Friday, October 11, 2013
Mike’s MiLB recap
The minor league regular season is complete. As of this writing, Trenton is still in the playoffs and a few of the prospects below are with the New York team. However, by and large the season is done for the Yankees’s farm system. So I thought I take some time to put down some thoughts I have on several players. This isn’t meant to be comprehensive, and I’m sure Clay will have a lot of his own to say about these players and others. But I tried grouping players by the season they had. So the players are more ranked by the kind of year they had, not necessarily how good of a prospect they are. This is of course subjective, and open for lots of critique. So without further ado…
J.R. Murphy – Murphy is a 22 year old catcher who started the year in AA. In 211 PA there, he put up a wRC+ of 116, with excellent BB and K rates, and good power for a catcher (11.4%, 15.2%, and .153 isoP). That earned him a promotion to AAA, where in 257 PA he put up a virtually identical 117 wRC+, with similar rates (8.9, 16.0, .161). Essentially at age appropriate levels he hit well enough to play 1B. Of course, he’s a catcher who also threw out 37% of steal attempts (48% at AA, 30% at AAA). He could still use some work behind the plate (13PB), but he’s a catcher, and should be in New York’s plans for next year, potentially battling for the starting spot out of Spring Training.
Greg Bird – Bird is only 20, and put up a wRC+ of 170 at A-ball. He does this with a great combination of power and patience (.223 isoP, 18.7% BB). Sure he strikes out a lot, but that comes with the territory. Converting to 1B robbed him of some prospect shine, but boy that bat…Yankees probably should have promoted him to A+ at the end of July, but may have wanted to leave him where he was comfortable to work on his defense. Next year he’ll see Tampa, and hopefully can build on a solid season and get a promotion to AA before the year is out.
Eric Jagielo – wRC+ of 153 in 218 PA of A-. Showed good power and patience (.185 isoP, 11.9% BB rate), even if he K’s a bit too much. You always have to take first seasons in A- with a grain of salt (see Dante Bichette). But Jagielo did everything he had to do, to give the Yankees a reason to start him in A+ next year. Really couldn’t do much better, and one of the few bright spots on the system.
Preston Claiborne – I can certainly understand if some would want to give Claiborne an A, but I don’t think he’s done quite enough for that. Claiborne started the year pitching in AAA, but was called up in May. Since then, he’s pitched very well in almost 47 innings, holding solid K (18.7%) and BB (6.1%) rates, while keeping the ball on the ground. FIP- and ERA- agree (91 and 93 respectively) that he’s been above average. However, even with that he’s been worth 3 runs above a replacement reliever, and he’s already 25. Definitely counts as a success story, and will be a useful cog next year.
Mark Montgomery – This is partly against expectations, but the biggest knock on Montgomery this year has been staying healthy. After almost 75IP last year, injuries limited him to 43.1 this year. At the same time, his control – which had never been great – evaporated, and he walked 5.6 batters per 9IP. His ERA was still solid thanks to his high K rate, and he’s still young (22). He’ll have a chance to compete for a spot in the bullpen next year, but he was supposed to be further along.
Gary Sanchez – A lot of people would like to give Sanchez a C, or even lower. I think that’s kind of silly. Sanchez was still only 20 in A+ for most of the year, and put up a wRC+ of 108 in 399 PA. That was including a late-season slump. After being promoted to AA, he put up a 113 wRC+ in 110 PA. This included throwing out 44% of would-be base stealers on the year. He’s going to start AA at 21, and still has a chance at appearing for the Yankees at some point next year. It certainly wasn’t a great season, and we had higher hopes. But it WAS a good season.
Rob Refsnyder – Really, really tempting to give him an A. After destroying Charleston (wRC+ of 173 in 62PA), he got an early promotion to A+. He had more ups and downs there, but finished strong and put up a wRC+ of 140 in 507 PA, with more walks than strikeouts. In addition, he showed some speed on the basepaths (7/7 in A, 16/22 in A+), and he’s a second baseman. However…he was old for both leagues at 22. And his defense appears to be a work in progress, as he made 25 errors with a 3.92 RF. Would like a better metric. I think he’ll be promoted to AA next year. If he continues to hit and cleans up his defense, he’ll get a promotion to AAA at some point, and become a legit prospect. Definitely a good first full season though.
Peter O’Brien – Like Refsnyder, wanted to give him an A but couldn’t. He’s 22, and though he destroyed A ball (wRC+ of 181 in 226PA), he was only good in A+ (wRC+ of 123). What O’Brien has that Refsnyder lacks is power, and lots of it, putting up a .294 isoP in A and .221 in A+. If he looked to stay at catcher he would be an A. But an uncertain transition to 3B leaves him a B. I think he’ll probably start next year in A+ again – though a promotion is possible – to work on his defense. Still has a shot as a big-league starter in the future, but for now I see him more as a bench player, with some RH power, and the ability to play first, third, or catch in a pinch.
