The Yankees Need to Platoon Mason Williams and Chris Young

The Yankees will call up Mason Williams to the big team:

You can read my recent post on Mason Williams to get my thought on him. Summary: He’s hitting well in 2015, could be really good, and also has a pretty high floor thanks to defense and a low strikeout swing. He’s been hitting even better at Triple-A since I wrote that post.

With Jacoby Ellsbury out, Chris Young has been getting a lot of playing time. The results haven’t been pretty. Check out these splits:

  • Vs. RHP: 77 PA, .149/.171/.284
  • Vs. LHP: 52 PA, .327/.407/.673

And Mason Williams in 2015:

  • Vs. RHP: .331/.414/.411
  • Vs. LHP: .280/.345/.360

This should be a no-brainer, and probably should have been the day after Ellsbury got injured: Mason Williams and Chris Young should be strictly platooned. Combined, the Yankees could have all-star level production simply by preventing each player from facing their weak sides.… Click here to read the rest

Second Half Turnaround On The Horizon For Mason Williams

MiLB: JUL 08 Class A Advanced - Tampa Yankees at Dunedin Blue Jays

It’s been a trying season for top prospect Mason Williams.  There was his DUI arrest in late April, a slow start at the plate after that carried over into the early part of June, and questions about his attitude and hustle popping up again in scouting reports.  He’s missed games both due to minor injuries and undisclosed team reasons this season, and as recently as a month ago had a season OPS in the mid-600s.  Since about the middle of June, however, Williams has started to find himself at the plate and is currently in the middle of a pretty wicked 2-week hot streak.  He got knocked off track early, but Williams now appears primed for a strong finish to his 2013.

In his last 10 games, Williams has 18 hits in 42 at-bats (.429/.467/.595) with 4 2B, 1 HR, 8 R, 3 RBI, and 3 SB.  He has at least 2 hits in each of his last 4 games and has walked just as much as he’s struck out.… Click here to read the rest

Growing Pains For The Top Outfield Prospects

Tyler Austin 2013

(Syndicated from An A-Blog for A-Rod.  Stats are as of Wednesday)

The Yankees entered this season with what appeared to be very good prospect depth in the outfield.  At best, 4 of their top 10 organizational prospects were outfielders, with 3 of them showing up in almost every respectable top 5 list.  Anticipation and expectations were high for this group based on what they did in 2012, and it was starting to look like the outfield was going to be one spot where the team would have good options for the future if they were planning on committing to a reduced payroll.  Almost 2 months into the MiL season, it appears as though the first potholes in this group’s development have been hit.

Mason Williams– .229/.328/.331, .311 wOBA in 184 PA

Tyler Austin– .248/.365/.348, .340 wOBA in 192 PA

Slade Heathcott– .236/.292/.343, .293 wOBA in 155 PA

Ramon Flores– .244/.332/.318, .308 wOBA in 206 PA

That’s as sobering a collection of slash lines as you’ll see from top hitting prospects.  … Click here to read the rest

Briefly discussing the internal options to replace Curtis Granderson

With Curtis Granderson down and out for ten weeks or so, the Yankees have a hole in left field. No injury can have an upside though there can be silver linings. “Luckily,” a lot of Granderson’s rehab time will be taken up by Spring Training and he’ll be back in early May. But on that not-so-lucky side, since it’s Spring Training, the market for outfielders is pretty thin and obviously, the timing isn’t great. There are, however, some internal options.

Though it should be obvious, let’s just cross of Slade Heathcott and Mason Williams. Ramon Flores, who’s on the 40-man roster and whose star seems to be rising, should be discounted because of the fact that he’s so young (he’ll turn 21 next month). That leaves us with Zoilo Almonte and Melky Mesa. For brief rundowns of those two, check out this post from Yanks Go Yard.

To add to it, the Yankees have expressed excitement about Almonte.… Click here to read the rest

Sickels ranks farm system 14th in MLB

Yesterday, John Sickels of Minor League Ball ranked the Yankees’ farm system 14th in Major League Baseball, up two spots from last year’s ranking of 16. Sickels comment on the Yankees was as follows:

14) New York Yankees (16): Strengths: quartet of young hitters at the top, with Gary Sanchez, Tyler Austin, Mason Williams, and Slade Heathcott all potential impact prospects, though all have some questions. Good depth in C+ types behind them. Weaknesses: impact pitching. I don’t count Manny Banuelos as an automatic Tommy John recovery. Wildcard: Rafael DePaula, who could vault up lists quickly once he pitches against people his own age.

