Last week in the minors leagues, dominant starting pitching in Hudson Valley did not translate to wins, dominant relief pitching in Somerset did, Tampa’s better players continued to play well, and Scranton/Wilkes-Barre had trouble putting runs on the board to keep pace with the ones it was giving up. Also, the Florida Coast League Yankees and the two Dominican Summer League affiliates started play on Monday, and as we approach the midpoint of the season Yankees minor league hitting coordinator Joe Migliaccio provided this update on the organization’s developing hitters:
To date, NYY MiLB affiliates rank...— Joe Migliaccio (@JoeMigs7) June 5, 2023
#1 Contact Quality
#2 Swing Decisions
... while improving our organizational strikeout rate from 26th most in 2022 to 13th fewest in 2023. Plenty of work to be done, but great trends so far!
Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders
Record: 27-30 and 13 games back in the International League East after losing four out of six games with the Lehigh Valley IronPigs (Phillies)
Run Differential: +30
Coming up: Home for six games against the Norfolk Tides (Orioles) starting on Tuesday, June 6th
Another week of games and another opportunity to question why Oswald Peraza is still in Triple-A. Okay, maybe we understand there isn’t a whole lot of room in the Yankees’ infield for Peraza right now, but he is continuing to play above the level he’s at. A line of .308/.419/.808 and four home runs is consistent with what he’s been doing in his time with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Somebody who hasn’t gotten the attention like Peraza has, though we’ve seen him in the big leagues before too, is Billy McKinney, who is on quite the run over the last month. His 1.241 OPS from last week’s games is in line with his .350/.487/.683 slash over the last 30 days. With the way the Yankees’ outfielders continue to drop like flies, Kole Calhoun opting out of his contract, the organization’s seeming hesitation to put Estevan Florial back on the roster, and considering McKinney hits from the left side, could he be a candidate for big league time at some point?
On the pitching side, there wasn’t much to write home about last week. Will Warren has struggled to adjust to Triple-A so far, but time is on his side. In a rotation that now includes Warren, Randy Vásquez, and Jhony Brito (for the time being), it is Mitch Spence who keeps turning in the quality starts. He threw seven more shutout innings last week while allowing only two hits and walking a single batter. His ERA is creeping south, as it has come in at 2.35 over his last five starts. After some trouble getting out of the gate, Spence is becoming an interesting part of the Yankees’ minor league pitching depth.
Players of note (stats are season totals):
3B Andrés Chaparro: .785 OPS, 11 HR, 36 RBI, 8 2B, 36 R, 21 BB
OF Estevan Florial: 1.043 OPS, 12 HR, 30 RBI, 35 R, 31 BB, 11 SB, 62 K
SS Oswald Peraza: 1.021 OPS, 10 HR, 20 RBI, 20 R, 4 2B, 6 SB
INF Jesús Bastidas: .770 OPS, 7 HR, 19 RBI, 7 2B, 26 R
SP Will Warren: 7.04 ERA, 15.1 IP, 15 H, 9 BB, 18 K
SP Mitch Spence: 4.26 ERA, 57 IP, 54 H, 21 BB, 45 K
RP Matt Krook: 1.47 ERA, 18.1 IP, 7 H, 13 BB, 35 K
RP Greg Weissert: 2.16 ERA, 16.2 IP, 10 H, 10 BB, 25 K
Double-A Somerset Patriots
Record: 29-21 and 2.5 games back in the Eastern League Northeast after taking four out of six against the Portland Sea Dogs (Red Sox)
Run Differential: +36
Coming up: On the road for six games against the Hartford Yard Goats (Rockies) starting Tuesday, June 6th
It was a bit of a tough week for the Patriots’ lineup. First, Everson Pereira left Tuesday’s game after his only at-bat and did not return to action for the rest of the week. Brandon Lockridge was placed on the injured list and did not play at all. No hitter recorded more than five hits in the six games against the Sea Dogs, but there was enough damage in there to win the series. Tyler Hardman only had four hits against Portland, but three of them left the yard, and he drove in nine. Trey Sweeney, who had been scuffling in the power department, hit two solo shots, and Aaron Palensky, in his first week of Double-A play this season, went only 2-for-14 but remained productive by walking six times and scoring five runs.
Starter Richard Fitts continues to string good outings together, and he posted twice against Portland. While he gave up hits (13 in 12 innings last week), he limited damage by not walking people (two) and piling up the strikeouts (14). The Patriots got another rock-solid start from Clayton Beeter, as he went 5.1 without allowing a run in a win against the Sea Dogs. Somerset also benefited from some terrific relief pitching, with Lisandro Santos, Steven Jennings, Tanner Myatt, recently-activated Edgar Barclay, and newcomer Danny Watson combining for 14 innings of shutout baseball and 18 strikeouts.
