Can Adam Warren Return To Being a Starter?

Courtesy MLBPressBox.com

Adam Warren was one of the biggest surprises for the Yankees in 2014 pitching out of the bullpen. He had a 2.97 ERA and a 3.28 xFIP and stabilized the middle innings before the Yankees got to Dellin Betances and David Robertson later in the game.

The biggest surprise with Warren was his added strikeouts and velocity coming out of the bullpen. Even though that will generally happen with most pitchers who go from starting to relieving, it was especially noticeable with Warren because he also relieved in 2013 and never showed this kind of stuff. According to Brooks Baseball, Warren averaged 95.28 MPH on his fastball after averaging 93.97 MPH in 2013 and his K/9 jumped to 8.69 last year from 7.48 the previous season.

Even after Warren’s great season in the bullpen last year, returning him to the rotation must be considered this year due to the Yankees’ lack of depth in their rotation. Top pitchers Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda and CC Sabathia are all health risks, and Chris Capuano is a performance risk at the fifth spot.…

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The 2015 IIATMS Top 30: Positions 10-1

aaronjudge5

Courtesy of MiLB.com

Well, it’s all been building to this.  The cream of the crop, the best of the best, the bluest of all the organizational prospect chips.  Today we wrap up the IIATMS Top 30 with the top 10 prospects in the Yankee system as voted on by our 3-man panel, and for the first time in a few years those top 10 players are primarily located in the top levels of the system.  Long considered a bottom-heavy farm system, the Yankees now boast an upper portion that is chock full of their best prospects and possibly multiple league-wide top 50-100 guys.  Who did we say is #1?  Keep reading to find out.

10) Tyler Austin- OF, Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre

Age: 23, Height: 6’1″, Weight: 220
Bats: Right, Throws: Right
Key 2014 Stats: .275/.336/.419, 59 R, 47 RBI, 20 2B, 5 3B, 9 HR, in 105 Games (437 PA)
ETA: 2015-2016
Brad’s Rank: 9th, Dom’s Rank: 12th, EJ’s Rank: 9th

Dom’s Take- Austin was a consensus top 100 prospect 2 years ago on the heels of an excellent 2012, when he batted .322/.400/.559 with 17 HR and 23 SB (in only 25 attempts) in 472 PA split mostly between Charleston and Tampa.…

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The 2015 IIATMS Top 30: Positions 20-11

Mateo 2014

The new prospect hotness. Courtesy of Cliff Welch/MiLB.com

If you somehow missed Part I of the countdown yesterday, please check it out and bring yourself up to speed here.  Today we’re moving from the periphery of the system, where individual preferences can influence whether a player even makes it onto a list, into the middle portion, where all the players included are recognized as legitimate top prospects, just with differing opinions on how high or low they should sit in that top portion.  This group of names should look familiar if you’re a huge prospect follower.  It should inspire some debate about the ranking choices if you are.  Here’s the next 10 in this year’s IIATMS Top 30:

20) Leonardo Molina- CF, GCL Yankees

Age: 17, Height: 6’2″, Weight: 180
Bats: Right, Throws: Right
Key 2014 Stats: .193/.267/.260, 18 R, 21 RBI, 10 2B, 1 HR, in 53 Games (217 PA)
ETA: 2020
Brad’s Rank: 22nd, Dom’s Rank: 19th, EJ’s Rank: 24th

Tamar’s Take- The 17-year-old outfield prospect from the Dominican Republic is widely touted as having five-tool potential.…

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The 2015 IIATMS Top 30: Positions 30-21

Camarena 2014

Hey look! A lefty starter prospect in the upper levels of the system! Courtesy of MiLB.com

The waiting is over.  We’ve been teasing and slow-playing the build to this over the last 2 days with the review of last year’s prospects who were no longer in consideration and the look at the players who didn’t make the cut, but now it’s time to get down to business and start unveiling this year’s IIATMS Top 30.

An explanation of how this list was put together, just so everybody knows and understands what we did.  EJ, Domenic, and myself all did our own top 30 lists and assigned point values of 30-1 for each spot on the list, so the #1 ranked player gets 30 points, the #2 gets 29, and so on down the line.  We then simply compiled all the point totals from the 3 lists and made our composite IIATMS Top 30 based on highest point total to lowest.  …

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Prospect Week 2015: Just Missed The Cut

Juan-De-Leon

Juan De Leon and his $2 million smile. Courtesy of Ben Badler

Because the top 30 list is compiled from multiple individual lists, there were more than 30 players who got selected.  I won’t get into the full explanation of how the list was put together now, but as a final preview to the actual top 30 I wanted to give everybody a look at the players who just missed the cut.  This is an interesting collection of extreme highs and lows, in terms of level and experience at least, and I think it gives some insight into how our collective prospect ranking process ended up working out.  Upside and potential are recognized and valued, but it takes a lot more than that to make a true top prospect.  These are all players who appeared on at least 1 individual top 30 list but did not appear on the final top 30.

