DotF: Castro begins rehab assignment in Trenton’s win

Here are the day’s notes:

  • Keith Law (subs. req’d) posted his midseason top 50 prospects list and SS Gleyber Torres ranks second behind Mets SS Amed Rosario. No other Yankees make the list, though OF Clint Frazier is not eligible because he’s in the big leagues. OF Blake Rutherford was ranked 22nd before the season and dropped out of the top 50 entirely. “Two scouts I asked said he’s just not making hard contact at all. That’s shocking given what I saw from him in (high school),” said Law in his chat.
  • Baseball Prospectus posted a fun list of the top 50 prospect busts. Four of the top five are Yankees (!): 3B Drew Henson (No. 1), C Jesus Montero (No. 2), LHP Brien Taylor (No. 4), and OF Ruben Rivera (No. 5). There are also a lot of Red Sox and Mets prospects in the top 50. Maybe that says something about big market prospects getting overrated? Anyway, the list is not behind the paywall, so check it out.
  • The Yankees have signed Cal State Bakersfield 2B Dave Metzgar as an undrafted free agent, reports Matt Eddy. He hit .372/.425/.465 with 24 walks and 14 strikeouts in 55 games this spring. Metzgar hit two (2) home runs in 222 career games with the Roadrunners.

Triple-A Scranton (6-1 win over Buffalo)

  • CF Mason Williams: 3-5, 1 R, 1 3B, 1 K — 19-for-53 (.358) during his 13-game hitting streak
  • RF Billy McKinney: 1-5
  • 3B Miguel Andujar: 2-4, 2 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 BB — two homers in his last three games
  • RHP Luis Cessa: 6 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 2/2 GB/FB — 44 of 68 pitches were strikes (65%) … five runs allowed in his last four starts and 26 innings at this level
  • RHP Brady Lail: 3 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, 3/3 GB/FB — 28 of 43 pitches were strikes (65%)

[Read more…]

Thoughts on Baseball America’s midseason top 100 prospects

(Al Bello/Getty)
Frazier. (Al Bello/Getty)

Late last week, Baseball America released their updated list of the top 100 prospects in baseball. White Sox 3B Yoan Moncada remains in the top spot, which isn’t too surprising. The Moncada hype train still has a full head of steam.

Seven Yankees made the updated top 100 list, the same number that made the preseason list. A few of the names have changed, however. Here’s where the Yankees rank:

3. SS Gleyber Torres (Preseason: 5th)
36. OF Blake Rutherford (Preseason: 45th)
48. OF Clint Frazier (Preseason: 39th)
55. RHP Chance Adams (Preseason: Not ranked)
70. OF Estevan Florial (Preseason: Not ranked)
72. LHP Justus Sheffield (Preseason: 91st)
88. OF Dustin Fowler (Preseason: Not ranked)

Adams, Florial, and Fowler jump into the top 100 while preseason No. 85 Jorge Mateo (poor performance), No. 87 RHP James Kaprielian (injury), and No. 90 OF Aaron Judge (graduated to MLB) fell out of the top 100. Looking back, it’s pretty funny Judge slipped from 53th to 76th to 90th on Baseball America’s preseason top 100 lists the last three years, and now he’s an AL MVP candidate (favorite?) as a rookie. Good times. Anyway, I have some thoughts on the latest top 100, so let’s get to them.

1. Gleyber’s injury hasn’t changed his prospect status. Despite undergoing season-ending Tommy John surgery a few weeks ago, Torres remains on the very short list of the best prospects in baseball. That indicates the injury to his non-throwing arm hasn’t soured anyone on his long-term outlook. The lost development time stinks, no doubt about that, but it’s a correctable injury to his least important limb. (That sounds bad. You know what I mean.) It was a freak injury and a pretty rare injury, but there is some precedent here. Reds shortstop Zack Cozart needed Tommy John surgery on his non-throwing elbow in August 2011. He tore his ligament in a collision at second base. Cozart had surgery in August and was ready for Spring Training. He was in Cincinnati’s lineup on Opening Day 2012. Torres had his surgery in June, two months earlier in the season than Cozart. And Cozart has had no trouble with the elbow since. Tommy John surgery is really bad and always risky. In Gleyber’s case, it’s not as bad as it would be with his throwing arm, and because of that, he remains a tippy top prospect.

