The second half of the minor league season got underway with a barrage of home runs from Somerset’s Tyler Hardman, and while we had already seen players promoted this season, some significant moves were made with productive prospects.
Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders
Record: 4-1 (38-41 overall) and 1.5 games back in the International League after winning 4 out of 5 games with the Syracuse Mets
Coming up: Home for six games against the Lehigh Valley IronPigs (Phillies) starting Tuesday, July 4
Welcome to Triple-A, Everson Pereira! After a .907 OPS and 10 homers in Somerset, albeit in spotty playing time due to injury, Pereira has gotten the call to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, and he announced his presence loudly with a three-run bomb in his first at-bat. Pereira’s strong defensive reputation now gives the RailRiders an outfield that surpasses their major league counterparts. Brandon Lockridge, Estevan Florial, and Pereira can all play center field, so no matter how they are lined up, there is a good chance the ball will have trouble finding the outfield grass.
The RailRiders still have Franchy Cordero and Michael Hermosillo to play the outfield, and both have been productive, so Pereira’s arrival comes at the expense of Elijah Dunham, who had been with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre all season and now returns to Somerset. Dunham was not over-matched in Triple-A, but his .670 OPS made him vulnerable for demotion. The Yankees appropriately challenged Dunham this year, and it would be wrong to say he failed, but he will need to wait for his next opportunity at Triple-A. Hopefully he rakes for the Patriots.
Players of note (stats are season totals):
3B Andrés Chaparro: .777 OPS, 15 HR, 53 RBI, 14 2B, 48 R, 35 BB
OF Estevan Florial: .996 OPS, 20 HR, 47 RBI, 54 R, 42 BB, 18 SB, 87 K
SS Oswald Peraza: .912 OPS, 12 HR, 28 RBI, 29 R, 5 2B, 11 SB (38 games)
2B Jamie Westbrook: .862 OPS, 11 HR, 36 RBI, 8 2B, 35 R
SP Will Warren: 5.22 ERA, 29.1 IP, 30 H, 15 BB, 32 K
SP Mitch Spence: 4.63 ERA, 83.2 IP, 84 H, 32 BB, 72 K
SP Randy Vásquez: 5.11 ERA, 61.2 IP, 65 H, 34 BB, 69 K
RP Aaron McGarity: 4.38 ERA, 37.0 IP, 24 H, 13 BB, 45 K
Double-A Somerset Patriots
Record: 4-2 (46-28) and a game back in the Eastern League Northeast after winning four out of six games with the Bowie Baysox (Orioles)
Coming up: Home for six games against the Reading Fightin Phils (Phillies) starting Tuesday, July 4
There are a lot of great things going on with the Patriots, so it feels wrong to focus on a negative, but is it time to talk about Jasson Domínguez? Obviously the Yankees are going to be patient with him as he goes through some ups and downs, and this is not a claim that Domínguez is or will be a bust, but his line of .184/.283/.276 over the last month is disappointing if not concerning. People noticed his low batting average in the month of April, but his at-bats were strong and he was getting on base. That’s not happening now. He’s playing every day, and that matters, but he’s not struggling offensively due to bad luck. He leads the team in strikeouts over the last month as well. Domínguez is just as capable of going off the way he did in spring training as he is of scuffling the way he has of late. He’s 20. But it would be good to see some signs of life from him soon.
Players of note:
OF Jasson Domínguez: .693 OPS, 10 HR, 37 RBI, 56 BB, 20 SB, 53 R
C Austin Wells: .834 OPS, 10 HR, 40 RBI, 13 2B, 26 R
SS Trey Sweeney: .790 OPS, 11 HR, 36 RBI, 15 2B, 46 R, 10 SB
1B T.J. Rumfield: .783 OPS, 15 HR, 42 RBI, 7 2B, 34 R
3B Tyler Hardman: .902 OPS, 19 HR, 40 RBI, 40 R, 8 2B, 2 3B
SP Chase Hampton: 4.15 ERA, 17.1 IP, 16 H, 16 K, 3 BB
SP Richard Fitts: 3.99 ERA, 76.2 IP, 74 H, 84 K, 17 BB
SP Yoendrys Gómez: 1.37 ERA, 19.2 IP, 11 H, 18 K, 13 BB
RP Edgar Barclay: 0.00 ERA, 16.2 IP, 11 H, 26 K, 8 BB
TJ TO THE MAX— Somerset Patriots (@SOMPatriots) July 3, 2023
TJ Rumfield’s 15th homer of the season gets the scoring started in the 1st pic.twitter.com/xjUWrSV8qH
High-A Hudson Valley Renegades
Record: 3-6 (42-33 overall) and three games back in the South Atlantic League North after splitting six with the Wilmington Blue Rocks (Nationals)
Coming up: On the road for six games against the Jersey Shore BlueClaws (Phillies) beginning Tuesday, July 4
Has the cavalry arrived? After looking like an offensive juggernaut for the first month of the season, promotion and injury depleted the Renegades’ lineup, and performance regression took its toll as well. Starting June 22, Hudson Valley lost seven games in a row, and they scored a total of nine runs in those losses. Things started turning around on Saturday, July 1, with new additions Agustin Ramirez and Christopher Familia combining to go 5-for-10 and scoring four times in a convincing win. Those two bats give the Hudson Valley offense some much needed juice, and more help could be on the horizon. Catcher Ben Rice, who got off to a scorching start (1.082 OPS) in April, is back playing with Tampa as he rehabs, and it stands to reason he would move back to High-A at some point in the near future.
