Monday Night Open Thread: Your First Prospect Crush

Day 1 of Prospect Week 2015 is in the books, and I know my opinion is heavily influenced by my position here but I think it was damn good.  EJ highlighted Miguel Andujar as a breakout candidate for 2015, I caught up with the group of former prospects who won’t be appearing on this year’s top 30, and commented on the potential opportunity awaiting Ramon Flores and Tyler Austin this season.

If you’d like to discuss those articles, other prospect-y topics, or anything else tonight, here’s your open thread for that.  If you’re looking for a topic of conversation, here it is: Who was your first big prospect crush?  Mine was Phil Hughes.  A bit of a cliche pick, sure, but I used to be smitten with him when he was coming up.  Big body, good fastball, great curveball, lotta strikeouts, not a lot of walks.  He was the #1 pitching prospect in the game before he broke in full time and if things would have gone according to plan, he’d be the #1 or #2 guy in the Yankee rotation right now.  …

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Quick Hit: A Window Of Opportunity For 2 Outfield Prospects

The Yankee outfield is pretty well set for the 2015 season.  Well, to be more accurate, it’s set for the start of the 2015 season.  Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury are going to be back doing their thing atop the batting order, Carlos Beltran is going to be back, presumably healthy and hopefully able to rebound from 2014’s horrific numbers, and Chris Young is going to be his caddy on the bench as the 4th outfielder.

To a certain degree, the outfield is pretty well set for the foreseeable future as well.  Gardner and Ellsbury are under contract for years to come, Aaron Judge is the new “next big thing” prospect who can take over right field long-term after Beltran’s contract is up, and there are another few years of hot stove seasons and trade deadlines before then to plug holes as needed.

In a perfect world, the 4 guys already on the projected Opening Day roster would handle all or close to all of the outfield at-bats this season.  …

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Prospect Week 2015: Those We’ve Lost

Murphy Dugout

That’s “John Ryan” to you. Courtesy of Getty Images

Before we get into the meat and potatoes of this year’s top 30 list, I think it’s only appropriate that we take a minute to recognize some of those prospects who are no longer with the Yankees.  The prospect world is a volatile one year-to-year.  One year a guy’s a blue chipper at the top of your system, the next he’s out of all rankings and/or out of your organization completely.

There’s a pretty good-sized list of former prospects who are elsewhere heading into 2015.  That’ll happen when you make a lot of trades.  Some of these guys were big names in the system as recently as the start of last season, some are late bloomers, some are players who, for whatever reasons, were never able to break in and earn a regular role with the Major League club.  At least the first one’s still in the system though.  Gotta have one good graduation in every former prospect class, right?  …

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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.…

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Welcome To IIATMS Prospect Week 2015

Good morning, everyone.  Or not-so-good morning if you spent the bulk of last night sadly and pathetically drinking and over-eating your sorrows to cope with the gargantuan Packer choke job, but that’s neither here nor there.  The important thing is that football season is over now and baseball season is on the horizon.  As a way to get back into the baseball mindset and start to sharpen our focus on what’s going to transpire over the next 8 (hopefully 9) months in Yankeeland, we thought we’d devote a week to covering, reviewing, analyzing, and ranking the Yankee farm system.  So with that, let me be the first to formally welcome you to IIATMS Prospect Week 2015.

Over the next 5 days, we’re going to give you our take on the Yankee system and the best and brightest it has to offer.  You got a little sneak preview of it yesterday.  We’ll have player profiles, lists, discussions, and the 3-day release of our top 30 prospects list for 2014-2015.  …

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IIATMS Prospect Week 2015 Primer

By this time tomorrow, we’ll already be waist-deep in IIATMS Prospect Week 2015.  If you’re a diehard prospect hugger, or even just a casual prospect follower, you’ll be in heaven.  If you’re not, you’ll have a great chance to get educated and updated on what’s what in the Yankee farm system.

To get people in the right prospect mindset, I wanted to go back and revisit some of the more significant prospect-related posts we’ve written here in the last year.  Consider this the primer for what’s to come in the next week.

Yanks Need To Stay Aggressive With Their Outfield Prospects (2/2/14) – A discussion on why the Yankees should not slow down the development of their top young outfielders because of the signing of 2 free agents last offseason.  It wasn’t a great year for the group overall, but the lack of depth and injury risks in right field do put some of these players on the fringe of roster consideration in 2015.…

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Jake Cave: Your Center Fielder of the Future

Jake Cave 2014

Courtesy of Mark LoMoglio/MiLB.com

Contemplating the future of center field in Yankee Stadium seems strange, doesn’t it? Jacoby Ellsbury is under contract through at least 2020 (plus a team option in 2021), and Brett Gardner, who would play center field on at least twenty other teams, is locked up through at least 2018 (team option for 2019). And, while the rest of the team has seemingly been in upheaval over the last several years, the team’s center field situation has been stable for the better part of two decades. Over that time, they’ve received average or better production relative to the position fifteen times, including the last five years running. One could argue that it is the least worrisome position on the team by a significant margin, and I’m not sure that anyone could disagree. In that case, why worry? Because it’s what we do, and prospect week is upon us.

Enter Jake Cave.

Drafted in the sixth round in 2011, Cave entered the organization as a fairly highly-touted prospect.…

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Chart: Where the Yankees Position Players Stack Up

The Yankees have made a lot of moves to improve their hitting and defense during this offseason. You know about all of those. But what cumulative effect have these moves produced?

The following chart shows three different numbers by position: the fWAR produced by Yankees playing that position in 2014, the fWAR produced by the average major league team, and the Steamer projections for the Yankees at the position in 2015:

YankeesWARPositionsThe Yankees project to add about 7 WAR over last year. And that’s assuming they get 0 WAR out of designated hitter, which I think they can beat.

You can see that the Yankees project to improve in right field, shortstop, designated hitter and second base, stand pat at catcher, 1st base, center and left, and decline at third base. That all sounds reasonable to me.

You can really see how Derek Jeter and Brendan Ryan at short and Carlos Beltran, Alfonso Soriano and Ichiro in right and DH killed the Yankees last year.…

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Yanks Make Quick Work Of Remaining Arb-Eligible Cases, Re-Sign Pineda, Eovaldi, And Carpenter To 1-Year Deals

The Yankees have a reputation for quickly negotiating deals with their arbitration-eligible players before they even have to go to arbitration.  They showed why it’s a well-earned reputation yesterday by going full Lloyd Christmas and re-signing their 3 remaining arb-eligible guys in a matter of hours.

As first reported by Chad Jennings, they agreed to a 1-year/$2.1 million deal with Michael Pineda.  And as first reported by Andy Martino, they agreed to a 1-year/$3.3 million deal with Nathan Eovaldi and a 1-year/$1.3 million deal with David Carpenter.  Add in the Nova re-up earlier in the week and everybody got what they were projected to get by MLBTR with the exception of Carpenter, who came in 200k over slot.  Good for him.

The arb guys are taken care of, the Drew signing has been made official, and the 40-man roster is filled to the brim.  I’m starting to think the Yankees might be done making roster moves.

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