Jose Pirela has been consistently good all season. His last 10 games are no exception, where he’s .286/.333/.548/.881 with three homeruns in the last five games. His season total is .320/.361/.466/.827 with seven homeruns and 10 SB. Those numbers would look great in the Yankees lineup right now. Brian Roberts has been better lately, but if things start to go south again or there is an injury, he should be the first one called up.
At 23, Robert Refsnyder is now actually young for his level. His last 10 games have shown that he’s ready too. He has batted .375/.512/.625/1.137 during that stretch with three doubles, a triple, and a homerun. On the season between Double-A and Triple-A he is now .333/.389/.533/.921 with seven homeruns. That’s a phenomenal line for a second baseman. He’s another one who is knocking on the door to the majors. Between him and Pirela, at the very least I would say this is Brian Roberts’ last season in pinstripes.
Matt Thornton has been much better recently for the Yankees, and is looking like a great pickup at this point. Francisco Rondon is still sitting in Triple-A and waiting for an opportunity though, and he has pitched quite well in his role there. He has a 0.79 ERA in seven appearances across 11.1 innings. During that time he has struck out 10 batters and walked six. He needs to cut down on the walks going forward. If he continues to be this effective, however, he will be tough to ignore as a hard throwing lefty out of the pen.
Ben Gamel has continued his consistency this season and has been ripping the ball for the past five games. He’s eight for his last 21 (.381) with four doubles and a triple in his last five games. That brings his season total to .283/.322/.374/.697. He looks like he is about to go on a tear, which would be nice to see from Gamel. We’re still waiting on the power to show up, but if the last five games are any indicator, that could be coming very soon.
Gary Sanchez was benched 15 days ago for disciplinary reasons. It appears that has been the turning point in the season for him. In his past seven games, he has started to turn his average season around. If he keeps it up his season will go from average to exceptional. He’s 12 for his last 28 (.428) with two homeruns and a double. Hopefully this is a sign of things to come. He does already have nine homers on the year, which puts him on pace for a respectable 18-20 on the year. As a catcher, that wouldn’t be half bad.
Tyler Austin has been quietly picking it up lately. In his last 10 games he’s 12/36 (.333) with an .801 OPS. He has three doubles in his past four games and has hits in all but one of the last 10. It would be really nice to see him get it going in the second half. It would be huge for the Yankees as most have all but given up on Heathcott and Mason Williams.
Another guy who has quietly put together some good appearances recently is Matt Tracy. He has a 2.08 ERA in his last 42 and 2/3 innings with 21 K and 10 walks. Overall he has done quite well and is having a nice season. If he keeps this up he will be knocking on the door for the rotation next season.
Since he got roughed up in his first appearance in Double-A, James Pazos has been excellent. He’s looking like a guy who could be an option for the bullpen for the major league team as soon as next season. Over his last six appearances and 8 and 1/3 innings pitched, he has struck out 11 and let up just one earned run, good for a 1.1 ERA. I’m really high on him as a reliever and I look forward to seeing how high he can climb as a hard throwing lefty who has reached 98-99 mph with the fastball.
Moving down to High-A, there are several players making noise at this level. Jake Cave went 5/6 in his most recent game bringing his season average to .308. He’s still looking to find some power, but he is 16 for his last 44 (.364) and has six walks in his last 10 games (.440 OBP).
Despite missing the first month of the season, Greg Bird has really picked it up recently. He is 15 for his last 35 (.429) with seven doubles in the last 10 games. His OPS is up to .829 on the season. Overall his quad slash is .284/.384/.445/.829. It was only a matter of time before he started hitting, and he is well on his way to taking the next step in his development.
Matt Snyder has even less games on the season than Greg Bird (32), but he is starting to rip the ball as well. He is 12 for his last 38 (.316) and the ball is starting to travel off his bat, as he has a homerun and a double in his last two games. He’s old for the level, so hopefully this is his way of showing he’ll be ready for Double-A soon.
One thing I never realized about Miguel Sulbaran is that he is lefty and he is just 20 years old. With those facts in mind, he has done a fantastic job this year and could actually be a legitimate prospect going forward. Apparently he has a low 90’s fastball with a good curve and a developing slider and changeup. He now has 50.2 IP on the season with 31 K and a 3.02 ERA. He has just one earned run in his last four starts. Given his age, this kid has the potential to turn into something special down the line.
Jaron Long is a guy who has really surprised everyone this year. His stuff is not that great but he makes it work. He has four starts in High-A so far and has performed well. His ERA is 3.38 so far with 17 K in 18.2 IP with just three walks.
Another recent promotion from Charleston is Luis Severino. He has not disappointed. In his second appearance in High-A, he struck out six in 6.0 shutout innings. He has 14 K in 10.2 innings so far in High-A and is also just 20 years old. Top 100 here comes Luis.
Tyler Wade has been so consistent for Low-A Charleston. In his last 10 he has had a hit in all but two games, and is 10 for his last 33 (.303). He is also getting on base like a maniac, with 10 walks. This puts him at 36 on the season. He has four steals in his last 10 games as well. With him it’s just a wait and see game with the power.
Dustin Fowler has already shown he can hit for power. In fact, in his last 10 games he’s batting .395/.410/.816/1.226. He has three homeruns, five doubles, and a triple in that time. He’s basically the hottest player on the farm. Of concern, he left yesterday’s game after just one at bat. Aside from that though, this kid is well on his way to a major breakout season if he can stay healthy.
Michael O’Neill also continues to swing a hot bat. He has three doubles and two homers in the last 10 games, and is hitting .278/.422/.528/.950 for the past 10 games. He has started to cut down on his strikeouts, which was a major flaw in his game before.
Ian Clarkin has had just one bad start since the start of the season. Since then he has been consistent and overall his numbers look great on the season. He has 50 K in 46.2 IP, and has a 3.47 ERA in exactly 10 starts. His most recent two starts have been gems, totaling 10 IP with 13 K and just one earned run allowed.
The short season leagues have seen several players get off to hot start. Ty McFarland, 10th rounder out of James Madison University, is off to a hot start to his career. He’s big for a second baseman, and bats lefty, so maybe that bodes well for him. So far he’s 12/37 (.324) with four doubles and a triple. Good to see his early success.
Chris Breen is also hitting well to start the season, 12 for his first 38 (.316) with three doubles and two triples. He also already has seven walks. That’s good for a .926 OPS so far.
Devyn Bolasky, the light hitting OF the Yankees picked up in the 31st round, is off to a good start as well. He is 7/24 (.292) with a triple and three SB.
I’ll hold off on making any judgments on the GCL, since we are only five games in, but Jorge Mateo, Simon De la Rosa, Angel Aguilar, Dominic Jose, Dalton Smith, Alexander Palma, Junior Valera, Allen Valerio, Frank Frias, and Wilmer Romero are all off to good starts in one way or another.
Overall there’s not a ton of excitement on the farm right now, but once the GCL gets into full swing, and the July 2nd opening of the IFA signing period comes along, things should pick up quite a bit.