Quick Hit: Refsnyder Ranks 9th On MLB.com’s Top 10 2B Prospects List

More MLB.com top positional prospects lists, more Yankee representation.  We probably would have seen it at first base too had Greg Bird not exceeded the rookie eligibility PT level last year, but the second base list came out yesterday and Rob Refsnyder made the cut, coming in at number 9.  The scouting report praised him for his pitch recognition skills and line drive hitting approach while acknowledging his defensive deficiencies at second base and low future ceiling as a defender.  Nothing we haven’t read about Refs before.

2015 was an up and down year for Refsnyder.  He hit .271/.359/.402 in his return trip to Triple-A SWB, a big step down from his 2014 production level.  That regression along with the defensive concerns surely influenced the Yankees’ decision to not call him up and give him a shot at the everyday second base job despite how poorly Stephen Drew played in the first half of the year.  Refsnyder did get more time in September and he did finish with a .302/.348/.512 slash line with 5 XBH in 47 MLB plate appearances.… Click here to read the rest

Quick Hit: Six Yankees File For Arbitration

Last night was the deadline for arbitration-eligible players to file, and as expected all eligible players on the Yankees did so.  Thanks to the recent acquisition of Aroldis Chapman, the Yanks are up to 6 arb-eligible guys.  Here’s the complete list with salary predictions courtesy of MLBTR:

There’s no doubt that the Yankees will come to terms with all of these guys in the weeks to come.  What will be interesting to see is whether they go the extra step and try to sign anybody to an extension.  They’ve got some worthy candidates in Pineda and Eovaldi, and I could see them working something out with Didi.  It would probably save them a few bucks compared to letting him go year-to-year for the next 3 years, especially if he continues to improve offensively.… Click here to read the rest

Quick Hit: Girardi Names Chapman The New Closer

Joe Girardi was on YES’ “Yankees Hot Stove” show last night with Bob Lorenz and Jack Curry, and he talked a lot about how he plans to utilize his group of new players this season.  Obviously everybody knows what the big story is in there and Joe didn’t waste any time addressing it.  He came out and said that Aroldis Chapman will be the closer going into Spring Training this year, with Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances serving as co-primary setup men.

Not exactly earth-shattering news in and of itself, but noteworthy in that the announcement was a major deviation from Girardi’s strategy last year when there was the Betances/Miller closer competition.  As Curry pointed out, Joe waited until May of last season to officially declare Miller the closer.  This season he’s making the call over a month before pitchers and catchers report.

Not that there’s anything wrong with the decision.  It was assumed that Chapman would be taking over the closer role the minute the Yankees traded for him.  … Click here to read the rest

Roster Moves: Yankees Sign 2 More MiLers, Trade For A Pitcher

The replenishment of organizational depth continued yesterday, as the Yankees made a flurry of small moves.  They signed infielder Jonathan Diaz and right-handed pitcher Tyler Jones to MiL deals and acquired righty reliever Kirby Yates from the Cleveland Indians for cash.

Diaz is a 30-year-old Minors lifer with a pretty wild .227/.352/.295 career tripleslash who has played primarily second base and shortstop, although he can also be used at third and fake it in the outfield.  Jones is a 26-year-old Milwaukee native with a 3.81 ERA and 294 strikeouts in 250.1 career MiL innings pitched.  I imagine Diaz will serve as the Triple-A bench infielder while Jones could see time in both the Trenton and SWB bullpens this season.

Yates has pitched over 50 MLB innings over the last 2 seasons for the Rays and was basically given to Cleveland a few months back.  His ERA and FIP numbers aren’t great in the show, but he does boast a 25.4% K rate and his MiL strikeout numbers were even better.  … Click here to read the rest

Quick Hit: Yankees Sign Donovan Solano To MiL Deal

Well it ain’t Juan Uribe, but the Yankees did do something to address their lack of upper level infield depth by signing Donovan Solano to a Minor League deal yesterday.  Solano, 28, is a long-time MiL player in the Cardinals and Marlins systems and has seen small chunks of time at the MLB level over the last 3 seasons.

