Category Archives: Minor Leagues

Yanks have 3 prospects on MLB Pipeline’s Top 100.

cropped-the-stadium-facade.jpg

MLB pipeline has three Yankees prospects in their top 100. Here is what they have to say as well as their ranking, and a little about each one from me.

Yankees (3)
54. Jasson Dominguez (ETA: 2024)
88. Clarke Schmidt (2020)
92. Deivi Garcia (2020)

Homegrown talent has helped fuel back-to-back 100-win seasons for the Yankees, though promotions and trades have thinned out their farm system somewhat since MLB Pipeline ranked it as baseball’s second-best three years ago. Dominguez has an immense ceiling and is drawing athletic comparisons to Bo Jackson and Mickey Mantle before making his pro debut, while Schmidt and Garcia could bolster the big league rotation in 2020.

It’s important to note that Dominguez was just signed to a deal (international signing) last year at the age of 16(!). Already #54. He hasn’t even played a minor league game yet (too young for it last year) but look at those comparisons—and before even making his pro debut.

Schmidt, RHP, turns 24 next month. He was the Yanks’ 1st round pick in 2017 out of the University of South Carolina. He spent most of 2019 at High A Tampa, ending up in AA Trenton. I’d expect him to start at AA Trenton, but won’t be surprised if he actually starts the year at AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (abbreviated as SWB to make things easier). In a total of 18 starts and one relief appearance, Schmidt was 6-5, 3.47 in 2019 and struck out 102 in 90 2/3 IP. You have to wonder what his innings limit would be this year, though. 125? An injury cost him a lot of 2017 and 2018. He only has 114 minor league innings under his belt, going 6-8, 3.39 with 132 K in 114 IP. In his college career, he was 15-9, 3.21 in 45 games (36 starts) with 254 K in 229 2/3 IP. I wonder if he may actually be a year away, needing more time and innings in the minors, and ETA more likely 2021.

Garcia, RHP, is slight, 5′ 9″, 163 lbs., as opposed to Schmidt’s 6’1″, 200 lb frame. Garcia is still 20, turns 21 in May. He rose quickly, starting 2019 at High A Tampa and finishing at AAA SWB. He’ll probably start the year at SWB. His 2019 combined record was 5-9, 4.28, (21 starts, 5 relief appearances) with 165 K in 111 1/3 IP. The record wasn’t great, but he is only 20 and look at the number of K’s to IP. I wonder about his innings limit for this year, but if around 140-150, he seems more likely for a 2020 arrival than Schmidt. I could be wrong, we’ll see, but he did pitch some 20 innings more than Schmidt did last year.  In his whole minor league career so far, Garcia is 17-20, 3.37 with a whopping 416 K in 293.2 IP. In 2018, between A to AA (three levels), Garcia was 5-4, 2.55 in 14 starts, with 105 K in 74 IP. Young, still learning, but already, with that K to IP ratio, showing a very high ceiling.


There is a resolution approved by L.A.’s City Council calling for the 2017 World Series title to be stripped from the Astros and awarded to the Dodgers. We know is won’t happen, even though the Astros should probably now be called the Asterisks for what they did.

However, isn’t it presumptuous of L.A.’s City Council to think the Dodgers would have won the WS? Let’s say Houston’s cheating kept the Yankees from the AL Pennant and that the Yankees would have and should have played the Dodgers in the World Series that year. Who’s to say that the Yankees wouldn’t have won that World Series? Sorry, L.A. City council, but we’ll never know what might have happened if the Yankees, not the Astros were your opponent in the WS in 2017. If you think Houston screwed you over in the 2017 WS, well, the Yankees think the same as far as the 2017 ALCS.

Yanks bring back Lyons on minor deal.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

The Yankees have re-signed LHP Tyler Lyons to a minor league deal.

Lyons split 2019 between the Pirates and Yankees, going 1-2, 6.39 with an ERA+ of 72 in 14 games.

With the Yankees, he was 0-1, 4.15 in 11 games. ERA+ 111.

Lyons, who will be 32 next month, has a career record of 13-12, 4.20, ERA+ 95 with 3 saves. He has pitched for St. Louis (2013-2018), Pittsburgh (2019) and the Yankees (2019).

He got into two postseason games with the Yankees last year, going 0-0, 0.00 in a total of 1 2/3 IP.