2. Why did Rutherford and Frazier switch spots? For all intents and purposes, Rutherford and Frazier have switched spots since the preseason list. They’re still pretty close together — they’re separated by 12 spots on the midseason top 100 — but they did flip. For some reason Baseball America now prefers Rutherford whereas four months ago they preferred Frazier. Hmmm. What changed? Frazier, 22, hit .257/.345/.474 (123 wRC+) with 12 homers, 21.3% strikeouts, and 11.6% walks in 73 Triple-A games before getting called up. Rutherford, 19, is hitting .278/.343/.384 (111 wRC+) with one homers, 19.3% strikeouts, and 8.8% walks in 64 Low-A games. Which performance is more impressive? It’s Frazier for me. Pretty clearly too. But it’s not just about numbers though. The scouting report will forever be more important than the stats. I’m curious to know why Rutherford climbed (slightly) and Frazier fell (slightly). If anything, Frazier’s stock is up in my eyes, and not only because he’s now socking dingers in the big leagues. Forget about all that for a second. Frazier is better commanding the strike zone this year and he’s tapping into his power more often. He hit 12 homers in 73 Triple-A games. His previous career high was 16 homers in 119 games last year. I dunno. Feels like ever since the trade, people have been looking for reasons to dog Frazier, whether it’s silly stories about his attitude or nitpicking his game and dropping him in prospect rankings. Dropping him below Rutherford (who is awesome!) seems like more of the same.

3. I am still the low man on Adams. Adams keeps climbing prospect rankings and that’s pretty cool to see. The reliever-to-start conversion couldn’t be going any better. I ranked Adams as the tenth best prospect in the system in my most recent top 30 list, behind three players who did not make Baseball America’s midseason top 100. That isn’t to say I think he’s a bad prospect. He’s not! He’s really good. But ranking Adams in the middle of a top 50 list suggests you think he can be an impact pitcher soon, or that he’s very likely to remain a starter long-term, and I’m not sure I buy either right now. I have some reservations about his overall command, about the life and plane on his fastball, and about his complete inability to keep Double-A and Triple-A hitters on the ground this year. A 42.7% ground ball rate at those levels is pretty darn scary. Just about every pitching prospect worth a damn puts up good grounder numbers in the minors simply by overwhelming all the low quality hitters you inevitably find at every level. Adams hasn’t been able to do that. Hopefully I’m wrong and he’ll soon be an impact pitcher for the Yankees. The fact the Yankees haven’t called him up despite their pitching needs — even as a reliever at this point — is a pretty good indication the team doesn’t consider Adams ready to help, however. I feel like a spot in the middle of the top 100 is a bit aggressive, but to each his own.

Florial. (Rob Carr/Getty)
Florial. (Rob Carr/Getty)

4. Florial has a really unique profile and I don’t know how to rank him. So far this season the 19-year-old Florial is hitting .300/.383/.502 (152 wRC+) with eleven homers, 15 steals in 21 attempts, and an 11.4% walks in 74 Low-A games. That is across the board excellence for a kid who is more than two years younger than the average South Atlantic League player. At the same time, Florial has a 30.2% strikeout rate, which is awfully high. You don’t often see a player pair that strikeout rate with the kind of overall success at the plate Florial is having. It’s very unique, though we are watching Judge do the same thing in the big leagues, so it’s not unprecedented. Does the strikeout rate mean Florial will fail against more advanced pitchers as he climbs the ladder? Or does the strong overall numbers indicate he will make the adjustment and cut down on the whiffs as he moves forward? This much is clear: Florial’s tools are off the charts. He’s got power from the left side of the plate, he runs well, he’s a very good center fielder, and he has a rocket arm. Based on the natural talent and overall production, Florial is a top 100 caliber prospect. I’m just not sure what that strikeout rate means. I’m more fascinated than alarmed.

5. Mateo could wind up back on the top 100 soon. Mateo has been tearing the cover off the ball since being bumped up to Double-A Trenton. He hit .240/.288/.400 (97 wRC+) in 69 games while repeating High-A and is at .417/.533/.750 (249 wRC+) in 13 games since being promoted. I mean, 13 games is 13 games, we probably shouldn’t read too much into them, but it sure is nice to see Mateo raking for the first time in more than a year. I don’t think Baseball America was wrong to drop him out of their midseason top 100. Not at all. That said, Mateo certainly has the tools to climb back into the top 100 in the future, and his Double-A performance is going to make people take notice. The Yankees have plenty of top 100 caliber prospects and I feel like they’re most willing to part with Mateo in a trade despite his upside. His success in Double-A is perhaps rebuilding some trade value leading up to the deadline and the offseason. It can’t hurt. That’s for sure.

