2015 Arizona Fall League Wrap-Up


The Arizona Fall League championship game was played on Saturday, with the Scottsdale Scorpions defeating the Surprise Sagueros 6-4.  The Yankees were well represented in the Surprise lineup, with Gary Sanchez starting at catcher and hitting cleanup, Tyler Austin starting in left field and hitting 6th, and Dustin Fowler starting in center and hitting 8th.  They all performed well too, each recording at least 1 hit in the game and Fowler hitting a home run.

With the AZFL season officially over, here’s a final tally for the Yankee representatives:

Sanchez: .295/.357/.625, 7 HR, 21 RBI, 16 R in 88 AB
Austin: .272/.344/.444, 3 HR, 7 RBI, 13 R, 7 SB in 81 AB
Fowler: .279/.313/.410, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 14 R, 7 SB in 61 AB
Tyler Wade: .220/.313/.268, 2 2B, 6 RBI, 6 R in 41 AB

Ian Clarkin: 24.2 IP, 34 H, 16 ER, 14 BB, 17 K, 5.84 ERA in 6 App
Chaz Hebert: 14.1 IP, 13 H, 7 ER, 10 BB, 12 K, 4.40 ERA in 7 App
Tyler Webb: 12.1 IP, 13 H, 8 ER, 3 BB, 12 K, 5.84 ERA in 9 App
Domingo Acevedo: 12.0 IP, 9 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 11 K, 2.25 ERA in 7 App

The standout numbers still belong to Sanchez, who fell short in his bid to win league MVP despite leading in homers and ribbies.  …

Read more

Reviewing The Rule 5 Draft Roster Situation

Tomorrow is the deadline for teams to set the 40-man Major League, Triple-A, and Double-A rosters in preparation for next month’s Rule 5 draft.  The Yankees always seem to be under a 40-man roster crunch and never seem to have enough spots for protection-worthy players who are Rule 5 eligible, and this season is no different.  Here’s a quick breakdown of where the roster stands, what other moves might be made to clear space, and my thoughts on what players the Yankees will, won’t, should, and should not protect.

The Roster: Currently stands at 38 players.  21 pitchers, 3 catchers, 6 infielders (not including Ackley), 7 outfielders (including Ackley), and 1 Alex Rodriguez.

The Potential Casualties: Caleb Cotham, Domingo German

Cotham is a 28-year-old MiL lifer who just made his MLB debut in 2015.  He pitched to a 6.52/6.55 ERA/FIP split in 9.2 innings and gave up 14 hits and 4 homers.  He’s most likely a Quad-A player at best, and the Yankees have enough to righty relief depth to make up for his loss.…

Read more

Ian Clarkin Throws 4 Innings In His 2015 Debut

Guess these fall league updates will be more frequent than I thought.  That’s with good reason this morning, as Ian Clarkin finally made his 2015 in-game debut yesterday in the AZFL.  He missed the entire MiL season due to a still undisclosed elbow injury, but started throwing bullpens and BP again in August and September and took the hill in his first real game of the year yesterday for the Surprise Saguaros.

By all accounts, I’d say it was a pretty solid debut.  Clarkin went 4 innings, gave up an earned run on 4 hits and 3 walks, and struck out 2.  He threw 64 pitches, 37 strikes, 1 wild pitch, and got 6 outs on the ground.  The command wasn’t there, as one would expect from a 20-year-old pitcher who didn’t pitch all season, but it sounds like the stuff was.  Keith Law was at the game and tweeted this about Clarkin:

Throwing with good velocity, throwing plus offspeed pitches, and coming through the outing with no physical problems.  …

Read more

Arizona Fall League Starts Off With A Bang For Yankee Prospects


The Cubs advancing to the NLCS and the Dodgers forcing a Game 5 last night was cute, but the real highlight was the 2015 Arizona Fall League getting started with its first games.  The Yankees are well represented on the Surprise Saguaros roster, with 8 players on the team, and they had more than a few stars in last night’s 6-5 loss.

The biggest and brightest was Gary Sanchez, who popped a 3-run home run in the top of the 1st to get the Saguaros on the board early.  He finished the night 2-4 hitting from the cleanup spot, and he was matched in that feat by fellow Yankee farmhands Tyler Austin and Tyler Wade.  Both guys doubled as one of their hits and Wade drove in 2 runs batting from the 9-spot and playing second base.  Austin hit 7th and played first.

