BBDP: Who’s hot Mid-May edition

greg bird


Jose Pirela is 12 for his last 38 (.316) with a double, triple, and a homerun in his last 10 games. His OPS is .815 during that time. That brings his season total to .266/.287/.387/.674. He still has a long way to go, but he’s starting to heat up a bit. After what he did in Spring Training if he keeps this up he’s one injury away from getting a shot at the real deal.

Chase Whitley has really come a long way in one season. This time last year he was a reliever fighting for a chance to get a spot in the major league bullpen. Tomorrow he will start for the New York Yankees and look to make an impression. He had 6.2 innings, 3 hits, 0 ER, and 11 K in his last start. Overall on the season he is 3-2 with a 2.39 ERA and 32 K in 26.2 IP. Hard to believe he was a career reliever in the minors and now has a shot to be a part of the rotation in the majors.

Mark Montgomery followed up his three game slump with three gems. He hasn’t allowed a hit in his last three outings in relief, striking out one each time. At this rate the Yankees will have to give him a shot soon. On the season he has a 1.53 ERA and 19 K in 17.2 IP.

Branden Pinder is even hotter than Montgomery this season. He has 20 IP, 21 K, and a 0.56 ERA. In three relief appearances for Triple-A he has not let up an earned run. His stuff is excellent, with mid 90’s heat and excellent secondary offerings. He has big league bullpen written all over him.

Jose Ramirez is back! Although his most recent outing was shaky, he still had three strikeouts in 1.1 IP. In three appearances his has a 2.7 ERA and six strikeouts in 3.1 IP. He could be the next Dellin Betances in the majors. He definitely has the stuff.


Robert Refsnyder has been on a tear. He’s 11 for his last 27 (.407). You have to like what he’s doing here especially with an impending vacancy at second base next year. He’s a serious candidate to take that position if the Yankees give him an opportunity, and more importantly if he perfects his craft at second.

You cannot stop Peter O’Brien, you can only hope to contain him. He has 14 homeruns already, and 10 doubles to go along with it. His OPS on the season is 1.049, and a promotion to Double-A has not slowed him down at all. He already has four homeruns in just five games at this level. He is tied for the lead in the entire minor leagues. At this point he has to be on the radar for the top 100 prospects in the game.

Manny Barreda is coming off of two solid outings in relief. With his upper 90’s heat it’s just a matter of control for him. Opposing hitters are batting just .182 against him. There are so many promising bullpen arms in this system right now.


Greg Bird picked up right where he left off last season in Tampa. In six games so far he has a homerun and three doubles, with three walks. He is batting .409/.480/.682/1.162. It’s a small sample size but he appears ready to take High-A by storm. His power is real and I expect him to hit double digit homeruns again this year even in a shortened season.

Zach Wilson was mentioned in the last edition and he has not slowed down since then. He is 11 for his last 34 (.324). If he keeps it up he may be a guy who sneaks onto the prospect radar by the end of the season.

Jake Cave is not at all phased by High-A pitching. He is getting better as the season goes on. He’s 16 for his last 41 (.390) with two homeruns in his last 10 games. Overall he’s .314/.359/.436/.795 on the season. He’s already matched his homerun total from last season, so his power is progressing even better than expected. I expect big things going forward from him. He’s got above average speed too, so expect the stolen base total to eclipse 15 on the season.

Dan Camarena is really making an impression in High-A. He has let up two earned runs or less in all but one of his eight appearances in the season, and he is striking guys out at a decent rate. He is one of the most polished pitchers the system has to offer, and he’s lefty. I wouldn’t be surprised if his ERA on the season ends up being close to 2.0. He may not blow you away on the radar, but he’s going to put the ball somewhere opposing players can’t make hard contact.

On the opposite side of the spectrum you have Rafael DePaula, who represents a guy with great stuff, but is still pretty raw. He has 40 K in 31.1 IP, and a 3.45 ERA. If he starts to harness his stuff better and gains control, he’s going to be tough to hit.

Don’t look now but after a rough start James Pazos hasn’t let up a run in his last five appearances. He has eight strikeouts over his last 7.1 IP, and he is a guy who really brings the heat from the left side. Upper 90’s from a lefty reliever is a hot commodity and by the end of the season his ERA is going to reflect just how good his stuff is. He has just three hits and one walk over that time.

Nick Rumbelow got the early promo to High-A with good reason. He hasn’t let up a run in 10 innings so far this season. He has 20 K in 10 innings, and has let up just four hits and four walks. Opposing batters have a .114 average against him. Next big time reliever? I think so.

Low-A Charleston

Mike Ford has been Charleston’s most consistent bat so far this season. Over his last 10, he’s 11/37 so he hasn’t let up. He is a patient hitter and has seven walks in the last 10 games too. Overall he’s .317/.401/.455/.867. His four homeruns are nothing to scoff at either. It’ll be interesting to see how he’s viewed by the end of the season after being signed as an undrafted free agent.

If you are in Charleston’s rotation, you are probably pitching well right now. Brady Lail has let up four runs total in his last four outings and 22.0 IP. He has 19 K during that time, and most recently had a stellar 6.0 inning, nine strikeout performance. He is rising fast.

Luis Severino touched 99 mph in his last outing. He has a 1.95 ERA on the season so far and 38 K in 37.0 IP. He’s a beast and he knows it. His secondary pitches are coming along, and he is a strikeout machine. By the end of the season he may be considered the best pitching prospect in the system… but not if Ian Clarkin has anything to say about it.

Clarkin already has 14 K in 15.2 IP, with only two walks. Opposing hitters have a .190 average against him in three games. He hasn’t let up more than one earned run in an outing yet, and his stuff matches his performance. Look out, the Yankees have another young stud pitcher in the system.

Caleb Smith has been even more impressive numbers wise. He has 36 K in 32.1 IP, and is the owner of a 0.84 ERA. Don’t be surprised to see him in High-A sooner rather than later. Opposing hitters have a .168 average against him, so if he improves his control he’s going to be a tough guy to get around on. He simply is overwhelming Low-A hitters right now.

Giovanny Gallegos is flying under the radar, which is right where he wants to be. He doesn’t seek out the spotlight, but his numbers will pop out at you. He has 32.1 IP on the young season, and hasn’t let up an earned run in his last three appearances. He has 32 K on the season.

That wraps up this week’s version of “Who’s hot on the farm?” Tune in next week as Slade Heathcott returns from injury and Bryan Mitchell gets fully unleashed on Double-A hitters.

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4 Responses to BBDP: Who’s hot Mid-May edition

  1. tom says:

    What about Joel De La Cruz? What is his stuffs? Considering low HR and K, he throws a heavy sinker?

    I would not want to see Yankees call either Banuelos, Mitchell and Greene until September. All of them need to stretch out for 100 pitch basis. Just in case if Yankees could not revive the rotation.

    Knowing Girardi, Whitley won't reach 90-100 pitches tonight. However, Good Luck, Whitley.

    • gcorcoran says:

      As far as I know, De La Cruz has always been considered an organizational arm. That said, I don't know what his stuff looks like this year. It is certainly possible he took a big jump forward and is now a guy to watch out for.

      I agree with you on Banueos, Mitchell, and Greene. I think they all need seasoning right now.

  2. Evan says:

    Kyle roller gets no respect but hey it's all good …..check his numbers out

    • gcorcoran says:

      Roller was in last week's article. If you look at his recent performance he has tailed off. Of course he hit a homerun today and you can't expect a guy to immediately dominate a new level. I think he'll be just fine and will make several more appearances in this column before the season is through.

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