So they’re not blowing the world away, but they’re not falling behind, either. The construction of the farm system–at least the top thereof–shows us how quickly things can change in a farm system. Just a few years ago, we were excited about the “Killer B’s,” pitchers Manny Banuelos, Andrew Brackman, and Dellin Betances.… Click here to read the rest

Top-30 Prospects Preview: How Far Has Manuel Banuelos Fallen?

Manuel Banuelos was the no-doubt top Yankee prospect entering this season, and held down the #2 spot, behind Jesus Montero, for a year before that. A lot of people, myself included, expect him to spend time on the Yankee roster down the stretch in 2012, and move on to a bright major league career. Instead, Banuelos had pretty much the worst possible 2012 season: after months of trying to rehab an elbow injury, Banuelos was shut down on August 6th after pitching just 24 innings.

Banuelos was 21 years old entering this season, and impressive age for someone starting at Triple-A. After having his 2010 season cut short by an appendectomy and his 2011 season slowed by innings and pitch counts, it was supposed to be his time to stretch out and put some serious workload on his body. Instead, he’ll have to deal with another season of careful handling and strict limits. He’ll be only 22 years old, but the development time lost makes him start to feel older.… Click here to read the rest

Gary Sanchez & Mason Williams Get A High-A Education

Sanchez photo courtesy of Tim Priddy/Four Seam Images, Williams courtesy of Tyrone Walker/The Post and Courier

(The following is being syndicated from An A-Blog for A-Rod)

No matter what order you’d rank them personally, there’s little doubt that Gary Sanchez and Mason Williams are the 2 best Yankee position prospects right now (and yes, the order in which I just mentioned them is how I would rank them).  With the way the top-tier pitching prospects have faltered this season, it’s not much of a stretch to say that Sanchez and Williams are the best Yankee organizational prospects period.  When you’re blessed with the natural physical gifts and core baseball tools in the way that these guys are, you’re going to rise up the prospect board pretty quickly and that’s exactly what Sanchez and Williams have done in the early part of their careers.

Their individual successes in 2012 earned them each a promotion to High-A Tampa recently, and last Friday Kiley McDaniel of ESPN posted a scouting assessment of the Tampa Yankees, including a very detailed scouting report on Sanchez and Williams based on what he’d seen since their call-ups. … Click here to read the rest

2012 Pre-Draft Top-20 Prospect Rankings

Its that time again. Three days from now, the Yankees will add 30-40 young baseball players into their organization. Before that happens, it is appropriate that we take stock of the Yankee farm system, so that we may better understand the Yankee draft and signing strategy.

Below are my Top-20 prospect rankings. I usually rank 30 players, but given that we’re a year away from the last draft, I figure there are serious diminishing returns to going all the way to 30 at this time of the year. And it also makes the graphics a little too large. And I irrationally love graphics.

I used my prospect rating system for the ranking. A full explanation of the system is available here. I also copied some helpful graphics explaining the system below the fold to prevent everyone from having to click on the link. I like the system as a way of clearly explaining why I believe that certain players should be ranked where they are.… Click here to read the rest

Nightly Links: Recap, Banuelos, Blown Saves

The Yankees beat the Angels 5-0 today in their home opener in the Bronx.

Kuroda’s First Start in the Bronx
As a pitcher in the NL West, Hiroki Kuroda never before started in Yankee Stadium. As a pitcher who dealt with groundball issues last year, many questioned how well he would pitch in the hitter’s park aided by the short porch, and today’s results were certainly a statement to all the doubters. With an 8-6 groundball-flyball rate, Kuroda dominated the Angel’s lineup, going 8.0 innings, giving up only 5 hits, 2 walks, and 6 strikeouts. Of those 5 hits, none went for extra bases, and only two runners made it past first base all game. With 109 pitches thrown, Girardi pulled Kuroda and sent David Robertson out in the 9th, where he put up all 0’s with 1 strikeout.

The Unclutch Players Come Through
I’ve heard a lot about Swisher’s short coming with RISP at the beginning of this season thanks to struggling in October.… Click here to read the rest