2015 Draft: Baseball America’s Mock Draft v5.0

Everett. (The Tennesseean)
Everett. (The Tennesseean)

It’s Friday, so Baseball America’s John Manuel published his weekly mock draft. As always, the mock draft is free to read. You don’t need a subscription. Manuel has the Diamondbacks selecting Georgia HS C Tyler Stephenson with the first overall pick, which differs from most recent mock drafts. Arizona’s been connected to Vanderbilt SS Dansby Swanson frequently the last few weeks.

Anyway, Manuel has the Yankees taking Cal Poly Pomona RHP Cody Ponce with the 16th overall pick and Tennessee HS RHP Donny Everett with the 30th overall pick. (The 30th pick is compensation for David Robertson.) The Yankees have been connected to both players in recent weeks — here are my profiles for Ponce and Everett — so these two mock draft picks are not surprising at all.

Manuel notes the Yankees are in New York HS OF Garrett Whitley (profile), and says they “can be aggressive with a tough sign” with their second pick thanks to their extra draft pool space. New York has a $7.885M bonus pool this year, sixth largest in baseball, so they can roll the dice on a tough to sign player knowing they have the extra money to spend.

The ‘extra’ flaw that could be costly for Yankees

mark-teixeira running
If there is one thing we’ve learned from the first two months of the season, it’s the AL East is probably the toughest division in the majors to handicap and try to predict a champion. Every team seems capable of both winning and losing the race, and there’s little separation between the top and bottom.

How do you explain a division where every team has spent at least five days in first place and no team has had a lead of more than four games? The current third-place team has by far the best run differential in the division, and the first-place team is less than two weeks removed from losing 10 games in an 11-game span.

What it all means that even the smallest statistical edge a team can gain over its rivals during the course of the season could be the difference between making the playoffs and playing golf in October.

Sure, a good rule in life is “don’t sweat the small stuff” — but in baseball, sometimes the “small stuff” can have a big impact on a team’s season.

Let’s take a look at one “small” weakness in the Yankees offense — a flaw that might end up only costing them a win or two, but could ultimately be a deciding factor in a division race that likely will come down to the final days of the season.


Although the Yankees have tried to inject some much-needed youth and speed into lineup over the past few years, they still have the oldest average batters’ age in the major leagues this season (31.7 years old).

And, while those aging bats have largely been productive and healthy this season (hooray for 35-year-old Mark Teixeira and 39-year-old Alex Rodriguez!), one consequence of putting them in the lineup every day is that the team’s baserunning has suffered somewhat.

There are several aspects of baserunning — it’s not just about stealing bases, it also includes advancing on outs and taking the extra base on a hit. While the Yankees are above-average compared to the rest of the league in the first two components, they are among the worst teams in taking the extra base on a hit.

Per data at baseball-reference.com, the Yankees have taken an extra base — i.e. advancing more than one base on a single or more than two bases on a double — just one-third of the time. The only team with a lower rate this season is the White Sox (31 percent).

The biggest culprits on the Yankees are no surprise, with the lead-footed Mark Teixeira at the bottom, taking an extra-base on just six percent (!) of his opportunities. (MLB average: 40 percent.)

xbt stats

The Yankees also rank 27th in the majors in Baseball Prospectus’ Hit Advancement Runs metric, which estimates the number of runs above/below average that a baserunner contributes by advancing (or not advancing) on the basepaths via singles and doubles.

According to the stat, this “small” weakness has cost them 3.2 runs in 54 games this season. While that number might seem inconsequential now, it adds up to approximately 10 runs — equal to one crucial win — over the course of a 162-game season.

And that one win might end being the difference between first and second place in the AL East, the majors’ most competitive and up-for-grabs division race in 2015.

6/7 to 6/9 Series Preview: Los Angeles Angels

(Bob Levey/Getty)
(Bob Levey/Getty)

The Yankees are back home after their seven-game West Coast swing, and now a West Coast team is coming to visit the Bronx. The Angels will be in Yankee Stadium for three games this weekend. This will be the first meeting of the season between these two clubs, which have quite a bit of head-to-head history in the 2000s.

What Have The Angels Done Lately?

