Saturday Links: Gardner, Deadline, Ardizoia, Portalball

The bros in the front row dig Gardner's cleats. (Presswire)
The bros in the front row dig Gardner’s cleats. (Presswire)

The Yankees and Twins do not continue their three-game series until later tonight, so here are some links to help you pass the time.

Gardner Warned, Not Fined For White Cleats

Last weekend, Brett Gardner wore a set of white cleats during a game against the Mariners, which is against the league’s uniform rules. Apparently the Yankees have to wear cleats that are at least 51% black. Gardner had the cleats left over from the All-Star Game and CC Sabathia urged him to wear them in the game. Bryan Hoch says Gardner was warned by both MLB and the Yankees, but he wasn’t fined for the uniform infraction.

“I don’t think anyone came to my locker and took them, but I won’t be wearing them again. That was a one-time thing. I definitely got several warnings on that already — unofficial and official from the bottom all the way to the top,” said Gardner. Sabathia said he would have paid the fine since he talked Gardner into it. It’s silly, but the rules are the rules. Kinda funny to see Brett rebel like that.

Gardner Wins Heart & Hustle Award, Again

For the fourth time in the last six years, Brett Gardner has won the Yankees’ Heart & Hustle Award. Each team gives out the award annually to a “current player who not only excels on the field, but also best embodies the values, spirits and traditions of baseball.” All 30 winners can be seen right here. Gardner also won the award in 2010, 2013, and 2014. He is now eligible for the league-wide Heart & Hustle Award. The winner will be announced after the season.

MLB Will Consider Pushing Back Trade Deadline

Earlier this week, commissioner Rob Manfred told reporters MLB will consider pushing the trade deadline back from July 31st. The second wildcard has created a ton of parity and not every team is ready to sell at the end of July. Pushing the deadline back to, say, August 15th or 30th could beef up the market. Here’s what Manfred said, via Brendan Kuty:

“I think the July 31 deadline is something that we may want to revisit in the context of the revised playoff format,” Manfred said during an appearance at the Beyond Sports United symposium at Prudential Center. “Obviously when you have two additional opportunities to be in the playoffs, you have more teams in the hunt and they may want to wait a little longer before they make decisions.

“On the other hand, we want teams, the core of which have been together for the year, playing in the postseason so you have to just balance those two issues, I think.”

While I understand pushing the trade deadline back may be beneficial, I don’t love the idea. For starters, you’d be acquiring even less of a player if you make a deadline deal. Acquire a starter on July 31st and you get about 12 starts out of him. Push the deadline back a few weeks and you get what, eight starts? Maybe ten? Also, this could potentially hurt the bad teams legitimately looking to sell because clubs could wait longer to see who becomes available. I dunno, July 31st seems to work well. It’s basically the two-thirds point of the season. Heaven forbid teams have to decide whether to go for it by then.

Rugger Ardizoia, Oldest Living Yankee, Passes Away

Rinaldo “Rugger” Ardizoia, the oldest living Yankee, recently passed away at age 95 following a stroke, reports John Shea. Ardizoia was born in Italy, immigrated to San Francisco with his family when he was an infant, and played for the Yankees in 1947 after spending three years in the army. He appeared in just one MLB game, throwing two mop-up innings in a 15-5 loss to the St. Louis Browns. Here’s the box score. Ardizoia spoke to Louie Lazar about his playing career earlier this year. Condolences to his family and friends.

Eddie Robinson, 94, is now the oldest living Yankee according to the best available research. Robinson played most of his 13-year career with the Indians but did wear pinstripes from 1954-56. He was the team’s primary first baseman during that time.

"No, really, it's called Portalball." (Presswire)
“No, really, it’s called Portalball.” (Presswire)

Portalball!

Believe it or not, Joe Girardi has an app coming out next month, reports Dan Barbarisi. Girardi had a hand in designing the game and wanted something family friendly he could share with his kids. “It was just an idea that we could do with families. Kids connect on phones, and they connect with parents on phones. I know I text my kids a lot, and they respond quickly. It’s just another way to have connection with family,” he said. Here are the details from Barbarisi:

In Portalball, which appears to be set against the backdrop of an alien invasion of Earth, players compete in one of three phases of the game—hitting, pitching, and fielding—to deal with the portal invaders. As in the promotional video featuring Girardi and his fiery bat, players will bat, pitch, and field their way to success against their friends using balls flying in from portals all around them.