Players of note:
OF Jasson Domínguez: .772 OPS, 8 HR, 29 RBI, 42 BB, 14 SB, 36 R
C Austin Wells: .925 OPS, 8 HR, 26 RBI, 5 2B, 17 R (25 games)
OF Everson Pereira: .864 OPS, 7 HR, 23 RBI, 10 2B, 7 SB, 17 R
3B Tyler Hardman: .826 OPS, 11 HR, 29 RBI, 24 R, 5 2B, 2 3B
SP Clayton Beeter: 2.66 ERA, 44 IP, 35 H, 52 K, 25 BB
SP Richard Fitts: 4.73 ERA, 51.1 IP, 56 H, 55 K, 13 BB
RP Lisandro Santos: 2.86 ERA, 28.1 IP, 13 H, 33 K, 19 BB
RP Steven Jennings: 3.65 ERA, 24.2 IP, 17 H, 33 K, 10 BB
BACK-2-BACK JACKS— Somerset Patriots (@SOMPatriots) June 3, 2023
Tyler Hardman has homered in 3️⃣ straight games, as he follow’s Wells act with his team leading 11th long ball of the year! pic.twitter.com/Q01LGwRaAa
High-A Hudson Valley Renegades
Record: 29-22 and leading the South Atlantic League North by 1.5 games after dropping four out of six with the Aberdeen IronBirds (Orioles)
Run Differential: +42
Coming up: On the road for six games against the Jersey Shore BlueClaws (Phillies) beginning Tuesday, June 6th
The Renegades’ pitching staff only allowed 19 runs in their series with Aberdeen, and seven of those were unearned. Hudson Valley’s starting rotation in particular has received some well-deserved attention this season, and this past week did nothing to discourage the praise that continues to come their way. Generally considered the top four starters, Chase Hampton, Zach Messinger, Drew Thorpe, and Juan Carela combined for 27 innings, allowed only 10 hits and three earned runs, and struck out 36. That type of dominance usually leads to wins, but that’s not how it worked out last week.
Despite an outburst from the offense on Sunday behind Thorpe, the Renegades’ bats were quiet. Though Spencer Jones continues to rack up the strikeouts, when he puts the ball in play good things seem to happen. He led the team last week with eight hits, four of them doubles, but scored only once and drove in one. That may speak to what was going on behind him in the lineup.
Some good news from last week came from the bat of catcher Antonio Gomez, who has struggled at the plate this season. He was 6-for-12 with two walks and a homer in four games. Also, Hudson Valley welcomed Anthony Garcia back from the injured list, and he hit a monster three-run shot on Sunday.
Anthony Garcia with an absolute BOMB!— Hudson Valley Renegades (@HVRenegades) June 4, 2023
Break out the tape measure
We lead 3-0 pic.twitter.com/FYw4CMZnrE
Players of note:
SS Alexander Vargas: .706 OPS, 6 HR, 21 RBI, 6 2B, 3 3B, 7 SB, 23 R
1B Spencer Henson: .847 OPS, 8 HR, 26 RBI, 9 2B, 30 R
OF Spencer Jones: .837 OPS, 17 2B, 3 3B, 7 HR, 29 RBI, 12 SB, 29 R
C/1B Rafael Flores: .315/.377/.385; 7 2B, 1 HR, 15 RBI, 14 R
SP Chase Hampton: 3.05 ERA, 41.1 IP, 30 H, 69 K, 15 BB
SP Zach Messinger: 2.78 ERA, 45.1 IP, 39 H, 55 K, 22 BB
SP Drew Thorpe: 3.31 ERA, 51.2 IP, 43 H, 59 K, 20 BB
SP Juan Carela: 3.09 ERA, 43.2 IP, 32 H, 52 K, 17 BB
RP Jack Neely: 1.71 ERA, 21 IP, 11 H, 33 K, 12 BB
Low-A Tampa Tarpons
Record: 21-30 and 15.5 games back in the Florida State League West after splitting six games with the Bradenton Marauders (Pirates)
Run Differential: -15
Coming up: Up Interstate-4 for six games with the Lakeland Flying Tigers beginning Tuesday, June 6th
The Tarpons have two players who may have separated themselves from their teammates in terms of their prospect status. Jared Serna and Anthony Hall were the only two position players to appear in every game Tampa played last week, and their performances were consistent with the quality they’ve displayed over the last month or so. They combined for 17 hits and 13 runs batted in, with Hall going deep once. Serna is 21 years old and Hall is 22, and conceivably there is room at the inn at High-A Hudson Valley should mid-season promotions be warranted.
The Tampa offense got a welcome addition last week when outfielder Christopher Familia was activated for the first time this season. He entered loudly, homering in his first game Tuesday and then again on Saturday. Familia was expected to be part of the Tarpons’ attack out of spring training, and he’s a player to watch now that he’s here.
While it was Justin Lange making the most noise out of the starting rotation at the beginning of the season, it’s time to pay some attention to Brock Selvidge. Another quality start Saturday added to what’s becoming an impressive statistical resume for the 20-year-old lefty. He leads the organization in FIP (2.85), walk percentage (4.6%), strikeout-to-walk rate (5.33), and home runs allowed per nine innings (0.39). Beyond that, he has a ground ball rate above 50 percent and had a season high in whiffs in his last start. The trends are positive here, and Selvidge has emerged as perhaps the best starter for the Tarpons.
