Quick Hit: Kiley McDaniel’s Yankee Farm System Evaluation

If you’ve been waiting with hands clenched in anticipation for this since last week like I have, then this morning was a beautiful morning for you.  Kiley McDaniel released his farm system evaluation for the Yankees over at FanGraphs, and it’s an absolute doozy of a post.  I’m talking detailed scouting reports on tons of players, videos, breakdowns of players to watch at all levels, and mentions of a few names that I’ve never even heard of.  If you’re a big prospect person and still in the prospect-y mood from our events here last week, definitely set this aside for your lunch time reading today.

If you want the highlights, McDaniel is higher on both Jacob Lindgren and Jorge Mateo than anybody else I’ve read, down on Gary Sanchez and Domingo German, and thinks Tyler Wade and Juan De Leon will start to make their way up the ladder this year.  Even if you don’t have time today to fully dive into this, I would recommend carving out some at some point to read the whole thing.…

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Report: Eovaldi Getting To Work

He’s not a prospect, but don’t sleep on Nathan Eovaldi as another young player to watch in the Yankee system this year.  The 24-year-old righty is going to be a very important part of the rotation this year, and in a really good piece by Bryan Hoch, he talked about what he’s been working on to improve his game:

“My goal toward the end of the season, my last two or three games with the Marlins, I was working on a changeup — kind of like a split-finger [fastball], in a way. It’s been feeling great. I felt comfortable with it toward the end of the season last year, and this offseason, I’ve been able to pick up pretty much where I left off.”

Eovaldi’s changeup has been the weak link of his offerings over the first few years of his career, so it’s good to know that he’s made it a top priority.  In addition to that focus, Hoch reported that Eovaldi has already spoken with Larry Rothschild, Brian McCann, Joe Girardi, and Chris Capuano, and it sounds like Roth and Big Mac are going to make working with Eovaldi their top priority when spring camp starts.…

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Quick Hit: Yanks Make Stephen Drew Signing Official, DFA Eury Perez

For those of you who were starting to wonder what was taking so long with the Drew signing, there’s your closure.  He’s officially a Yankee, officially on the 40-man roster, and Eury Perez has been future endeavored.

Now all that needs to be made official is Drew’s role.  Will he be the starting second baseman?  Backup shortstop?  Both?  Neither?  We’ll see.

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Quick Hit: Olney On The Yankee Lineup And Bullpen

Bit of a slow start to the day, so I thought I’d point out what Buster Olney is up to this week.  If you haven’t been following, he’s been listing his top 10 MLB team roster groups.  Started with rotations on Monday, bullpens yesterday, and today it’s lineups.

All the posts are Insider-only, but here’s what you need to know from a Yankee perspective.  Olney had the Yanks’ bullpen ranked #2 behind Kansas City, mainly on the strength of the Andrew Miller-Dellin Betances late-inning tandem but also due to the “stacked” depth of left and right-handed middle relief.  He ranked the projected Yankee lineup 10th today, which came as a bit of a surprise to me, and summed them up with this statement:

“The lack of a rock-solid, MVP-type middle-of-the-order hitter will probably prevent the Yankees from climbing among the leaders in run production, but improvement seems inevitable.”

That sounds about right, as does his evaluation of the bullpen depth.  …

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Quick Hit: Some Good Hensley News For Your Tuesday Morning Blues

Hope everyone is just as excited for the 2015 season as I am!

A video posted by Ty Hensley (@tyhensley17) on

If the video isn’t playing for anybody, what you’re not seeing is an Instagram video of Ty Hensley throwing in a batting cage.  It was posted by Hensley himself over the weekend, and seeing that he’s OK and already back to baseball activities is a huge visual sigh of relief.  The early reports on his attack and resulting injuries were very serious and the hospital photos were pretty bad, so to know we can go from simply wishing for him to make a full recovery back to wondering how much this will affect the start of his 2015 season is great news.