The game uses augmented reality technology, meaning that it takes over the phone or tablet’s camera and projects the image that the phone sees onto the phone’s screen. Users then play Portalball against that constantly shifting background, with portals opening seemingly out of the walls, ceilings, and floors of the room around them.

Alrighty then. Barbarisi says the original plan was to create a more traditional baseball game, but the app developer and Girardi tossed around a bunch of ideas and eventually decided on the sci-fi theme. Sounds neat, though I never play games on my phone, so I doubt I’ll be downloading Portalball. Just not my thing. The app will be available next month.

DotF: Dermis Garcia debuts in Gulf Coast League slugfest

Some stuff to pass along:

  • Shane Hennigan says OF Aaron Judge had his lower back wrapped in the clubhouse tonight. There is still no official word on his injury — he’s listed as day-to-day and is not on the DL — but I guess it’s his back.
  • RHP Andrew Bailey was placed on the Double-A Trenton temporarily inactive list, according to Matt Kardos. He threw two innings yesterday. Not sure what’s going on there. The temporarily inactive list is for off-the-field stuff, not injuries.
  • John Manuel compiled bonus data for the 2015 draft. The Yankees spent $8.2528M in bonuses and exceeded their $7.885M pool by 4.66%. They have to pay $325,050 in tax. They would have forfeited next year’s first rounder had they exceeded their pool by 5% or more.

Triple-A Scranton (9-3 win over Toledo)

  • CF Ben Gamel: 2-5, 1 R, 1 3B, 1 RBI, 1 K
  • LF Jose Pirela: 2-3, 2 R, 2 2B, 2 BB — got picked off first … 18-for-41 (.439) in his last ten games
  • DH Ramon Flores: 2-5, 2 R, 1 2B, 2 RBI — two hits in five of his last eight games
  • 2B Rob Refsnyder: 2-4, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K — 5-for-15 (.333) since being sent down
  • C Gary Sanchez: 1-2, 1 R, 1 RBI, 2 BB — five walks and three strikeouts in his last five games
  • RF Tyler Austin: 0-3, 1 R, 1 BB, 2 K
  • RHP Luis Severino: 5 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 6/3 GB/FB — 51 of 82 pitches were strikes (62%) … first start as a dad
  • LHP James Pazos: 1.2 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 1/1 GB/FB — 18 of 28 pitches were strikes (64%)
  • RHP Chris Martin: 1.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 1/2 GB/FB — 15 of 27 pitches were strikes (56%)
  • RHP Nick Rumbelow: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 0 K, 1 HB, 1/1 GB/FB — 16 of 31 pitches were strikes (52%)

[Read more…]

Twins rough up Pineda, take series opener from Yanks 10-1

Well that didn’t go well. The Yankees got demolished by the Twins on Friday night, dropping the series opener 10-1. They were dangerously close to being shut out for the fourth time this season, but they managed to score a run with two outs in the ninth.

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Midsize Mike
As has been the case seemingly more often than not the last two months, Michael Pineda was not sharp Friday night, especially with his slider location. He hung several, most notably the pitch Michael Sano muscled out to center for two-run home run in the first inning. Pineda threw 39 sliders according to PitchFX and got just six swings and misses with the pitch. Batters swung and misses at just two of his 40 fastballs.

The Twins roughed Pineda up for five runs on eight hits in 5.2 innings. Four of the eight hits came with two strikes, when Pineda should be burying hitters with his slide-piece. He did strike out four and didn’t walk anyone, so that’s good, but it’s nothing more than a consolation prize. Since the 16-strikeout game Pineda has a 4.77 ERA in 12 starts and 71.2 innings. That’s not very good. He’s up to 118 innings on the season after throwing 84 innings last year and 40.2 the year before. Can’t help but wonder if Pineda is running into a bit of a wall.

