Monday Night Open Thread

Today is a travel day for the World Series, so in meantime I recommend checking out Dan Barry’s story on Maury Lerner, a former second base prospect with several teams in the 1950s and 1960s who became a mob hitman after his playing career ended. Here’s his Baseball Reference page. Pretty wild stuff. Make sure you give it a read.

Here is tonight’s open thread. No baseball tonight, but there is Monday Night Football (Vikings vs. Bears), plus the Nets are all playing. That’s pretty much it. Talk about those games, the Lerner story, or anything else right here.

(Today is the anniversary of Game Three of the 2009 World Series, hence the video selection.)

Thoughts on Baseball America’s top 10 Yankees prospects

Gleyber. (Presswire)
Gleyber. (Presswire)

Last week, the crew at Baseball America began their annual offseason series breaking down the top ten prospects in each Major League organization. Their Yankees list, compiled by Josh Norris, went live last Friday. Here’s the list, the insider, and the chat. You need a subscription to read the scouting reports for prospects two through ten. Everything else is free. Here’s the top ten:

  1. SS Gleyber Torres
  2. OF Clint Frazier
  3. OF Blake Rutherford
  4. SS Jorge Mateo
  5. RHP James Kaprielian
  6. OF Aaron Judge
  7. LHP Justus Sheffield
  8. RHP Chance Adams
  9. OF Dustin Fowler
  10. RHP Domingo Acevedo

“The Yankees took the unusual step of selling off their veterans to embark on a rebuilding phase, but the young players they brought up provided more immediate impact than expected and kept the team in playoff contention until the season’s final week,” wrote Kyle Glaser in the insider write-up. I have some amateur-ish thoughts on the top ten, so let’s get to ’em.

1. Holy crap the top ten is stacked. That’s the best Yankees top ten I can remember. You can even go all the way back to 1999 and 2000, when they had Nick Johnson and Alfonso Soriano at the top of the farm system, with Drew Henson, D’Angelo Jimenez, Wily Mo Pena, and Jake Westbrook behind them. Laugh at those names now if you want, but those dudes were a big deal back in the day. The Yankees have a ton of depth in their farm system. I’m talking players with a chance to be regular big leaguers, and that was true before the trade deadline. The deadline deals added star power like Frazier and Torres. You could put any one of the guys Baseball America ranked among the top seven in the top spot and he’d be a more than respectable No. 1 organizational prospect.

2. The Yankees have a shot at seven top 100 prospects. In the chat, Norris said he could “very easily see Nos. 1 through 8 in this system making the Top 100,” which would be amazing. I’m not quite as high on Adams as everyone else seems to be — he’s good! I’m just not sure he’s top 100 caliber good — so I see seven top 100 candidates, which is still incredible. Four top 100 prospects is pretty darn good. Seven is off-the-charts good. Prospects are suspects until proven otherwise, but generally speaking, that kind of top 100 prospect depth correlates well to future success. The Yankees have a lot of high-end talent and a lot of depth too. I can’t remember the last time the system was set up this well.

3. The top three weren’t in the organization five months ago. The Yankees’ top three prospects according to Baseball America are all new to the organization. Torres and Frazier came over in separate trades at the deadline, and Rutherford was the team’s first round pick in June. None of those three guys were in the system as recently as June 8th. Later than that, really, since Rutherford didn’t officially sign until June 29th. That’s an awful lot of top talent added to the system in a short period of time.

Frazier. (Presswire)
Frazier. (Presswire)

4. Frazier over Torres has become Torres over Frazier. At the trade deadline, just about every scouting publication had Frazier ranked ahead of Torres. In fact, Baseball America’s midseason top 100, which was published exactly three weeks prior to the deadline, had Frazier ranked 21st and Torres ranked 27th. That’s really close. Almost a negligible difference, really. Since the trade, Gleyber continued to mash in High-A and show the skills necessary to stay at shortstop. Frazier struggled in his few weeks at Triple-A. It’s not a surprise to see them flipped and it’s in no way unreasonable. This isn’t an overreaction or anything. Torres has star caliber tools and so does Frazier, but we saw them from Gleyber more than Frazier in the second half. Torres passing Frazier has more to do with Torres taking another step forward than Frazier taking a step back. I don’t have a strong opinion at the moment either way, Torres over Frazier or Frazier over Torres. The cool thing is the Yankees have both.