Like the Yankees, the Halos had an off-day yesterday as they traveled to New York. They lost their last two games to the Rays and two of three in the series overall earlier this week. Prior to that, manager Mike Scioscia’s team won six straight, including sweeping a four-game series from the reeling Tigers. The Angels are 28-26 with a +6 run differential overall. They’re a distant second to the Astros in the AL West. What a world.

Offense & Defense

After leading all of MLB in runs per game last season (4.77), the Angels are averaging just 3.96 runs per game with a team 96 wRC+ in 2015. That’s quite a step back. The Angels are healthy too. Their only injured position player is fourth OF Collin Cowgill (50 wRC+), who is on the DL with a wrist issue. He won’t return this series.

Trout. (Stephen Dunn/Getty)
Trout. (Stephen Dunn/Getty)

As always, Scioscia’s offense is led by OF Mike Trout (160 wRC+), who continues to be baseball’s best all-around player. 1B Albert Pujols (129 wRC+) has gotten hot of late — Pujols has hit six homers in his last seven games — and personal fave OF Kole Calhoun (108 wRC+) is having a solid year. Same with 3B David Freese (105 wRC+), who’s already hit nine home runs after hitting ten all of last season.

2B Johnny Giavotella (109 wRC+) replaced Howie Kendrick and is making the most of his first extended taste of MLB, specifically with a bunch of big hits late in games and extra innings. Every time I turn on MLB.tv he’s driving in a run in the eighth or ninth it seems. SS Erick Aybar (89 wRC+) has been okay-ish but OF Matt Joyce (62 wRC+) has really struggled. C Chris Iannetta (68 wRC+) and C Carlos Perez (128 wRC+) are the catching tandem while Rule 5 Draft pick IF Taylor Featherston (-64 wRC+), UTIL Grant Green (17 wRC+), UTIL Efren Navarro (67 wRC+), and OF Kirk Nieuwenhuis (12 wRC+) are on the bench.

The Angels are a sound defensive club overall. Trout is a stud in center and Iannetta has graded out as a top notch pitch-framer this season, given them two great glove guys. Pujols is very good around the bag but doesn’t move as well as he once did, and Aybar is still very good at short. Calhoun and Giavotella are solid defenders but Joyce and Freese are pretty terrible. Nieuwenhuis is quite good in the field and he’s been playing regularly of late. The left side of the field is the place to hit it, towards Freese and Joyce.

Pitching Matchups

Friday: RHP Nathan Eovaldi (Career vs. LAA) vs. RHP Jered Weaver (Career vs. NYY)
It’s been a tale of two seasons for the 32-year-old Weaver. He had a 6.29 ERA (5.80 FIP) in his first six starts and now has a 1.98 ERA (3.06 FIP) in his last five starts. It all works out to a 4.08 ERA (4.39 FIP) in 70.2 innings. Weaver doesn’t strike out (13.2%) or walk (3.5%) anyone, and his 40.0% ground ball rate is actually a career high. He’s always been an extreme fly ball/pop-up pitcher. His 1.27 HR/9 is also a career high, and lefties (.331 wOBA) are hitting him harder than righties (.298 wOBA). Weaver’s fastball legitimately sits in the mid-80s these days (look!), and he will throw the kitchen sink at you. Four-seamers, two-seamers, low-80s cutters, upper-70s sliders, upper-70s changeups, upper-60s curveballs … he throws everything like seven miles an hour slower than the average pitcher. Crazy.

Saturday: RHP Adam Warren (Career vs. LAA) vs. RHP Garrett Richards (Career vs. NYY)
Richards, 27, was a bonafide Cy Young candidate last season before he slipped covering his first base and shredded his knee in late-August, ending his year. He had surgery and missed the first few weeks of this season rehabbing. Richards has a 3.26 ERA (3.79 FIP) in nine starts and 58 innings since returning, though his strikeout (19.3%), walk (9.9%), and homer (0.62 HR/9) rates are all slightly worse than a year ago. He’s still getting a ton of grounders (54.5%) and is doing better against lefties (.242 wOBA) than righties (.308 wOBA), which was true last season as well. Richards throws very hard, sitting in the mid-90s with all three of his fastballs (four-seamer, two-seamer, cutter) and complementing them with an upper-80s slider and a handful of upper-70s curves. He doesn’t throw a changeup at all.