As for how these injuries will impact Hensley’s season, if at all, I think we’ll have to wait and see.  Missing a few weeks of an offseason throwing program doesn’t seem like it should be a huge deal for a young pitcher, but this year was supposed to be his first in full-season ball.  …

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Yanks Name Marcus Thames New Hitting Coach… For Triple-A SWB

Remember when Marcus Thames was set to be the new assistant hitting coach for the Yankees and then he wasn’t and the whole hitting coach search story disappeared again?  Well at least we now know where he will be coaching next season.  Via Chad Jennings, and on the strength of his last 2 years in Tampa and Trenton, Thames will serve as the hitting coach for the Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders in 2015.  He’ll join returning manager Dave Miley and pitching coach Scott Aldred.

This is the next step in eventually securing a Major League coaching job, which does appear to be in the cards for Thames at some point.  As stated before, he’s drawn very good reviews for his work with the young hitters in the system over the last 2 years.  Moving him up another level suggests that the Yankees want him around to continue to work with those top young hitters as they get closer to the show.…

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Quick Hit: Yanks Re-Sign Slade Heathcott

Missed this yesterday, but via Joel Sherman, the Yankees re-signed outfielder Slade Heathcott to a MiL deal yesterday.  The deal includes an invitation to Spring Training.  You’ll remember that Heathcott was non-tendered in November to clear roster spots for upcoming moves.  Apparently there wasn’t much interest in Heathcott among the rest of MLB, as he sat out there for over a month before being re-signed.

Once a top 5 prospect in the organization, Heathcott all but fell off the prospect map after playing in only 9 games last season before being shut down with another knee surgery.  He’s battled knee and shoulder problems since his pro career began, and has played in just 309 total games since being drafted in 2009.

Despite all the health problems and the removal from the 40-man roster, Heathcott is relatively young at 24 years old and could open the season in the Triple-A outfield thanks to the glut of other prospects expected to play in Double-A.  …

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Quick Hit: The Current Rotation Depth

With the Winter Meetings well in the rearview, the new year dead ahead, and pitcher-catcher report dates closer than you might realize, it appears as though the Yankees have made all the major moves they’re going to make this offseason.  Hiroki Kuroda would have made a lot of sense, but his announcement that he will return to Japan to pitch in 2015 ended the possibility of him being brought back as additional rotation depth.  Scott astutely pointed out how that might not be the worst thing in the world earlier this morning, but even without a declining Hirok the need for more starting pitching depth is obvious.  If the organizational rotation depth was ranked 1-10, here’s how it might look right now:

1) Masahiro Tanaka
2) Michael Pineda
3) CC Sabathia
4) Nathan Eovaldi
5) Chris Capuano

6) Bryan Mitchell (made final start of 2014)
7) Ivan Nova (slated to be back from TJS in May; might not be useful until August if at all)
8) Jose De Paula (made 24 starts between Double-A and Triple-A since 2013)
9) Chase Whitley (pitched to a 4.76/3.81 split in 12 Major League starts in 2014)
10) Manny Banuelos (pitched 76.2 innings over 25 starts in Minors in 2014 coming back from TJS)

That’s not very deep at all.  …

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Monday Morning News And Notes: 12/22/14

It was a slow weekend around these parts after a furious Friday.  The general feeling now is that the Yankees are done putting their 2015 roster together, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there was another move or 2 still to be made.  There weren’t any over the weekend, and there probably won’t be during this holiday week, but there were a few other noteworthy happenings that we’ll catch up on now.

Via Bryan Hoch, the Yankees did not put in a bid for Korean shortstop Jung-Ho Kang before Friday’s deadline.  Kang, 27, was a rumored target earlier in the offseason before the Gregorius trade.  With Sir Didi slated to hold down the starting job, Kang was no longer necessary and it made sense to pass on him.

– The final 2014 team payroll figures came in, and for the first time in 15 years it won’t be the Yankees with the highest payroll.  It also won’t be the Yanks paying the most in luxury tax since its inception in 2003.  …

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