Who’s hot on the farm, May 7th edition

Triple-A Scranton Wilkes-Barre

Mark Payton – Through 18 games, Payton has hit .365/.394/.524/.918 with a homerun and seven doubles. Interestingly enough his walk rate is way down this year. I can’t help but wonder if that extra aggression has helped him break out this year. He will definitely be a fourth outfielder someday, although I doubt it will be for the Yankees unless there is an injury or two.

Dustin Fowler – So far this year he has hit .302/.345/.557/.902 with four homeruns, five doubles, and five triples. He seems to just get better and better every year. In his past 10 games he is on fire. He is 19 for his last 46 (.413). Also, his walk rate is noticeably better than last year. He’s quickly putting himself in the conversation for the top 100 prospects, and also in the running for an outfield spot in the Bronx.

Tyler Wade – He has been the model of consistency since Spring Training. He has a .301/.360/.369/.729 line with three doubles, two triples, and nine SB to just one CS. With all the shortstops ahead and behind him he is going to have a tough time making it as a starter, but he might be able to break in as a utility guy. If not, he might fetch a nice haul in a trade. He too is a borderline top 100 prospect.

Clint Frazier – Yet another Triple-A outfielder who is oh-so-close to being major league ready. With Frazier though, we’re talking about a potential star. He is absolutely on fire in his past ten games, going 12 for his last 36 (.333) with eight walks, and two homeruns. He could still cut down on the strikeouts, but my understanding is that he has been hosed on a significant number of strike three calls this year. On the season he is .269/.371/.516/.887 with 11 doubles and four homers. I suspect those numbers are only going to get better.

Cito Culver – He has shown a surprising power surge to start this season, and at 24 he is just one step away from the majors. I know most fans are disappointed in him as a first round pick, but as a player he has come a long way and is very close to a huge accomplishment in getting a cup of coffee in the majors. On the season he has hit .250/.344/.589/.933 with four doubles and five homeruns. I doubt these numbers are sustainable for him, but he could put himself in the conversation for a utility role with a major league team if he continues to put up gaudy numbers.

Luis Cessa – It’s only a matter of time, in my opinion, until he figures out how to be a useful major leaguer. That may be out of the bullpen, but as of now he’s a starter. He has the stuff to do it, he just has to figure out how to use it to get major league batters out consistently. He’s already done it at every other level. So far this year he has a 1.84 ERA in 29.1 innings in Triple-A. He only has 16 K to 12 BB though, which is the concerning part.

Caleb Smith – Smith has been through quite a lot in the past year. He has been moved back and forth between starter and reliever, and was taken in the rule 5 draft and then returned to the Yankees afterwards. That’s a lot to adjust to, but he has done it so well. So far on the year, he has a 3.67 ERA with 24 K in 27.0 IP and a .172 average against. He has just eight walks, which shows he may have finally overcome his control issues. If so, he could be ready for the majors very soon.

Daniel Camarena – Considered a soft tossing lefty, Camarena actually does sit 90-92 mph with his fastball, which is not really soft tossing for a lefty. So far this year he has thrown 28.1 innings and has a 1.91 ERA with 23 K and just four BB. He’s another guy who could be a great fill in if there’s an injury at the major league level.

Giovanny Gallegos – He is starting to light it up this year. He has kicked it up a notch even compared to last season with his K-rate. He has nearly 16 K/9 innings this year as compared to 12.2 K/9 last year. He will get his chance in the major leagues very soon. I wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up in a similar role to Jonathan Holder by next season.

Double-A Trenton

Mike Ford – He will always be considered a sleeper because he went undrafted, but make no mistake about it this guy can hit. You won’t confuse him for a power hitter, especially not for a first baseman, but he is a patient, contact oriented guy. This year he is .348/.431/.506/.937 with two homeruns, six doubles, and a triple. He is also 16 for his last 33 (.485) with five walks. With the first base situation currently the least certain of any position on the major league roster, a guy like Ford could sneak his way into the conversation.