Richards. (Maddie Meyer/Getty)
Richards. (Maddie Meyer/Getty)

Sunday: RHP Michael Pineda (Career vs. LAA) vs. LHP C.J. Wilson (Career vs. NYY)
The Angels were willing to give Wilson away in the offseason, and now he’s arguably their most consistent pitcher, posting a 3.55 ERA (3.64 FIP) in eleven starts and 71 innings. His strikeout rate (19.1 K%), walk rate (8.2%), grounder rate (44.7%), homer rate (0.63 HR/9), and left/right splits (.244/.292 wOBA) are right in line with his career norms. Typical year for the 34-year-old southpaw. Wilson throws six pitches, including five at least 10% of the time. He offers low-90s two and four-seamers, an upper-80s cutter, a mid-80s changeup, a low-80s slider, and an upper-70s curveball. The cutter is the sixth pitch. That one he’s thrown only 7% of the time this year.

Bullpen Status
The Angels had a solid bullpen last year (3.52 ERA and 3.40 FIP) when they had the best record in baseball, and Scioscia’s relievers are repeating that performance almost exactly (3.53 ERA and 3.41 FIP). Freaky. Setup man RHP Joe Smith (1.98 FIP) and closer RHP Huston Street (2.73 FIP) are a formidable duo at the end of games, and RHP Fernando Salas (2.44 FIP) has been a fine third wheel.

LHP Jose Alvarez (4.49 FIP) and LHP Cesar Ramos (3.69 FIP) are Scioscia’s two primary lefties, though neither is a true specialist. Both are starters by trade and can pitch full innings. LHP Edgar Ibarra (2.62 FIP) has two MLB innings under his belt and is currently in the “last man in the bullpen” role. RHP Cam Bedrosian (3.53 FIP) and RHP Matt Shoemaker (5.08 FIP) are the other two guys in the ‘pen. Shoemaker is actually in their rotation, but he’s really struggled this year (2.06 HR/9!) and the Halos are going to take advantage of some off-days to skip his spot. Head over to our Bullpen Workload page for the status of Joe Girardi‘s relievers, then check out Halo Hangout for updates on the Angels.

2015 Pre-Draft Top 30 Prospects

Judge. (Times of Trenton)
Judge. (Times of Trenton)

The 2015 amateur draft begins Monday night, which means it’s time for my annual pre-draft update of the top 30 prospects in the Yankees’ system. Of the three top 30 lists I do each year, the pre-draft list by far my least favorite because it’s prone to small sample size overreactions and usually no new interesting prospects have joined the organization. So it’s the same players in a slightly different order, basically.

The only player to graduate from my Preseason Top 30 Prospects list to the big leagues so far this year is current backup catcher John Ryan Murphy. He crossed the 130 at-bat rookie eligibility threshold a few weeks ago. The Yankees haven’t made any trades yets this season, so no prospects were added or subtracted from the farm system since the preseason list.

Rather than simply present the pre-draft top 30 like I usually do, I’m going to try something a little different this time, and break the list up into groups. The players are still ranked 1-30, but are now grouped together based on common traits. Make sense? You’ll see what I mean. Each player is listed with his position, his age, and his rank on my preseason list. Let’s get to it.

The Top Two

1. OF Aaron Judge, 23 (Preseason Rank: 1)
2. RHP Luis Severino, 21 (Preseason Rank: 2)

At this point these two are clearly the two best prospects in the system. The order is debatable but not really — Judge has done nothing but mash as a pro and also will provide defensive value in right field. There are basically two flaws in his game. One, he is prone to striking out, partly because he’s so damn big and has such long arms. Two, he doesn’t hit for as much power as you’d expect because he has such a contact-focused approach. That’s the “my biggest weakness is I work too hard” of the prospect world.

Severino, on the other hand, is still working to refine his breaking ball and changeup — both of which are very promising yet far from consistent from start-to-start — as well as improve his delivery. The Yankees have moved Severino very aggressively through the system and I have little doubt he will reach MLB before Judge. I like Judge’s potential to be a long-term impact player more, however. Again, these two are the two best prospects in the system and the Yankees are lucky to have both. At this point Judge is the better bet though.

