Prospect Stock Watch: June 2014

Luis Severino

Courtesy of Mark LoMoglio/MiLB.com

There’s still a few days left in June, but everybody’s level of success for the month has already been decided.  The midway point of the season has been reached, All Star Games have been played, and a lot of midseason moves have been made, both up and down the ladder.  While the success of the Yankee farm system as a whole continues to be up for debate and interpretation, there’s no doubt who the biggest individual stars of this season have been.  Some names will be popping up on this report for the second time this year, the names that have now separated themselves as the head of the 2014 prospect class.  Here are the biggest prospect stock movers for June:

Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre

Stock Up- Rob Refsnyder

He was in this position last month for Double-A Trenton and now he’s in it again after less than a month at SWB.  That pretty much tells Refsnyder’s story this year.  He heated up almost immediately after the season started, was on fire in May, and hasn’t stopped hitting since.  His start in Triple-A was slow, but he’s come on in the last 10 games and currently owns a .292/.404/.458 tripleslash in 57 plate appearances.  In 14 games he’s scored 9 runs, smacked 5 XBH, drawn 8 walks, and he continues to play good enough defense to not have it talked about as a weakness.  Given his performance, how quickly he’s risen up to the top level, and the position he plays, Refsnyder has to be considered a top 10 organizational prospect.

Stock Down- Shane Greene

He got off-track very early in the year with a small injury and a change in role and a cup-of-coffee call up to the show and he’s never really gotten settled in as a result.  A little over a month into returning to a regular starter’s workload, Greene has yet to establish any consistency and his game log is filled with more bad outings than good.  He gave up 8 ER in 3 innings earlier this month and in 18.0 IP overall he’s allowed 14 runs on 26 hits and 7 walks.  The command Greene had over his stuff all of last season has not carried over and he’s gotten taken to task for that by a better level of hitting opposition.  He needs a better finish to his year to maintain some prospect value.

Double-A Trenton

Stock Up- Nick Goody

The hardest thing for most pitchers coming back from TJS is regaining the feel for and command of their pitches.  When you don’t pitch for that long, it’s understandable that the command would go away.  That hasn’t been the case at all this year for Goody.  He gave up 4 ER in his first 4 appearances after returning to game action in May and he’s given up only 1 since.  This month he’s struck out 15 in 7.1 IP and for the season he has 31 strikeouts to just 7 walks in 17.2 IP.  Goody was bumped up from Tampa to Trenton about a week ago and he struck out 4 in his first appearance.  He’s a young 22 and he could finish the year at Triple-A.  Definitely one of the best and most unknown relief prospects in the system.

Stock Down- Mason Williams

I don’t know what else there is to say about Williams.  His story never changes.  He hacks too much at the plate, he swings at a lot of pitcher’s pitches, he doesn’t make a lot of good contact, and he’s shown no willingness nor ability to change his approach to better suit his skill set.  For all the natural physical gifts he has, Williams has not been able to turn them into a solid package of baseball skills.  He was hitting .222/.287/.313 when I had him on here in April and he’s hitting .221/.299/.293 now.  He hasn’t gotten even a tiny bit better and he now has almost 400 PA at this level under his belt.  If there are teams out there that are interested in him at the deadline, I’d have no hesitation trading him away.

High-A Tampa

Stock Up- Luis Severino

He got moved up to Tampa last week, he got named as one of the Yankees’ representatives for this year’s Futures Game earlier this week, and he threw 6 shutout innings in his second High-A start on Wednesday.  Pretty nice little High-A debut Severino has going for himself and it’s the continuation of a fantastic year all-around.  He had 1 rough outing late in May and he’s been golden ever since.  2 ER or fewer in 12 of his 16 outings, a 2.76 ERA, 84 K, and 17 BB in 78.1 IP, and all the momentum in the world as he rockets up top prospect lists across the nation.  Severino is now the unquestioned best Yankee starting prospect.

Stock Down- Dietrich Enns

I think I probably see more prospect value in him than anybody else out there, but Enns suffered an elbow injury earlier in June and underwent TJ surgery on June 10th.  That will put him on the shelf for the rest of this year and next, and we’ll have to see how he comes back after that.  He had a 1.42 ERA and 26 K in 25.1 IP this season and had shown himself to be capable of working multiple innings and getting big strikeout numbers as a lefty reliever.  Hopefully he retains that skill set when he comes back.

Low-A Charleston

Stock Up- Dustin Fowler

Now that this level has had most of its top tier talent moved up, the cupboard is a bit bare for the RiverDogs.  But one guy who had a monster month of June was Fowler, a 19-year-old outfielder who was picked in the 18th round of last year’s draft.  He’s hitting .311/.346/.608 in 79 PA this month, with 6 doubles, 4 HR, and 17 RBI.  He doesn’t walk a lot but he also doesn’t strike out a lot either, which is nice to see from a player his age playing in his first full-season league.  I don’t know much about his tools so I can’t say how big of a prospect he truly is.  What I can say is that he was the team’s best player not named Aaron Judge this month.

Stock Down- Omar Luis

The Yankees must have seen something they loved about Luis when they gave him $4 million to sign back in 2012.  For the life of me, I can’t figure out what it is.  He was pretty erratic pitching for both GCL teams last year (20 ER and 29 BB in 31.2 IP) and this year it’s been more of the same working as a long reliever in Charleston.  In 27.1 IP over 11 appearances, Luis has allowed 19 ER, 20 BB (!!!), and only has 19 strikeouts.  His stuff has not held up as swing-and-miss quality against better hitters and his command comes and goes from outing to outing.  Somehow I don’t think the Yanks envisioned paying 4 mil for a guy they would convert to a reliever at age 21 in Low-A ball.

The short-season leagues are underway, and while it hasn’t been long enough to point out any standouts, it’s worth noting that 2012 1st round pick Ty Hensley is pitching in Staten Island and recent big money international signings Alex Palma and Leonardo Molina are getting their first American pro ball experience for the GCL 1 team.

Born in Dover, Delaware and raised in Danbury, Connecticut, Brad now resides in Wisconsin, where he regularly goes out of his way to remind Brewers fans that their team will never be as good as the Yankees. When he’s not writing for IIATMS, he likes to spend his time incorporating “Seinfeld” quotes into everyday conversation, critiquing WWE storylines, and drinking enough beer to be good at darts.

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