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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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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Prospect Who’s Hot: April

flores

I see ya there, Ramon! Courtesy of MiLB.com

After a brutally cold winter this year, it appears as though spring has finally made its way to the northeast, which must mean we have made it through the first month of baseball! I think many of us entered this season wondering what kind of year it would be for the Yankees and their affiliates, but so far 2015 seems to be off to a good start. This seemed like a good chance to look back on April and see which prospects are starting hot!

Chase Whitley (Scranton): Whitley started the season in Scranton and put up some strong performances. Now, he is holding his own in the Bronx with two strong showings under his belt during the absence of Tanaka. Before his call up, Whitley was 2-0 in three starts with a 2.12 ERA, thirteen strikeouts and only six walks.

Slade Heathcott (Scranton): After being sidelined by injuries quite a bit during his professional career, Heathcott made quite the impression during Spring Training and he hasn’t let up any.…

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Who is Jose Peraza?

Yesterday, George King wrote that the Yankees had expressed interest in Atlanta Braves’ Triple-A second baseman, Jose Peraza. With the future of the Yankees’ infield very much influx, it is not surprising that they are looking for young middle infielders. While Robert Refsnyder has moved quickly through the system and garnered a lot of attention, he continues to struggle defensively at second base. I find it hard to believe that the Yankees are writing off Refsnyder, as King and others have surmised, but there is no question that the future of the Yankees’ infield is a major concern. Didi Gregorious, Gregorio Petit and Stephen Drew have provided the Yankees with very little offense this year, and while there is plenty of time for these guys to turn their seasons around, the  Yankees need to do their due diligence.

Granted, the Braves have shown no interest in parting with one of their top prospects, but we all know how quickly things can change.…

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What’s the Half-Life of a Decaying Beltran? Or: Who’s Next for Right?

This is one of those pessimistic posts I’d be happy to laugh at myself for writing, ideally after Carlos Beltran heats up. Last season, he clearly played through pain, and not for a payday — he was just starting the three-year, $45 million deal that’s very likely his last major contract — but to help the team’s faint playoff hopes. And from interviews, he seems like a good guy who cares about his quality of play. But that quality of play sure has gotten poor.

Granted, 2015 Beltran has only 30 bad plate appearances of a .143/.167/.214 line that leaves him an OPS (.381) barely higher than Alex Rodriguez‘s OBP – but Beltran has been aging ungracefully for longer than April 2015. The 2015 bad start follows a bad 2015 spring, which follows a sub-replacement 2014 (-0.2 WAR), which follows a generally injury-prone 30s. So it’s not early-season gun-jumping to be pessimistic about a guy with that record of decline and brittleness who’s just days away from turning 38.…

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The Farm Report: Opening Week!

For the 2015 season, I will be doing the Farm Report as a weekly post reviewing how the Yankees’ affiliates fared in the previous week. It may take some time to get a good feel for the best way to do this, so please bear with me. Feel free to let me know what is working and what isn’t and I’ll try to adjust it as best I can.

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders:
The RailRiders are off to a 2-2 start to 2015, however, their opening day game gave them a lot to live up to this year. Scranton beat Syracuse 8-3, but the story was Ramon Flores. The young outfielder started the day’s scoring with a homer in the first inning, and finished the day as the third Scranton player to ever hit for the cycle. He ended up going 4-4 with three runs scored, two RBIs and a walk. As a team, Scranton had 16 hits, assisted by Kyle Roller, who went 3-5, and Robert Refsnyder, who went 2-4 with a RBI, a walk and a run scored.…

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Quick Hit: Greg Bird, So Hot Right Now. Greg Bird

Greg Bird Eyes

Staring right through your soul. Not into it, through it.

The fun sub-plot of many top prospects performing well in their limited ST opportunities was touched on last week.  A handful of those top prospects, including top top prospects Luis Severino and Aaron Judge, were sent down yesterday as part of the first round of roster cuts, but not included in that handful was Greg Bird.  Bird has been the best and most eye-opening of all the Yankee prospects this spring, and for him the plot is rapidly shifting from “fun ST sneak peek” to “legitimate part of the Yankees’ future plans.”

Here’s what Bird has done in the last couple weeks.  He’s hit .385/.467/.846 in 13 ST plate appearances, the SLG rate best on the team.  He’s made a few nice plays with the glove to go with his stellar offensive production.  He’s drawn rave reviews from high-ranking people inside and outside the Yankee system, including Cash and new hitting coach Jeff Pentland.  …

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Quick Hit: Strong Spring Training Showing For A Lot Of Top Prospects

There hasn’t been much to get all aflutter about in terms of Opening Day roster production so far this spring.  Many of the lineup regulars are off to slow starts with the bat, but for the most part we don’t care about their ST numbers if they’re good or bad.  That’s not necessarily so when it comes to prospects in camp, however, and the Yankees have had the good fortune of seeing many of their top prospects perform very well in the early going*:

And that’s not all of them.  …

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Report: Luis Torrens Could Miss 2015 Season With A Shoulder Injury

I was going to wait until the severity of the injury was confirmed to write this, but after sleeping on it I realized I don’t expect the news to be good today anyway so why bother waiting on it?  If the news was better, the Yankees probably wouldn’t be waiting to make a formal announcement.

The bad news, via Chad Jennings, is that A-ball catching prospect Luis Torrens has suffered another injury to his right shoulder.  The Yankees are in the “still gathering info” stage of dealing with the injury, so there’s a chance it isn’t season-ending, but there were plenty of rumors out there yesterday saying it was.  That Billy Eppler is involved already and was the one talking to Jennings suggests that it’s pretty serious.

Torrens missed a few months this past season after suffering a shoulder strain very early in the Low-A season.  When he returned from the DL he was sent to SS Staten Island, where he hit .270/.327/.405 in 202 PA and continued to impress everybody with his natural hitting skills and how quickly he took to full-time catching.  …

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