Thoughts On The AZFL Selections

I missed this when it first came out yesterday, but the Yankees announced their MiL representatives for the 2014 Arizona Fall League season and it’s quite the group.  Via Josh Norris, the players selected were Aaron Judge, Greg Bird, Eric Jagielo, Tyler Austin, Caleb Cotham, Branden Pinder, and Alex Smith.  The pitching reps aren’t all that sexy, but that’s a top crop of hitting prospects.  Some random thoughts on the picks and what it means for each player.

– As far as Bird, Austin, and Cotham are concerned, this is a way to get back some of the at-bats and innings they lost due to injury this season.  Austin battled some wrist problems again and has hit .275/.336/.419 in 437 PA for Trenton.  Bird missed a lot of time early in the season as he worked back from his latest back issue.  He’s swung the bat well (.272/.374/.479) in 414 PA split 75/25 between High-A and Double-A.  …

Read more

Robert Refsnyder moves to the outfield – for now

refsnyder

It has been well documented that Robert Refsnyder has been hitting the ball very well this year. This follows a very quick journey through the Minors after ending his college career with a College World Series title and the MOP award. Last year, the Yankees moved Refsnyder to second base, as they thought his lack of power hitting would play better there than as a corner outfielder. No doubt this move looked even better when Robinson Cano left for Seattle.

Many people tagged Refsnyder as a prospect who could move through the system quickly, but learning a new position was likely to slow this process some. Earlier this week, however, Brian Cashman told the Yankees’ Triple-A affiliate to have Refsnyder get back to playing some outfield and added to the rumor mill by saying that if he was to get the call this year it would likely be to play in the outfield. The Yankees sorely need some offense and, after reworking his swing with Marcus Thames in Trenton, Refnsnyder’s bat is begging for a chance in the Bronx (he’s hitting .308/.431/.551 right now).…

Read more

Yankees kick off international free agent signing with a bang

Just as Katie told us yesterday, the Yankees broke out the checkbook in a big way for this year’s international free agent signing period, including all four of the players she wrote about. While the Yankees have yet to confirm any of these signings, reports have them picking up ten players yesterday, for a total of $14.25 million in signing bonuses, far surpassing their assigned 2,193,100. Here is a quick look at the signings so far.

Dermis Garcia (SS): The Dominican power hitter will likely outgrow short, but with his big arm he could look nice at third. He was ranked at the top of MLB.com’s rankings and ninth for Baseball America, earning him $3.2 million from the Yankees.

Nelson Gomez (3B): Another Dominican infielder, Gomez was widely considered the top offensive player in this year’s class, fetching him $2.25 million from the Bronx Bombers. He was ranked second by MLB.com and sixth by BA.

Juan De Leon (OF): De Leon is a very toolsy player who was second on BA’s list and fifth on MLB.com.…

Read more

Can Heath Bell Be Of Any Value?

Heath Bell 2014

Courtesy of Getty Images

(Syndicated from An A-Blog for A-Rod)

The shuffling and re-shuffling of the middle relief deck has been a constant for the Yankees this year.  Early injuries to the starters, some DL stints at the front end of the ‘pen, and a lot of really poor performances have combined to create a rotation of mostly mediocre characters through the last 2 spots and the Yanks are very much still in search of a couple of reliable options.  They’ve got rookie Jose Ramirez in one spot for the moment and the recently-acquired David Huff in the other.  You’ll remember him from his tandem starter duties with Phil Hughes last season.

Another move Cash made to add some organizational depth was signing Heath Bell to a MiL deal last Friday.  Bell was released by the Rays earlier in the season after putting up a 7.27 ERA in 17.1 IP and most recently he had been pitching some OK ball for the Baltimore Orioles’ Triple-A affiliate (4.22/3.24 in 10.2 IP).  …

Read more

Minors Review: May

As you may have noticed by the lack of Farm Reports this past month, I was out of commission for most of May, recovering from Tommy John…wait, no…from rotator cuff surgery. College athletics – the gift that keeps on giving! I am slowly getting back to “normal” (or as Brad said, I’m about ready to throw a side session) so I hope to resume those posts in the coming weeks.  For now, I will ignore the frustration caused by my slow one-handed typing so as to permit me to at least get out the end of month posts. So, without further adieu, let’s look back at May.

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders:
At the end of May, Scranton was 28-26 and two games behind Rochester in the IL North. After a lackluster start to 2014, the RailRiders had a solid month, going 17-13, thanks in part to a six game win streak.

The RailRiders hurlers only allowed seven homers in April, a feat they were unable to replicate in May, though their 24 homers through May still were the least in the International League.…

Read more

Who is Chase Whitley?

Chase WhitleyWhen Joe Girardi made the official announcement that Chase Whitley would start, there was a collective response from Yankees fans …

Who?

With all the injuries to the pitching staff, New York needed to fill CC Sabathia’s Thursday start. So, Girardi dug into the minors and yanked...

Read more

Prospects Who’s Not: April

Well, I’ve given you the the hot prospects for April, along with some well-deserved honorable mentions, so now it’s time for the not so hot. While the Hot list was tough to make because there were those deserving a mention who got left off, the Not list was much easier. This was in part to some rough performances by some recognizable names, but also because not as many of the more important prospects struggled. There were plenty whose April was more of a mixed bag, but here are five who really are going to need to turn things around in May.

Austin Romine (C, Scranton):
I have never given out a Not Prospect of the Month, but Romine is tempting me this April. After a brief call up to New York early in April, the Yankees passed him over for John Ryan Murphy when Cervelli got injured. If Romine was trying to convince them they made a mistake, he certainly has done little to prove them wrong.…

Read more

Prospects Who’s Hot: April

I always like it when this list is hard to put together because I feel like there are a decent number of players I could talk about here. That was the case this month, so here are my picks for April, in no particular order.

Peter O’Brien (C, Tampa):
O’Brien had a solid first full season in professional baseball last year, splitting time between Charleston and Tampa. He has picked up right where he left off this month, crushing the ball with a .330/.361/.703 line. He had eight homers, eight doubles and a triple, alone with sixteen RBIs. Despite crushing the ball, O’Brien has only taken four walks over 24 games, striking out 22 times. If he keeps swinging like this he may be taking at bats in Trenton by the break.

Luis Severino (RHP, Charleston):
The Dominican righty got his first taste of baseball stateside last season and has started his first full season very strong. Despite a rough first outing, where he gave up three runs in just two innings, Severino turned around and threw seventeen innings with only one earned run over the rest of the month of April (four starts).…

Read more