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Unembedded Yankee
For once, Phil Hughes did not let an early lead get away. Too bad he was pitching against the Yankees this time and not for them. The Yankees hit Hughes very hard the first time through the lineup — each of the first eight hitters hit a rocket before Stephen Drew popped up to second — but the balls kept finding gloves. Hughes even snagged a hard-hit grounder himself. One of those “he didn’t catch the ball, the ball caught him” jobs.

The hard contact didn’t come as frequently the second and third time through the lineup. The Yankees had seven hits off Hughes, all singles, and only twice did a runner make it as far as third base against him. They were Alex Rodriguez in the first, when he went first-to-third on Mark Teixeira‘s single, and Chase Headley in the seventh. The Yankees strung together three two-out hits in that seventh inning before Jacoby Ellsbury flew out to left. That was their best chance to get back into the game. The score was still 5-0 at the time.

All told, Hughes held his former club scoreless for seven innings, striking out three and walking none. The Yankees scored their one run in the ninth, when Ellsbury drove in Didi Gregorius with a sac fly. The game was all but over by then. It was one of those nights. The Yankees hit more than their fair share of balls hard, they didn’t fall in, and that was that. That’s baseball. Sometimes you do everything right and don’t get rewarded. What can you do.

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Leftovers
Branden Pinder recorded the final out of the sixth to bail out Pineda then allowed a run in the seventh. It was a cheap Target Field homer by Torii Hunter, if such a thing exists. Hunter yanked it down the line and it hit the top of the wall right next to the foul pole. Chris Capuano gave up four runs and got hit around in the eighth. Another night of rest of the key late-inning guys.

Teixeira led the offense with three hits and a stolen base. Yes, he stole a base. The Twins weren’t holding him on first with a six-run lead in the eighth, so he took second. That’s about the only way Teixeira will steal a base. Gregorius had two hits including a bloop double, the club’s only extra-base hit of the night. A-Rod and Headley each had a hit and Drew had two. (No, really.) Brian McCann drew the only walk.

And finally, Brett Gardner went 1-for-4 to extend his on-base streak to 25 games. That is a new career-high — he had a 24-gamer in the middle of last season — and the longest active streak in MLB. The longest streak in MLB this season was Matt Holliday’s 45-gamer to start the season.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
Here are the box score and video highlights for the game and overall standings and postseason odds. We also have Bullpen Workload and Announcer Standings pages you may or may not find interesting. At the least the former is fairly useful. Here’s the loss probability graph:


Source: FanGraphs

Up Next
Same two teams Saturday night (argh), in game two of this three-game series. Lefties CC Sabathia and Tommy Milone will be the pitching matchup in one of those rare occasions in which Sabathia can say he’s the hard-throwing one.

Game 95: Big Mike in Minnesota

BIG MIKE IS HERE

The Yankees have a favorable second half schedule, but they do still have one long road trip to get through, and it starts tonight in Minnesota. The ten-game, ten-day trip will take them through Minnesota, Texas, and Chicago. Neither the Twins nor Rangers have played well of late, and the ChiSox are having a miserable season, so it would cool to take advantage of the trip and extend the division lead.

Michael Pineda is on the mound tonight and he’s on regular rest — well, one extra day, but that’s no big deal — after struggling last time out on several extra days of rest thanks to the All-Star break. The Yankees have to monitor Big Mike‘s workload in the second half, he’s too valuable both short and long-term, so starts on regular rest like this might not come as often as they normally would. Here is the Twins’ lineup and here is the Yankees’ lineup:

  1. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  2. LF Brett Gardner
  3. DH Alex Rodriguez
  4. 1B Mark Teixeira
  5. C Brian McCann
  6. RF Carlos Beltran
  7. 3B Chase Headley
  8. SS Didi Gregorius
  9. 2B Stephen Drew
    RHP Michael Pineda

The internet tells me it is a nice night in Minneapolis, with clear skies and temperatures in the low-80s. Tonight’s game is scheduled to begin at 8:10pm ET and can be seen on YES. Enjoy the game.

Preliminary schedule shows Dodgers coming to Yankee Stadium in 2016

(Christian Petersen/Getty)
Donnie Baseball. (Christian Petersen/Getty)

According to Bill Plunkett, the preliminary 2016 schedule has the Dodgers coming to Yankee Stadium for an interleague series next season. There’s no word on the rest of the schedule yet. It’s still subject to change anyway. The Yankees are due to play the NL West during interleague play next year though.