The Questionable Next Four

3. C Gary Sanchez, 22 (Preseason Rank: 3)
4. LHP Ian Clarkin, 20 (Preseason Rank: 4)
5. 1B Greg Bird, 22 (Preseason Rank: 5)
6. 3B Eric Jagielo, 23 (Preseason Rank: 12)

Bird. (Presswire)

All four of these guys have a lot of upside and at least one significant flaw that holds them back from top prospect status. Sanchez’s defense continues to be a work in progress — the Yankees had him repeat Double-A this year so he could specifically work with ex-catchers/coaches P.J.Pilittere and Michel Hernandez — and while it is improving, it is improving very slowly. The Yankees are being patient. Jagielo’s issue is also his defense. He’s statuesque at the hot corner.

Clarkin and Bird have been hurt this year. In fact, Clarkin hasn’t pitched in an official game at all this season. He went down with elbow tendinitis in Spring Training and was reportedly pitching in Extended Spring Training games last month, but there have been no updates since. Hard not to think the worst at this point. Bird returned to the Double-A Trenton lineup last night after missing a month with a shoulder strain. Sanchez, Clarkin, Bird, and Jagielo all have a chance to be impact big league players, but none are a safe bets due to their noted flaws.

Young & Far Away

7. SS Jorge Mateo, 19 (Preseason Rank: 8)
8. C Luis Torrens, 19 (Preseason Rank: 6)
9. 3B Miguel Andujar, 20 (Preseason Rank: 7)
10. SS Tyler Wade, 20 (Preseason Rank: 20)

This is the “ultra-talented but many levels away from MLB” group. Wade is the big climber here because the kid does nothing but hit. He went into last night’s game with a .305/.348/.385 (124 wRC+) batting line in High Class-A, where he is two and a half years younger than the average Florida State League player. Wade doesn’t have any power, but as a left-handed hitting shortstop with good defensive chops and bat-to-ball ability, his stock continues to rise.

Mateo leads all of professional baseball in stolen bases this season and is as tooled up as any player in the system. He might be a little in over his head with Low-A Charleston at the moment, but he hasn’t been atrocious. Andujar is once again doing his “slow start at a new level” thing, which he’s done his entire career. He has the skills to be a two-way asset though. Torrens is out for the season, unfortunately. He tore his labrum and had surgery in Spring Training. That’s a pretty significant injury, but I love him as a player, so I have him in a holding pattern for the time being.

Lindgren. (Presswire)
Lindgren. (Presswire)

Ready To Help

11. 2B Rob Refsnyder, 24 (Preseason Rank: 13)
12. LHP Jacob Lindgren, 22 (Preseason Rank: 14)
13. RHP Bryan Mitchell, 23 (Preseason Rank: 15)
14. OF Ramon Flores, 23 (Preseason Rank: 22)
15. LHP Chasen Shreve, 24 (Preseason Rank: 26)

We’ve reached the MLB ready portion of the list, and in fact three of these guys (Lindgren, Ramon, Shreve) are in the big leagues at this very moment. Mitchell was up earlier this year and last year as well. Refsnyder could be called up pretty much any day now, though his defense at second is still questionable and he hasn’t wowed at the plate this season — he was hitting .277/.357/.375 (116 wRC+) prior to last night’s game. These guys don’t have the highest ceilings in the organization, but their MLB readiness and probability makes them all top 15 prospects in the system.

The Mixed Bag

16. OF Jake Cave, 22 (Preseason Rank: 19)
17. RHP Domingo German, 22 (Preseason Rank: 11)
18. OF Tyler Austin, 23 (Preseason Rank: 10)
19. RHP Austin DeCarr, 20 (Preseason Rank: 16)
20. RHP Brady Lail, 21 (Preseason Rank: 25)
21. SS Abi Avelino, 20 (Preseason Rank: 20)

The only thing this group has is common is … well nothing. They’re all Yankees, that’s it. Cave, Lail, and Avelino are all having good to great seasons — Lail and Avelino received early season promotions to Double-A Trenton and High-A Tampa, respectively — while Austin has really struggled with Triple-A Scranton. He battled injuries the last few seasons, but, as far as I know, he’s healthy now. Healthy and not hitting, which is a problem for a bat first prospect.

German and DeCarr have not pitched in an official game yet this season for different reasons. German, who came over from the Marlins in the Nathan Eovaldi/Martin Prado trade, blew out his elbow in Spring Training and needed Tommy John surgery. He’s out for the season, obviously. DeCarr, meanwhile, is hanging out in Extended Spring Training and will join one of the team’s four (!) short season affiliates when the various seasons start later this month. My guess is Short Season Staten Island. We’ll see.

