(Jagielo in action. Courtesy of Ashley Marshall/MiLB.com)
I'm a little late for this next "Prospect Watch" post from when it was last month, which was much later than the post before that, so as far as meeting deadlines for these monthly prospect posts go I'm spitting the bit and I know that. But, with another month plus passing since the last edition, we've now built up enough of a sample size in the short season leagues to start commenting on the guys down there. It's been a rough go for some names expected to be big contributors this year, but a couple of international standouts in the GCL have helped balance things out. After the jump, an in-depth look at the guys making noise in Staten Island and the GCL.
SS Staten Island
2013 7th rounder Nick Rumbelow has looked very good in his pro debut at Staten Island. He's pitched to a 2.40 ERA (1.67 FIP) and has allowed just 11 total baserunners in 15.0 IP with a 16/3 K/BB ratio in his 13 appearances. He's a college pitcher, so it's a bit surprising to still see him at this level. My guess is the Yanks want to give him more time to work on mechanical changes with his delivery and we'll see him in Low-A before the end of the year.
The team's 14th rounder this year, Smith has also played the part of polished college pitcher very well, working both as a starter and a reliever for Staten Island. Overall he's pitched to a 2.54/1.62 ERA/FIP split in 36.2 innings, and has struck out 44 to just 8 walks in those innings while not giving up a single HR. As a lefty, his future role is probably still being worked out at this lower level. When a decision is made and spots open up on the Charleston roster, expect to see him bumped up to A-ball along with Rumbelow.
In fairness to him, his early hamstring injury could have something to do with his sluggish start at the plate. I touched on it earlier today, but Jagielo's production thus far has not matched the scouting report on him. While the 11.2% BB rate speaks to his advanced approach as a college hitter, the higher K rate (21.6%) and lack of power ( 8 XBH, .336 SLG) speaks to a player who still has some kinks to work out in his swing. Jagielo's been very streaky and he seems like he's coming out of a slump now. A strong finish to his 2013 would help create a little buzz about this draft class heading into next season.
Rookie Gulf Coast League
This 18-year-old Dominican shortstop has been impressive in his first short season experience after posting a .405 wOBA in the DSL last year. Avelino is hitting .345/.424/.491 across both GCL teams and has shown flashes in the field. He's got a lot of polishing that needs to be done to all parts of his game, so don't expect to see him moved up this year. For a team that's woefully light on legit shortstop prospects though, he's got enough tools and enough early success to spark some excitement.
Signed for 6 figures out of the DR back in 2011, Severino has since been bumped up to Charleston, where he's more than held his own in 3 appearances. His early results in the GCL were outstanding and made that call up easy to understand: 26.1 IP, 16 H, 6 BB, 4 ER, 0 HR, 32 K. Severino was called up to Low-A initially as a spot starter. With what he's already done in the rookie league, there's no reason not to let him finish the year in Low-A. Still just 19 years old, Severino boasts a mid-90s fastball/power slider combo with a developing third pitch. He should be making noise on a lot of top prospect lists next year.
Omar Luis Rodriguez
The going has been much tougher for last year's big international signing. It took $4 million to sign Rodriguez and he's yet to show much worthy of that price tag. In 8 GCL appearances, Rodriguez has given up 15 ER and 22 BB in 20.2 IP. His stuff has been there, evidenced by the 27 strikeouts, but the command has a long way to go. Rodriguez is just 18, and is very unpolished in his game, so expect him to spend a while in these lower levels before he even gets to a full-season league. He's a kid with a lot to learn.
One of the stars of last year's GCL team, Aune's return to the level to learn a new position has been nothing short of a nightmare. Converted to the outfield to make room for 2013 pick Tyler Wade, Aune has hit just .171/.191/.216 (.196 wOBA) in 115 PA. He has struck out an astounding 46.1% of the time he's come to the plate and looks almost nothing like the toolsy prospect he was last year. I don't know if it's the change in position or if he's hurt or something, but the Yankees need to get working on fixing this kid right away. They paid him a fair amount to keep him away from TCU, and it's rare to see a pick that high flame out this spectacularly in rookie ball.
Once the big league roster expands next month, we should see a lot more promotional activity throughout the system. A handful of these young guys playing well in the SS leagues could be in for a late-season boost to see how they handle the next level. Some, like Rodriguez and the injured Ian Clarkin and Aaron Judge, may need some more time to get their feet wet and get used to pro ball.