The Yankees have the best record in the Florida State League (57-44, .564 %).
The offense was led by secondbase prospect, Corban Joseph, who was just promoted to Double-A Trenton. The 21-year old righty led the team in OPS (.302/.378/.436/.814), walks, hits, doubles and total bases. He was drafted in the fourth round of the 2008 draft out of Franklin High School in Tennessee. His defense is apparently nothing special (he also plays some thirdbase), but his bat has steadily improved each year - age 19, GCL Yankees, .793 OPS; age 20, Low-A Charleston, .799 OPS; age 21, High-A Tampa, .814 OPS. That may not seem high to lead a team, but considering The M is a pitcher's park in a pitcher's league, it's nothing to scoff at.
Another hitter worth mentioning is 23-year old Melky Mesa. The center (and occasional right) fielder - known more for his arm prior to this season - has also improved with each move up the organizational ladder. He's currently having his best year, showing the kind of power the Yankees hoped for when they signed him out of the Dominican Republic in 2003. He leads the team in homers (15), RBI (58), runs (64), slugging (.469) and stolen bases (28), but also strikeouts (101). Things would be looking up for Mesa right now except that he's a bit old for the league.
The pitchers have been led by a few guys, namely Graham Stoneburner (English for 'Steinbrenner'), Adam Warren, Pat Venditte, Craig Heyer, Andrew Brackman and Dellin Betances.
Stoneburner is having the best overall season, tied for the team lead in strikeouts, second in innings, with a WHIP under 1.00. Warren and Brackman were promoted to Trenton a few weeks back.
July 27: 12-2 loss to the Charlotte Stone Crabs
Charlotte teed off against top prospect Manny Banuelos. The Mexican southpaw is young for the league (19) and missed most of the season with an appendectomy. His first appearance with Tampa came in early July. This was Man-Ban's worst start of the year but he still has tremendous numbers overall, especially for a teenager: 27.1 ip, 2.30 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 38 K, 9 BB.
2B CoJo, 2-4, 2B
SS Jose Pirela, 2-4, R
CF Mesa, 0-3, 3 K, sac fly
3B Brad Suttle, 1-3, BB, R
July 28: 3-0 win over Charlotte
A pitching duel in which neither team scored until the eighth. Dellin Betances started and was excellent: 6 ip, 0 r, 4 h, 2 bb, 5 k. The Yanks scored all three runs in the eighth on RBIs by C Mitch Abeita, RF Ray Kruml and SS Jose Pirela. Switch-pitcher Pat Venditte* threw two shutout innings and Jon Ortiz closed it out.
LHP/RHP Venditte: 2 ip, 0 r, 1 h, 0 bb, 4 k
C Mitch Abeita, 2-3, R, RBI
RF Zoilo Almonte, 1-3, 3B, K
July 29: 10-1 win over Charlotte
Again, a match dominated by Tampa pitching. 22-year old southpaw Shaeffer Hall threw five scoreless frames, followed by Adam Olbrychowski (2 ip, 1 er) and John Van Benschoten (2 ip, 0 r).
Melky Mesa had a huge game (4-5, 2 HR, 3B, 5 RBI, 2 SB). Catcher Jose Gil went 3-4 with a double and a steal.
July 30: 9-6 loss to Charlotte
A sub-par outing for Stoneburner (5 ip, 3 er, 7 h, 2 bb, 4 k), followed by poor performances from every reliever but one - the only pitcher with a scoreless outing was Amaury Sanit, who closed out the match.
SS Pirela, 2-4, 3B, throwing error
CF Mesa, 2-5
RF Jack Rye, 2-4, 2 HR
3B Walter Ibarra, 2-4, 2B, CS
July 31: 9-5 win over the Fort Myers Miracle
Craig Heyer got the win despite a shaky start (5.1 ip, 5 r, 4 er, 8 h, 0 bb, 4 k) because the offense exploded and relievers Noel Castillo and Pat Venditte shut down Fort Myers the rest of the way.
Melky continued to tear the cover off the ball: 3-4, HR, 2B, BB, 3 RBI, SB
C Gil, 2-5, R, RBI, K
LF Rye, 2-4, 2B, R, RBI, BB, K
August 1: 1-0 win over Fort Myers in 12 innings
This game was suspended due to rain and finished yesterday. Manny Banuelos started but was pulled after one inning (apparently due to the weather). Van Benschoten, Olbrychowski, Sanit, Trenton Lare and Ortiz combined with Man-Ban for the 12-inning shutout.
The lone run scored on a Gil walk, Rye single, Pirela groundout and Suttle (3-6 in the game) sac-fly.
August 2: 7-0 win over Fort Myers
This was easily Dellin Betances' best start of the year: 6 ip, 0 r, 1 h, 1 bb, 11 k, lowering his team leading ERA to 1.26. He hasn't conceded more than two earned runs in any game this year (out of 11). He also hasn't allowed more than three walks or five hits in any game. Betances is too good for the FSL, but considering he got a late start due to injury, they'll probably keep him there the rest of the season considering there's only a month left.
Mesa homered again, putting him second in the league.
LF Kruml, 3-5, 2B, 3B, 2 R, 2 RBI
RF Almonte, 2-4, 3B, BB
2B Ibarra, 2-4, CS
Kruml: 6-22, .273/.333/.409, 2B, 3B, 6 k, 2 bb, 5 sb
Pirela: 5-29, .172/.273/.241, 3B, 6 k, 4 bb
Suttle: 10-32, .313/.389/.344, 2B, 9 k, 4 bb
Mesa: 11-31, .355/.375/.742, 3B, 2B, 3 HR, 10 k, 1 bb, 4 sb, 1 cs
Almonte: 4-23, .174/.269/.348, 2 3B, 4 k, 3 bb, 1 sb
Leslie: 4-18, .222/.333/.278, 2B, 5 k, 3 bb, 2 sb
Rye: 6-19, .316/.381/.632, 2 HR, 3 k, 2 bb, 1 sb
Ibarra: 6-17, .353/.353/.412, 3 k, 0 bb, 0 sb, 1 cs
* Venditte should have been promoted long ago. He leads the team in strikeouts (despite being a reliever) and WHIP (.839), is second in ERA (1.61), and is K'ing six for every batter he walks. There is no reason he shouldn't be in Trenton. If the Yankee brass thinks he's all smoke and mirrors, move him up so we can find out. They've been extremely conservative with him so far and he's already 25 in High-A. He's dominated every level he's been at. He has a career 1.56 ERA, .910 WHIP and six K/BB. He's not learning anything destroying FSL hitters. A move to Trenton would give us a much better idea of his long-term viability.
You might say they're keeping him in A-ball to inflate his numbers for a possible trade. Maybe... except whenever names are brought up in trade talk, his is never mentioned. I've never heard his name once mentioned in trade rumors, so I don't think that's the case. Why did they draft him to let him wallow in the low minors when he's clearly head and shoulders above the competition? It's mystifying.