Reclamation Prospects

22. OF Mason Williams, 23 (Preseason Rank: 29)
23. OF Slade Heathcott, 24 (Preseason Rank: 30)
24. RHP Jose Ramirez, 25 (Preseason Rank: 23)

Heathcott. (Presswire)
Heathcott. (Presswire)

We could also call this the Cautious Optimism group. All three are trying to rebuild their prospect stock. Williams was flat out terrible the last two seasons while Heathcott and Ramirez have battled injuries for years now. Williams got off to an excellent start in Double-A Trenton this year and was quickly promoted to Triple-A Scranton thanks in part to Heathcott. Heathcott had a great Grapefruit League showing, a great few weeks in Triple-A, and was called up to MLB last month. Ramirez has been Triple-A almost all year and is doing fine. Not great, not awful.

If prospect rankings were based on pure talent and upside, these three would be near the top of the list. But there’s also a probability component that has to be considered, and these guys are sorely lacking in that area. Williams is atop this group because his problems are makeup and work ethic related, and theoretically those issues are correctable. Injuries are much more difficult to overcome, especially the kind Heathcott and Ramirez have been through. Their natural talent keeps them in the top 30, but it’s hard to go any higher given their track records.

The Best of the Rest

25. SS Angel Aguilar, 19 (Preseason Rank: 21)
26. OF Leonardo Molina, 17 (Preseason Rank: 24)
27. LHP Jordan Montgomery, 22 (Preseason Rank: N/A)
28. RHP Ty Hensley, 21 (Preseason Rank: 18)
29. SS Thairo Estrada, 19 (Preseason Rank: 27)
30. RHP Danny Burawa, 26 (Preseason Rank: 28)

The last few spots are always the toughest because there isn’t a whole lot of separation between prospects at this level. It comes down to preference, not any sort of significant difference in talent level or anything like that. Aguilar, Molina, and Estrada are all still very young and talented, though they have combined to play a total of 33 games this season, all by Aguilar at Low-A Charleston. Molina and Estrada are still in Extended Spring Training.

Hensley takes a big fall because he’s hurt again. He had Tommy John surgery in March and is going to miss another full season. Due to hip, hernia, and elbow woes, the team’s first round pick in the 2012 draft will have thrown a total of 42.1 innings from 2012-15. Brutal. There’s just no way to get that development time back. I’m not saying it can’t be done, just that it’ll be very difficult for Hensley. Hopefully the elbow surgery is his last injury and he can finally start to accumulate some innings next year.

The only new name added to the list is Montgomery, who has predictably torn up the low minors after spending three years in the SEC as part of South Carolina’s rotation. He’s the kind of guy who won’t be tested until he gets to Double-A. Montgomery is cut from the David Phelps/Adam Warren cloth as a college starter with enough stuff and enough command to move quickly and stick around in MLB for a few years. The upside isn’t sky high, but back-end starters have to come from somewhere.

Mailbag: A-Rod, Betances, Cano, Ramirez, Banuelos, Prado

Got a dozen questions for the mailbag this week. If you want to send us any questions or links or anything, use the “For The Mailbag” form to submit it at any time.


Vinny asks: Check out A-Rod‘s splits this season. He’s batting over .300 against righties, and under .200 against lefties.

Yep. Alex Rodriguez is hitting .294/.365/.544 (151 wRC+) with nine homers against righties (he was hitting over .300 when Vinny sent the question in) and .190/.358/.429 (120 wRC+) with two homers against lefties. I think this is a sample size issue though — A-Rod has only 53 plate appearances (.214 BABIP) against lefties compared to 136 plate appearances (.323 BABIP) against righties. Rodriguez did have a big reverse split back in 2013 as well (131 vs. 82 wRC+), but again, he only played 44 games that season, and it’s probably just sample size wonkiness. My guess is his right-left splits will even out as the season progresses, and chances are his numbers will be better against lefties than they are against righties come Game 162.

Christian asks: With David Carpenter being DFA’d in favor of demoting Jacob Lindgren and reports floating around that Luis Severino could be up by the All-Star break, do you see the Yanks possibly bringing up Severino in the bullpen and dumping Esmil Rogers? Maybe they really are going with talent over cost/veteran experience?

