Quick Hit: The Rebirth Of ManBan

Way back after the end of last season, I wrote a post hypothesizing and somewhat advocating for the idea of Manny Banuelos being a contender for a Major League rotation spot this year.  I knew the team was going to play it extra safe with him and they have, but I also knew that there was going to be a need for starting pitching at some point.  My rationale was that if Banuelos was healthy and stretched out, he was just as good a fill-in candidate as anybody else.

For the better part of this season, his first back from TJS, ManBan has been neither stretched out, healthy, nor very good.  Many of his early-season starts were limited to no more than 3 innings and he missed chunks of time in May and late June with blister problems and shoulder fatigue.  He went through a 4-game stretch in which he gave up 12 ER and walked 6 in 8.2 innings pitched after coming back from the shoulder-related time off.  …

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Prospect Profile: Tyler Webb

Tyler Webb Trenton

Courtesy of the Trenton Thunder Facebook page

When Matt Thornton was claimed and subsequently sent to the Washington Nationals last week, the conversation almost immediately turned from why the Yankees let Thornton go to what young player from the Minors would be his replacement.  The Yanks have a decent stash of lefty relievers, the latest and most high-profile one being this year’s top draft pick Jacob Lindgren.  Lindgren getting moved up to Trenton on the same day Thornton was let go added fuel to the speculative fire that the team was essentially clearing the spot and the lefty specialist role for Lindgren.

In addition to Lindgren and other guys like James Pazos, Pat Venditte, and the recently called up RIch Hill, the name that came up as a potential replacement most often last week was Tyler Webb.  Cashman mentioned him specifically as the closest to earning a call up, and that may have come as a surprise to people who aren’t familiar with Webb’s name or body of work.  …

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Prospect Stock Watch: July 2014

Aaron Judge Tampa

Courtesy of Mark LoMoglio/MiLB.com

The dog days of summer are here in the Minors.  All-Star Games have been played, plenty of promotions have happened for the top performing prospects and demotions have taken place for some of those who are underperforming.  The short season leagues are in full swing and the focus on setting up for next year has started for a lot of guys.  Prospect evaluation is an ever-changing process.  Here are the guys who did the most to move the needle in one direction or the other and change how their evaluation looks in the month of July.

Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre

Stock Up- Jose Pirela

He was passed over by others when opportunities arose on the Major League bench, but Pirela has hit incredibly well since the end of April and even moving around to new positions didn’t stop that that last month.  He .310/.350/.422 in July with 8 XBH, 18 R scored, and did it while spending time at first base, second base, both outfield corners, and even a few games at shortstop.  …

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Thoughts On MLB.com’s Updated Top 20 Prospects List

The post-draft top prospect list updates are still trickling in, and MLB.com was the latest to release theirs over the weekend.  The Yankees had 2 representatives on that list, right-hander Luis Severino (70th) and Gary Sanchez (76th), which I believe is an improvement from the preseason list on which only Sanchez was ranked.  If you’re wondering, Byron Buxton is still #1.

Of greater interest to Yankee fans is MLB.com’s updated top 20 organizational prospects list, which was also released over the weekend.  The list includes detailed write-ups on each player, tool grades, and stats, and is completely and totally free to check out, which is nice.  As usual, the gang at MLB.com offered up a different take on the top 20 Yankee prospects than most other outlets.  A few thoughts on their list:

- Hard to argue with Severino as the new #1.  Sanchez has been quietly stagnating a bit for the last year or 2 while Severino has burst onto the scene as a guy who can throw 3 pitches for strikes and get swings and misses in bunches while avoiding walks.  …

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Prospect Stock Watch: June 2014

Luis Severino

Courtesy of Mark LoMoglio/MiLB.com

There’s still a few days left in June, but everybody’s level of success for the month has already been decided.  The midway point of the season has been reached, All Star Games have been played, and a lot of midseason moves have been made, both up and down the ladder.  While the success of the Yankee farm system as a whole continues to be up for debate and interpretation, there’s no doubt who the biggest individual stars of this season have been.  Some names will be popping up on this report for the second time this year, the names that have now separated themselves as the head of the 2014 prospect class.  Here are the biggest prospect stock movers for June:

Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre

Stock Up- Rob Refsnyder

He was in this position last month for Double-A Trenton and now he’s in it again after less than a month at SWB.  That pretty much tells Refsnyder’s story this year.  …

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Shaking Things Up With Pirela Or Refsnyder

I’ve been an avid fan of moving Brian Roberts to a bench position, or perhaps even off the active roster, in favor of Kelly Johnson. Roberts hasn’t been good in five years, and despite limited playing time and learning new positions, I’ve preferred Johnson’s power potential this season. On the other hand, the Yankees seem to like Roberts’ ability to switch-hit. Being able to hit for both sides is really all he’s got going for him at this point, but that point is moot when the numbers continue to show that he can’t hit anyone.

Roberts is now batting .239/.317/.350 in 203 plate appearances this season. He’s started 49 games, and he’s shown that his age and injury troubles have hurt him both defensively and offensively. 2009 was the last time Roberts had an OPS over .800, and it was the last time he played a full season. I’d love to see Johnson get a chance at his true position of second base, but the team seems unwilling to give Johnson the torch.…

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2014 Consensus Top Draft Rankings

Last season, I went through the five big draft prospect rankings and created a consensus ranking that was more accurate than I expected when compared to the actual draft. With only five sources, we won’t get anything close to what’s possible with mass crowdsourcing, but the fact is that there is little hope in predicting the MLB draft.

Not many people know enough about these players, which is why I stuck with just these five sources. I took Baseball Prospectus’ top 200 (of 300) rankings, Baseball America’s top 200 (of 500), ESPN’s top 100 (of 100), MLB.com’s top 200 (of 200), and Scout.com’s top 150 (of 291). I tried to grab the top 200 prospects when I could, but Keith Law’s list at ESPN only went to 100 and Kiley McDaniel’s list had some ranking issues after 150. You’ll also notice in the spreadsheet below that some of the rankings are blacked out, and that’s because these lists are behind a paywall.…

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Prospect Stock Watch: May 2014

Rob-Refsnyder

The new second baseman of the future? Courtesy of MiLB.com

Another month is almost in the books.  That means it’s time to check the prospect ticker and see who’s been making gains and who’s been dropping with their performance this month.  Two months in and I still don’t know how I feel about the farm system this year.  There’s a lot of guys having better seasons than I expected, but there’s also a lot of preseason top guys who aren’t living up to expectations at all.  Here are the players who stood out to me for better and worse in May.

Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre:

Stock Up- Ramon Flores

I’ve always been a closet Ramon Flores fan.  I dig guys who can consistently show the ability to make contact and draw walks.  Knowing the strike zone and putting the ball in play can get you a long way in the show.  Just ask Yangervis Solarte.  Those 2 skills have been Flores’ calling card in his MiL career, but he took a step back last season with an underwhelming year in Double-A.  …

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