5. People sure do love Rutherford. I am surprised to see Rutherford ranked so high, but hey, I’m not complaining. Baseball America’s scouting report says he “projects as a four-tool player” with the only shortcoming being his arm, which isn’t a huge deal. If you’re going to miss a tool, that’s an okay one to miss. Also, in his most recent chat, Keith Law said he’d take Rutherford over every other hitter in the 2016 draft class. That is some serious praise. The Yankees have a stacked system right now and Rutherford still ranks near the top of their prospect list despite being a 19-year-old kid with 130 pro plate appearances. I am: excited.

6. Judge behind Mateo and Kaprielian is, uh, interesting. There is no right way to rank prospects. At the end of the day, it all comes down to personal preference. And really, the gap between many of these prospects is very small, so ranking one over the other is not a big deal. I’m still surprised to see Judge drop behind Mateo and especially Kaprielian. What was the goal for Judge coming into the season? To make the adjustment to Triple-A pitching, mash for a few weeks, then get to the show. He did exactly that. What was the goal for Mateo? To continue turning that high-end athleticism and those raw tools into baseball skills. Instead, he struggled most of the year and got suspended as well. The hope was Kaprielian would reach the show in September, or at least reach Triple-A. He made three High-A starts before getting hurt. Mateo and Kaprielian took steps back this year. They did! Don’t get mad at me for saying it. Judge made his adjustments and got to the big leagues, and now he has to make another adjustment. That is in no way unusual. Dropping him behind Mateo and Kaprielian strikes me as an overreaction to his swing-and-miss issues in August and September. The ranking indicates those strikeout woes are a bigger concern than Mateo not hitting in general and Kaprielian getting hurt. Eh.

7. Not a surprise to see no Tate. The Yankees made three big trades at the deadline and three of the prospects they acquired are in their top ten. Torres came over in the Aroldis Chapman deal and both Frazier and Sheffield came over in the Andrew Miller trade. Dillon Tate, the headliner in the Carlos Beltran trade, did not make the top ten and it’s not only because the Yankees have so many quality prospects. Tate took a step back this year, especially during his time with the Rangers. He had a hamstring injury, his velocity was down, and his command wavered. The Yankees bought low on him — Tate was the fourth overall pick in last year’s draft — and will try to build him back up. Reports from the Arizona Fall League indicate his stuff has returned, which is an important first step. Tate may not be a top ten organizational prospect right now, but he’s on his way to being one next year.

The Final Year of the Ivan Nova Experience [2016 Season Review]

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Aside from his rookie season, when he was trying to establish himself as a big leaguer, this was the most important season of Ivan Nova‘s career. He returned from Tommy John surgery last year and didn’t pitch well at all (5.07 ERA and 4.87 FIP), so this year Ivan wanted to show everyone he is still a viable starter before becoming a free agent. There was a lot of money at stake.

Unfortunately, this summer was more of the same for Nova, at least while he was in pinstripes. He was consistently inconsistently. Occasionally great, too often terrible, and mostly mediocre. The quintessential fifth starter, basically. The kind of guy who’s worth keeping around as depth, but probably not someone a contending team runs out there every fifth day. Nova’s time with the Yankees — he originally signed with the team in 2004 and was the longest tenured player in the organization — came to an end at the trade deadline.

The Spring Training Competition

As expected, the Yankees made Nova compete for a rotation spot in Spring Training. His primary competition: CC Sabathia. Nova was going to have to thoroughly out-pitch Sabathia in March, because anything close to a tie was going to go to the well-paid former Cy Young award winner. The odds were stacked against Ivan. No doubt about it. He was going to have to make the decision a no-brainer.