I definitely think it’s possible Severino will be called up to work out of the bullpen in the second half. I don’t know if he’ll replace Rogers, but I’m sure it’s on the table. As poorly as Esmil has pitched (4.94 ERA and 4.79 FIP), I’ve always felt there’s value in having a veteran retread long man, someone Joe Girardi could abuse — perfect example: Rogers threw 35 pitches on April 9th then 81 pitches on April 10th in the 19-inning game, and that’s not something you could do with a pitcher you’re planning to have around long-term – without worrying. That said, I absolutely trust Girardi to not overwork a kid like Severino. Who Severino replaces will depend on who is pitching well at the time more than anything. Could be Rogers, could be Chris Capuano, could be Lindgren. Maybe Lindgren pitches himself back to Triple-A. We’ll see.

Brian asks: Either I’ve missed that inning every game I’ve watched (and granted I am using MLB.TV as I’ve moved between seasons) but did YES get rid of the trivia question? Am I crazy?

I hadn’t noticed this until you said something, but I asked around, and apparently they still have trivia questions, though it isn’t an every game thing anymore. They ask on special occasions — “So and so reached this milestone, who is the last Yankee to do this?” sorta stuff —  and that’s it. I’m not sure why it changed. I don’t really miss it, though it was fun getting the answer right once in a while.

Chris asks: Dellin Betances has pitched in over 100 MLB games without taking a loss. Is this a record to start a career!?

Betances is 9-0 in 104 career appearances, but no, that is not the record to start a career. Not even close, really. The record for most appearances before suffering a loss belongs to a recent Yankee, lefty Clay Rapada. He is 8-0 in 152 career appearances and that streak is still active, though he hasn’t pitched in MLB since 2013. Rapada is still bouncing around Triple-A and could resurface at any moment. As best I can tell, the second most appearances before the first loss is 105 games by ex-Pirates reliever Jeff Wallace, so Betances is right behind him.

(Otto Greule Jr/Getty)
(Otto Greule Jr/Getty)

Dan asks: How much money would the Mariners have to eat for the Yankees to trade for Robinson Cano?

Gosh, I don’t even know at this point. Last year my default answer was “enough to turn it into the seven-year, $175M contract the Yankees offered Cano,” but I’m not sure that applies anymore. Robbie looked really bad in that last series, worse than I ever remember him looking when he slumped with the Yankees. And we’re in June now, we have to start seriously asking if it is a sign of major decline or just a slow start. The aging curve for second basemen is not pretty historically. Cano is still owed ~$208M through 2023, but is he even a $150M player at this point? I think the conversation has to start there, with Seattle eating $58M, and I’m not even sure that’s enough. I love Robbie, but man am I happy the Yankees do not have his contract on the books right now.

Sean asks: How are the Yankees doing in pitches per appearance? It seems like Brett Gardner, Mark Teixeira, and A-Rod are leading the way in that department.

Believe it or not, Teixeira is one of the worst Yankees when it comes to pitches per plate appearance. That surprised me, especially since he leads the team with 31 walks (only 29 strikeouts!). The MLB average is 3.80 P/PA this season. Here are where the Yankees regulars rank among the 169 hitters qualified for the batting title:

Brett Gardner 4.28 6th
Alex Rodriguez 4.00 40th
Stephen Drew 3.99 42nd
Chase Headley 3.92 51st
Jacoby Ellsbury 3.90 58th
Carlos Beltran 3.88 64th
Brian McCann 3.78 98th
Mark Teixeira 3.77 100th
Didi Gregorius 3.75 105th

Carlos Santana leads MLB with an average of 4.46 P/PA while Jose Altuve ranks dead last at 3.10 P/PA. Altuve really likes to swing. The Yankees as a team are averaging 3.86 pitches per plate appearance, sixth most in baseball. Last year the Yankees ranked eighth (3.88 vs. 3.83 average) and the year before that they were 15th (3.84, exactly average). So the Yankees are doing a better job working pitchers this year, albeit slightly.

Nick asks: What is Jose Ramirez at this point? Is he even a decent bullpen prospect or is he the second guy to be DFA after Matt Tracy?