Prior to the last interleague series between these two clubs in 2013, the Dodgers had not played in the Bronx since the 1981 World Series. The Yankees and Dodgers played two two-game series two years ago — they split two games in the Bronx and then split two at Dodger Stadium. For some reason I remember the fourth of those four games was a pretty great pitchers’ duel between Hiroki Kuroda and Clayton Kershaw:

Man I miss Kuroda. He has a 2.68 ERA in 94 innings for the Hiroshima Carp this season, you know. I do not, however, miss the 2013 Yankees having to rely on Lyle Overbay and Jayson Nix to get big hits. Remember when people used to say Overbay was better than Mark Teixeira because he got big hits? That was a real thing that happened in Yankeeland.

Anyway, hopefully the Dodgers retain Don Mattingly as manager next season so he can come back to the Bronx to get a massive ovation. He hasn’t been able to come back for Old Timers’ Day for a few years now because he’s been coaching and managing in Los Angeles. The official schedule usually is not released until September, so we still have to wait a few weeks to see the Yankees’ full 2016 slate.

7/24 to 7/26 Series Preview: Minnesota Twins

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

This is a new era of Twins baseball. Longtime manager Ron Gardenhire was fired following last season and has been replaced by Hall of Famer Paul Molitor. I’m sure the Yankees are sad to see Gardenhire go. They were 76-28 (.731) against the Twinkies during the Gardenhire era (2002-14), including the postseason. Four of those Yankees losses came against peak Johan Santana from 2004-06. So yeah. The Gardenhire era was good to the Bombers.

What Have The Twins Done Lately?

The Twins are good! Though things haven’t gone well lately. They beat the Angels yesterday but lost four straight prior to that. They won seven of eight before that. Minnesota is 51-44 with a +7 run differential overall, leaving them 6.5 games behind the Royals in the AL Central. They are sitting in a wildcard spot, however. This is the first meeting of the season between the Yankees and Twins.

Offense & Defense

With an average of 4.17 runs per game and a team 91 wRC+, the Twins are a below average offensive team. That’s not surprising given Target Field, their spacious home ballpark, where this three-game series will be played. Minnesota is without superprospect OF Byron Buxton, who is on the DL with a thumb strain. He is not due back this series. That’s a shame, I would have liked to have seen him in action.

Anyway, Molitor’s offense is still headlined by the handsome 1B Joe Mauer (99 wRC+), who is more name value than actual production these days. Mauer still has the prettiest swing in baseball though. Look at this thing:

Flawless. No sweeter swing out there. With Mauer on the decline, Minnesota’s top hitter is 2B Brian Dozier (129 wRC+), who’s really good, not just Twins good. 3B Trevor Plouffe (112 wRC+) and OF Torii Hunter (103 wRC+) are Dozier’s supporting cast. DH Miguel Sano (156 wRC+ in very limited time) has enormous raw power I hope to not see this weekend. Good on the Twins for calling up their top prospects because they were the best options at positions of need.

The rest of Molitor’s regular lineup includes C Kurt Suzuki (60 wRC+), OF Eddie Rosario (90 wRC+), OF Aaron Hicks (93 wRC+), and SS Danny Santana (48 wRC+). Former Yankees farmhand C Eric Fryer (102 wRC+ in very limited time) and former Yankee UTIL Eduardo Nunez (112 wRC+) are both on the bench. Nunie is having himself a nice little year in a part-time role. Fryer came to the Yankees from the Brewers for Chase Wright (!) in February 2009 and was then flipped to the Pirates for Eric Hinske at the deadline that year. UTIL Eduardo Escobar (86 wRC+) and OF Shane Robinson (70 wRC+) are the other two bench players.

The Twins are slightly below average defensively overall despite having standout defenders up the middle — Suzuki, Dozier, Santana, and Hicks are all at least above-average in the field. The corners are pretty bad, particularly the range-challenged Hunter and Plouffe. Mauer doesn’t move too well these days after catching all those years. They’re good defensively at the important positions. Everywhere else … eh.