Nova allowed two runs in nine innings in his first two Grapefruit League starts, which seemed to have him in the lead for the fifth starter’s spot. He then allowed four runs in 4.1 innings in his fourth start and six runs in 4.2 innings in his fifth start, and that was that. Those two duds were enough to sway the competition in Sabathia’s favor. Sabathia started the season in the rotation and Nova had to settle for a bullpen job. Such is life.

The Brief Stint in the Bullpen

The Yankees came into the season with maybe the most dominant bullpen trio in baseball history, and although Aroldis Chapman was serving his suspension in April, the team still had Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances available on Opening Day. So, naturally, Nova picked up the club’s first save of the season. Just as we all expected, right? Right.

Nova got that save in the second game of the 2016 season. It was a blowout 16-6 win over the Astros, and Nova threw four shutout innings to close out the game. Throw the final three innings of the game in relief and you get a save, regardless of score. What a stat.

Nova worked sparingly in April, which is usually how it goes with long relievers. They’ll go ten days between appearances then bam, we need four innings from you. Ivan appeared in only six of the team’s first 29 games, and in those six games he allowed eight runs on 16 hits and one walk in 14 innings. Only once did he enter a game with the Yankees leading. It was that 16-6 win over Houston.

“We have to use him in different situations,” said Joe Girardi in April. “We need for him to get outs.”

Back in the Rotation

Nova’s stint in the bullpen lasted 29 team games. Sabathia went down with a minor groin injury in early-May, then Luis Severino went down with a triceps problem about a week later, which opened a full-time rotation spot for Nova. And at first, it went really well. Really, really well. Well enough some wondered why Ivan wasn’t in the Opening Day rotation.

May 9th vs. Royals: 4.2 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 1 HR (on a pitch count)
May 14th vs. White Sox: 5.2 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 1 HR
May 19th @ Athletics: 6 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, 1 HR

Pretty great! The Yankees weren’t haven’t much success as a team overall, especially with Severino and Michael Pineda struggling so much as starters, and Nova gave the team a nice shot in the arm. We’ve seen him be good for long stretches of time in the past. It looked like Ivan was about to go on one of those runs.

It didn’t happen. Nova never once allowed fewer than three runs in any of his next seven starts. He allowed four or more runs five times. Nova had a 6.92 ERA (5.61 FIP) in 39 innings in those seven starts, and opponents hit .313/.368/.554 against him. That’s basically Mookie Betts (.318/.363/.534). Nova faced nine Mookie Bettses every start for a little more than a month.

July went a bit better — Nova had a 3.86 ERA (5.18 FIP) in five starts and 28 innings that month — but by then it was too late. The Yankees were fading in the standings and the decision to sell was made at the trade deadline. Nova, as an impending free agent who wasn’t getting a qualifying offer, was a prime candidate to go. It was either keep him and lose him for nothing after the season or get something, anything in return.

All told, Nova had a 4.90 ERA (5.10 FIP) in 97.1 innings across 15 starts and six relief appearances with the Yankees this season, which was a bit too close to last year’s numbers. He had a 4.86 ERA (5.33 FIP) in those 15 starts, and, amazingly, Nova allowed a home run in 14 of his 15 starts. The only team that didn’t take him deep as a starter was the Padres in spacious Petco Park, so yeah. Same ol’ Nova.

Welcome to Pittsburgh

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Minutes before the August 1st trade deadline, the Yankees shipped Nova to the Pirates, their favorite trading partner. They received not one, but two players to be named later in return. It seemed like a miracle. Nova hadn’t pitched well since 2013, remember. He was hurt in 2014 and terrible in both 2015 and 2016. The Rangers and a few other clubs reportedly had interest as well. Pittsburgh it was.

