The Farm Report: June

Well, I don’t know about you all, but June flew by for me. I can’t believe we are already in July, but here we are. Let’s take a look at how the Yankees’ farm teams did last month and what the rest of their season may hold.

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders:
The RailRiders currently hold a half game lead over Rochester for the top spot in the North Division of the International League. They went 18-11 in June, including five-game and seven-game win streaks. They ended June on a sour note, however, taking five straight losses. They lost their first game of July as well, but managed to turn around and stomp Pawtucket last night to stop the skid.

The RailRiders continue to find success primarily through their batting. While they have some strong pitches both in the rotation and in the bullpen, Scranton’s overall pitching numbers has them generally in the middle of the pack. Batting is another story entirely. As a team, Scranton is hitting .271/.342/.384, for the highest average and on base percentage in the IL.…

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Prospect Profile: Brady Lail

Brady LailI’ve noticed Brady Lail working his way through the Yankees’ farm system the last few years, but at times he has seemed to fly under the radar, particularly given some some of the bigger name pitching prospects that are working their way up to the Bronx. The right-hander from Utah has pitched pretty consistently as he climbed the ladder and is putting together a solid season for the Trenton Thunder, so let’s find out a bit more about him.

Name: Brady Joe Lail
Birthdate: August 9, 1993
Birthplace: South Jordan, UT
Bats: RightThrows: Right
Height: 6’2
Weight: 205

Drafted in the 18th round of the 2012 draft, Lail started his professional career right out of high school and has the potential to be one of those late round drafts that pays off, which is why I love following the minors. His career started in the Gulf Coast League, where he managed to put together a strong five games in 2012.…

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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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Five Reasons Why Mason Williams Might Be the Best Outfielder in the Yankee Farm System

The Yankees have a lot of outfielders in the high minors who will probably have some kind of MLB career. In book, that list includes, in no particular order: Tyler Austin, Aaron Judge, Slade Heathcott, Ramon Flores, Jake Cave, and Mason Williams. Aaron Judge is still the best prospect of the group. But I think there is a decent chance that Mason Williams is the best player of the group. Here’s why:

He’s got a pedigree

It wasn’t that long ago that Mason Williams was considered a top-top prospect. In 2013, Baseball America ranked him #1 in the Yankee system and #32 in all of baseball. He was coming off an injury-shortened season where he hit .298/.346/.474 between Low-A and High-A as a 20 year-old, showing off a kick-ass 13% strikeout rate and just a .319 BABIP. He was a dynamo on the bases and in the field, and looked like a star.

Of course, Williams has played two full seasons since then, and the results have been horrible.…

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How Soon Should We Expect Luis Severino?

I’m not a big minor league guy, so I’m not here to tell you whether or not Luis Severino will be the next Pedro Martinez or another busted prospect. However, the way the Yankees have handled Severino has certainly peaked my interest.

Severino was promoted to Triple-A Scranton-Wilkes Barre a little faster than expected. He only pitched 67.2 innings at Single-A Charleston before getting promoted, 20.2 innings at Single-A + Tampa and 63 innings at Double-A Trenton before this promotion.

Severino is only 21 years old and moving through the system at a very rapid pace. Meanwhile, another top prospect Aaron Judge has almost 200 very productive at-bats at Trenton and is already 23, but has not been promoted yet. Is it because the Yankees have a logjam in the outfield and see no way Judge makes MLB this season? On the other side of the coin, the Yankees have very little pitching depth and maybe they see Severino making a contribution in the Bronx this season?…

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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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