6. Andujar keeps getting snubbed. I am the low man on Adams and the high man on Miguel Andujar, it seems. I’m not saying Andujar is a no doubt top 100 prospect, but I do think he deserves serious consideration, and he’s yet to sneak into any top 100 list. For shame. Andujar is hitting .302/.336/.479 (121 wRC+) between Double-A and Triple-A this year and he’s gone from a 98 wRC+ in 2015 to a 111 wRC+ in 2016 to a 121 wRC+ in 2017, so he’s trending in the right direction. That said, Andujar has to improve his defense, and I guess that’s why he’s not making any top 100 lists. Not everyone is sold on him remaining at third. Defense is the No. 1 priority right now and I’m glad the Yankees are letting him work on it in Triple-A. I don’t want Andujar playing first base and I don’t want him learning the hot corner on the fly in the big leagues. Third base in Triple-A is the appropriate spot for him. Robinson Cano never made a top 100 list, you know. Not once with any publication. I’m not saying Andujar will be the next Cano — Robbie is about 90% of the way to the Hall of Fame at this point, it’s not pair to compare any prospect to him — but in a few years, I definitely think he’s the type of player who will have people saying “how was this guy never on a top 100 list?”

DotF: Mateo extends hitting streak in Trenton’s win

Got a bunch of notes to get us started:

  • Baseball America released their midseason top 100 prospects list earlier today. Seven Yankees made it: SS Gleyber Torres (3rd), OF Blake Rutherford (36th), OF Clint Frazier (48th), RHP Chance Adams (55th), OF Estevan Florial (70th), LHP Justus Sheffield (72nd), and OF Dustin Fowler (88th). I’ll have some thoughts on this next week.
  • The Yankees signed Alabama-Birmingham RHP Garrett Whitlock (18th round) to a $247,500 bonus, reports Jim Callis. That is over the $125,000 slot for each pick after the tenth round, so the remaining $122,500 counts against the bonus pool. The signing deadline was 4pm ET today. Here is our Draft Pool tracker.
  • 1B Mike Ford (hamstring) and RHP Ronald Herrera (shoulder) were placed on the Triple-A Scranton disabled list, the team announced. Ford isn’t expected to be out long. Also, RHP Bryan Mitchell was sent from Triple-A Scranton to High-A Tampa. That allows him to make a start next week during the Triple-A All-Star break.
  • Two Yankees made Baseball America’s Prospect Team of the Month for June and they are not among the team’s top prospects: 2B Nick Solak and RHP Zack Littell. Hooray farm system depth! Solak hit .392/.453/.595 (204 wRC+) with three homers in June. Goodness. Littell had a 0.58 ERA (1.92 FIP) in 31 innings.
  • A bunch of Yankees made this week’s Prospect Hot Sheet: SS Jorge Mateo (7th), RHP Dillon Tate (8th), RHP Jorge Guzman (11th), and OF Billy McKinney (16th). That’s a good sign. Mateo, Tate, and McKinney are trying to rebuild prospect stock right now while Guzman is trying to establish his.

Triple-A Scranton (4-1 loss to Lehigh Valley)

  • CF Jake Cave: 1-4, 1 K
  • 3B Miguel Andujar: 0-4, 1 K
  • RF Billy McKinney: 0-3, 1 K
  • SS Abe Avelino: 0-3
  • RHP Chance Adams: 5 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 6 K, 3/4 GB/FB — 62 of 95 pitches were strikes (65%) … he’s walked at least three batters in seven of his 17 starts this year, which is a few too many
  • RHP J.P. Feyereisen: 2.2 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 2/2 GB/FB — 28 of 44 pitches were strikes (64%)
  • RHP Gio Gallegos: 1.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 0/1 GB/FB — 14 of 21 pitches were strikes

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DotF: Scranton walks off with a win behind Andujar, McKinney

It’s been a while since I’ve updated the standings, so let’s do that today. Here are the day’s notes first:

  • LHP Justus Sheffield was placed on the Double-A Trenton disabled list with a right oblique strain, the team announced. Manager Bobby Mitchell admitted to Kyle Franko it is a pretty significant strain. Sucks. There is no timetable for Sheffield’s return. At least it’s not his arm, I guess.
  • Baseball Prospectus released their midseason top 50 prospects list, which includes three Yankees: SS Gleyber Torres (7th), RHP Chance Adams (37th), and Sheffield (47th). Prospect eligible players in the big leagues (so OF Clint Frazier, OF Dustin Fowler, and IF Tyler Wade) were not included, ditto 2017 draftees.
  • OF Zack Zehner and LHP Nestor Cortes have been added the Double-A Eastern League All-Star Game, it was announced. Zehner is replacing 1B Mike Ford (promoted) on the roster and Cortes is replacing Sheffield.
  • Welcome back, Mason Williams. He cleared waivers and has been outrighted to Triple-A Scranton, the Yankees announced. That’s good. Never hurts to have a spare center fielder lying around.