There were no Yankee pitchers involved in last night’s game, but that’s where there figures to be the biggest focus once the season gets going.  …

Read more

The 2015 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders

The RailRiders’ 2015 season ended on Friday night, a week earlier than they would have liked, as they lost three straight games to the Indianapolis Indians in the semifinals on the International League playoffs. Despite the disappointing ending, it was a strong year for the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, who ended up with a 81-63 record (breaking their two year streak of going 68-76). For the tenth time in history (sixth as a Yankee affiliate), the RailRiders won the IL North Division title.

Scranton was a solid team on both sides the of the diamond, in large part to an array of top prospects put on their uniform at some point in 2015, but also thanks to some lesser known players. As a team, Scranton hit .271/.339/.389, giving them the highest average and on base percentage in the IL, and the fourth best slugging percentage. They did better than average when it came to pitch selection, striking out 979 times as a team, which was the fifth lowest total in the IL, while taking 480 walks – the fifth highest in the IL.…

Read more

Checking in on the Staten Island Yankees

Staten_Island_YankeesThe Staten Island Yankees are hosting a lot of the Yankees top draft picks of this year, so I thought this week we would check in on the Yankees’ New York-Penn League team. The short-season team is actually leading the McNamara division with a 28-26 record, despite the team having no clear strength. They lead both Aberdeen and Hudson Valley by a game and half.

The Staten Island hitters are putting up a combined slashline of .249/.327/.348. All of those put them squarely in the middle of the NYPL, yet they hold the third most runs (257), doubles (94) and RBIs (220). The Baby Bombers have shown that they can get on base and make it count, drawing 186 walks and stealing 46 bags. While the number of steals isn’t that impressive, they have only been caught 13 times, the lowest in the NYPL. For comparison, Williamsport has stolen the second most bases (67) but has been caught the most (44).…

Read more

Tuesday Morning News And Notes: 7/21/15

Yesterday was an off-day and I’m staring down the barrel of another long day of professional development training today, so the creative juices aren’t exactly flowing.  Here are some updates on the goings on around Yankeeland instead.

– The early trade deadline target rumors are in, courtesy of Jon Heyman, and they’re what you would expect them to be for the Yankees: a starting pitcher, a righty bat, and a righty reliever.  I have to imagine reliever is lowest down on the priority list with the return of Adam Warren to the ‘pen, but the Yanks have been good at finding and acquiring undervalued relief talent over the years.

Via Chad Jennings, top prospect Aaron Judge has missed the last few Triple-A games with what Cash called “some minor stuff”.  Take that news however you want.

– On the positive side, Mason Williams has started playing catch again and it sounds like his shoulder has finally started getting better.  …

Read more

Minor League Stories of the Week

It was an exciting week in the Yankees farm system, with a few fun storylines to watch play out. With his recent promotion, Gary Sanchez plays the biggest role, but after the way he has been playing and his apparent new focus on his professional career, it is well deserved. Without further adieu, here are the big stories from the week.

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders:
Sanchez made his Triple-A debut in style on Saturday. The Yankees’ much vaunted catching prospect spent the last couple seasons in Trenton, but after a strong showing over the last month, and an appearance in the Futures Game, he got the call to join the RailRiders. In his last nine games with Trenton, the young backstop hit .342 with four homers and four doubles. On Saturday, Sanchez wasted little time in announcing his arrival, as he drove a three-run shot over the wall inhis very first at-bat. It was Sanchez’s thirteenth homer of the season and he finished the night going 2-4, accounting for all of the RailRiders runs, as they fell to Louisville 6-3.…

Read more

Sanchez and Judge at the Futures Game

sanchez futuresAs we get ready for the Major League All-Star Game, the minor leagues celebrated some of the best up-and-coming prospects this weekend in Cincinnati. The Yankees had a couple top prospects taking swings in the exhibition game. Aaron Judge played for the US Futures Team, while Gary Sanchez started for the World Futures Team. The US had little trouble in dispatching their World counterparts, falling behind 1-0 in the top of the first only to come back and take the 10-1 victory, the sixth straight US Futures game win.

Kyle Schwarber, the Cub’s catching prospect, had a two-run triple in the bottom of the third that gave the US the only lead they would need yesterday. The 2014 fourth overall pick took home the MVP award, and he didn’t have to go very far with it, as the catcher grew up just north of Cincinnati. Pirates’ prospect, Josh Bell, knocked a two-run homer in the fourth.

Both Yankees’ prospects contributed to their teams efforts on Sunday.…

Read more