Jose Ramirez – Originally I thought to make Ramirez a B before looking at his numbers further. He put up a fine 2.76 ERA in 42.1 AA innings, but his FIP was 4.26 as the ERA was built on an unsustainably low BABIP of .233, and an amazing 85.6% LOB. These numbers unsurprisingly regressed in AAA, and in 31.1 IP he had a 4.88 ERA/5.05 FIP. He still misses bats (8.04 k/9), but walks a ton (6.03), though this was only a minor problem until now. He still has talent and is young (23), and he’ll start next year in AAA trying to prove he belongs in a big league rotation. Solid, but unspectacular season.
Zach Nuding, Nik Turley, Mikey O’Brien – I’ll lump all three here. All three starting pitchers logged over 100IP in Trenton, all are currently in their age 23 season, and all had FIP’s between 3.94 and 4.18. All three will be in line for promotions to AAA next year, but the numbers game may leave one or two of them in AA, or with another team next year. These guys did what they had to do to keep themselves on the team’s radar, but didn’t do anything to distinguish themselves. All will have to do more next season to be a part of the Yankees’ long term plans.
Tyler Austin, Ramon Flores, Slade Heathcott – Like the pitchers, these three seem tied together. Their wRC+ were 103, 104, and 104 (in order). Two of the three (Flores, Austin) were young for their league. Two of the three (Austin, Heathcott) missed significant time due to injury. All three have probably done enough to be promoted, but none of the three have done enough to force a promotion. Depending on what the Yankees do with the likes of Almonte and Mesa, will depend on which of these get promoted. My bet is Heathcott and Flores are promoted, Austin stays down in AA and earns a promotion early next season.
Jose Pirela – Does a lot well, nothing great. Gets on base and doesn’t strike out. Has a little bit of pop, and adds value on the bases. Can play SS, though he seems more suited to 2B. However, as well as he did last year (wRC+ of 118 w/ 18SB in 530 AA PA), Yankees barely gave him a sniff of AAA even though he was in AA for the third time. Could be Yankees royally screwing up, could be Pirela is a AAAA player. He’ll be in AAA next year, with a chance to make the Yankees as a UIF at some point.
Cito Culver – Yes, Culver had a good season. Age 20 is appropriate for A ball, though he was repeating the season. However, giving up hitting left-handed was (reportedly) a challenge for him, and yet he put up a wRC+ of 92, in 466PA. Doesn’t sound great, but he’s a SS. That earned him a promotion to A+, where he responded with a wRC+ of 153 in 66PA. He’ll start next year at A+, and we’ll find out if the first half was a result of getting used to hitting righty against RH pitchers. Big year for Culver, as if he can put up a wRC+ in the 100 range in the first half, his defense will get him promoted to Trenton. He’s got a chance to shoot up – or completely fall off – the team prospect list.
Bryan Mitchell – Mitchell doesn’t get a failing grade because his peripherals weren’t that bad. In fact, they were actually pretty good, which made it tempting to give him a C. His FIP actually improved to a career best 3.47 in 126.2 A+ IP, and then in 18.2IP in AA at the end of the year he improved that to 2.45. However at the same time, a 5.12 ERA in A+ didn’t help him, and he didn’t do anything to advance his cause. I think he’ll start the year in AA, but I think he did just enough to pass, as opposed to higher graded guys that improved their stock, if only a little.
Dante Bichette – Like Culver Bichette repeated A ball as a 20 year old after a disappointing season as a 19 year old. Unlike Culver, Bichette went backwards. He improved his HR rate from 3 to 11, but at the cost of 8 doubles. His K-rate also went from an acceptable 18.0% to 24.5%. His wRC+ degraded from 84 to 82. There is really no positive to be taken from this. He’ll likely be in A ball for the third straight season next year, as Jagielo will likely start at 3rd in A+. Best Bichette can hope for is to hit well enough to deserve a promotion after Jagielo moves up the ladder, but at this point, Bichette is a non-prospect.
Snuggles: I’d like to apologize to everyone (mostly Mike) for taking so long to get this up. My life has been in a bit of flux as I’ve moved 1/2 way across the US twice in 4 months. I am relatively settled in the Madison area of Wisconsin now. I hope to have my recap up later this weekend. Thanks for being patient.
Page 1 of 1 pages: