Sunday News And Notes: 2/14/16

Gotta play a little catchup on stories we missed last week while we were prospecting.  Here goes…

– Baseball America released their 2016 top prospects yesterday, and like most major lists before theirs they featured Aaron Judge, Jorge Mateo, and Gary Sanchez as the Yankee representatives.  Unlike most other lists, however, they had Mateo as the highest ranked Yankee (26th) and Judge as the lowest (76th), with Sanchez getting his highest ranking that I can recall seeing at 36.  Maybe BA is more concerned about those Triple-A strikeouts than the rest of us.

As first reported by Ken Rosenthal, the Yankees and Aroldis Chapman agreed to terms on a 1-year deal on Friday, scrapping plans to head to an arbitration hearing next Friday.  They met just slightly above the middle of their submitted figures at $11.325 million, and the Yankees now have all their players under contract for this season.

– Via Mark Feinsand, CC Sabathia is feeling good physically heading into this spring training and is ahead of his usual pitching schedule.  … Click here to read the rest

The 2016 IIATMS Top 30: Prospects 10-1

Gary Sanchez AZFL 2015

The next great Yankee catcher? The top IIATMS prospect?? Courtesy of Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY

I’ve commented twice already on the mixed bag nature of the first 2 groups of prospects in this year’s top 30 and I don’t think that’s a bad thing at all.  If anything, it shows how unpredictable the whole prospect ranking system because of the nature of prospects, and that’s what makes stuff like this fun.  But the top 10 this year aren’t as mixed.  In my evaluation, I see 2 very distinct groups of prospects that make up this highest tier.  I see a group of 5 players who can and likely will contribute at the Major League level in 2016, including a few more who are expected to take over regular starting spots in the lineup.  I also see a group of 5 players who have that same kind of ceiling but are about 2 years away from reaching that point.  The next wave, if you will.… Click here to read the rest

Friday Morning Links: 2/12/16

I haven’t done a lot of reading this week, certainly not as much as I usually do.  But here’s some of the other good stuff that’s been going on in the Yankosphere while we’ve been prospecting.

– On Monday, Andrew Mearns of Pinstripe Alley profiled the 10 non-roster invitee pitchers coming to camp.

– On Tuesday, Chad Jennings broke down the backup catcher competition and the factors that may influence the final decision.

– On Wednesday, Kenny Ducey of BP Bronx explained the one major downside to having A-Rod on the roster.

– On Thursday, Mike Axisa analyzed how the Yankees could be more successful at the plate if they broke tradition and swung more at the first pitch.  It wouldn’t be “The Yankee Way”, but it makes sense.

– In case you missed any of the previous IIATMS Top 30 posts, here they are: Honorable Mentions, Players 30-21, Players 20-11.  The top 10 is coming up at 11:30.… Click here to read the rest

The 2016 IIATMS Top 30: Prospects 20-11

Gamel 2015

“Dude, you made it into the top 20.” “Thanks, skip.” Courtesy of The TImes Leader

Yesterday’s first 10 was an eclectic mix of prospect talent, a jumbled combination of MLB-readiness, high-ceiling projection, and reliable floor.  Positions 20-11 on the 2016 IIATMS Top 30 are very similar.  We’ve got pitchers knocking on the door to the big leagues, pitchers who’ve just started their pro careers, and pitchers who are switching roles.  We’ve got a 6-year MiL veteran who never popped up much on the prospect radar until breaking out last year and a former blue chip international signing who may have already flamed out in A-ball.  If you haven’t seen positions 30-21, you should probably go back and read that first.  But if you’re ready to move on, here’s the middle 10 of our 2016 top 30:

20) Cale Coshow– RHSP, Double-A Trenton
Age: 23, Throws: R
Drafted: 13th Round, 2013
2015 Stats: 2.45 ERA,85 H, 97 K/28 BB in 114.0 IP (A-, A+, AA)
ETA: 2017-2018

Scott’s Take- His 33 IP as a starter at AA were just OK (3.51 ERA; 3.5 BB & 5.7 K/9), but there’s more.… Click here to read the rest

The 2016 IIATMS Top 30: Prospects 30-21


Potential breakout prospect in 2016? Courtesy of Bryan Green/Pinstriped Prospects

Well, we’ve covered the sizable list of players who fell off the top 30 from last year to this year and we’ve covered the shorter list of players who just missed the cut this year.  Nothing left to do now but get into the actual top 30 countdown.