A right-handed hitter, Solano has a .257/.307/.328 tripleslash in 1,145 career MLB plate appearances and a .263/.314/.323 tripleslash in over 3,000 career MiL plate appearances.  If nothing else, he’s been freaky consistent as he’s worked his way up the ladder to the show.  As a whole, he’s not much offensively.  He can put the bat on the ball, but that’s about it.  Doesn’t draw walks and doesn’t hit for any power.  Defensively he’s much more useful, spending time at second base, third base, and in the outfield corners in his MLB career and some at shortstop back in his MiL days.… Click here to read the rest

Quick Hit: Ken Griffey Jr. And Mike Piazza Elected To The Baseball Hall Of Fame Class Of 2016

It’s official.  To almost no one’s surprise, Ken Griffey Jr. and Mike Piazza were elected to the Hall of Fame today.  To the surprise and disappointment of some who may have been encouraged by the early public results, they were the only 2 players to be selected.  Jeff Bagwell and Tim Raines both fell just short of the required votes and Griffey’s fellow first-year eligible guy Trevor Hoffman also fell a bit short.

Griffey was named on 437 of 440 ballots, giving him the new individual record for vote percentage at 99.3%.  Squawk about the 3 voters who left him off if you want.  I’m going to choose to believe they made the call knowing Griffey would get in easily anyway and deciding to cast that vote for another player they thought was in need of one.  We all know there are plenty of those guys out there.  Piazza came in on a healthy 83% of the vote, with Bagwell falling just shy of the 75% threshold at 71.6 and Raines at 69.8.  … Click here to read the rest

Quick Hit: Baseball Prospectus’ Top 10 Yankee Prospects List

If you weren’t aware that prospect season had arrived before this week, you better be aware by now.  Following up on Baseball America’s unveiling of their top 10 Yankees prospects on Monday, the gang at Baseball Prospectus did the same yesterday.  You can find the full list here, and I believe everything is free, but if you don’t have the time for that here’s the top 10:

1) Aaron Judge
2) Jorge Mateo
3) Gary Sanchez
4) James Kaprielian
5) Dustin Fowler
6) Rob Refsnyder
7) Drew Finley
8) Eric Jagielo
9) Brady Lail
10) Ian Clarkin

The love for Mateo continues, although the BP staff didn’t put him above all.  That top spot went to Judge and I think that’s the right decision.  Some struggles in his first Triple-A experience shouldn’t overshadow everything else he’s done in his MiL career or his well-rounded tools set, and they shouldn’t be enough to rank him below a guy in A-ball.  This list in general is a little more in line with what I’ve been working on putting my top 30 together.  … Click here to read the rest

Quick Hit: Baseball America’s Top 10 Yankee Prospects List

Prospect ranking season is upon us, people.  Baseball America has been releasing their updated organizational top 10 lists for a while now and today was the Yankees’ turn.  Courtesy of Josh Norris, here is the top 10 Yankee list:

1) Jorge Mateo
2) Gary Sanchez
3) Aaron Judge
4) James Kaprielian
5) Domingo Acevedo
6) Rookie Davis
7) Tyler Wade
8) Rob Refsnyder
9) Wilkerman Garcia
10) Dustin Fowler

That’s… a lot different than my top 10.  There’s a lot going on here.  The top 4 are inarguable in any order, although I definitely wouldn’t put Mateo above 2 top 50-100 guys who are in Triple-A.  Acevedo at 5 is a huge shock considering his age and lack of full-season experience, and I don’t buy Wade as a top 10 talent, but I can’t argue with Davis or Refsnyder and I like the inclusion of Garcia and Fowler.  Garcia may be the best shortstop prospect in the organization that never gets talked about and Fowler really put it together this year across all aspects of the game.… Click here to read the rest

Quick Hit: Yankees Lose 2, Select None In The Rule 5 Draft

The Rule 5 Draft just wrapped up a little while ago, and as expected the Yankees lost Double-A outfielder Jake Cave.  He was taken with the 2nd pick of the draft by the Reds.  What was extremely unexpected was the Braves taking right-hander Evan Rutckyj with the next pick, although maybe that should be expected given the number of former Yankee prospects and MiLers that the Braves have stockpiled over the last few years.

The Yankees did not select anybody in the 3 rounds of the Major League draft, but did add 3 players in the Triple-A portion.  They also lost 4 more players in that portion of the draft, so it certainly seems as though the Yankee farm system has improved as far as their competitors are concerned.

Cave was expendable thanks to the team’s upper-level OF depth and I don’t expect Rutckyj to stick on the Atlanta roster all year, so no big loss for the Yanks.  The full draft results can be found here.Click here to read the rest