Jake Cave – He has only played in five games so far, but he has come out swinging. So far he’s hitting .318/.348/.591/.939 with a homerun and three doubles. He’s going to have a lot of trouble cracking the Triple-A rotation, and he’s now a long shot to ever play in the majors for the Yankees. If he keeps playing like this though, someone will find space for him.

Zack Zehner – The Yankees got Zehner in the 18th round in the 2015 draft, and he has been consistent since being drafted. This year he’s continued that consistency, hitting .313/.382/.400/.782 with a homerun, two doubles, and a triple. The one catch here is that Zehner still has yet to show a plus hitting tool. In this system especially, he will have to start showing more power if he wants to continue to advance. He has the size for it.

Thairo Estrada – Still just 21-years-old, Estrada is already excelling at Double-A. That’s huge. He has a .307/.413/.333/.746 line with two doubles so far this year. His power is down so far compared to last season, but he definitely has more pop than people give him credit for. Yet another middle infielder who looks like he’ll be a major league caliber player. The Yankees even have him playing some outfield now, which will only help his chances with the added versatility.

Gleyber Torres – He’s even younger than Estrada, and more exciting. Torres is the best player in this farm system and he’s already showing why that is. He’s .297/.392/.438/.829 with a homerun, four doubles, and a triple. The Yankees view him as a future superstar, and with good reason. He could be ready for the majors as soon as next season.

Chance Adams – He’s had an unbelievable start to his Triple-A career. Adams has a 0.64 ERA with 27 K in 28 innings and a .152 average against. He has had a tremendous career so far, and it looks like he’ll be in Triple-A in short order if things continue to go well. The only catch is that he has struggled with control so far, with 13 walks already. Control has never been a problem for him though, so I suspect this issue will solve itself. With James Kaprielian on the shelf, there is very little that stands between him and the major league rotation.

Domingo German – Speaking of high end prospects off to a tremendous start, German has been on fire. He has a 2.3 ERA with 31 K in 27.1 innings. He has walked nine batters. With his stuff he could be back on the prospect radar in short order if he continues to perform like this.

Justus Sheffield – Yet another high end pitcher succeeding at Double-A. Sheffield has a 3.28 ERA and 25 K in 24.2 innings. He too needs a little work on the control in the early going, and he’s coming off two bad outings. He still is a top 100 prospect though, and as a 20-year-old in Double-A he has plenty of time to figure it out.

Caleb Frare – He’s managed to be successful despite an extremely high walk rate, with a 1.98 ERA and 19 K in just 13.2 innings. The 12 walks are a big problem though, which he will need to get a handle on if he wants to be successful at higher levels. He has a mid-90’s fastball coming from the left side though, so he could be a late inning reliever if he can get it all figured out.

Nestor Cortes – Another young lefty who’s performed well in Double-A, Cortes has a 1.53 ERA and 18 K in 17.2 innings between starting and relief. He too has struggled with control, with 10 walks. He’s generally a soft tosser with excellent secondary offerings and control.

Matt Wotherspoon – A sleeper coming into this year, he may not be one for much longer. With a 1.69 ERA in 10.2 innings and 11 K to just 3 BB, he has been Trenton’s most reliable reliever. He actually has a lot of similarities to David Robertson at similar stages in their careers, but because of the amazing depth in the system currently, he is not even in the top 50.

Cale Coshow – Save for his first outing of the season, Coshow has been phenomenal. In his last nine outings, he has thrown 8.2 innings and let up just one run, while striking out 14. Overall he has a 3.38 ERA with 17 K in 10.2 innings, while walking four. He is currently closing for them, and that is by design. He has late inning reliever stuff.

Colten Brewer – The Yankees got Brewer in the minor league component of the rule 5 draft, and he throws mid-90s. He was a starter last year, but now he’s being used in relief. It seems to suit him well, as he has already earned a promotion. He has a 0.00 ERA and 17 K in 13.1 innings and just one walk. I’m curious to know whether or not he has had an uptick since moving to relief.