Before we do that, a quick recap of our ranking system and format.  We tried to keep it as simple as possible, assigning a points system for every spot in the top 30.  The 1st ranked player gets 30 points, 2nd gets 29, all the way down to 1 point for the 30th spot.  Individual staff members filled out their personal rankings and the points totals from all individual rankings were tallied up for each player.  Dom, EJ, Scott, and myself did individual rankings to create this composite top 30.

For the individual player write-ups, we divvied them up among even more of the staff to give you different perspectives and different writing styles on each player.  … Click here to read the rest

Report: Yanks Have “Expressed Interest” In Carlos Torres

We’re a shade over a week away from pitchers and catchers reporting and the Yankees might not be done adding pieces to bring to camp.  According to a report by Brendan Kuty, the Yankees are among 20 teams who have contacted right-handed reliever Carlos Torres after he elected free agency on Monday.  He was designated for assignment by the Mets a few weeks ago to open a 40-man roster spot for Antonio Bastardo.

Torres, 33, was a late-blooming pro after scrapping starting and converting to a reliever in 2012.  He was a useful piece of the Met bullpen for the last 3 seasons, soaking up innings, working in a variety of different middle relief roles, and posting some decent numbers.  He posted a 4.68 ERA/3.53 FIP with a 19.8% K rate in 57.2 IP last season, his lowest IP total as a Met.  His flexibility would be valuable to the Yankees, who have a wide open competition for middle relief spots behind their big 3.  … Click here to read the rest

Quick Hit: Tanaka Throws Off A Mound For The First Time Since Surgery

A quick pause on the Prospect Week festivities to touch on something noteworthy.  Per an AP report earlier today, Masahiro Tanaka threw off a mound for the first time since having surgery in October to remove a bone spur from his pitching elbow.  The bullpen session took place in New York, where Tanaka was presumably getting looked at by team doctors in preparation for his reporting to spring camp next week.  From the sounds of it, pitching coach Larry Rothschild was in attendance for the bullpen session, although no quotes were given and there was no report on the specifics of the throwing session that I saw.

Tanaka is the most important part of what could be a very volatile rotation mix again in 2016.  When he’s been healthy, he’s proven to be a very good starting pitcher capable of being unhittable when he has everything working.  The problem has been his inability to stay healthy and the rash of different arm injuries that have limited his workload in each of his first 2 seasons.  … Click here to read the rest

The 2016 IIATMS Top 30: The Honorable Mentions

Heathcott HR vs TB II

When you’re still on the radar. Courtesy of the AP

One last piece of pregame business before we get into this year’s top 30.  The guys who didn’t make the cut.  We do a composite ranking based on all our individual rankings, and when you’re making a 30-player list you’re bound to get more than 30 different players.  These are the guys who made at least one individual list but didn’t accumulate enough points to make the final composite top 30.  it’s an interesting group of players too.  There’s some under-valued lower level guys, a couple 2015 draft picks, and a former longstanding top prospect list member who was one of many to make his MLB debut in pinstripes last year.  Here are the six 2016 IIATMS Top 30 honorable mentions:

31) Thairo Estrada– SS, Low-A Charleston
Age: 19, Bats: R, Throws: R
Ranked #21 on Brad’s list

In an organization that’s deep in up-the-middle prospects, it’s easy for a player like Thairo to get overlooked.  … Click here to read the rest

The 2016 IIATMS Top 30: Last Year’s Graduating/Dropout Class

Severino vs TOR 2015

Valedictorian of the IIATMS prospect class of 2015. Courtesy of Getty Images

I mentioned earlier that there was a high level of turnover in the Top 30 this year and I was serious.  Only 14 players carried over from the 2015 edition to the 2016, with 16 new guys joining them to complete the list.  What happened to those other 16 players from last year?  Good question.  Some of them have moved into regular roles with the Major League club, some of them were parts of this offseason’s trade activity, and some of them just fell off because they were injured and unable to play.  Before we fully dive into the 2016 list, let’s take a quick look back at those players from last year who have moved on.

Luis Severino– RHSP, 2015 Rank: 2nd

He was almost at the top of the class to start the 2015 season, and Severino definitely graduated at the top when it was over.  … Click here to read the rest