Results tagged ‘ New York Yankees ’
My last Spring Training stop in Florida was at the Yankees’ Minor League facility. Here’s the resulting Spring Training report, as well as the new Top 20 ranking and Bernie Pleskoff’s take on how the system fits the organization’s needs. Jim blogged his picks for prospects Nos. 21-25.
Here’s the video piece:
And boy, do I have extras for you. Yankees’ senior vice president of baseball operations Mark Newman and I discussed all sorts of things during our chat. First, about Mason Williams and previous reports about his lack of effort:
Newman: It hasn’t been this spring and it wasn’t for most of the time last year, either. He has momentary relapses, and they’re relapses out of frustration. He’s doing fine there. With young kids, it happens. There aren’t many Derek Jeters who show up here and know what it’s like to play hard every day. So we teach them that. Gary Sanchez and Mason are 21, 22; they’re like college juniors. They’re learning this stuff.
Some of the problems, Newman thinks, stem from the amount of attention young players get before they set foot in the big leagues. Some can handle it, others can struggle, not only with expectations, but with a certain sense of entitlement that can come with fame that comes prematurely (at least in Newman’s opinion):
Newman: Twenty-five years ago, when I started doing this, people didn’t do what you’re doing. I never talked to anybody about prospects. If I had my way, I’d never talk about them ever. They haven’t done anything yet. Now they have this notoriety in short order and they haven’t done anything to deserve it, other than be talented. They won the gene pool. They have to learn how to play and perform. They’re making progress. Mason’s problem is not going to be effort.
Now, if you thought Newman was talkative, you need to meet Eric Jagielo, one of the most engaging prospects I’ve met to date. Here’s the rest of our conversation.
Going back to last year, at what point did you get to finally take a breath and look back at everything that happened?
Jagielo: I was able to take some time off right after instructs. I was able to go back to Chicago for a little, then go to Notre Dame. I think that was the first time it all kind of settled in. I was planning on working out at Notre Dame, so I was there. I was able to see some friends and guys from my class and realized that my life had changed a little bit, for the best. But I was in a different kind of spot. Was the chance to reminisce a little bit. My three years at Notre Dame were the best years of my life. This is a new chapter and I’m excited to get it started.
Was it weird to be there and your friends are still in classes?
Jagielo: Especially the first couple of weeks. The coaches here, they said to make sure to take my time off. The college season, it was basically three years straight, with going into fall, then to spring, then to summer ball and then right back to fall ball. It was kind of three years of straight baseball. Especially with the hamstring injury, I really wanted to get healthy for this first full season of pro ball and be an everyday guy. Everything is good. The Yankees did a wonderful job, keeping me back for a couple of weeks after the Draft, smoothing things out and making sure there was nothing wrong with it. Then, when I did make the debut in Staten island, I was ready to go. I felt fine there. I was able to participate in instructs and get the best instruction.
You’re 21, you’re working out with Derek Jeter. How long did it take before you weren’t star struck?
Jagielo: Looking back at it now, I don’ t know if I ever got past it. This spring, you see him, you’re thinking about working out with him. Every time you use him on TV, or the tribute to him retiring, you’re like, wow, you’re on the same field with him. It’s an honor. To be able to talk to him and have a different kind of conversation rather than when you’re a little kid and you’re asking for an autograph…just trying to pick his brain so you can just do things they’ve done.
There’s a profile for 3B. They think power production. Do you have to remind yourself to stay within your own approach? Do you have to make sure you don’t go out there and try to fit that profile?
Jagielo: Reggie Jackson was out here during instructs. I was in a group with Aaron Judge, who just has ridiculous power. He miss-hits balls and he’s inside-outing balls and he’s hitting them over the right-field fence. We were talking and he said, “It doesn’t matter how the ball gets over the fence. You’re going to get your home runs. Just stay with the backspin, just stay with the middle of the field, gap approach and do your things and the ball will fly.” I think that’s when it hit me, you can’t try to be anybody else but yourself. God gave you so much talent and power. What I have now, I try to pride myself on that, the doubles, the gap guy, run production. I don’t think you have to move up in the rankings just by hitting home runs. What I’ve been trying to do is take the singles when they need to be singles and then hammering the mistakes when you need to and putting them over the fence.
Today, it’s the AL East’s turn for Top 20 Prospect attention. Here are the appropriate links:
For those, who want a little more, here’s OMG (One More Guy), the No. 21 prospect for each AL East team.
Orioles — Clay Schrader, RHP: You have to like the fastball-power breaking stuff combination out of the bullpen, but will he throw enough strikes?
Red Sox — Manuel Margot, OF: The toolsy outfielder has yet to make his United States debut; can really run and has the chance to hit.
Yankees — Rafael De Paula, RHP: He was 21 and pitching in the Dominican Summer League in 2012, so he needs to get moving (identity-related suspension). But he has the chance to have an exciting three-pitch mix.
Rays — Jesse Hahn, RHP: It took a while for the 2010 draftee to make his debut, needing Tommy John surgery then breaking his foot, but Hahn was very sharp in the New York-Penn League in 2012. He could start moving more quickly now that he’s healthy.
Blue Jays — Santiago Nessy, C: A big and strong Venezuelan backstop, he showed he can stay behind the plate and has the chance to hit for a lot of power in the future.
There are even some worthwhile prospects to put on the 11-15 list. Check it out.
Stefen Romero, Mariners — He’s hit .318/.368/.534 in his Minor League career so far. An argument can be made that he belonged in the top 10.
Grant Green, A’s — He started as a shortstop, then moved to the outfield and now is back in the infield at second, which is a good home for him. The bat has always had a chance to contribute.