 

Yanks make a minor signing. Thoughts on comparing players.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

The Yanks made a minor signing on Wednesday, signing lefty reliever Luis Avilan to a minor league deal.

Avilan, 30, pitched for the Mets in 2019, going 4-0 but with a 5.06 ERA (ERA+ 81). Not so good.

Avilan has pitched for the Braves (2012-2015), Dodgers (2015-2017), White Sox (2018), Phillies (2018) and Mets (2019).

His MLB record is 23-10, 3.28, ERA+ 121 so 2019 was a really off, bad year for him.

His 162 game average is 4-2, 3.28, ERA+ 121. He is a lefty specialist (averaging 68 appearances a year but only 52 IP per year) so how these new rules would affect him would be interesting.

He has pitched in 11 postseason games, going 0-0, 0.00 in 7 2/3 IP. Nice.

Not a bad signing on a minor league deal. Good track record, hoping for a bounce back season.


Some people comparing Derek Jeter to other greats miss the point. You cannot compare across positions. If you are going to compare Jeter to anyone, it has to be against a Honus Wagner, Cal Ripken, A-Rod (when A-Rod was a SS), Nomar, Ernie Banks (as a SS), Nomar, etc.

You can’t compare Jeter to  Griffey, Mays, Aaron, Musial, Mantle, DiMaggio, etc.

Really. You have to compare him to other SS. You can’t compare a SS to a CF.

Do you really want to compare HOF credentials Rizzuto vs. DiMaggio?

Ozzie Smith vs. Pujols?

Luis Aparicio vs. Mickey Mantle?

Ridiculous.

I wish people would stop saying  “Jeter isn’t Mays or Aaron.”

Of course not. Jeter was a SS.

Stop comparing SS against OF.

Make similar comparisons. Like Jeter vs. Cal Ripken, Miguel Tejada, etc.

 

Yanks add more catching depth.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

The Yankees would like Kyle Higashioka to win the backup C job, but they aren’t going to GIVE it to him (he is out of options, by the way).

Recently they signed veteran C Erik Kratz to a minor league deal.

Today they signed veteran C Chris Ianetta to a minor league deal.

Ianetta will be 37 in April. The righty hitter has played for Colorado (2006-2011), the Angels (2012-2015), Seattle (2016), Arizona (2017) and back with Colorado (2018-2019).

He is a .230 career hitter (OPS+ 98) who hit .222-6-21, OPS+ 75 for the Rockies last season.

He has played in 9 postseason games, going 1 for 24. That one hit was a HR.

 

Yankees sign pitcher to minor league deal.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

According to MLB.com,

The Yankees and right-hander Nick Tropeano have agreed to a Minor League deal with an invite to Major League Spring Training, MLB Network insider Jon Heyman reported on Wednesday. New York has not confirmed the deal.

Tropeano, 29, RHP, has pitched in the majors for Houston (2014) and the Angels (2015-2016, 2018-2019). He has a career record of 12-14, 4.51, ERA+ 90 in 42 career games, 39 of them starts.

He’s a local lad, from West Islip, NY.

In 2019, he was 0-1, 9.88 in three games (one start) for the Angels.

The most MLB games and innings he has put in were 14 games and 76 IP for the 2018 Angels. If he can stay healthy (per MLB.com: He dealt with right shoulder injuries in 2018-19 and he suffered a torn UCL in his right elbow that required Tommy John surgery in 2016), he provides rotation depth at AAA.

A minor trade, and when do we hear about German? Also, it’s early, but a look at the HOF tracker.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

Last week, with the official signing of Gerrit Cole, the Yankees designated Chance Adams for assignment.

Today they traded Adams to KC for a minor league infielder, Cristian Perez.

Perez, 21, is primarily a SS who has played a little at 2B and 3B. The righty hitter was at High-A Wilmington last season and hit .252-0-42 in 117 games. He stole 5 bases but was caught 10x.

Adams had some nice minor league seasons in 2016 and 2017 but had arm surgery and in the past two seasons hasn’t been the same. In 33 MLB IP (2018-2019) he is 1-2 with a ghastly 8.18 ERA (ERA+ 55).


So, when will MLB finally decide on German’s punishment for the domestic abuse incident? It’s taking long enough, isn’t it?


Only 50 ballots are known so far in the HOF vote, and I do see some surprises.