31) Dermis Garcia- 16, SS, 2014 International FA

He received the highest bonus of all the Yankees’ 2014 international free agent signings (so far) at $3.2 million, and when you get the kind of praise he got from some scouts it’s easy to understand why.  …

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Prospect Week 2015: Those We’ve Lost

Murphy Dugout

That’s “John Ryan” to you. Courtesy of Getty Images

Before we get into the meat and potatoes of this year’s top 30 list, I think it’s only appropriate that we take a minute to recognize some of those prospects who are no longer with the Yankees.  The prospect world is a volatile one year-to-year.  One year a guy’s a blue chipper at the top of your system, the next he’s out of all rankings and/or out of your organization completely.

There’s a pretty good-sized list of former prospects who are elsewhere heading into 2015.  That’ll happen when you make a lot of trades.  Some of these guys were big names in the system as recently as the start of last season, some are late bloomers, some are players who, for whatever reasons, were never able to break in and earn a regular role with the Major League club.  At least the first one’s still in the system though.  Gotta have one good graduation in every former prospect class, right?  …

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Breakout Candidate: Miguel Andujar

Andujar 2014

Courtesy of Shane Roper/MiLB.com

If I had to pick one prospect to have a break out (defined as being rated a top-50 prospect in all of baseball a year from now) 2015 season, it would be Miguel Andujar.

Andujar was one of the most notable Yankee July 2nd signings in 2011. He spent most of his age 17 and 18 seasons working out at the Yankee facility in Tampa. Some success the second time around with the GCL Yankees (.323/.368/.496 batting line in a small sample) earned him an aggressive promotion to Charleston to start 2014, where he was the 4th youngest player in the South Atlantic League.

At first glance, the numbers don’t look great: .267/.318/.397 with a solid 15.7% strikeout rate. But I think a deeper dive reveals a lot of good news. Here are his splits and park-adjusted rates:

  • Park adjusted batting line: .279/.328/.420 (.362 wOBA)
  • Vs. LHP: .188/.211/.250 Vs. RHP: .295/.355/.449
  • Home: .250/.296/.362 Away: .281/.337/.427
  • First Half: .212/.267/.335 19.4 K% Second Half: .319/.367/.456 14.9 K%

Those splits should be music to all of our ears.…

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Jake Cave: Your Center Fielder of the Future

Jake Cave 2014

Courtesy of Mark LoMoglio/MiLB.com

Contemplating the future of center field in Yankee Stadium seems strange, doesn’t it? Jacoby Ellsbury is under contract through at least 2020 (plus a team option in 2021), and Brett Gardner, who would play center field on at least twenty other teams, is locked up through at least 2018 (team option for 2019). And, while the rest of the team has seemingly been in upheaval over the last several years, the team’s center field situation has been stable for the better part of two decades. Over that time, they’ve received average or better production relative to the position fifteen times, including the last five years running. One could argue that it is the least worrisome position on the team by a significant margin, and I’m not sure that anyone could disagree. In that case, why worry? Because it’s what we do, and prospect week is upon us.

Enter Jake Cave.

Drafted in the sixth round in 2011, Cave entered the organization as a fairly highly-touted prospect.…

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On Didi Gregorius’ “Huge Future” As A Hitter

Gregorius vs CIN

Courtesy of Getty Images

With Jeff Pentland finally in place as the new hitting coach, he’s been making the early rounds with the NY media and doing interviews to discuss his philosophy and plans for helping turn around what was a disgustingly inept offense last season.  I’ve been having a little fun at his expense on Twitter pointing out some of the nothing quotes he’s offered up so far, but there actually was something he said yesterday about a specific player that caught my attention.  When discussing individual players, Pentland was especially positive talking about Didi Gregorius:

“I saw Didi a lot when I was with the Dodgers. I was there when they brought him up, and he started out very well, but just like most young hitters, they figure him out eventually. He’s an incredibly athletic player, he’s got a huge future, and I’m very excited that he’s a Yankee.”

A “huge future”, huh?  That’s pretty high praise for a guy with a .679 career OPS and a .721 career OPS in 7 MiL seasons.  …

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