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Yankees Prospects: Week three minor league review

More good starting pitching and an Andrés Chaparro breakout highlight the week.

New York Yankees v Toronto Blue Jays
Andrés Chaparro
Photo by George Kubas/Diamond Images via Getty Images

The first week where all four of the full-season affiliates were playing six-game series yielded a mixed bag of results, with a few hitters having big weeks but several strong performances coming on the pitching side.

Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders

Record: 7-8 after losing four of six to the Syracuse Mets

Coming up: 6 games in Minnesota against the St. Paul Saints (Twins) starting on Tuesday, April 18

It was a tough week for RailRiders pitchers, as they gave up 47 runs to the Mets in six games. The starters in particular struggled to hold down Syracuse throughout the week, and only relievers Matt Krook, Barrett Loseke, Nick Ramirez, and James Norwood left the week unscored upon. On the offensive side, the names of Jake Bauers and Andrés Chaparro stand out. Bauers had a three-homer game and drove in eight runs in the first game of a Sunday doubleheader, and Chaparro (more on him below) broke out in a big way with five home runs in the series. The RailRiders got an unexpected boost with the return of outfielder Estevan Florial, who was DFA’d but cleared waivers and was then outrighted to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He responded with two home runs and nine walks in his first four games.

Players of note (stats are season totals):

OF Elijah Dunham: .308/.368/.442, 4 2B, 4 SB

1B Jake Bauers: .325/.481/.875, 6 HR, 13 RBI, 12 BB, 3 SB

SP Randy Vásquez: 11 IP, 9 ER, 8 BB, 15 K

RP Matt Krook: 8 IP, 1 ER, 13 K

RP James Norwood: 7.1 IP, 2 ER, 13 K’s

Double-A Somerset Patriots

Record: 5-4 after splitting six games with the Binghamton Rumble Ponies (Mets)

Coming up: Back home to take on the New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Blue Jays) starting Tuesday, April 18

Somerset averaged over five runs a game offensively, and that includes getting shut out on Sunday, but the contributions were spread throughout the roster. Catcher Anthony Seigler had a nice week at the plate, going 6-for-18, scoring five times, driving in five, and getting on base with three walks. Infielder Max Burt only had 12 plate appearances, but he got on base seven times and drove in six runs. The Patriots’ pitching was highlighted by starters Clayton Beeter (6.2 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 7 K) and Blas Castano (5 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 6 K), and though Richard Fitts got roughed up for six runs, he continued to rack up the strikeouts by getting 10 more in 4.2 innings. On an unfortunate note, reliever Alex Mauricio, who showed loud stuff and created some buzz in his spring training appearances, was placed on the 7-day injured list.

Players of note:

SS Trey Sweeney: .259/.375/.481, 3 2B, 3 SB

3B Tyler Hardman: 4 for 24, 3 HR, 6 RBI, 12 K

C Carlos Narvaez: 5 for 20, 2 HR, .998 OPS

UT Max Burt: 8 for 17, 2 HR, 1.453 OPS

SP Richard Fitts: 8.2 IP, 8 ER, 18 K

High-A Hudson Valley Renegades

Record: 5-4 after taking four out of six from the Aberdeen IronBirds (Orioles)

Coming up: On the road to face the Rome Braves for six games beginning Tuesday, April 18

If it can be said that in a week where you posted an OPS of 1.055 you came back toward Earth, you are off to a really good start. Spencer Jones did nothing to douse the excitement of his opening weekend by going 5-for-19 against the IronBirds, with all of his hits going for extra bases. Jones was helped by solid performances from Ben Rice and Spencer Henson, and maybe we started to see some positive signs from Anthony Garcia and Marcos Cabrera, who both homered this week. The pitching side saw three terrific starts from Juan Carela, Chase Hampton, and Zach Messinger, who combined for 14.2 innings of shutout ball, allowed eight hits and striking out 24 among them, and watch out for reliever Carlos Gomez, who struck out eight in four scoreless innings this past week.

Players of note:

C Ben Rice: 6 for 17, .353/.577/.471

2B Caleb Durbin: 8 for 28, .429 OBP, 4 SB

1B Spencer Henson: 6 for 24, .875 OPS, 2 HR, 9 RBI

SP Drew Thorpe: 10.2 IP, 5 ER, 5 BB, 15 K

SP Juan Carela: 7.2 IP, 2 ER, 5 BB, 13 K

Low-A Tampa Tarpons

Record: 4-5 after splitting a series with the Dunedin Blue Jays

Coming up: Back to George M. Steinbrenner Field for six games with the Clearwater Phillies beginning Tuesday, April 18

It was a quiet week for the Tarpons’ bats, as they scored only 13 runs in their six games against the Blue Jays. Infielder Brenny Escanio led the team with five hits for the week, and the team only hit two home runs, one each from catcher Agustin Ramierz and outfielder Nelson Medina. The pitching staff fared better, which accounts for the three wins despite the lack of offense, and the performance of starter Justin Lange jumps out from the group. Building off of his first successful outing, Lange threw five innings and allowed no runs on three hits while striking out 10. What’s most eye-catching is that he’s walked only two batters so far this season after averaging over seven walks per nine last year in the Complex League.

Players of note:

OF Nelson Medina: 6 for 25, 1 HR, 2 2B, .785 OPS leads the team

2B Jared Serna: 6 for 27, 2 2B, .364 OBP leads the team

SP Sean Hermann: 10.2 IP, 0.84 ERA, 0.75 WHIP

RP Manny Ramirez: 4 IP, 0 ER, 7 K

*After reliever Harrison Cohen was promoted to Hudson Valley, right-hander Ocean Gabonia took his place on the roster.

**Outfielder and one-time top prospect Raimfer Salinas was released and later was suspended under baseball’s minor league rules for testing positive for a performance enhancing drug.

Prospect of the week: Andrés Chaparro

There was no way Chaparro was going to continue struggling the way he did in the first two series of the year. Off to a 1-for-31 start, Chaparro entered last week looking to get himself going, and did he ever. In six games against the Syracuse Mets he went 10-for-24, hit five home runs and a double, and scored eight times. His outrageous slugging percentage of 1.083 in the series brought his OPS for the season up near .800 already. Chaparro can’t be expected to rake like this every week, but the series with the Mets is more indicative of his talent than what we saw the two weeks prior. Even with Giancarlo Stanton down, the Yankees are unlikely to reach for Chaparro because he’s not on the 40-man roster, but should they feel a power drain in the lineup that could change.