(Yes, this kid is the future. Screen cap courtesy of MLB.com)
Tonight's game is still 4 hours away, and I'm probably going to get screwed on the regional FOX coverage again because the lameass Brewers are on the schedule as well. So that being the situation it is, and us being right around the mid-way point of the Minor League season, why not have us some good old-fashioned free-flowing commentary on the Yankee MiL system? Good? Good.
- If Tyler Austin is on the Low-A Charleston roster beyond the next 48 hours, that's just ridiculous. It's bad enough that the team didn't let him participate in that awesome Low-A HR Derby on the aircraft carrier this week, but with the numbers he's put up, there's no reason for him to be wasting away here anymore. The All-Star break is over; move the kid up.
- Speaking of "move the kid up," I'm curious to see how long Gary Sanchez sticks at Low-A now that All-Star break has passed. He's found his power stroke (up to 12 HR, .234 ISO) and the numbers indicate there isn't much left for him to game at this level (.315/.362/.549), but with J.R. Murphy having a down year at High-A I'm curious to see how the Yankees handle them both. You have to think they want Murphy to get regular work behind the plate, and that won't happen with Sanchez moving up because Sanchez has to play too.
- Everybody has said to keep waiting on the power to come for Dante Bichette, Jr., but it just hasn't. He's played 60 games and still only has 1 HR and 12 total XBH for the season. He's still got a solid BB rate, but I feel justified in holding off on throwing him into the organizational top 10 now that I've seen how he's made the early transition to a full-season league.
- One guy I'm not so fond of leaving off the initial AB4AR Top 30 completely is Angelo Gumbs. I wasn't sold on him after the numbers he put up in SS Staten Island last year, but with his bat speed being compared to Bryce Harper and Giancarlo Stanton in this piece by Fangraphs' Mike Newman yesterday, and the fact that he's having a solid season in Low-A this year, he's a sure bet to make this year's 2nd edition of the Top 30.
- I'm glad to see Nik Turley back on the mound, and glad the Yankees are taking it slow with him. The progress he showed early in the season proves that they might have something with him, and there's no need to rush him at a level this low.
- I don't know much about 2B Anderson Feliz, but it's a shame he's on the DL right now because the kid was doing some things early in the year and it would have been interesting to see how he handled the bump up to High-A. He just turned 20 last month.
- Not really sure why Kyle Roller is still stuck in Tampa. He's a college hitter who's already 24 and he's putting up the same numbers this year as he did last year. He's likely never going to be anything more than a DH if he makes the show, but his pitch recognition and count-working skills are easy to recognize (10.5% BB rate this year) and he's got some pop.
- Brett Marshall continues to be a bit of an enigma, but it's good to know that he's not going to miss much more than 1 start with his recent DL trip. With Graham Stoneburner's progress continuing to be halted by injuries, Trenton doesn't need any more lost time from its key starting pitchers.
- If Vidal Nuno keeps pitching the way he has since he got called up, he's going to open a lot of eyes.
- I like what I've seen from Jose Pirela since he came off the DL (.386/.462/.545, .462 wOBA in 120 PA). He's never gotten a lot of ink, but the dude has some skills.
- Let's give a call to Preston Claiborne in the Double-A bullpen. He's another guy who doesn't get mentioned a lot, but all he's done this year is pitch to a 2.42/3.16 ERA/FIP split and strike out over a batter an inning.
- If I'm going to openly question the negative trends in Dellin Betances' and Manny Banuelos' strikeout and walk rates, it's only fair to question Adam Warren as well. He's pitched better of late, but his K/9 is just 6.42 this year and has gone down ever since he moved up from Double-A.
- Brandon Laird is just having an awful season (.219/.282/.327, .281 wOBA). He's another one I was high on because he had shown tools and solid production all the way up to the top level, but he could very well find himself off of everybody's prospect radar if he keeps this up.
- I really hope Austin Romine makes it back to play before the season ends, but I'd be lying if I said I was confident in it happening.
- They aren't make any lists, and their days of being real Major League contributors are over, but give props to Ramon Ortiz and Nelson Figueroa and the work they've done to help out the Triple-A pitching staff while the rest of the big-time names have struggled. 132.2 IP of essentially 3.5-run ball is nothing to scoff at.
- So glad to see Slade Heathcott back on the field, even if it is in the GCL and he hasn't played the outfield a whole lot. I know he's an injury risk, but I'd like to see the Yankees get a bit aggressive with him. He should be back up at High-A Tampa ASAP, and in a perfect world he'd get a late promotion to Double-A to finish the year.
- Speaking of the GCL, here's 3 guys I'll be watching on that team: Austin "Bubba" Jones- 1B, and Hayden Sharp and Jordan Cote- SP.
- And here's 3 from SS Staten Island: Jose Rosario- SS, Claudio Custudio- 2B, and Nick Goody- RP.