No, I don’t think he’s next in line to be dropped when a 40-man roster spot is needed at all. I imagine Jose DePaula, Gregorio Petit, and Danny Burawa are ahead of him at the very least (Tracy was outrighted off the 40-man yesterday). Ramirez is still walking too many guys (10.8 BB%) but he’s missing bats (25.5 K%) and had a 2.49 ERA (2.58 FIP) in 25.1 Triple-A innings heading into last night’s game. I still believe in the stuff — PitchFX had Ramirez at 94.6 mph with an 87.0 mph slider during his brief one-inning cameo earlier this year — and he has a minor league option left for 2016, so there’s no rush here. Ramirez’s prospect stock has taken a hit the last few years, no doubt about it, but he still has a live arm and I think he can be a factor for the Yankees out of the bullpen at some point.

Nick asks: What would a contract extension for Dellin Betances look like this offseason. Figuring he isn’t the closer, would a 4-5 year deal make sense? Maybe around $4 million a year?

There are no good comparables for Betances, an overwhelmingly dominant setup man. Most pitchers this dominant wind up in the ninth inning, and saves do still pay around MLB. Dellin only has one year and 79 days of service time too.  Only two relievers have signed an extension longer than two years with fewer than three years of service time over the last six and a half years: Sean Doolittle (four years, $10M, plus two options) and Sergio Santos (three years, $8.25M, plus three options). That’s it.

The Yankees have Betances under control though 2019, his age 31 season, plus Andrew Miller is going to be saving games for the foreseeable future. Dellin won’t rack up enough saves to inflate his earning potential through arbitration. Also, Spring Training and early-April were a little reminder things can fall apart pretty quickly for Betances. We can’t completely ignore his pre-2014 history. I’m not so sure the Yankees should rush to sign Dellin long-term. Tyler Clippard made $20.3M and Luke Gregerson made $10.3M during their final four years of team control as elite setup men, though Clippard was a Super Two. Betances won’t be. So maybe four years and $16M or five years and $20M is reasonable if the Yankee do want to sign Betances long-term. That’ll save the team some bucks at the end of his arbitration years, especially if Dellin takes over as closer at some point.


Zachary asks: Why did the Yankees give up so early on Manny Banuelos? It looks like he’s pitching pretty well out in Atlanta and David Carpenter has unpredictably been horrendous. At the time of the trade, ManBan was 23, a former star prospect, coming off Tommy John surgery. Why not give the kid a couple of years before dispatching him for a middle reliever, especially since the Yankees were already signing Miller, have Betances and drafted Lindgren. Seems quite nonsensical.

I wouldn’t say they gave up on him early. Banuelos was in the farm system for seven years before they traded him, and he’s only gone backwards the last four years. Remember, Banuelos had a 3.75 ERA (4.15 FIP) with an unsightly 12.3 BB% back in 2011, his last healthy season before the elbow acted up, and we were all wondering where his trademark command went. Banuelos has shown nothing more than marginal improvement this year …

2014 3.60 5.56 18.6% 14.3% 40.0% 1.20
2015 2.93 3.55 20.7% 10.4% 43.2% 0.34

… aside from the fluky low home run rate. There are no reports his stuff has improved or anything like that either. Banuelos is in his final option year so the Yankees couldn’t “give the kid a couple of years” to work it out even if they wanted to. He he has to stick in MLB for good next year or be exposed to waivers. Carpenter flat out stunk in pinstripes, but Chasen Shreve has been really good, and what are the odds Banuelos was ever going to be as valuable to the Yankees as Shreve is right now? Banuelos is no longer the guy he was three or four years ago. Maybe he’ll get back there are some point, but the Yankees opted to turn him into something useful before his stock fell any more.

David asks: When was the last time neither a Yankee or a Red Sox was voted onto the All-star team?

There were no Yankees or Red Sox players in position to start the All-Star Game when MLB released the latest voting update earlier this week. There were no Red Sox players in the starting lineup last year, so that’s the easy part of the question, but the Yankees have had at least one player start the All-Star Game every year since 1999. Somehow they ruled the baseball world in 1998 but had no All-Star starters in 1999. Go figure. The last All-Star Game with no Yankees and no Red Sox players in the starting lineup was 1998. Weird.

Dan asks: Could the Yankees target Martin Prado for a trade?

