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Yankees Prospects: Week two minor league review

Several good pitching performances and a great opening series for Spencer Jones were highlights of last week.

Syndication: Poughkeepsie Journal
Spencer Jones
Patrick Oehler/Poughkeepsie Journal / USA TODAY NETWORK

All of the Yankees affiliates were at last in action this week, but only the Triple-A RailRiders played a full six-game series. The other clubs opened with three-game sets over the weekend. We’ll get a full slate of games for all the clubs this week, but for now, let’s recap last week’s action.

Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders

Record: 5-3 after winning four of six from Lehigh Valley (Phillies)

Coming up: 6 games at home against the Syracuse Mets starting on Tuesday, April 11

The chilly early-April weather in the Northeast doesn’t lend itself to shows of offensive firepower, and that puts an asterisk next to any slow starts this time of year. Andrés Chaparro is a case in point, having struggled out of the gate at 1-for-31 with 13 strikeouts. He notched his first hit Saturday with a bomb to left field, and patience for his breakout is advised. On the flip side, the RailRiders have gotten strong starts from first baseman Jake Bauers (1.029 OPS) and second baseman Jamie Westbrook (.971 OPS). It is also worth noting that shortstop Oswald Peraza missed four games with what Yankees manager Aaron Boone called hamstring tightness.

Players of note:

Elijah Dunham: .281/.343/.406, 4 doubles, some highlight plays in the outfield

Randy Vásquez: 3.52 ERA, 9 K in 7.2 IP, 6 BB

Mitch Spence: 0.00 ERA in 9.2 IP, 6 K

Matt Krook: 1.50 ERA, 8 K in 6 IP, .83 WHIP

Deivi García: 2.35 ERA in 7.2 IP

Double-A Somerset Patriots

Record: 2-1 after taking a short series from the Harrisburg Senators (Nationals)

Coming up: On the road for six games with the Binghamton Rumble Ponies (Mets) starting Tuesday, April 11

The Patriots, the Yankees, and followers of prospects can feel good about the opening weekend of Somerset baseball. Three of the best pitching prospects in the organization started a game, and all three showed why they are held in high regard. Richard Fitts led things off by striking out eight in four innings Friday night, and in a Saturday double-header Will Warren and Clayton Beeter combined to strike out 15 in ten innings while allowing only one run. Hopefully this trio stays healthy and causes headaches for the Eastern League in the months to come.

Players of note:

Everson Pereira: 3 for 10, HR, 2B, 6 K

Jasson Domínguez: 0 for 7, 3 BB, 2 SB (at-bats have at least looked good)

Tyler Hardman: 2 for 5, 2 BB, 1 HR

Trey Sweeney: 2 for 6, 1 2B, 2 BB, 2 SB

High-A Hudson Valley Renegades

Record: 1-2 after losing the last two of the series against the Greensboro Grasshoppers (Pirates)

Coming up: At home on Tuesday, April 11 to begin a six-game series against the Aberdeen IronBirds (Orioles)

There should be no judgments made in three games, but there were some things to notice in the first series for the Renegades. There were some positives on the pitching side. Friday night, Zach Messinger pitched 5 strong innings, striking out 5 and allowing only an earned run. In his professional debut Sunday, Drew Thorpe struck out 8 in 5.2 innings while allowing 2 earned runs. Of the nine relievers who pitched in the series, only one allowed an earned run.

On a more negative note, Antonio Gomez, Anthony Garcia, and Marcos Cabrera, all of whom are coming off seasons where cutting down on strikeouts was a priority, are off to inauspicious starts. Combined, the trio struck out 14 times in 24 at-bats while notching three hits among them.

Players of note:

Caleb Durbin: 3-for-9, 2B, 2 BB

Alexander Vargas: 1-for-8, 2 K, seemed to suffer an injury on Saturday

Spencer Jones: See below

Low-A Tampa Tarpons

Record: 1-2 after dropping a weekend series to the Lakeland Tigers

Coming up: Making the short trip to Dunedin (Blue Jays) for six games starting Tuesday, April 11

Two notable starts were the highlight of the Tarpons’ opening series, one each from prospects Sean Hermann and Justin Lange. Hermann, 19, was pitching between 91 and 94 mph with his sinker and putting above-average spin on his slider. He threw his sinker 47 percent of the time, according to Jake Berend of, and he stuck out four without allowing a walk. Lange, 21, parked his sinker and four-seamer between 95 and 98. His fifteen swings and misses were encouraging, especially when he walked no one in five innings of work. Lange struggled with control last summer in the complex league, so hopefully he can build on his Low-A debut.

Players of note:

Omar Martinez: 2-for-7, 2 HR, 4 RBI

Daury Arias: 2-for-6, HR, 2 BB

Brock Selvidge: 5 IP, 4 ER, 6 K

Yankee prospect of the week: Spencer Jones

Jones is going to be watched closely this year as a high-profile prospect playing in High-A after getting popped in the first round last summer. If you were hoping he would get off to a good start, you’re probably feeling pretty good right now. Jones went 6-for-13, doubled twice, walked twice, and hit a huge home run in his second Hudson Valley at-bat. What made the homer impressive is that it came on a frigid night, where fans were bundled in winter coats and players were wearing ski masks. Not only that, but the homer came off of Anthony Solometo, who is a top prospect and has a left-handed delivery that is very tough on same-side hitters. Jones took him high off the batter’s eye in center field, and then he kept hitting through the weekend.