Triple-A Scranton (4-3 win over Buffalo in eleven innings, walk-off style) they are 54-32 and have a one-game lead in the North Division

  • DH Jake Cave: 2-6, 2 R, 1 2B, 1 K
  • 3B Miguel Andujar: 1-6, 2 RBI — two-run walk-off single in the 11th
  • 1B Mike Ford: 3-4, 1 R — Conor Foley says Ford left the game with hamstring soreness and he’ll be reevaluated tomorrow … the first base depth chart is really, really thin right now
  • RF Billy McKinney: 3-5
  • 2B Jonathan Diaz: 3-5, 1 R, 1 K — first game back with the RailRiders after yesterday’s minor trade
  • LHP Dietrich Enns: 6 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 7/3 GB/FB — 67 of 92 pitches were strikes (73%) … 28/5 K/BB in 28 innings around the shoulder injury
  • RHP Jonathan Holder: 1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 0/1 GB/FB — 13 of 24 pitches were strikes (54%) … he’s going to have to do better than that to get back to the big leagues
  • RHP Ben Heller: 2 IP, zeroes, 3 K, 1/2 GB/FB — 18 of 28 pitches were strikes (64%)

[Read more…]

Saturday Links: Padres, Torres, Bullpen Help, Draft Signings

Gleyber. (Presswire)
Gleyber. (Presswire)

The Yankees and Astros will continue their three-game weekend series later today, though not until 7pm ET. Blargh. I really hate Saturday night games, you guys. Anyway, here are some links to check out in the meantime.

Padres have asked about Torres

According to Jon Heyman, the Padres have asked the Yankees about top prospect Gleyber Torres. I’m not sure whether this was before or after Gleyber hurt his elbow and needed Tommy John surgery. San Diego is in the middle of a deep rebuild and needs, well, everything. But especially a shortstop. Before the injury, few prospects could match Gleyber’s combination of near-MLB-readiness and long-term potential.

I imagine Torres is atop New York’s untouchables list, and I don’t think there’s any chance the Yankees would sell low on him while hurt. Also, who in the world could the Padres offer for Torres? Brad Hand? Nope. Not happening. Wil Myers? Meh. He’s good and by far their best player, but I’m not giving up Torres to get him. I don’t blame the Padres for trying. You can’t get Scott Kazmir for Victor Zambrano without asking. There doesn’t seem to be a fit here at all. The Yankees could use Hand, but not at the price of Gleyber.

Yankees looking for bullpen help

From the no duh department: the Yankees are in the market for bullpen help right now, reports Heyman. I don’t know about you, but I get the feeling a trade for bullpen help is inevitable at this point. That doesn’t necessarily mean the Yankees are going to trade top prospects for a high-end reliever. It could be a smaller deal similar to last season’s Tyler Clippard trade. A change of scenery guy. I trust Brian Cashman to make a good value trade. I can’t even remember the last time the Yankees made a trade that made me say “wow, they overpaid.” The Yankees want bullpen help. News at 11.

Latest 2017 draft signings

The signing deadline for 2017 draft picks is Friday, July 7th, though the Yankees have already handled most of their major business. They’ve signed all of their picks in the top 17 rounds plus several others. Here are my Day One, Day Two, and Day Three draft recaps, and here are all of the Yankees’ picks. Now here are the latest signings (and non-signings):

  • The Yankees have signed Puerto Rico HS C Hemmanuel Rosario as an undrafted free agent, reports Jonathan Mayo. He received a $247,500 bonus, of which $122,500 counts against the bonus pool. Rosario is still only 16, but he already graduated high school, which is why the Yankees were able to sign him. Here’s his Perfect Game scouting report. Nice little find.
  • The Yankees have also signed Carl Albert State C/OF Pedro Diaz as an undrafted free agent, according to his coach on Twitter. No word on his bonus, though I don’t believe this is another over-slot signing. Diaz hit .282/.407/.380 as a freshman in 2016. Seems like an organizational depth pickup.
  • Arizona HS RHP Colby Davis (23rd round) will not sign and instead go to Arizona State, reports Richard Obert. Davis was always expected to go to school. He can locate three pitches right now, though none are an out pitch. He could come out as a top ten rounds guy in three years.

As our Draft Pool Tracker shows, the Yankees still have roughly $317,000 in bonus space remaining. I imagine that money is going to spent somewhere. The Yankees have spent right up to the max each year since the bonus pools were put in place. It’s worth noting Duke OF Jimmy Herron (31st round) is currently 18-for-45 (.400) with six doubles and a home run through 13 Cape Cod League games. He’s got some interesting leadoff hitter skills and the Yankees could offer him as much as $442,000 at this point. Either way, I’d bet on that pool money getting spent on someone.