Now 50 is just 12.4% of ballots known, but neither Jason Giambi (an MVP, 440 HR) nor Paul Konerko (439 HR) have received a vote so far. I can see Giambi being snubbed due to BALCO and the steroids, but Konerko?

Raul Ibanez and Adam Dunn (462 HR) also have not received a vote so far, either.

Neither has Cliff Lee, or Alfonso Soriano (412 HR) for that matter.

Bobby Abreu is at 7.8%, Andy Pettitte 13.7%, enough as of now, to keep them on the ballot.

Andruw Jones (434 hr) 21.6%, Gary Sheffield (509 hr) 29.4%.

Showing that a lot of HR doesn’t matter to the voters anymore. 400 or 500 HR isn’t automatic anymore.

Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds are just shy of the 75%, both at 74.5%. Usually the votes that are NOT known about bring Clemens and Bonds further down.

As of now, and it’s still EARLY (vote announced 1/21), the three that WOULD get in are Derek Jeter (at 100% so far), Larry Walker (86.3) and Curt Schilling (82.4).

Yanks fire a coach, get catching depth.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

From the NY Post (edited):

The Post has learned Matt Krause, the Yankees’ director of strength and conditioning, has been relieved of his duties after six years with the club.

It is believed Krause had two years remaining on his contract. He follows pitching coach Larry Rothschild, who had a year left on his contract, and bench coach Josh Bard out the door.

Krause’s ouster follows a season in which 30 Yankees made a total of 39 appearances on the injured list. That is believed to be the most in major league history. Twenty Yankees made a total of 23 trips to the IL in 2018.

Even so, the Yankees won the AL East for the first time since 2012, beat the Twins in the ALDS and lost to the Astros in six ALCS games.

How much the injuries played a role in Krause’s dismissal hasn’t been revealed. But the fact that high-profile players missed major chunks of the season because of injuries couldn’t be ignored, even if some of the injuries surfaced when pitchers Luis Severino (inflamed right rotator cuff and lat strain) and Dellin Betances (right shoulder impingement and lat strain) were in Tampa rehabbing other ailments suffered during spring training. Severino appeared in three games in September and made two postseason starts. Betances pitched two-thirds of an inning in September and suffered a left Achilles tendon injury.

They weren’t the only high-profile Yankees to go on the IL.

Giancarlo Stanton played in 18 games due to a strained left biceps and a sprained right knee. Aaron Judge missed 54 games from April 21 to June 20 with a strained left oblique. Gary Sanchez was on the IL twice with lower-body injuries. Aaron Hicks played in 59 games due to a lower back issue and a flexor tendon injury in his right elbow that required surgery after the season and will keep him out until at least June. Miguel Andujar played in 12 games at the start of the season and underwent season-ending right shoulder surgery. Luke Voit wasn’t the same after suffering an abdominal strain in late June that was later called a sports hernia.


It looks like the Yanks will be going with Kyle Higashioka as the backup C to Gary Sanchez. Higashioka is out of options. While he does have some pop (20 HR in 70 AAA games last year, and 6 in 146 MLB at bats) he has hit only .164 in those MLB at bats with 48 strikeouts. You do wonder if he can hit at the MLB level. We’ll find out. Higashioka isn’t young. The righty hitter is 29.

Remember the character Crash Davis (played by Kevin Costner) in the movie Bull Durham? A career minor leaguer who had a touch of the majors but late in his career is in the minors to teach pitchers? Maybe Erik Kratz, age 40, is like Crash Davis. The Yanks signed him to a minor league deal.

From MLBTR.com: Kratz [hit]  .299/.375/.500 slash in 176 plate appearances with the Yankees’ Triple-A affiliate in Scranton last year. Given that Kratz and his family live close to the Scranton area, he’ll have the opportunity to continue playing close to home even if he doesn’t break camp with the Yankees’ Major League club.

He provides catching depth behind Sanchez and Higashioka. He went 2 for 2 as a Yankee in 2017. For his career, he is a .205 hitter.

So there is the worry. With Romine gone, can Higashioka and/or Kratz hit enough, especially if Sanchez (who has had injuries the last two seasons) goes down?

UPDATE: Martin Maldanado re-upped with Houston, killing those Maldonado to the Yankees to team with with Cole rumors.