DotF: Flores & Pirela continue strong winter ball seasons

Before we get into this week’s winter ball recap, here are some mostly Arizona Fall League related links:

  • Baseball America published their list of the top ten prospects in the AzFL. Twins OF Buxton claimed the top spot with Dodgers SS Corey Seager, Indians SS Francisco Lindor, and Cubs SS Addison Russell behind him, in that order. No Yankees farmhands made the list, but, in a separate piece (subs. req’d), Baseball America said OF Aaron Judge and 1B Greg Bird “both impressed with the bat.” “Scouts question whether (Bird will) be an adequate defender at first base due to below-average athleticism, but the former high school catcher is relatively new to the position,” added the write-up. “Judge showed off his raw power and a plus arm from right field, but scouts were mixed on his ability to hit at higher levels.”
  • Jim Callis ranked the top 25 prospects in the AzFL. Buxton claimed the top spot and was followed by three shortstops: Lindor, Russell, and Seager. Judge ranked 12th and Bird ranked 19th. Sounds about right. The AzFL is loaded with the best prospects in the game and you’ve got to be a top of line guy to crack a top ten list.
  • Assistant GM Billy Eppler spoke to George King (subs. req’d) about OF Tyler Austin‘s return from last year’s wrist injury, which lingering into 2014. “It wasn’t just the numbers, it was the quality and the impact of his swing that we were getting (better) day in and day out,” said Eppler. “Our hitting coaches monitor all hit balls, and according to our guys the sound off the bat is good.”
  • One more note from King: the Yankees fired Billy Hart, who was the team’s assistant director of baseball operations. He spent the last three years working under retired VP of Baseball Ops Mark Newman. The player development system overhaul continues. Also, former director of player development Pat Roessler was hired by the Mets to be their assistant hitting coach, according to Mike Puma. The Yankees fired him a few weeks ago.
  • Carson Cistulli at FanGraphs put together a statistical breakdown of the top AzFL hitters and pitchers using homer rates, walk rates, and strikeout rates. Bird ranked as the fourth best hitter — the difference between the top five guys is tiny — right behind old pal C/1B Peter O’Brien.

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Yankees almost acquired Franklin Morales last May

Via Joel Sherman, the Yankees had a deal in place to acquire Franklin Morales from the Rockies for cash last May. Colorado apparently shopped the offer to the Red Sox though, who offered more money. Sherman says the Yankees refused to up their bid due to what they felt was unethical behavior.

Morales, 26, will start one game of tomorrow’s doubleheader. The left-hander as finally started to cash in on the ability that once earned him a top-ten spot in Baseball America’s Top 100 Prospects List, pitching to a 2.51 ERA (2.59 FIP) in 43 innings across three starts and 23 relief appearances. Sucks they were unable to get him, but that was a dick move on the part of the Rockies.

Williams, Sanchez, Austin among BA’s Midseason Top 50 Prospects

Baseball America published their midseason Top 50 Prospects list today, led by RHP Dylan Bundy of the Orioles. The best pitching prospect in the game owns a 1.74 ERA with 74 strikeouts and 13 walks in 62.2 innings down in Single-A this year. SS Jurickson Profar (Rangers) and OF Wil Myers (Royals) round out the top three. The list is free for all but the write-ups are subscriber-only.

The Yankees placed three prospects in the top 50: OF Mason Williams (#28), C Gary Sanchez (#30), and OF Tyler Austin (#39). LHP Manny Banuelos ranked 29th on the preseason Top 100 but fell out of the midseason list due to his elbow injury, though he was one of three players in the “Also Receiving Votes” section. Both Banuelos and RHP Jose Campos made the All Disabled List Team, unfortunately (subs. req’d). Williams (#85) and Sanchez (#81) made significant jumps from the preseason list, as did Austin, who was unranked this spring. The Yankees don’t have that surefire top-five prospect like Jesus Montero anymore, but three top-40 guys makes for a really strong top of the system.