Tamar has written for IIATMS since July 2009, having started off writing game recaps before shifting to the minor leagues. Born in Connecticut and having lived all over the country and in South Korea, Tamar now finds herself "temporarily misplaced" in New Hampshire. Please send help - I can pay you in maple syrup.

Author Archives: Tamar Chalker

Judge called up to the RailRiders

judgeThe march of the prospects continues for the Yankees as news broke last night that Aaron Judge, the Bombers’ top power hitting prospect, has been promoted to Triple-A. When the Yankees drafted Judge out of Fresno State with the 32nd pick of the 2013 Draft, they thought they had drafted a guy who could move rather quickly through the system, and so far they seem to be right.

Judge has flown through Charleston, Tampa and Trenton in less than a season and a half. After signing late in 2013, Judge never made an appearance due to a hamstring injury, but he wasted little time in making an impact on Charleston in 2014. In 65 games, the huge outfielder went .333/.428/.530 with nine homers. He was promoted to Tampa, where he continued to hit the ball hard. Judge wasn’t done when the regular season ended, however, as the Yankees sent him to Scottsdale for the Arizona Fall League. The Yankees invited Judge to Spring Training and he had a strong start of 2015 with Trenton, hitting .284/.350/.516 with twelve homers, three triple, sixteen doubles and 44 RBIs.…

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Catching up with the Thunder

thunderWhen I wrote about the RailRiders earlier this week, it wasn’t intended to start a series of similar posts, rather I was just excited by what is happening in Scranton. However, much like Scranton, Trenton is putting together a nice season, after a rather disappointing 2014. While some of the names are the same, the reasons for Trenton’s success are less clear.

Last year, the Thunder went 67-75, landing in fourth place in the EL Eastern Division. Today, they are sitting at 37-29, just half a game behind the New Britain Rock Cats. If the season ended today, Trenton would be back in the playoffs, a feat they have managed to pull of a little over half the time that Trenton has been in the Yankees’ system.

As I mentioned on Monday, offense has been the driving force behind Scranton’s strong season thusfar. Trenton’s strength seems to lie more with their pitching. As a team, Trenton has a 3.58 ERA and is tied for the most shut outs with seven.…

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Catching up with the RailRiders

refWhen I first started covering the minor leagues for IIATMS about four or five years ago, the truly exciting prospects were in the lower levels and, in some cases, weren’t even stateside. It often felt like Scranton/Wilkes-Barre was stocked with players who were either desperately trying to make it back to the majors, even though their prospects looked bleak, and those who had once been greatly touted, but were never able to breakthrough (see Eric Duncan). This is one of the many reasons I have gotten such a kick out of seeing players like Slade Heathcott, Ramon Flores and Mason Williams all make their debuts this year.

It’s been pretty exciting for me to watch some of these guys as they move along. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by some (Chase Whitley wasn’t off my radar, but I didn’t expect much from him) and disappointed by many (Graham Stoneburner – who just seemed destined to put on pinstripes with a name that translates to Steinbrenner, Dante Bichette, Jr., Jesus Montero, and so on).…

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Recapping Day One of the 2015 Draft

After not having any picks in the first round of the draft last year, the Yankees had two first round picks and a second round pick last night. Not only did they have a few decisions to make on the first day, but the Yankees also had their lowest pick (16th) since 1993 (13th). Let’s take a look at the newest Yankees’ draftees.

James KaprielianJames Kaprielian (RHP): The righty out of UCLA was widely expected to go in the middle of the first round. Much like their first pick last year, Jacob Lindgren, the Yankees chose another pitcher in Kaprielian who could be ready for the majors in very little time. Kaprielian started his collegiate career coming out of the bullpen, but in his sophomore and junior years the hurler took up the front spot in the rotation. Scouts believe he is a pretty solid bet to be a middle of the rotation guy on a major league team, making this sound like a smart pick for the Bombers.…

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Slade Heathcott’s Long and Winding Road to the Majors

sladeAs you likely know by now, Slade Heathcott made his major league debut Wednesday night when he pinch ran for Mark Teixeira in the eighth and then played center. This is not just notable because arguably the Yankees’ most important offensive piece, Jacoby Ellsbury, hit the DL, causing the Yankees to call up their first round pick from the 2009 Draft. Hopefully, Heathcott gets an opportunity to pick up his first hit sometime soon, but as we wait for that I thought I’d look back on Heathcott’s long road to the Bronx.