As you no doubt know, Nova pitched far better with the Pirates than he did with the Yankees this year. He had a 3.06 ERA (2.62 FIP) in eleven starts and 64.2 innings with Pittsburgh, though his strikeout (17.8% vs. 19.8%) and ground ball (54.3% vs. 52.3%) rates were basically the same. His walk rate (5.9% vs. 1.1%) fell big time because he threw way more pitches in the zone (41.6% vs. 48.1%).

The Pirates didn’t change Nova’s pitch selection all that much. He threw more sinkers and fewer four-seamers after the trade, but not a ridiculous amount. Pittsburgh got his sinker and four-seamer rates back where they were in April and May, basically. The biggest adjustment, according to Bill Brink, involved Nova’s chin. Yes, his chin.

Pitching coach Ray Searage advised Nova to keep his chin low during his delivery and align his chin with the target. This keeps the front shoulder closed. The results: Two walks in 46? innings, a 2.53 ERA and two complete games in his past four starts.

Nova had heard of the need to keep his chin down before. Recovering from Tommy John ligament replacement surgery, though, threw his mechanics out of whack. Releasing the ball later has improved Nova’s curveball.

“My release point was too off the timing. It was up here,” he said, with his arm above his shoulder, “and then just hold it a little bit more, throw it right in front.”

Nova’s curveball did improve after the trade. With the Yankees, opponents hit .212 with a .188 ISO against his curveball. With the Pirates, it was .175 with a .175 ISO. He also got more swings and misses (16.5% vs. 19.8%) with the curve, but, weirdly, fewer grounders (42.2% vs. 33.3%). Here are Nova’s curveball location heat maps before and after the trade, via Baseball Savant:

Ivan Nova curveballs

They look … pretty similar? Kinda? The vast majority of Nova’s curveballs are right at the bottom of the zone, and anything higher is on the inner half to righties and outer half to lefties. I wouldn’t get too caught up in this. Nova threw 252 curveballs with the Pirates. Total. The location is generally the same. Most of his curveballs were at the bottom of the zone.

There are other factors to consider here too. The switch from the AL to the NL is an undeniable help. Getting to face pitchers instead of guys like David Ortiz and Edwin Encarnacion and Mark Trumbo is kind of a big deal. Also, Nova moved into a more hitter friendly ballpark, and did face some weak competition. Six of his eleven starts with the Pirates came against the rebuilding Reds, Brewers, and Phillies. Must be nice, eh?

Whatever the reason, Nova performed much better with the Pirates than he did the Yankees. Good for him. He needed that little boost heading into free agency. The Yankees received outfielder Tito Polo and lefty Stephen Tarpley, two High-A prospects, as the players to be named in the trade, though they came over in late-August and barely played after the deal was finalized.

Outlook for 2017

Nova is a free agent this offseason and his agent is already floating the idea of a five-year contract worth $70M. Can you blame him? Jeff Samardzija led the lead in hits, earned runs, and homers allowed last year and he got five years and $90M. You’re never going to get Scott Kazmir for Victor Zambrano if you don’t ask. Start with a big opening demand and come down from there.

This upcoming free agent pitching class is bad. So, so bad. That works in Ivan’s favor. His strong finish with the Pirates will undoubtedly convince some team he’s turned the corner for good a la J.A. Happ, though for every J.A. Happ who left Pittsburgh and thrived, there’s an A.J. Burnett who left Pittsburgh and stunk. We’ve seen Nova do this before, right? Look unhittable for a few weeks then go right back to being Ivan Nova.

The Yankees need rotation help this offseason the same way every team needs rotation help. I have a hard time thinking they’ll pursue a reunion with Nova, however. Been there, done that. The Yankees are looking to move forward, not backward. Re-signing Nova puts them right back where they were this year, only Ivan will be more expensive. Someone’s going to pay Nova big bucks this winter and that’s great for him. Chance are it won’t be the Yankees though.

Fan Confidence Poll: October 31st, 2016

2016 Season Record: 84-78 (680 RS, 702 RA, 79-83 pythag. record), 5.0 GB of postseason spot

Top stories from last week:

Please take a second to answer the poll below and give us an idea of how confident you are in the team. You can view the interactive Fan Confidence Graph anytime via the Features tab in the nav bar above, or by clicking here. Thanks in advance for voting.

