ESPN's Keith Law stopped by Joseph P. Riley Park and took in a Sally League game on Saturday night in Charleston between the RiverDogs (Yankees' Low-A affiliate) and the Augusta GreenJackets (Giants' Low-A affiliate). In addition to checking out the talent, Law also tried out The Joe's newest concession sensation, beer milkshakes. Apparently, the Guinness milkshake is Keith Law-approved, so check that out if you are ever in Charleston for a game. Law scouted some of the more popular Yankee prospects that were playing that night. His complete thoughts are available via ESPN Insider (subscription required), but here is a brief summary of what Law saw during the game.
Jose Campos was the starting pitcher for the RiverDogs Saturday night, and Law noted that his velocity is not where it was before his injury last season. Campos' command was "below-average" and the arm action may prove to be a problem that causes him to have continued injuries down the road. That's obviously not what you want to hear about the only thing that may come from the Jesus Montero trade if Michael Pineda can't return to his pre-torn labrum form; but Campos is just getting back to pitching after an extended absence, so there's reason to hope he'll continue to improve and get back to the promising prospect that had people calling him the potential gem of the deal with the Mariners.
Even though Dante Bichette has shown some early power, Law didn't have high praise for the third base prospect coming off a rough season. DBJ is "a mess on offense and defense", which shouldn't really be the case for a guy that is repeating Low-A this season. There's still time for him to turn it around, but his successful season in Rookie ball is looking like more of the exception than the rule for Bichette right now, and that is really unfortunate. Fellow struggling infielder Cito Culver also got a mention from Law, but his evaluation wasn't positive either. Even his good swings fail to get the ball out of the infield and his base running has regressed, according to Law. Hopefully the fact that Culver has now abandoned switch hitting will help him improve his weak-hitting tendencies.
Yeicok Calderon, Evan Rutckyj, and Greg Bird were the only other RiverDogs to really get a mention for their play that night, and only Calderon received more than a passing mention of praise. Law did mention that Rutckyj might be able to make it as a middle reliever in the majors, but he was not impressed with Bird's three strikeouts in which he looked like he couldn't pick up the ball. Calderon, however, drew positive comments for his bat speed and good arm; though, Law mentioned that pitchers were able to blow him away at the plate with their velocity.
Well, all that is a little unfortunate. Anytime a respected prospect evaluator checks out your farm system, you hope they come away with more positive comments than Law had for the RiverDogs. If there is a silver lining, it's that the bulk of the Yankees' talent is at High-A Tampa and Double-A Trenton. If Law had had similar comments a year ago when Gary Sanchez, Mason Williams, and Tyler Austin were all in Charleston, I'd be more concerned. Sure, it would be nice if Campos came back and lit the world on fire and if Dante Bichette Jr. was already making it seem like last year was a fluke. However, I believe the state of the farm system is still okay. If the names were different, then it might be time to get a little concerned. At least the beer milkshakes were good.
More From Pinstriped Bible