Pitching Matchups

Friday (8pm ET): RHP Michael Pineda (vs. MIN) vs. RHP Phil Hughes (vs. NYY)
Philbert! St. Philip of Hughes has a 4.15 ERA (4.63 FIP) in 123.2 innings this year, so after his stellar breakout campaign a year ago, he’s gone right back to being the guy he was with the Yankees from 2010-13. His strikeout rate is way down (14.1%), he still isn’t getting any grounders (34.4%), and his walk rate is miniscule (2.3%). Following a one-year reprieve, Phil’s home run rate has shot back up into normal Phil Hughes territory (1.67 HR/9 in 2015 after 0.69 HR/9 in 2014). Righties (.354 wOBA) have been hitting him harder than lefties (.327 wOBA), which is the opposite of his career history. Hughes, 29, sits in the low-90s with his four-seamer and a touch below that with his cutter. He also throws a mid-70s curveball and very few mid-80s changeups. More than 80% of his pitches are fastballs. Hughes is fairly predictable.

Saturday (7pm ET): LHP CC Sabathia (vs. MIN) vs. LHP Tommy Milone (vs. NYY)
Milone, 28, has pitched to a 3.38 ERA (4.71 FIP) in 69.1 innings this season. He’s given up a ton of fly balls (38.5% grounders) and homers (1.43 HR/9) with few strikeouts (16.8%) and walks (7.6%). Milone has gotten knocked around by righties (.363 wOBA) but has dominated lefties (.217 wOBA). Might be worth starting John Ryan Murphy over Brian McCann tomorrow because of that platoon split. Sunday’s a day game after a night game, so McCann is likely to sit anyway. Might as well just start Murphy against Milone on Saturday and McCann on Sunday instead of vice versa. Anyway, Milone is a soft tosser, averaging 87.5 mph with his four-seam fastball this season. His two-seamer and cutter are a tick below that. Low-80s changeups and low-70s curveballs are Milone’s two offspeed offerings.

Gibson. (Dilip Vishwanat/Getty)
Gibson. (Dilip Vishwanat/Getty)

Sunday (2pm ET): RHP Nathan Eovaldi (vs. MIN) vs. RHP Kyle Gibson (vs. NYY)
Man, I absolutely loved Gibson back during the 2009 draft. I thought he would end up somewhere along the lines of what Matt Harvey is today. The Twins took Gibson with the 22nd overall pick, seven picks before the Yankees took Slade Heathcott. I was crushed. I hoped he would keep falling. Anyway, the 27-year-old Gibson has a 3.19 ERA (3.89 FIP) in 118.2 innings with a great ground ball rate (54.6%) and slightly lower than average strikeout (17.1%), walk (7.5%), and homer (0.83 HR/9) numbers. He has a reverse split this year (.318 vs. .285 wOBA in favor of righties), which is the opposite of the rest of his career to date. Gibson’s fastballs sit in the low-90s and he throws approximately two two-seamers for every one four-seamer. A mid-80s slider is his go-to breaking ball, and he’ll also throw plenty of mid-80s changeups per start. Gibson’s not the pitcher I thought he would be, but he is pretty good.

Bullpen Status
Believe it or not, the Twins have a below average bullpen (3.87 ERA/4.12 FIP). You’d think they’d have a solid relief crew given their record. Molitor does have a dominant closer in LHP Glen Perkins (1.37/2.23), so if they have a lead after eight, it’s close to an automatic win. RHP Blaine Boyer (2.81/4.32) has been setting up and LHP Brian Duensing (5.32/3.95) sees left-on-left matchup work.

RHP Casey Fien (4.30/4.50), RHP Trevor May (4.43/3.29), LHP Ryan O’Rourke (0.00/1.94 in very limited time), and Rule 5 Draft pick RHP J.R. Graham (3.53/4.63) round out the eight-man bullpen. Perkins pitched yesterday and May threw 53 pitches in two innings on Wednesday, otherwise the bullpen is fresh. Head over to our Bullpen Workload page for the status of Joe Girardi‘s bullpen. then head over to Twinkie Town and Aaron Gleeman’s site for the latest on the Twins.

