Who’s hot on the farm : August 16th edition 15


High-A Tampa Yankees

Tim Lynch – 24-years-old, 1B – Lynch really came out of nowhere when Chris Gittens went down with injury. He played so well he ensured that when Gittens returned, the Yankees still continue to find playing time for him. In 48 games, Lynch has a .311/.375/.572/.947 line with 11 homeruns, 12 doubles and a triple. He has a good contact rate with just 37 K. Overall he is hitting like a 24-year-old first baseman should be hitting in High-A, and Double-A will be the real test. He definitely passed his first test though, and as a player in his first season as a pro in High-A, that’s still impressive. By the way, he hasn’t slowed down since Gittens returned, hitting .410 with five doubles and a homerun in his last 10 games.

Estevan Florial – 19-years-old, OF – He hasn’t let his promotion to High-A slow him down one bit, although neither have his strikeouts. He sports a .306/.386/.429/.815 line with one double, one triple, and one homerun in 12 High-A games. He also already has five stolen bases. That brings his season line to .298/.374/.476/.850 with 12 homeruns, 22 doubles, six triples, and 22 SB. This kid is a potential star in the making, doing all of this as a 19-year-old. Could be the Yankees’ centerfielder of the future if he can cut down on those strikeouts in the years to come.

Donny Sands – 21-years-old, C – Although he has hit reasonably well, the most important stats to look at with Donny are his defensive stats. He just started catching full time last season, and has just 103 career games under his belt at the position. He seems, however, to be learning relatively quickly. Last season, in the rookie leagues, he let up 27 steals and threw out just 6 guys. That’s just an 18.1% CS rate, not very good. He also had 14 passed balls in just 20 games. That is a lot! This season, he has 23 passed balls in 84 games, a much better rate, although still too much. He also has 36 CS and 106 SB against. That’s a much more respectable 25.5% CS percentage. The important thing is those numbers are trending in the right direction. With continued coaching, direction, and hard work I expect those numbers to improve even more. Offensively, Sands has been playing well recently. Since his promotion, he is hitting .296/.333/.407/.741 with three doubles in seven games. With his size and natural hitting ability, the hope is he will develop some power with time, and that the catching will come around.

Gosuke Katoh – 22-years-old, 2B – I don’t know if I’d go as far as to say that Katoh is this year’s Kyle Higashioka. He definitely fits the description of a forgotten man who has unexpectedly rekindled his value this year though. In 73 games this season, Katoh has hit .290/.380/.432/.812 with six homeruns, 15 doubles, and two triples while stealing 11 bases and striking out 67 times. Those are actually excellent numbers, and they come as a surprise. He has always had the tools, including a sweet lefty swing, patience, and the height for some power projection with plus speed. It has taken him a few years, but he’s finally putting those tools together. He has done so while playing every position in the infield this season, building his value as a utility player. He’s back on the map, although he has a lot of work to do to stay there. He’s hitting .300 with one homerun in his last 10 games too.

Chris Gittens – 23-years-old, 1B – Gittens is playing some catchup after missing a big chunk of the season, but he’s picked up right where he left off. On the season, he has a .279/.387/.474/.862 line with 10 homers and 12 doubles in just 62 games. That’s some legit power from a guy who has the size to believe it’s real (6-foot-4, 250-pounds). In his last eight games, he is six for 25 (.240) with eight walks (.424 OBP) and three homeruns (.600 SLG, 1.024 OPS). It’ll be fun to see what he can do once he is truly tested in Double-A, probably next season.

Kyle Holder – 23-years-old, SS – After a putrid start, and by putrid I mean 1/34, and then five for his first 61 (.082 BA), Holder has really turned his season around. His numbers are still pretty bad, but when you consider how bad that slump was he has come a long way. The average has climbed all the way to .245, and his contact, walk, and power numbers are very similar to last season with the exception of the first 61 at bats. In fact, if you take away those at bats he has a .277/.342/.356/.698. Still nothing to really write home about, but much more in line with what you would accept from possibly the top shortstop defensively in the entire minor leagues. Moreover, he has been much better in his last 10 games, where he is 16 for 46 (.348) with five doubles, a walk, and a stolen base. That’s good for a .348/.362/.457/.818 line during that time. He’ll have to improve upon all of his numbers greatly to be a major league option, but the road to a major league role just got a lot easier for him with Jorge Mateo out of the picture. Hopefully he finishes the season strong to end on a high note.