If you have followed the Yankees’ farm system at all the last five or six years, you know the name Slade Heathcott and why I am so excited to see him finally break into the majors. Granted, his stay may be a short one for any number of reasons, but considering how miniscule the percentage of minor league players to ever make an appearance in the majors is, this is no small feat.…

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Checking in with Rob Refsnyder, IL Batter of the Week

refsnyderRob Refsnyder had made a name for himself well before the Yankees took him in the fifth round of the 2012 Draft. After being drafted, Refsnyder went on to win Most Outstanding Player honors with Arizona at the College World Series. Having capped off his collegiate career on top, Refsnyder signed with the Yankees and quickly began his professional pursuit. The young second baseman hasn’t stopped picking up some hardware as he journeys towards the Bronx, with his most recent honors coming on Monday, when he was named the IL Batter of the Week.

In truth, Refsnyder’s recognition for last week was well-deserved, but doesn’t come close to telling the full story. Between May 11 and May 17, Refsnyder hit .400, with six extra-base hits (two homers and four doubles) and six RBIs. After Tuesday’s game against Charlotte, however, Refsnyder is riding a ten-game hit streak and has made it on base in every game since the second game of a doubleheader against Pawtucket on April 25 (21 games).…

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Prospect Profile: Jacob Lindgren

jlindgrenJacob Stephen Lindgren
Born: March 12, 1993, Biloxi, Mississippi
Height: 5’11
Weight: 205
Bats: Left
Throws: Left
Position: Relief Pitcher

Even though it has been a couple years since I consistently wrote prospect profiles, by and large the players on the upper level rosters are very familiar to me. Jacob Lindgren, a relief pitcher with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, would be one of the exceptions. Having been drafted out of Mississippi State by the Yankees in 2014, Lindgren has shot through the Yankees’ farm system and appears to be on the cusp of making his major league debut.

Lindgren was taken by the Yankees with their first pick of the 2014 draft, however, he was taken in the second round – the 55th overall pick. The southpaw began as a starter in college, taking Mississippi State to the College World Series, but in 2014 he started coming out of the bullpen. Quickly becoming one of the most dominant relievers in college baseball, Lindgren didn’t slow down after signing with the Yankees, making appearances with four Yankees minor league affiliates last year.…

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Quick Hit: Pineda picks up AL Player of the Week Honors

MLB just announced the players of the week via Twitter, and it should come as no surprise that the Yankees’ own Michael Pineda is taking home the honors, after two lights out performances. Bryce Harper took the NL Player of the Week honors.

 

Pineda went 2-0 with a 0.60 ERA over fifteen innings of work. Not only did he allow just one run while scattering eleven hits, but he struck out an impressive 22 batters while walking just one. It’s worth pointing out that the one walk was not in the game where Pineda struck out sixteen Orioles.

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Prospects Who’s Not: April

sanchezInstead of today’s farm report, I’m bringing you the prospects who are not performing at their expected or hoped for levels. In case you missed it, I did a similar list of those prospects who started 2015 hot last week.

Austin Romine (Scranton): Romine went from competing for the backup position in the Bronx during Spring Training back to Triple-A, where he has struggled to show the Yankees they made a mistake in giving the spot to John Ryan Murphy. In fourteen games in April, Romine hit .192/.288/.365. He isn’t hitting much at all, but when he connects he is making a difference. Of his ten hits in April, seven were extra base hits (six doubles and a homer). He picked up six RBIs and drew six walks as well.

Tyler Austin (Scranton): Austin really struggled at the plate in April, hitting .213/.238/.275. He had just one homer and two doubles. Perhaps most telling is his 22 strikeouts, with only three walks.…

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