Weekend Open Thread

Friday: Hooray for the weekend. The World Series is back tonight with Game Three at Wrigley Field. This is the first World Series game at Wrigley in 71 years. The place will be a madhouse, I’m sure. Josh Tomlin and Kyle Hendricks, a pair of finesse righties who struggle to crack 90 mph, are tonight’s starters. Should be fun. Game Three will begin at 8pm ET and you can watch on FOX.

Here’s the open thread for the night. In addition to the World Series, both the (hockey) Rangers and Devils are playing, as are the Nets. Talk about those games or whatever else right here.

Saturday: Ex-Yankee news: Hiroki Kuroda‘s career is over. His team, the Hiroshima Carp, lost the Japan Series in six games to the Nippon Ham Fighters last night. Had there been a Game Seven, it would have been Kuroda vs. Shohei Otani. Kuroda announced he will retire following the Japan Series, win or lose, earlier this month. He never won a championship in his career. Not in NPB and not in MLB. Sucks. He deserved one. Enjoy retirement, Hiroki.

This is the open thread again. Corey Kluber (on short rest) and John Lackey will be on the mound in Game Four of the World Series (8pm ET on FOX). There’s also college football, plus the Knicks, Nets, and Devils are in action. You folks know what to do here, so do it.

Sunday: For the final time, here is your open thread. Trevor Bauer and Jon Lester will be on the mound in Game Five of the World Series tonight (8pm ET on FOX), plus you have all the day’s NFL action. The (hockey) Rangers and Islanders are both playing as well. Talk about those games and more here.

A Spectrum of Expectations

This year's rookie hazing theme: Baby Bombers! (@Yankees)
This year’s rookie hazing theme: Baby Bombers! (@Yankees)

If you’re reading this site, then it you would probably find it superfluous for me to rehash the success the Yankees had when it came to integrating young talent into the Major League team or adding it to the minor league system. And it would also be repetitive to parrot the lines about excitement going forward, 2017 and beyond. Of those two things, though, I’d rather do the latter. When it comes to young players, talking about the future is always more fun than talking about the past, however recent.

Two players in particular are going to have quite lofty expectations thrown on them on 2017. In the minors, there’s Gleyber Torres, who more than held his own in a league in which he was almost four years younger than the average age. People are going to expect big things from him going forward, and I suppose I can’t blame them. He’ll be, however, just 20 years old for all of next season. On the Major League side of things, there’s Gary Sanchez.

Rookie of the Decade. (Jim McIsaac/Getty)
Rookie of the Decade. (Jim McIsaac/Getty)

Whatever adjectives you want to use to describe El Gary’s 2016 are fine with me and likely don’t even do it justice. To an even greater degree than Torres, Sanchez tore up a league he wasn’t supposed to yet, forcing himself into AL Rookie of the Year talks despite just two months of playing time. I’m worried that a segment of fans–not the ones who read this site, really–will be disappointed in Sanchez unless he puts up some ridiculous, Mike Piazza-like year. In reality, if Sanchez just repeats what he did this year over a full year, that would be pretty remarkable in and of itself. Offense like that doesn’t come from a catcher too often.

When it comes to players like Aaron Judge, Luis Cessa, and Chad Green, improvement ought to be the expectation. For Cessa and Green, that improvement needs to come in the form of pitching well enough for their roles to be defined. This does and should leave some wiggle room for them to be considered successful in 2017, whether that’s as starters or relievers. For Judge, the improvement needed is obvious: he has to make more contact and cut down on the strikeouts.

Then there’s Luis Severino. I have no earthly idea what to expect from this guy going forward. Were he to bounce back and show his 2015 form more often, I wouldn’t be shocked. Were he to repeat 2016, I wouldn’t be surprised either. But in my gut of guts, heart of hearts, whatever you want to call it, I’m expecting Severino to turn into a reliever by the end of 2017. Maybe that’s overly pessimistic, but…what else can I expect after a year of no consistent third pitch?

