Prospect Stock Watch: July 2014

Aaron Judge Tampa

Courtesy of Mark LoMoglio/MiLB.com

The dog days of summer are here in the Minors.  All-Star Games have been played, plenty of promotions have happened for the top performing prospects and demotions have taken place for some of those who are underperforming.  The short season leagues are in full swing and the focus on setting up for next year has started for a lot of guys.  Prospect evaluation is an ever-changing process.  Here are the guys who did the most to move the needle in one direction or the other and change how their evaluation looks in the month of July.

Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre

Stock Up- Jose Pirela

He was passed over by others when opportunities arose on the Major League bench, but Pirela has hit incredibly well since the end of April and even moving around to new positions didn’t stop that that last month.  He .310/.350/.422 in July with 8 XBH, 18 R scored, and did it while spending time at first base, second base, both outfield corners, and even a few games at shortstop.  He’s at .312/.356/.439 for the season and at age 24 he may be creating a new opportunity for himself next ST.

Stock Down- Danny Burawa

After being lights out in April and May, Burawa stumbled to a 7.30 ERA in June.  He was even worse than that last month, giving up 15 ER on 22 hits and 10 BB in 12.0 IP (11.30 ERA) and getting himself demoted back to Trenton at the end of the month.  Both he and Mark Montgomery were arguably the top 2 relief prospects in the system a few months ago.  Now they’ve both pitched themselves out of the mix for a late summer call up.

Double-A Trenton

Stock Up- Tyler Austin & Manny Banuelos

July was the first month in over a year in which we saw glimpses of the Austin from 2012.  The wrist must be feeling better because he hit .301/.342/.437 for the month with 5 doubles, 3 HR, and 15 RBI, and he’s been hottest lately.  Spending most of his time in right field, Austin could put himself in line for a late-season bump to SWB, where Heathcott and Flores are both out on the DL.

ManBan went 9 scoreless innings on only 2 hits and 1 walk in his last 2 July starts while striking out 7, and he threw 5 innings of 1-run ball last night to keep the momentum going into August.  Maybe that rust is finally starting to come off.

Stock Down- Nobody

Lotta guys playing well for the Thunder right now.  Gary Sanchez has swung a hot bat and Ben Gamel had his best offensive month of the year.  Dan Camarena threw his best outing since getting promoted to the Trenton rotation earlier this week, and newcomers Luis Severino and Jaron Long have both transitioned very well to the new level.

High-A Tampa

Stock Up- Aaron Judge

He continues to impress with his all-around hitting approach.  His slash line is at.298/.429/.447 in 175 PA and he has 32 BB to just 38 K in 40 games played.  He’s been a 5-tool player since game 1 of the Low-A Charleston season, and if the Trenton outfield wasn’t so crowded he’d probably already be on his way there.

Stock Down- Eric Jagielo

This is based more on the missed time with injury than anything else.  Jagielo returned to the field last month and returned back to Tampa on July 16th.  He’s gone 14-58 since then and hit .237/.330/.434 for the month overall.  If he can finish this year healthy, that would be good to build towards a strong start to next season.  Jagielo still needs to work on his hitting approach and his fielding, neither of which have been as good as advertised.

Low-A Charleston

Stock Up- Miguel Andujar

The 19-year-old got assigned here after raking in the GCL in 2013.  A slow first 3 months have faded as Andujar has heated up in July.  His .310/.364/.460 slash line last month was by far his best of the year, as was 9 2B, 20 R, 15 RBI, and 4 SB.  With Jagielo entrenched at third ahead of him, there’s no need to rush him up to Tampa before the end of this year.  Let him continue to gain confidence and work on his approach here and prepare him for a move to High-A to open 2015.

Stock Down- Abi Avelino

Again, this is injury-related more than just regular poor production-related.  Avelino missed over 2 months and returned to to Charleston on July 24th after a few weeks of rehab games in the GCL.  He’s 2-27 in his first few games back and made 2 errors in those games.  For the season he’s at .253/.310/.329, so expect to see him finish out the season and possibly open next season at this level.

Short-Season Leagues

Stock Up- Luis Torrens (Staten Island) & Ty Hensley (GCL)

The young rookie catcher was in over his head at Charleston and missed a lot of time with injury, but he’s back healthy and has looked much more comfortable at the plate at this level.  He hit .351/.388/.505 in July, showcasing that natural hitting talent that made him a highly-regarded international prospect.  If he can keep raking here for the rest of the year, he’ll earn another shot at A-ball next year.

The now 21-year-old Hensley has spent way more time on the DL than on a mound since being a 1st round pick in 2012, but he’s back in action and looked pretty good in 6 July appearances for the GCL 1 team.  He struck out 20 and had a 3.31 ERA in 16.1 IP, good enough to get him a late-month promotion to Staten Island.  He’ll finish out the season there and hopefully get a full year of games under his belt in 2015.

Stock Down- Vince Conde (Staten Island) & Leonardo Molina (GCL)

This year’s 9th round pick out of Vanderbilt has been very slow out of the gate at a low level of competition.  .213/.300/.230 in 70 PA is not what you want to see from a college hitter at this level, so don’t expect Conde to become the next great Yankee shortstop anytime soon.

Putting Molina here is admittedly picking nits when you’re talking about a 16-year-old playing his first pro ball stateside, but he hasn’t exactly been lighting the world on fire after being a million dollar plus signing bonus baby last year.  He hit .205/.289/.295 in July with 22 strikeouts in 90 PA, so he’s got a lot to learn.

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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