DotF: Wagaman homers twice in Pulaski’s season opener

Here are the day’s notes:

  • The Yankees called up LHP Tyler Webb, they announced earlier today. UTIL Rob Refsnyder was sent down to clear a roster spot. Webb, the team’s tenth round pick in 2013 and LHP Jordan Montgomery‘s former college teammate, spent nearly all of the last four seasons with Triple-A Scranton. Cool to see him get the call. Webb has a 3.24 ERA (2.14 FIP) with 47 strikeouts and only three walks in 33.1 innings this season.
  • SS Gleyber Torres told Conor Foley and D.J. Eberle he is heading to Tampa on Saturday following yesterday’s Tommy John surgery. He’ll rest the next two weeks before beginning rehab work. Apparently Torres was told he could be ready to play by November, which means winter ball could be in play, though I don’t see that happening. The Yankees won’t push their top prospect. Gleyber said he’s focused on Spring Training.
  • C Kyle Higashioka has been placed on the 7-day DL, the RailRiders announced. Foley says Higashioka is dealing with bad lower back spasms. He was supposed to see a doctor today, and if they’re calling it spasms, I guess that means there’s no structural damage. That’s good.
  • No Triple-A Scranton players lead their positions in the All-Star Game fan voting. Here’s the update. RHP Chance Adams does lead the write-in votes, however. Lehigh Valley fans are really stuffing the ballot, it seems. Voting ends tomorrow. Here’s the ballot.
  • Two links to check out: Chris Crawford asked executives whether they’d take the Yankees farm system or the Braves farm system, and Jim Callis listed OF Clint Frazier as a potential impact prospect for the second half.

Triple-A Scranton (11-1 with over Pawtucket)

  • SS Tyler Wade: 0-3, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 HBP
  • CF Dustin Fowler: 1-5, 1 2B, 1 K, 1 SB
  • DH Tyler Austin: 2-5, 2 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 1 K — three straight games with a homer … here’s video of the double and home run
  • 3B Miguel Andujar: 1-4
  • RF Jake Cave: 2-4, 2 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI — four homers in his last six games
  • LF Mark Payton: 3-4, 2 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI — some team’s future fourth outfielder is hitting .293/.350/.421 on the season
  • RHP Chance Adams: 6 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 8 K, 5/5 GB/FB — 60 of 100 pitches were strikes … has a 43.7% ground ball rate this year, which is pretty terrible for a good pitching prospect in the minors … the book on him is that he doesn’t get great downhill plane on his fastball (he’s only 6-foot-1) and his heater can be pretty straight … I worry that when he comes up, he’ll initially be really home run prone, especially with the ball flying out of the park all around the league this season
  • RHP Ben Heller: 1.1 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 0/1 GB/FB — 19 of 30 pitches were strikes (63%)

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DotF: Staten Island wins opener; Tate returns in Tampa’s win

Some notes to get us started:

  • SS Gleyber Torres is having his Tommy John surgery tomorrow, according to Bryan Hoch. Mets team doctor Dr. David Atlchek will perform the surgery. See you in the spring, Gleyber.
  • 3B Nelson Gomez is listed as suspended on the Staten Island Yankees roster for some reason. Not sure what happened there. He didn’t fail a drug test or anything like that. Those are announced by MLB. Must have violated team rules.
  • RHP Travis Hissong has been released, the Tampa Yankees announced. Hissong had been with the Yankees since signing as an undrafted free agent in 2014. He threw some innings as an extra arm in Spring Training this year.

Triple-A Scranton Game One (4-3 loss to Syracuse in seven innings)

  • 2B Tyler Wade & C Kyle Higashioka: both 0-3 — Higashioka struck out twice
  • CF Dustin Fowler: 1-3, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 K — 12 homers in 64 games this year after hitting 12 in 132 games last year … getting out of Trenton is a part of it, no doubt, but not all of it
  • 1B Tyler Austin: 0-2, 1 BB
  • LF Jake Cave: 1-2, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 BB — three homers in his last eight games
  • RHP Bryan Mitchell: 4.1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 7/0 GB/FB — 43 of 67 pitches were strikes (64%) … he’s thrown 56, 60, and 67 pitches in his last three starts, which is weird … they’re not really stretching him out much
  • LHP Tyler Webb: 1.1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 2/1 GB/FB — 22 of 34 pitches were strikes (65%)

[Read more…]