2015 Post-Draft Top 30 Prospects

(Rob Carr/Getty)
(Rob Carr/Getty)

Thanks to the 2015 amateur draft and one minor trade, the Yankees added a swarm of new prospects to the farm system over the last several weeks, since I posted my Pre-Draft Top 30 Prospects List. Now that the draft signing deadline has come and gone, it’s time for a system update, because who doesn’t love prospect lists?

I considered waiting another week or so before posting this because of the upcoming trade deadline, but I figured it was worth posting now, as a snapshot in time before prospects are potentially traded away. I do expect the Yankees to make a deal or three at the deadline. They’re too good and too flawed not to, right? Chances are someone on this list won’t be in the organization this time next week.

Anyway, the only player to graduate to the big leagues since I posted by Pre-Draft Top 30 is Chasen Shreve. He’s two outs over the 50-inning rookie limit. As I did with the Pre-Draft Top 30, rather than post a simple 1-30 list, I’m going to break the prospects into groups because that’s more interesting. And remember, this is my personal list. You’re welcome to disagree. The cool thing is we can all be right — there’s no correct way to rank prospects. We all have opinions and they all stink. Away we go.

The Top Two

1. OF Aaron Judge (Pre-Draft Rank: 1)
2. RHP Luis Severino (Pre-Draft Rank: 2)

Same top two as before the draft and before the season. No reason to change things up. Judge hasn’t played in a week due to a supposedly minor day-to-day injury — he’s not on the DL and no, I don’t think he’s not playing because of some of kind of trade, that makes absolutely zero sense and the Yankees have never done anything like that before — but that’s not going to change my rankings. Both Judge and Severino are among the 50 best prospects in baseball, arguably among the top 30, and clearly the two best in New York’s system.

The Next Four

3. C Gary Sanchez (Pre-Draft Rank: 3)
4. RHP James Kaprielian (Pre-Draft Rank: N/A)
5. SS Jorge Mateo (Pre-Draft Rank: 7)
6. 1B Greg Bird (Pre-Draft Rank: 5)

Yeah, so things aren’t too clear after the top two. Slotting Kaprielian in was more difficult than I thought it would be — I think there are valid reasons to rank him as high as third and as low as sixth in the system. Can’t see him any lower than that. I think the perception he is low-upside is very unfair — I’m not saying he’s an ace, but he’s not exactly David Phelps either — in fact I think he’s the kind of pitching prospect who could exceed expectations as a four-pitch guy with command, especially if his late-spring velocity spike was legit. I like Kaprielian’s combination of medium-ish upside and high probability more than Mateo (high upside, low probability) and Bird (medium upside, medium probability).

The Injured Four

7. LHP Ian Clarkin (Pre-Draft Rank: 4)
8. 3B Eric Jagielo (Pre-Draft Rank: 6)
9. C Luis Torrens (Pre-Draft Rank: 8)
10. LHP Jacob Lindgren (Pre-Draft Rank: 12)

Gosh I wish I knew what was up with Clarkin. The latest reports say he hasn’t had elbow surgery but that isn’t exactly encouraging when he’s still yet to begin pitching in games. I can’t help but think back to Manny Banuelos in 2012, when he missed the season with a bone bruise in his elbow, then blew out his elbow during his rehab and needed Tommy John surgery in October. Yuck. Jagielo (knee), Torrens (shoulder), and Lindgren (elbow) are all out long-term with injuries too. Jagielo and Lindgren might come back late in the season but Torrens is done for the year. I love Torrens as a prospect and think the other three guys are safe bets to big leaguers of various calibers, assuming they get healthy.

Around The Horn, Sorta

11. SS Tyler Wade (Pre-Draft Rank: 10)
12. 2B Rob Refsnyder (Pre-Draft Rank: 11)
13. 3B Miguel Andujar (Pre-Draft Rank: 9)

Three very different infield prospects. Wade’s a no-doubt shortstop with zero power but good bat-to-ball skills and speed. Refsnyder is a bat first guy with questionable defense who is as big league ready as he’s going to get. Andujar is the most well-rounded player and has the highest upside of the three, but his overall performance hasn’t been great in the minors, and at some point it would be cool if the numbers start to come consistently.

