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.…

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Quick Hit: Judge And Severino Moving Up On Lots of Midseason Prospect Lists

There’s been a lot of midseason prospect ranking activity going on over the past week and change, as is tradition, and the Yankees have been well-represented by their pair of top guns.  Outfielder Aaron Judge and right-handed starter Luis Severino have appeared on every midseason updated rankings list I’ve seen, and they’ve been ranked significantly higher than they were in the preseason.  A quick update on those rankings, if you happened to miss any:

Baseball Prospectus- Judge 13th, Severino 28th
Baseball America- Judge 13th, Severino 17th
John Sickels- Severino 16th, Judge 30th

If you want to take those and combine them into one composite ranking, you come out with Judge being the 18th-ranked prospect in baseball and Severino 20th.  That’s really neither here nor there, although it is cool to think about the Yankees have 2 top 20 prospects.  What’s important is that these guys have continued right where they left off at the end of last year and they’ve gotten noticed for it, all while advancing to the highest level of the Minors.…

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Quick Hit: Refsnyder Refresher

If you hate Stephen Drew as much as most Yankee fans do, you’re probably pretty well-versed in the world of Rob Refsnyder by now.  He burst onto the prospect scene with a strong 2014 season and he’s been knocking on the door of the starting second base job in The Bronx since Spring Training of this year.  If, for some reason, you need an update on who Refsnyder is and what to expect when he starts his Major League career tonight, consider this your refresher course.

Refsnyder, now 24 years old, was the Yankees’ 5th round pick out of Arizona in the 2012 draft and the consensus #6 Yankee prospect in this year’s IIATMS Top 30.  A righty batter and thrower, he’s played second base primarily in his pro career and almost exclusively since 2013.  His offensive profile is built around the dual ability to hit for high average and get on base, although he has shown the ability to hit for some pop over the last 2 seasons.  …

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Quick Hit: Let The Gary Sanchez Heat Up Commence

With the Severinos and Judges and Birds of the world performing well and getting moved up to Triple-A, former #1 organizational prospect Gary Sanchez has fallen a bit by the wayside this year.  That’ll happen when those other guys are doing what they’re doing and you’re opening your second return trip to Double-A with a .246/.328/.351 month of April.

Lately, however, Sanchez has been on a tear.  He homered for the 4th straight game last night, giving him 12 for the year and continuing an absolutely torrid start to this month.  He had a pretty good May (.789 OPS), a down June (.672), and now in 29 July plate appearances he’s hitting .335/.448/.962 with the aforementioned 4 homers, 3 doubles, and 7 runs scored.

I can’t think of a single Yankee prospect who’s experienced the negative effects of prospect fatigue more than Sanchez has this season.  It feels like he’s been around forever, and that’s partially true.  He’s been in the organization since 2010 and playing full-season ball since 2011, and the fact that he hasn’t reached Triple-A yet is going to make people forget about him and move on to the next shiny new prospect toy.  …

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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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Prospects on Divergent Paths

Last week, I took a look at how our pre-season top-ten prospects were performing. And, as is the norm with prospecting, the returns were a decidedly mixed bag. Some have thrived, others have faltered, and more still have spent quite a bit of time on the disabled list. For every prospect that rewards our excitement and adoration, a few dozen break our hearts. What better way to get a head start on a few players that may fall into one of those two categories than to focus our attention on a few risers and fallers?

The criteria here are fairly simple. A ‘riser’ is a player whose performance outclasses our pre-season expectations and projections, and a ‘faller’ is one who has failed to do so. In the interest of fairness, I’m going to ignore players that have failed to take the field this season – as high as my hopes were for Luis Torrens, it’s difficult to fault him for suffering a season-ending injury.…

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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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Checking in on the IIATMS Top-10

This short season has been defined, in many ways, by injuries and disappointments (excepting Messrs Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, and Dellin Betances, of course). An interesting side of effect of that is the constant need and demand for reinforcements and replacements, from within and outside of the system. The fact that six Yankees have made their Major League debut in 2015 thus far (Ramon Flores, Slade Heathcott, Mason Williams, Branden Pinder, Jacob Lindgren, and Matt Tracy) is a direct result of stints on the disabled list and under-performance – and further cries for change come with each CC Sabathia start, and every Stephen Drew at-bat.

With so many players making their way to the show, and others seemingly forcing their way out, now seems like as good a time as any to check-in on the cream of the crop that the Yankees system has to offer. So let’s see how the team’s ten best prospects are doing, and wonder whether we may be seeing them in the Bronx this year.…

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Recapping Day One of the 2015 Draft

After not having any picks in the first round of the draft last year, the Yankees had two first round picks and a second round pick last night. Not only did they have a few decisions to make on the first day, but the Yankees also had their lowest pick (16th) since 1993 (13th). Let’s take a look at the newest Yankees’ draftees.

James KaprielianJames Kaprielian (RHP): The righty out of UCLA was widely expected to go in the middle of the first round. Much like their first pick last year, Jacob Lindgren, the Yankees chose another pitcher in Kaprielian who could be ready for the majors in very little time. Kaprielian started his collegiate career coming out of the bullpen, but in his sophomore and junior years the hurler took up the front spot in the rotation. Scouts believe he is a pretty solid bet to be a middle of the rotation guy on a major league team, making this sound like a smart pick for the Bombers.…

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