(Jim McIsaac/Getty)
(Jim McIsaac/Getty)

The young players in the Yankee organization are the ones that will determine its success in the coming years. With a team less reliant on old talent as those players age out, the performances of the relatively inexperienced will matter all that much more. It’s never easy to set expectations for players and there’s always a range of possibilities; hopefully, they come up more positive than negative.

DotF: Jorge Mateo begins stint in winter ball

MLB.com streamed an Arizona Fall League game the other night and both SS Gleyber Torres and 1B Greg Bird went deep, so that was cool. The videos are above. 3B Miguel Andujar also drove in a run with a single in that game (video). Jim Callis has an article with some Yankees-related AzFL updates, so make sure you check that out. Here are the week’s notes before we get to the game action:

  • Baseball America posted their top ten Yankees prospects list yesterday. I’ll post some thoughts on it next week, but there’s the list for now. Also check out their companion post and chat for even more info. You need a subscription to read the scouting reports for prospects 2-10, otherwise everything is free.
  • Eric Longenhagen spoke about RHP James Kaprielian on the FanGraphs podcast earlier this week. The Kaprielian stuff starts at the 23:52 mark. Longenhagen said everything looked the same out of Kaprielian’s hand during a recent AzFL outing, making it really tough for the hitter to differentiate his pitches. Pretty neat stuff. Check it out.
  • Ex-Phillies scout Therron Brockish wrote about RHP Dillon Tate for Baseball America (no subs. req’d). The report is pretty glowing in general and indicates he can start, though Brockish wonders if Tate will eventually settle in as a high-strikeout late-inning reliever.
  • The Yankees signed RHP Matt Wivinis out of the independent Frontier League, reports Matt Eddy. He went undrafted out of Eastern Illinois last year, then struck out 43 in 39.2 innings with the Evansville Otters. Teams don’t sign indy ball kids to fill out minor league rosters at this time of the year. The Yankees must see Wivinis as an actual prospect.
  • The Yankees have also re-signed RHP Jose Pena, reports Eddy. Pena has great numbers, having pitched to a 2.66 ERA (2.38 FIP) with 29.6% strikeouts and 5.6% walks in 199.1 minor league innings. He’s also battled injuries, which is why he’s yet to make it out of rookie ball at age 25.
  • And finally, Torres was named the AzFL Player of the Week last week. Also, Andujar placed ninth on this week’s Prospect Hot Sheet, and fans voted RHP Jonathan Holder the top reliever in the minors this year. Pretty cool.

Arizona Fall League

  • 3B Miguel Andujar: 11 G, 13-35, 7 R, 1 2B, 1 3B, 4 RBI, 7 BB, 4 K (.371/.465/.457) — seven walks and four strikeouts, eh? nice
  • 1B Greg Bird: 10 G, 9-37, 5 R, 4 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 8 RBI, 7 BB, 6 K, 1 SB, 1 HBP (.243/.378/.486) — if you’re in interested in such things, the home run in the video above had an exit velocity of 104.4 mph, according to Daren Willman … glad to see Bird seems to be back to being himself after shoulder surgery
  • SS Gleyber Torres: 9 G, 10-32, 6 R, 2 2B, 3 HR, 7 RBI, 6 BB, 5 K, 2 SB, 2 CS (.313/.421/.656) — wonder what the Sterling call will be?
  • IF Tyler Wade: 6 G, 3-21, 5 R, 1 RBI, 5 BB, 8 K, 4 SB (.143/.308/.143) — he’s played one game at second, two in left, and three in center … he’s also played four innings at third base, so Wade is on the path to being the Yankees’ next utility man
  • LHP Nestor Cortes: 2 G, 1.2 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 3 K (21.60 ERA and 4.20 WHIP) — he was added to the AzFL roster late as an injury replacement for a pitcher in another organization
  • RHP J.P. Feyereisen: 6 G, 8 IP, 10 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 5 BB, 9 K (4.50 ERA and 1.88 WHIP) — four innings, four baserunners, six strikeouts, no runs in his last three outings
  • RHP James Kaprielian: 3 G, 3 GS, 9.1 IP, 10 H, 8 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 12 K (4.82 ERA and 1.29 WHIP) — his three starts have each gotten progressively worse, but who cares? he’s healthy, and that’s most important
  • RHP Brody Koerner: 3 G, 1 GS, 7.1 IP, 10 H, 9 R, 9 ER, 5 BB, 5 K, 1 HR (11.05 ERA and 2.05 WHIP) — he moved into the rotation to replace whoever got hurt that allowed Cortes to join the roster
  • RHP Dillon Tate: 5 G, 8 IP, 8 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 9 K, 1 HR, 1 HB (4.50 ERA and 1.13 WHIP)