The Four Righties of the Prospectocalypse

14. RHP Bryan Mitchell (Pre-Draft Rank: 13)
15. RHP Rookie Davis (Pre-Draft Rank: N/A because I’m an idiot)
16. RHP Drew Finley (Pre-Draft Rank: N/A)
17. RHP Brady Lail (Pre-Draft Rank: 20)

Kinda cool (and convenient) the four right-handers landed back-to-back-to-back-to-back like this. Mitchell spit hot fire out of the big league bullpen for a few weeks and is ready to help in that role, though the Yankees want him stretched out, which is understandable. Davis has made tremendous strides since being the team’s 14th round pick back in 2011, especially with his command. He’s a classic bulldog pitcher. Finley is sort of like the 2011 version of Davis but more projectable and with better draft day command. Lail is a high probability starter with four pitches and know-how. The Yankees did a tremendous job turning him into a legitimate prospect after taking him in the 18th round of the 2012 draft out of a high school in friggin’ Utah.

Low Ceiling, High Ceiling, And Everything Between

18. OF Ramon Flores (Pre-Draft Rank: 14)
19. OF Jake Cave (Pre-Draft Rank: 16)
20. SS Abi Avelino (Pre-Draft Rank: 21)
21. SS Thairo Estrada (Pre-Draft Rank: 29)
22. OF Leonardo Molina (Pre-Draft Rank: 26)
23. SS Kyle Holder (Pre-Draft Rank: N/A)

A collection of position players with different skill sets. Flores is an MLB ready lefty swinging outfielder who could end up carving out a ten-year career as a platoon bat. Cave is basically that as well, but a little further away and center field capable. Avelino, Estrada, and Holder are all lower level shortstops. Avelino (speed guy) and Estrada (contact guy) are both better hitters than Holder, who’s a better defender than those two as well as every other shortstop in the system. None of the three are gonna hit for power. Or at least aren’t expected to long-term. Molina is the most long-term project in the system — he has incredible natural tools and instincts, but is (still!) only 17 and not yet close to fully mature physically. The ultimate boom or bust prospect.

Reclamation Prospects

24. OF Tyler Austin (Pre-Draft Rank: 18)
25. RHP Domingo German (Pre-Draft Rank: 17)
26. RHP Austin DeCarr (Pre-Draft Rank: 19)
27. OF Mason Williams (Pre-Draft Rank: 22)
28. OF Slade Heathcott (Pre-Draft Rank: 23)
29. RHP Ty Hensley (Pre-Draft Rank: 28)
30. RHP Jose Ramirez (Pre-Draft Rank: 24)

All seven of these guys are trying to come back from something and rebuild their prospect stock. Austin has been hurt both this year and the last several years, and he’s not hitting in Triple-A at the moment. German, DeCarr, and Hensley are all working their way back from Tommy John surgery. Williams (shoulder) and Heathcott (quad) are currently on the MLB DL — they’ve both exhausted their rookie eligibility due to service time, but I don’t worry about that, it’s too much of a hassle — after, uh, turbulent careers to date. Turbulent’s a good word. Ramirez’s stuff is electric but the results don’t match, and his injury history is scary.

The Next Five

RHP Domingo Acevedo (Pre-Draft Rank: N/A)
SS Angel Aguilar (Pre-Draft Rank: 25)
LHP Jordan Montgomery (Pre-Draft Rank: 27)
RHP Branden Pinder (Pre-Draft Rank: N/A)
2B Tony Renda (Pre-Draft Rank: N/A)

No specific order here, the players are listed alphabetically. Acevedo has touched triple digits with his fastball and his frame is ridiculous (listed at 6-foot-7 and 190 lbs!), but his command is spotty and his breaking ball isn’t defined. The upside is incredible. The chances of him reaching his ceiling are also microscopic. Montgomery, Pinder, and Renda are all boring-ish lower upside guys who are safe bets to contribute at the MLB level in some capacity, even if they’re only extra players. Pinder’s done that already. Aguilar has as much offensive upside as any of the team’s shortstop prospects aside from Mateo, but, you know, they can’t all be in the top 30.