Sure, I suppose they could. Prado has been kinda blah so far this year, hitting .287/.323/.370 (92 wRC+) with three homers and a career low walk rate (3.9%) for the Marlins, but that’s enough to be an upgrade over Stephen Drew at second base even with the defensive hit. Prado’s got about $18M left on his contract — the Yankees are paying $3M of his salary this year and next — through the end of next season, so he’s probably overpaid at this point, yet he’s still useful and could also be a backup at third base and another outfield option. The Yankees got two and a half years of Prado for Peter O’Brien last year, so it stands to reason one and a half years of Prado would cost less. Then again, the Diamondbacks seem to value O’Brien very highly. Very, very highly. For what it’s worth, Joe Frisaro says the Marlins aren’t planning to sell, which is something teams always say this time of year. Prado is on the radar but I’m not sure how realistic it is.

Frank asks: How long do the Yankees have Slade Heathcott under contract for? How does his one-year minor league deal that he signed this offseason effect his free agent eligibility?

It doesn’t change anything, the minor league contract went away when the Yankees re-added Heathcott to the 40-man roster last month. (Players technically sign a new Major League contract that supersedes their minor league deal when they get called up and added to the 40-man.) This is Slade’s first stint in MLB, so he came up with zero service time. The Yankees have him for the rest of this year plus another six years after that — Heathcott does accrue service time on the DL but he won’t be up long enough to get a full season’s worth of service time in 2015 — so through 2022 assuming he never goes back to the minors, which is unlikely.

DotF: Sanchez homers again, Bird returns in Trenton’s win

1B Greg Bird was activated off the Double-A Trenton DL, the team announced. He missed the last month with a shoulder strain. 1B/3B Dante Bichette Jr. was send down to High-A Tampa to clear a roster spot. He was hitting .213/.253/.298 (54 wRC+) with the Thunder. Also, LHP Matt Tracy was outrighted off the 40-man roster, reports Chad Jennings. That means he cleared waivers and remains with the organization. The Yankees now have two open 40-man spots.

Triple-A Scranton (10-2 win over Syracuse)

  • CF Mason Williams: 0-5, 1 RBI
  • 2B Rob Refsnyder: 2-5, 2 R — had two hits in his previous 15 at-bats
  • 1B Kyle Roller: 1-5, 1 R, 1 HR, 3 RBI
  • C Austin Romine: 0-4, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB — one hit in his last 15 at-bats (.067)
  • LF Ben Gamel: 1-2, 2 R, 2 BB
  • RF Tyler Austin: 1-4, 2 K
  • RHP Jaron Long: 6 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 6 K, 1 HB, 7/3 GB/FB — 62 of 92 pitches were strikes (67%)
  • RHP Nick Rumbelow: 1 IP, zeroes, 2/1 GB/FB — seven of 12 pitches were strikes (58%)
  • RHP Chris Martin: 1 IP, zeroes, 1 K — 12 pitches, nine strikes
  • RHP Branden Pinder: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 WP, 1/2 GB/FB — 14 of 24 pitches were strikes (58%)

[Read more…]

2015 Draft: Daz Cameron

Daz Cameron | OF

Cameron, 18, attends Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy in Georgia and is committed to Florida. He is one of a very small number of players who have been invited to play in two Under Armour All-American Games in their careers. Daz has big league bloodlines — his father Mike Cameron played 17 years in MLB and always seemed to be connected to the Yankees in trade or free agent rumors each offseason.

Scouting Report
Standing 6-foot-1 and 190 lbs., Cameron is not the same kind of player as his father, though the comparison is only natural. Daz is a right-handed hitter with a swing geared for contact and line drives but not much power, though his high-end bat speed suggests he could grow into some pop down the road. Mike was a low average/high power hitter while his son projects to be more of a high average/low power guy. Cameron runs well and is both an asset in center field and very likely to stay there long-term, moreso than any other 2015 draft prospect, though he isn’t the defender his father was. Mike was unreal in center. Daz has solid tools across the board but no elite carrying tool. He’s one of those good at everything, great at nothing types, and there’s some concern he stalled out this spring because he didn’t show much improvement from last year.

Baseball America, MLB.com, and Keith Law (subs. req’d) ranked Cameron as the 5th, 6th, and 12th best prospect in the 2015 draft class in their latest rankings, respectively. For what it’s worth, Law has Cameron falling out of the first round in his most recent mock draft because of bonus concerns. There’s talk Daz wants a ton of money to turn pro. The Yankees pick 16th and 30th this year and they have the sixth largest bonus pool ($7.885M), so they’re one of the few teams able to pay a player top ten money outside the top ten.