High-A Tampa

Nick Solak – The Yankees made a surprising move and placed Solak in High-A in his first full season in the minors. Clearly they think highly of him. He has done well so far, hitting .293/.389/.370/.758 with five doubles and a triple. He is even more on fire in his last nine games, when he has gone 12 for his last 30 (.400) with six walks. His skillset is a lot like Refsnyder’s, but he’s a better second baseman and hopes to have more power. Only time will tell.

Tito Polo – He’s off to a pretty good start this year, but not nearly as good as he was last year. He’s got a .288/.329/.424/.753 line so far. Oddly enough he had 37 SB last year and has just one this year, and his power is down too. He was a good get in the Ivan Nova trade all things considered, although the Pirates are looking like they got a huge bargain now.

Chris Gittens – He’s only played in 14 games so far, but he’s already making an impression. He has a .277/.346/.468/.814 line with two homeruns and three double.  He’s showing solid power so far. We know Gittens can hit, but he’s a bit on the older side for a prospect. He’ll have to continue to show that he can mash at every level if he wants a shot to play in the majors. He does have tremendous power potential at his size though.

Josh Rogers – He has done nothing but perform since being drafted by the Yankees. So far this season he has a 2.53 ERA in 32 IP and 29 K: 5 BB. He’s really proven everything he has to prove at the High-A level at this point. He belongs in Double-A. My guess is he’ll get promoted when they move Adams to Triple-A.

Ian Clarkin – The Yankees just placed him on the DL for an unknown reason, but he had been so good leading up to that point. He has a 2.15 ERA in 29.1 innings with 23 K to 12 BB. Hopefully the DL stint is something minor and doesn’t last long.

Zack Littell – He’s got a 1.71 ERA and 14 K in 21 innings so far. He has just five walks, but his average against is .296, which is a bit high. He may be getting a bit too much of the strike zone, which will hurt him more at higher levels. The Yankees got him for Pazos, whom they probably didn’t have much use for. Littell has the ceiling of a mid-rotation starter.

Jose Mesa Jr. – He had a down year in 2016 mostly due to injuries, but he is back and better than ever in 2017. So far he has 19 K to 1 BB in 12.2 innings, and a 2.13 ERA. At this rate he will not be in High-A long, as he has late inning reliever stuff much like his father. His most recent outing was 3.0 innings, so I’m curious if they are considering stretching him out.

Cody Carroll – His ERA numbers don’t look great so far, but his K numbers are off the charts. He has 22 K to 7 BB in 12.1 innings and a 3.65 ERA. The walks are a concern, especially from a guy who has struggled with control in the past, but the Yankees got a steal in the 22nd round of the 2015 draft. He touches 98 mph with his fastball. He could move quickly if his control progresses.

Erik Swanson – The Yankees got Swanson as part of the Beltran deal, and he was a great acquisition. So far he has just two starts, but has been great in both. He has a 1.5 ERA with 8 K and 3 BB in 12 innings pitched. He is a power pitcher with developing secondary pitches, with a fastball that sits mid 90’s and touches 98 mph.

Andrew Schwaab – He sports a 1.69 ERA and 14 K to 4 BB in 10.2 innings. Over the course of his career, his numbers have been tremendous. I am curious to know what his stuff is like.

Dillon McNamara – 12 innings, 10 K, 2 BB, 0.75 ERA so far this season. I don’t know what the stuff is looking like recently, but I know he was a relatively soft tosser earlier in his career. I’m curious to hear what he looks like now.

Albert Abreu – Abreu had a rough outing in his second start in High-A, but he was off to the races prior to that. He’s thrown 24.2 innings so far this season, and has 28 K to 7 BB. He has an ERA of 2.92 across his five starts. He came over in the Brian McCann deal and so far he’s looking like he’ll be a top 100 guy soon.

Low-A Charleston

Hoy Jun Park – Park has been marvelous so far, with a .360/.447/.517/.963 line. He has three homeruns, three doubles, and a triple with six SB to two CS on the season. He’s off to an unbelievable start and plays a premium position as well. He appears to be well on his way to becoming a top prospect by the end of the season. I also wouldn’t be surprised to see him in High-A Tampa in the not so distant future.