Dominican Winter League

  • IF Abi Avelino: 2 G, 0-3, 1 R — these leagues are super competitive, so Avelino might not play much … whoever gives the team the best chance to win will be in the lineup
  • IF Jorge Mateo: 5 G, 2-14, 1 R, 1 B, 2 K, 1 HBP (.142/.250/.143) — good to see him playing down here … he didn’t have a great season this year, so anything work he can put in to get better next year is a positive
  • OF Cesar Puello: 4 G, 3-9, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 4 BB (.333/.538/.444) — he had a real nice season and will be a minor league free agent in a few weeks … I imagine he’ll look for the best opportunity to get to MLB, and given the Yankees’ outfield depth, it’s hard to think that opportunity exists here
  • RHP Adonis Rosa: 1 G, 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K (0.00 ERA and 0.50 WHIP) — Rosa, 21, quietly had himself a nice little season: 2.19 ERA and 3.03 ERA in 78 innings between Short Season Staten Island and Low-A Charleston … he signed back in 2013 and was relatively new to pitching at the time
  • UTIL Jose Rosario and RHP Anyelo Gomez are both listed on rosters as well, but they haven’t appeared in a game yet.

Mexican Pacific League

  • OF Tito Polo: 10 G, 9-37, 9 R, 3 2B, 4 BB, 12 K, 6 SB, 3 HBP (.243/.364/.324) — he came over from the Pirates in the Ivan Nova trade … Polo’s not a future star or anything, but his skill set makes him a really good bet to be a big leaguer, even if he’s only a fourth outfielder
  • C Sebastian Valle: 10 G, 5-34, 2 R, 1 2B, 3 RBI, 4 BB, 13 K, 1 HBP (.147/.256/.176) — another guy due to become a minor league free agent soon

The Roberto Clemente Professional Baseball League (Puerto Rico) started their season just a few days ago. IF Cito Culver, IF Vince Conde, and OF Aaron Judge are all listed on rosters, though they haven’t played yet.

Venezuelan Winter League

  • IF Angel Aguilar: 4 G, 2-7, 1 R, 3 K (.286/.286/.286)
  • C Francisco Diaz: 12 G, 9-35, 2 R, 1 2B, 3 2B, 2 RBI, 3 BB, 9 K, 1 CS (.257/.316/.400) — depth catcher re-signed on a minor league deal a week or two ago
  • RHP Luis Cedeno: 2 G, 4.2 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 2 HR (3.86 ERA and 1.07 WHIP)
  • RHP David Kubiak: 3 G, 2 G, 7.1 IP, 12 H, 13 R, 11 ER, 4 BB, 7 K, 1 HR, 1 HBP, 1 WP (13.50 ERA and 2.18 WHIP)
  • RHP Mark Montgomery: 5 G, 3.2 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 3 K (7.36 ERA and 1.91 WHIP)
  • LHP Miguel Sulbaran, RHP Daniel Alvarez, 3B Daniel Barrios, RHP Alex Mejias, 3B Andres Chaparro, OF Andres Fernandez, and C David Vergel are all listed on rosters as well.