Taylor Widener – 22-years-old, RHP – Widener was supposed to be this year’s Chance Adams. In some ways, he has lived up to that billing. He has done reasonably well in his first season as a full time starter. Last year he was mostly a reliever, and in college he was used in both roles. Overall he has 115 K and a 3.62 ERA in 109.1 innings, the first time he has ever thrown this many. He also has a .202 average against. He has, however, let up 48 walks, which is a lot. Over his last 10 starts, he has continued to walk a lot of batters, but he has an ERA of just 3.18 and has struck out 49 in 45.1 innings. It’s clear that he has great stuff, if he can improve his control next season he could be one of the great steals of the 2016 draft, and could be a middle of the rotation starter.

Erik Swanson – 23-years-old, RHP – With the exception of one start, during which he let up nine runs in 2.2 innings, Swanson has been stellar in his last 10 starts. Even with that start, he has a 3.49 ERA and 40 K : 5 BB in his last 49 innings. On the season he has a respectable 3.86 ERA and 65 K. Given that he is a ground ball pitcher, his ERA and average against should improve as he gets to higher levels. The Yankees picked up Swanson in the Beltran trade, and he is a hard throwing guy (up to 98 mph) with a major league slider and a developing changeup, which is the key to him remaining a starter.

Dillon Tate – 23-years-old, RHP – Tate has quickly compiled 64.1 innings in his return from injury, and he has done quite well during that time. With less than a month left in the season, he will hope to finish strong. He appears to be back to the guy he was before 2016, which was a guy who was good enough to be taken fourth overall by Texas. He has struck out 48 and walked just 19, while holding opponents to a .227 average over his 10 starts. He made his first start for Trenton on the 12th, so he doesn’t belong here, but he’s a guy who could be back in the top 100 after this season, and could be playing in the Bronx sometime next year.

Brian Kelller – 23-years-old, RHP – By far the best value pick the Yankees got in the 2016 draft was Brian Keller in the 39th round. He went from a draft afterthought to a guy who has become a huge asset on an already strong farm. He’s a Low-ceiling, high-floor kind of guy, but with a 90-93 mph fastball and three high quality secondary pitches with excellent control, he has had tremendous success so far. He’s got a 3.07 ERA and 145 K : 25 BB in 132 innings so far this year, but he’s been even better over his last 10 starts. During that stretch, he has a 2.39 ERA with 70 K : 12 BB in 60.1 innings. At this point you have to take him seriously, and even more wonder whether he has had an uptick in stuff.


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15 thoughts on “Who’s hot on the farm : August 16th edition

  • Steve S.

    Nice breakdown, Greg. It appears Widener has the best stuff of the bunch, but like Adams has that control bugaboo. He's got to fix that to be successful. Keller, as he has been all season is very intriguing. He's only had one bad start at Tampa (his first) and as you say has been increasingly dominant as he's moved along. The strikeout to walk ratio is very impressive. His control is a major asset. It will be interesting to see how he does at Trenton and above. Likewise it will be interesting to see how Tate does and if his renaissance is for real. The middle infield depth is amazing! With Estrada and Solak thriving at Trenton and now Katoh emerging it's becoming a real puzzle how to resolve the logjam. Man, with what they have on the 25 man and all this quality in the minors they are loaded. I might even be forgetting someone. I'm leery of Holder ever being a real factor. Reminds me too much of Brendan Ryan.

  • Jim

    Great breakdown, thank you.

    Florial being the only under 20 on the list and much mentioned at the trade deadline is of course the most interesting prospect.

