Breakout Candidate: Miguel Andujar

Andujar 2014

Courtesy of Shane Roper/MiLB.com

If I had to pick one prospect to have a break out (defined as being rated a top-50 prospect in all of baseball a year from now) 2015 season, it would be Miguel Andujar.

Andujar was one of the most notable Yankee July 2nd signings in 2011. He spent most of his age 17 and 18 seasons working out at the Yankee facility in Tampa. Some success the second time around with the GCL Yankees (.323/.368/.496 batting line in a small sample) earned him an aggressive promotion to Charleston to start 2014, where he was the 4th youngest player in the South Atlantic League.

At first glance, the numbers don’t look great: .267/.318/.397 with a solid 15.7% strikeout rate. But I think a deeper dive reveals a lot of good news. Here are his splits and park-adjusted rates:

  • Park adjusted batting line: .279/.328/.420 (.362 wOBA)
  • Vs. LHP: .188/.211/.250 Vs. RHP: .295/.355/.449
  • Home: .250/.296/.362 Away: .281/.337/.427
  • First Half: .212/.267/.335 19.4 K% Second Half: .319/.367/.456 14.9 K%

Those splits should be music to all of our ears.… Click here to read the rest

Putting This Year’s IFA Haul in Perspective

Much has been written about the Yankees signing ten of the top thirty international free agents this season. But how much talent have the Yankees landed, really?

I’m not going to pretend to know more about the specific players that the Yankees signed than what I’ve read on MLB.com and Baseball America. I did, however, go back and look at Baseball America’s top international free agent list five years ago, and checked in on the status of the top-25 players. The result:

2 really great signings (Sano and Profar), 6 players with varying prospect potential (including Gary Sanchez, probably the bet of the group), and 17 busts. If the Yankee haul follows the same pattern, they’ll emerge five years from now with roughly half that–a top-10 prospect, two or so top-100 prospects, and a fringey player or two.

Not bad, huh? Obviously, we’re looking at a sample of one year, but a quick glance at 2008 and 2010 show similar bust rates.… Click here to read the rest

Screw It, Call Up Mark Montgomery

Used courtesy of Josh Norris

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

These are perilous times in Yankeeland, friends.  Injuries have the lineup disintegrating into one giant platoon (or more accurately, TWO giant platoons), the rotation is still operating at just 60% of its ideal capacity, the bullpen is essentially Rafael Soriano, David Robertson, and pray for 7 strong from the starter and no extra innings, and there’s still over a month of regular season baseball to play.  The division lead that felt safe and sound 2 months ago (opening myself up to some ridicule there) has shrunk to a competitive level and the Yankees are limping to the finish line.

There isn’t much that can be done to address the holes in the lineup or rotation.  They will take care of themselves as guys come back from injury or continue to operate as they are if it turns out those guys can’t make it back. … Click here to read the rest

A more optimistic take on the Yankee farm

EJ’s post from earlier today highlights the disappointing nature of the Yankee farm in 2012, and for the most part, I agree.  It has been a frustrating season to follow, particularly at the upper levels.   The combination of injury and regression has hurt the stock of a number of prospects who might otherwise be contributing to fill holes on the major league team today.  While Freddy Garcia and David Phelps have performed adequately thus far, I know many Yankee fans would have loved to see Manny Banuelos get his feet wet in the big leagues to start the audition process for a spot in the 2013 roation.  With injuries to Mariano Rivera and David Robertson and recent struggles by Cory Wade, it would have been nice to bring up Dellin Betances to solidify the Yankee bullpen.  And with Russell Martin scuffling and Chris Stewart performing mediocrely, it would have been nice to bring up Austin Romine to challenge for the starting catcher job.… Click here to read the rest

Tyler Austin shows no signs of slowing down

Tyler Austin has put up impressive offensive numbers at pretty much every stop in his minor league career, and prospect watchers are beginning to take notice.  I certainly include myself among people who have underrated Austin throughout his short career, probably unfairly, because he didn’t have an elite draft pedigree or play a premium position.  As a guy who is likely limited to a corner outfield positions, the Austin’s offensive production needs to be very strong for him to be taken seriously as a legitimate prospect.