MAYHEM AT GMS FIELD!!!— Tampa Tarpons (@TampaTarpons) June 3, 2023
THE TARPONS COME ALL THE WAY BACK TO WIN ON A WALK-OFF WILD PITCH!
FINAL: Tarpons 7, Marauders 6.
W: Geoffrey Gilbert (3-1)
L: Joshua Loeschorn (2-2)
J. Serna: (3-for-3, 2R, 2RBI, 2BB)
J. Rodriguez: (3-for-4, 3B, R) pic.twitter.com/4q89YzI24C
Players of note:
2B Jared Serna: .902 OPS, 32 R, 8 HR, 28 RBI, 9 2B, 13 SB
OF Anthony Hall: .816 OPS, 3 HR, 16 RBI, 22 R, 5 2B, 2 3B, 23 BB
C Agustin Ramirez: .766 OPS, 5 HR, 22 RBI, 4 2B, 23 R, 30 BB
OF Nelson Medina: .858 OPS, 13 XBH, 22 RBI, 7 SB
SP Justin Lange: 4.05 ERA, 33.1 IP, 19 H, 58 K, 25 BB
SP Brock Selvidge: 3.15 ERA, 45.2 IP, 42 H, 48 K, 9 BB
RP Luis Velasquez: 1.05 ERA, 25.2 IP, 7 H, 33 K, 15 BB
RP Matt Keating: 2.82 ERA, 22.1 IP, 19 H, 34 K, 12 BB
Prospect of the week: Drew Thorpe
It’s difficult for a starting pitcher to stand out in a week of minor league competition, because he will likely only pitch once in a six-game series. That’s what makes Thorpe’s start on Sunday remarkable. In a week where several Yankees pitching prospects had excellent results, including other members of his own rotation, he stood out. It’s rare to see a starter at any level go eight innings, but Thorpe shut out the IronBirds on one hit and two walks. He was able to accomplish this in 94 pitches, while still managing to punch out seven along the way. Thorpe now has a 1.80 ERA in his last three starts, striking out 22 in those outings, and he is building a case for a promotion to Double-A before this season is over.
FCL Yankees: Lost to the FCL Tigers 13-5 in their opener
2B Keiner Delgado 0-3, 2 R, 2 BB
SS Roderick Arias 1-4, 3B, RBI, R, SB
CF Willy Montero 1-3, 2B, RBI, HBP, SB, K
RF Mauro Bonifacio 1-1, RBI
DH Hans Montero 1-4, 2B, BB, R, SB, K
3B Enmanuel Tejada 1-3, HR, BB, 2 K, 2 E- 18-year-old goes deep!
RF-CF John Cruz 0-4, 2 K
C Diomedes Hernandez 0-3, BB
LF Joel Mendez 1-4, 2B, RBI, K
1B Enger Castellano 0-4, 2 K
Matt Sauer L (0-1), 0.2 IP, 2 H, 5 R (4 ER), 1 BB, 1 HBP, 1 K, 1 HR allowed
Sebastian Keane 2.2 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 6 K, 1 HR allowed
Allen Facundo 2.2 IP, 3 H, 2 R (0 ER), 2 BB, 1 K
Nolberto Henriquez 2.2 IP, 3 H, 3 R (1 ER), 2 K
Geralmi Santana 0.1 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 1 HBP, 1 K
DSL Bombers: Beat the DSL Astros Blue 6-4 in their opener
SS Juan Matheus 0-2, 3 BB, R, K
CF Ramiro Altagracia 1-5, R
RF Gabriel Lara 0-3, 1 BB, HBP, 2 R, K
C Edgleen Perez 2-3, 3 RBI, BB, SF, K, 2 E
2B Gabriel Terrero 1-5, 2B, R, RBI, 3 K, E
1B Johan Contreras 2-4, RBI, K
3B Kevin Verde 0-3, HBP, E
DH David Beckles 1-4, 2B, R, 2 K
LF Luis Puello 1-4, 2B, RBI, K
Chalniel Arias W (1-0), 6 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 12 K (!), 1 HR allowed
Alejandro Gomez S (1), 3 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 K
No walks in a DSL game? Nice work by these two pitchers.
DSL Yankees: Beat DSL Colorado 12-8 in their opener
CF Brando Mayea 1-1, 2B, team’s top international prospect, unfortunately lifted after his first at-bat
LF Niurby Asigen 0-3, 3 R, 2 BB
C Josue Gonzalez 3-3, 2 2B, 2 R, 3 RBI, 3 BB
SS Luis Suarez 3-6, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI, SB, K
DH Santiago Gomez 1-4, HBP, SB
RF Jhon Imbert 1-4, R, BB, 2 K
LF-CF Andres Lacruz 0-3, BB, HBP, 2 K
1B Luis Ogando 3-4, 2 R, RBI, BB, 2 SB
2B Luis Escudero 1-3, 2B, R, BB, HBP, K
3B Jelson Coca 2-5, R, 2 RBI
Christian Zazueta W (1-0), 5 IP, 8 H, 4 R (3 ER), 6 K, E
Carlos Hampshire H (1), 1.2 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 3 BB
Pedro Rodriguez S (1), 2.1 IP, 3 H, R, 2 K