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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One Last Moncada Analysis: Why He’s Worth the First Nine-Figure Prospect Signing

A Yoan Moncada signing may be imminent, with Hank Steinbrenner attending Moncada’s notable third private workout with the Yankees just days ago, so I’ll take this last chance to weigh in on whether he’s worth the small fortune he’ll cost. My first thought was: No way is a 19 year-old amateur worth the $80-$100m we hear he may get. My second thought was: Come to think of it, I have no idea what a top draft pick is really worth to a team. Team owners prevent American amateurs from earning their true value by agreeing to sign them only in a “draft” — i.e., a cartel agreement that each player will get an offer from only one employer, not from multiple employers bidding for his services. I’ll leave for another day my tirade about how badly baseball owners violate free-market economics and morality by being tied with OPEC as the top billionaires-for-cartelization club. But the point is that the several million it takes to sign a top draft pick is his cartel-depressed price, not his value to his team.…

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Moncada Updates: Decision By 2/23, The $100 Million Man?

Haven’t talked about Yoan Moncada lately, so let’s catch up on the newest news on that front.

The biggest news came about a day ago, when in a story by Jerry Crasnick of ESPN, Moncada’s representative said the plan is for Moncada to make his signing decision by Monday, February 23rd.  David Hastings, Moncada’s rep, said they have a more private workouts scheduled for next week, including a handful of “look backs” by teams who have already held a private workout, and that they want to make the decision after those workouts are completed.

This morning, Ken Rosenthal tweeted that the expected price tag for Moncada has risen to the $40-50 million range, making it a $100 million investment with the tax.  That’s a huge chunk of change for a 19-year-old player who won’t be playing at the MLB level for a few years, so that should tell you something about how good Moncada is and can be and how well baseball is doing financially when teams can take that kind of financial risk.…

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Judge, Severino Make Baseball Prospectus’ 2015 Top 101 Prospects List

The offseason of accolades and resume building continues for Aaron Judge and Luis Severino.  Yesterday they were once again the only 2 Yankee representatives on a national top prospects list, this one the 2015 edition of the Baseball Prospectus Top 101.  Judge came in 49th on the list with Severino right behind him at 51.

If this series of prospect rankings has taught us anything, it’s that these 2 are the clear top 2 in the Yankee farm system.  No disrespect to the Birds and Sanchezes and Clarkins of the world, but Judge and Severino are clearly on another level as prospects and 2015 is going to be a big year for both of them in terms of setting up a realistic target date for their MLB debuts.  Ideally, I’d like to see them both perform well and stay healthy in split seasons between Double-A and Triple-A.  That would line Severino up to compete for a spot in the 2016 rotation and Judge for a call up sometime in the early part of next season.…

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Quick Hit: John Sickels Releases His Top 20 Yankee Prospects List

Prospect ranking season isn’t quite over yet.  John Sickels released the 2015 edition of his top 20 Yankees prospect rankings earlier today over at Minor League Ball, and I have to say I think it’s quite good.

It’s got all the usual suspects at or near the spots they’ve held on most of the other notable lists.  Luis Severino gets the #1 spot over Aaron Judge here, Jacob Lindgren is up at 6, Miguel Andujar at 9, and the older contingent of guys like Tyler Austin, Jose Ramirez, and Bryan Mitchell are still regarded as valuable as 11-15 players.

The biggest surprise on Sickels’ list might be Angel Aguilar coming in 17th.  That’s the highest I can remember seeing him on any list other than EJ’s, so maybe Aguilar is somebody I need to start paying closer attention to this year.

The whole list is free and comes with little write-ups on each player, so it’s definitely worth checking out.…

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Ten Years Later: The Yankees Top-10 Prospects of 2005

Much has been made of the Yankees inability to develop top flight talent over the last ten to fifteen years or so. In the eyes of many, the team’s post Core Four development record amounts to Robinson Cano, Brett Gardner, David Robertson, and a slew of disappointments and busts. That is not wholly inaccurate, I suppose, as expectations for prospects – any team’s prospects – are generally sky high. Optimism abounds, making disappointment an inevitability in most circumstances. For every Mike Trout that the Angels develop, for example, they suffer dozens of folk like Brandon Wood and Dallas McPherson (hold onto that thought). Our memories are geared to remember the extremes of most any scenario, hence our insistence on clinging to the booms and the busts, and not focusing on those prospects that simply worked out.

With this in mind, I began perusing old Yankees prospect lists to see how their best talent on the farm has shaken out over the last decade.…

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Report: Yoan Moncada Officially Declared A Free Agent By MLB

Via Jeff Passan, top Cuban prospect Yoan Moncada was officially declared a free agent by MLB today.  He is now eligible to sign with any team.

According to Passan’s report, MLB will require all players wishing to come over to sign with teams to provide a sworn affidavit stating that they have established residency in another country, have no intention of going back to Cuba, and are not Cuban government officials.  This will allow them to receive the general unblocking license from the US government that was the apparent holdup previously.  Funny how that first story came out last week about MLB dragging its feet on the licences and now we have a resolution this week.

With MLB’s shenanigans in the rearview, the Yankees move right to the front of the line of favorites to sign Moncada.  They have until June 15th of this year to make him any offer they want plus a 100% penalty tax on the deal.  …

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