Evaluating players in the lower minors solely on the basis of numbers is problematic, since the level of competition is not always strong.  At the lower levels, pitchers likely have inferior command, weak secondary offerings, and lower velocity than more advanced pitchers, which could allow a hitter with significant flaws to put up impressive numbers.  It is still too early to tell whether this is the case with Austin, but with every day of continued success (and every rave from a scout who has seen him in person) it becomes increasingly less likely.… Click here to read the rest

Scouting the Charleston Riverdogs

I have written extensively on the talented group of prospects that are currently on the roster of the Yankees’ low-A club, the Charleston Riverdogs. On a daily basis, the Riverdogs feature legitimate prospects at pretty much every position, including slugging catcher Gary Sanchez, athletic outfielder Mason Williams, power-hitting 3rd baseman Dante Bichette Jr, and fireballing righty Jose Campos. Consequently, they have become a very big draw for scouts and people who cover the minor leagues, who get the chance to see a plethora of prospects in action on a given day.

Last night, Mike Newman of Fangraphs was in attendance, and wrote up his impressions in a post today. The entire article is worth reading, but I’ll summarize some of Newman’s impressions here. In a few ways, Newman’s timing was not especially fortunate. Gary Sanchez had a day off, and Newman also missed Bryan Mitchell and Jose Campos, who both were dominant in their most recent outings.  However, there was plenty of prospecty goodness on display last night, as the Riverdogs beat up on a rehabbing Tim Hudson and the Rome Braves.  … Click here to read the rest

Prospects who could move fast in 2012

The rosters for the Yankees’ full-season affiliates have been posted, courtesy of The Trentonian’s Josh Norris, and for the most part, the assignments are what we would have expected.  Manny Banuelos and Dellin Betances will headline what should be a deep Scranton rotation. Brett MarshallDavid Adams, and the brothers Almonte (not actually related) are some of the guys to watch in Trenton.  JR Murphy and Ramon Flores are probably the most intriguing guys to follow on Tampa, along with reliever Mark Montgomery.  As discussed previously, Charleston should be stacked, with a rotation that includes Jose Camposand Bryan Mitchell, and a lineup featuring Gary SanchezDante BichetteMason Williams, and a number of other exciting prospects.

In this post, I wanted to take a look at some of the guys who might be able to move up quickly from their current assignments.  These are not necessarily my picks for the top prospects in the organization, but rather, the ones whose assignment and situation could allow them to see promotions to higher levels of the minors if they perform well.… Click here to read the rest

Yankee Farm System Timing Looks Good

I want to step back and take a big-picture look at the Yankee organization for a second. The 2012 Yankee roster probably won’t need a lot of help from down on the farm this season, barring a very injury call-ups. They have plenty of guys – Ramiro Pena, Adam Warren, David Phelps, Brandon Laird – who can fill those roles, along with your higher ceiling prospects guys like Betances, Romine, and Banuelos sitting at Triple-A. But the Yankees have enough guys either in their prime (Sabathia, Granderson, Cano, Gardner, Swisher, Robertson) or close enough (Kuroda, Teixeira, Martin, Pineda) to contend in 2012, and probably 2013. After that, they’ll be faced with more and more aging players, and possibly one or two big-money contracts added to the system, but the team will probably overall be on the down slope. With $189 million looming on the horizon, the team could be quickly hungry for reinforcements.

Lucky for the Yankees, they are well positioned for the calvary to come riding in right about the time that their roster starts to look very, very old.… Click here to read the rest

Questions for the Yankees’ top prospects: Part 2

Dante Bichette: Defense

Around the time of the draft, Bichette was considered a bat-only prospect with plus raw power but a funky swing.  Bichette largely silenced the doubters about his swing by raking in the Gulf Coast League to the tune of a .438 wOBA, but also got better reports on his defense than he did previously.  Around the time of the draft most prognosticators thought he was a future corner outfielder or 1st baseman, but the consensus has shifted to thinking that he has a chance to stick at 3rd base.  2012 will be an opportunity for Bichette to prove that he can continue to make strides with his fielding, which will lessen the pressure on his bat to be elite in order for him to be a legitimate prospect.

Austin Romine: Power

Romine has steadily progressed through the Yankee system, though his ascension has been held back somewhat by the presence of Jesus Montero.  With Montero gone, Romine will get the first crack at being the homegrown catcher of the future.  … Click here to read the rest