Angel Aguilar – He’s still just 21-years-old, so his hot start is actually meaningful. He’s so far .330/.371/.432/.803 with a homerun and six doubles. It’s not too late for him to become a legitimate prospect, so stay tuned to see how he finishes the season.

Estevan Florial – He had a tough first season in the United States, and playing under the lights for the first time in Pulaski. He appears to have shaken that though and has started off hot in Charleston as just a 19-years-old. He has a .287/.365/.426/.791 line with two homeruns, six doubles, a triple, and five stolen bases. He is striking out too much with 33 K in 27 games so far, but with his 5 tools this is a great start to the season. He’s going to be a fun one to watch develop.

Carlos Vidal – He was only able to get in 19 games last season due to injuries, but he has come back ready in 2017. He has a .279/.347/.302/.650 line so far with one triple. He will look to expand his power numbers as the season goes on. He will also look to get the speed numbers going.

Nick Green – Green got off to a slow start but he has come on with a vengeance. The Yankees got him in the Beltran deal, and he is a very high end arm. So far this season he’s already thrown 31.2 innings, and has 34 K to 13 BB with a 3.13 ERA. He has the potential to be a mid-rotation starter if everything breaks right for him.

Brian Keller – The Yankees got him in the 39th round last year and he was an unbelievable find. He has a low 90’s fastball and three solid secondary offerings. To get that in the 39th round is a coup. He’s already showing he belongs too, with 32 K and a 3.45 ERA in 28.2 innings so far. He has just five walks.

Phillip Diehl – It’s starting to look like the Yankees also got a great deal on this guy in the 27th round. He’s a lefty and has 26 K in 23.1 innings so far with just four walks. He has come mostly in relief but is generally pitching four or five innings per outing. I’m not sure what the stuff is looking like this year but he may be putting himself in the conversation to be a starter.

Adonis Rosa – Rosa had already proved he could handle Low-A last season, but the Yankees have him back there this year. He is flourishing as expected. He’s thrown 20.2 innings in a mix of starting and relief appearances. He’s struck out 28 while walking just 4, and has a .197 average against and a 2.61 ERA. He’s striking out guys at an alarming rate, although his stuff is more low-90’s and above average secondary offerings.

Kolton Mahoney – Until this year, Mahoney has been starting. Perhaps a victim of the incredible depth in the farm system, he is now a reliever for Charleston. It certainly wasn’t for lack of performance, because he pitched really well as a starter.  He has excelled so far in that role. Over 14.1 innings, Mahoney has a 0.63 ERA, 14 K and 6 BB. The walk rate could be better but the rest of his numbers are better than last year across the board. I’m interested to hear if his stuff has ticked upward in a relief role. When he was in the Cape Cod League he sat 92-94 in relief.

Anyelo Gomez – Gomez has been ripping apart hitters this year. After finally being moved into the bullpen, I think he will now move quickly through the system. He had 95-96 mph velocity as a starter, so he might be even higher in relief. He has 13 innings of relief under his belt, and has struck out 20 while walking just three in that time. He is their closer and has saved 6/6 opportunities. His ERA is 2.08. If he continues to perform this well up the ladder he has late inning relief written all over him.

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9 Responses to Who’s hot on the farm, May 7th edition

  1. Jim says:

    For AAA, Ji-Man Choi should be mentioned. The 25 year old Lefty batting first baseman is hitting .369 and has 13 RBIs & 14 runs. 12 walks get his OBP to .457.

    • I generally leave out minor league free agent acquisitions unless I think something has changed with them to make them a prospect and not just a space filler.

  2. Kenneth G Brown says:


  3. buckeye balls says:

    can Ford field well?

  4. buckeye balls says:

    So with the on base average and some recent power-he sounds like a legit prospect to me.

    • gcorcoran says:

      Some would consider him a legit prospect. It's tough considering he has Bird and Austin ahead of him and Chris Gittens right behind him. He also is an undrafted free agent and has a short, stumpy stature. Right now he is proving everyone wrong though and I hope he continues.

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