Rougned Odor, Rangers — The Rangers are good at developing shortstop prospects, why not on the right side of second base? Odor can hit, with a little pop, and can run a little, too.
Ronny Rodriguez, Indians — Yes, he’s nore of a shortstop now and has the skills to stay there. But if he’s going to play in Cleveland with Francisco Lindor someday, he’ll have to move and he did play 45 games at second in 2012.
Angelo Gumbs, Yankees — He has plus speed and is a basestealing threat. He only knows one speed and continues to improve defensively.
I’m back in Arizona, watching the final night game here at Scottsdale Stadium, and started thinking about alumni from this league and how they fare during awards season. So I did some digging…
While one was unanimous and one was close, it really shouldn’t have surprised anyone that Mike Trout and Bryce Harper were this year’s Rookie of the Year Award winners.
It also shouldn’t shock anyone that both are Arizona Fall League alumni. For six years in a row now, at least one of the Rookies of the Year played in the AFL previously.
The Trout-Harper perfecta isn’t even that unusual. In five of the last seven seasons, starting with Huston Street and Ryan Howard’s ROY Awards in 2005, both winners cut their teeth here. The other dynamic duos:
Dustin Pedroia and Ryan Braun, 2007
Evan Longoria and Geovany Soto, 2008
Andrew Bailey and Chris Coghlan, 2009
Mike Trout and Bryce Harper, 2012
Trout and Harper have something in common with Street and Howard. In both cases, the Rookie of the Year tandems both played in the AFL the year prior to winning the top rookie honor. Not only that, in both instances, the award winners were AFL teammates. In 2004, Street and Howard were Phoenix Desert Dogs. Last year, Trout and Harper played in the same Scottsdale Scorpions outfield.
There have now been 24 Rookies of the Year who once called the Arizona Fall League home.
I’ll be back tomorrow with a look at Cy Young Award winners.
In case you missed them, here are two more AFL team reports:
The Yankees report focuses on Mark Montgomery. Their video report takes a look at Montgomery, Slade Heathcott and Dellin Betances:
Gary Brown is the focus of the Giants report. In the video report, Brown, Joe Panik and Chris Dominguez are featured.
Finally, Stars of the Day for Monday and Tuesday:
Monday: We’ll go with Kevin Siegrist of the Cardinals, for his four-inning, one run performance. The lefty gave up four hits, walked one and struck out eight. He’s now 10th in ERA (2.37) and second in strikeouts (27).
Tuesday: The aforementioned Slade Heathcott gets the nod after going 4-for-5, including his first homer of the fall. He drove in two and scored a run. Heathcott is now fifth in the league in batting average (.371) and second in OPS (1.084).
The Houston Astros are up next, with intrepid reporter Brian McTaggart writing about new manager Bo Porter’s visit to his prospects in the AFL.
As always, here’s the video report, focusing on Jonathan Singleton, George Springer and Jarred Cosart.
Now, a look at Tuesday’s Star of the Day:
The Yankees’ Slade Heathcott hasn’t had the easiest path as a professional. No. 5 on the New York’s Top 20, the former first-rounder has had some issues on and off the field. Injuries have really hampered him (2 shoulder surgeries) and his career high in at-bats is just 351. So he’s really trying to make up for some lost time with Scottsdale this fall. He certainly did that on Tuesday, going 4-for-5 with a double, two triples and five RBIs. He’s hitting .275/.408/.400 over 11 AFL games (40 ABs). He’s really enjoyed hitting from the leadoff spot, with a .471 average in four games. And yes, he was in that slot on Tuesday.
Back to my riveting series of conversations with 2010 first-round picks. Today, we go to the Yankees’ system and chat with somewhat surprising first-rounder Cito Culver. Taken No. 32 overall out of the upstate New York high school scene, Culver is a toolsy shortstop who signed quickly and managed to get 203 at-bats in last summer.
When I caught up with Culver, we talked about the work he was getting in during Spring Training, the daily grind he was adjusting to, getting out of the Northeast weather and his opportunity to work out with his idol, Derek Jeter.
As always, you can watch the cleaned up, edited and shorter version of the conversation here.
But if you want more with the Yankee prospect who is currently in Extended Spring Training waiting for an assignment later this season, you can watch the “director’s cut” below.
At long last, the Yankees’ Top 10 prospects list. And here’s OMG (One More Guy) from their system.
Adam Warren, RHP: Warren has largely flown under the radar, not getting the kind of attention a pitcher who makes it to Double-A in his first full season should. And he didn’t just get there, he pitched well when he was in Trenton in 2010. Last year, Warren — a 4th rounder out of the University of North Carolina in 2009 — finished third in the organization with a 2.59 ERA. He struck out 126 against just 33 walks in 135 1/3 innings.
Warren went 4-2 with a 3.15 ERA in 10 starts with Trenton following his promotion. He then pitched in two playoff games, allowing four runs in 11 IP (3.27 ERA) while walking three and striking out 18.
The 23-year-old right-hander doesn’t have the highest ceiling in the world and the Yankees do seem to have a few of these solid, yet unspectacular arms, guys who profile as No. 4 type innings-eaters. Nothing wrong with that, mind you, but not the kind of guy who wows you. Don’t get me wrong — Warren doesn’t had bad stuff, but he just doesn’t have the projection of say, a Manny Banuelos.
Still, Warren could help out the Yankees or another team in a big-league rotation in the near future. He’s making the move up to Triple-A, joining a pretty stacked staff of David Phelps, Hector Noesi, D.J. Mitchell and Andrew Brackman.’
On a side note, my old friend and colleague Lisa Winston is continuing her tradition of tracking Major League debuts over on her blog, Queen of Diamonds. She’s calling it, appropriately enough, Diamonds in the Rough. Good stuff all around