, at least in the middle rounds, but that’s just a hunch.
As I’ve done the last two years, I’m going to put together short posts for individual prospects in the weeks leading up to the draft. Here’s the Jagielo post from last year, for example. I used to group players together based on similar traits (college bat, power arms, whatever) but I think the individual posts work better. Because the Yankees don’t have a first rounder this year, I won’t be focusing on the top talents. There are plenty of places you can read about those guys. I want to look at players who could still be around when the Yankees pick. It’ll be difficult this year, but I think that will make it more fun too.
Courtesy of Matt Eddy, here are all the players who opened the season on the minor league disabled list. Some of them are actually hurt, some are on the phantom DL as teams manipulate their rosters.
Triple-A Scranton Game One (5-0 loss to Rochester in seven innings)
- DH Jose Pirela, C John Ryan Murphy & 3B Zelous Wheeler: all 0-3 — Murphy and Wheeler struck out
- 2B Scott Sizemore: 1-3, 1 2B, 2 K — 6-for-12 with five strikeouts after this game, so it’s pretty much been either a hit or a strikeout so far
- RF Zoilo Almonte: 1-3
- CF Ramon Flores: 1-3, 1 2B
- RHP Bruce Billings: 4 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 6 K, 3/1 GB/FB — 54 of 85 pitches were strikes (64%)
- LHP Fred Lewis: 1 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 0/2 GB/FB — 11 of 17 pitches were strikes (65%)
- RHP Danny Burawa: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 1/0 GB/FB — 14 of 23 pitches were strikes (61%)