  • Fuwar

    Yeah, whats gonna happen with all the Rule 5 eligible dudes? You got Estrada, wade, Katoh and gittens all gonna be eligible. Not to mention the guaranteed resigning of Didi and most likeley a contract with Toe. There has got to be some kind of resolve here? Cut Culver, Solano, and some other middle infielders? How does Castro play in the mix?

    • tom

      Wade, Sir Didi, Toe and Castro are on 40r and neither of them will become a FA after this season. Estrada and Katoh are making a case for 40r or prospect laddering motion.

    • gcorcoran

      I don't think they would put Katoh on the 40 man. He's only done well in High-a and not good enough IMO to stick on a major league roster yet. He's also not the kind of high end Luis Torrens type prospect that a team would think is worth stashing away for a year just to keep.

    • Steve S.

      The Torres injury muddled things a little. If he had been healthy all year the immediate future would be clearer. I think they should trade Castro. He's was pretty durable until late last year, but hamstrings are a tricky thing. If they come back too soon (as he did) they can become chronic and require surgery to fix. That's why they're being so cautious with him now. All that aside, I think a package with him as the centerpiece can bring back really good value. I would like to see Torres at 2nd and Andujar at 3rd next season, but I doubt the season starts that way. If Andujar can fix his erratic defense he could be very, very good. I also think Torreyes has made Wade expendable. Wade can play the outfield which is a plus, but will he hit? I know when he was promoted to Trenton a few years ago, he had a lot of problems at first, but the next year he was much better. He's had a very limited opportunity here so it's unfair to judge him. But where can he really fit with Torreyes doing so well. Torreyes is so scrappy and competent around the infield. He's a jewel. About the only thing that annoys me about him is his lack of patience at the plate. They guy just hacks away. In my mind another major issue is how to handle Estrada and Solak. I think Estrada really has the goods and Solak reminds me of Dustin Fowler in a way. Just keeps working at warp speed all the time to get the most out of himself. Has used the the pressure of competition to get the most out of himself. Much like Fowler as opposed to Clint Frazier and more so Aaron Hicks, but that's another subject.

  • tom

    Do Widener and Adams have similar stuffs? Adams does not walk that much but has no strike zone control so what is the difference between them?

    • gcorcoran

      Not so much similar stuff, but definitely similar ceilings. They are more just both guys who greatly exceeded the expectations that were laid out for them by pundits when they were drafted.

  • tom

    OTT, Hal said it would be a failure if Yankees didn't make it to playoff. What the hell does it mean? Forget about luxury tax bs next year if they concluded the regular season only?

  • Jerry

    The Yankees looked like a lock the first couple of months to make the playoffs and I still believe they will get in, I just don't know how far they can go. The Yankees company line has always been it's a failure if they don't win the World Series. Since we were 15 games over 500 we have had a losing record the last couple of months. Not very good. ….. But no doubt they want to be under the cap. I don't think this year affects next year's salary cap. We are still lacking big time in our pitching. The biggest problem to me is Tanaka not pitching like Tanaka. If he could get his act together for the next six weeks, that would go a long way in determining how much better the Yankees could be. Severino, Tanaka and Gray is a is a pretty good start.

  • garyb

    (Fri 8/18/17) Just like the song "Slip Sliding Away" As long as Girardi & his equally inept pitching coaches are at the helm of the "Good Ship Lolley-Pop" the Yankees will continue their self destruction and playoff elimination. BUT HEY.. there's always next year right? Come Sunday Sales could put the final nail in the coffin of the Yankees 2017 season. Thank You "Tight Pockets Hal". In reality it is probably too late to salvage this season. Girardi & His Clowns should have been fired following their West Coast "Waterloo" Debacle They weren't and here we are. GO YANKEES. They Win in spite of ownership /mgr and LOSE because of them.

    • Jack

      I totally agree with your comments. If the bean counter and arrogant Cashman would have gotten Sale as I have said since he was available , the Yanks would have been leading the division. You better believe that GEORGEwould have never been outbid by any team and most assuredly not by the Red Sox. Through in clueless joe and you have recipe for disaster. I wish they would all the team to someone like Mr. Mark Cuban who wants to win. I am sick of hearing about the F—-in luxury tax!!!