The question is how Rice would get his time behind the plate now. The organization has the happy problem of figuring how they will get all their catchers playing time. Antonio Gomez has to continue getting opportunities, and all indications are that the Yankees like Agustin Ramirez and promoted him in part because he is Rule 5 eligible and they want to have as clear a sense as they can of how to roster all these catchers over the winter. Maybe he won’t need 40-man protection, but if he tears up High-A for a few months, he’s going to look attractive to noncompetitive teams looking to scoop up a power-hitting backstop with a strong arm.
Regardless, Ramirez and Familia will be getting at-bats near the top of the Renegades’ lineup for the foreseeable future, and they could be joined by more of their Tampa Tarpons teammates before too long.
Agustin Ramirez gives us the lead with an RBI-Double! pic.twitter.com/2pYEVQQjYD— Hudson Valley Renegades (@HVRenegades) July 5, 2023
Players of note:
OF Spencer Jones: .798 OPS, 10 HR, 39 RBI, 19 2B, 4 3B, 39 R, 19 SB
1B Spencer Henson: .812 OPS, 9 HR, 33 RBI, 12 2B, 39 R
2B Benjamin Cowles: .708 OPS, 8 2B, 7 HR, 21 RBI, 32 R
C Antonio Gomez: .678 OPS, 3 HR, 24 RBI, 13 2B, 24 R
SP Zach Messinger: 2.98 ERA, 63.1 IP, 57 H, 82 K, 32 BB
SP Drew Thorpe: 2.33 ERA, 77.1 IP, 58 H, 94 K, 25 BB
SP Juan Carela: 2.96 ERA, 67.0 IP, 47 H, 87 K, 26 BB
SP Tyrone Yulie: 4.18 ERA, 60.1 IP, 45 H, 70 K, 37 BB
RP Jack Neely: 2.60 ERA, 34.2 IP, 19 H, 55 K, 14 BB
Low-A Tampa Tarpons
Record: 4-5 (35-40 overall) and two games back in the Florida State League West after dropping four out of six games with the Daytona Tortugas (Reds)
Coming up: On the road for six games with the Dunedin Blue Jays beginning Tuesday, July 4
Just when it looked like the Tarpons had the makings of an offense that could consistently score runs, inevitable change came. The highly productive pair of Agustin Ramirez and Christopher Familia both got the call up to High-A Hudson Valley, leaving Jared Serna, Anthony Hall, and Jesus Rodriguez as the anchors of the lineup. The departures of Ramirez and Familia create opportunities for other players to get at-bats, especially Tayler Aguilar and Jake Palmer, but it also raises the question of what the Yankees will do with Serna and Hall in particular. Each has a case to be promoted due to their performance thus far, but it is not known how aggressive the organization will be with the players behind them. Dayro Perez struggled after breaking camp with Tampa, and now he’s behind the teenage infielders in the FCL. There are enough outfielders to get at-bats if Hall were to move, but something to keep in mind is the upcoming draft. The Yankees could select players who are ready to be tested at Low-A and factor into the decisions of promotion, and that will be another interesting wrinkle to watch over the next few weeks.
Players of note:
2B Jared Serna: .844 OPS, 49 R, 14 HR, 48 RBI, 16 2B, 16 SB
OF Anthony Hall: .832 OPS, 8 HR, 33 RBI, 38 R, 8 2B, 2 3B, 34 BB
1B/3B/C Jesus Rodriguez: .795 OPS, 4 HR, 24 RBI, 35 R, 10 2B, 10 SB
OF Nelson Medina: .827 OPS, 4 HR, 22 RBI, 18 R, 8 2B, 7 SB (39 games)
SP Justin Lange: 4.35 ERA, 51.2 IP, 31 H, 80 K, 42 BB
SP Brock Selvidge: 3.55 ERA, 66.0 IP, 65 H, 79 K, 16 BB
SP Hayden Merda: 5.07 ERA, 60.1 IP, 56 H, 60 K, 27 BB
RP Yorlin Calderon: 2.81 ERA, 41.2 IP, 31 H, 52 K, 12 BB
BALL GAME!— Tampa Tarpons (@TampaTarpons) July 1, 2023
Jesus Rodriguez walks it off!!!
FINAL: Tarpons 4, Tortugas 3.
W: Alex Bustamante (2-0)
L: Joseph Menefee (5-2)
J. Rodriguez: (2-for-5, 2RBI)
D. Arias: (2-for-3, R, BB)
H. Merda: (6.0IP, 5H, ER, 5K) pic.twitter.com/wtJnulBxXC
Prospect of the week: Tyler Hardman
There was not much of a chance to match the week Hardman had. The Eastern League Player of the Week was 7-for-19 with 4 walks, but 6 of his 7 hits went for extra bases and 5 of those hits were homers. On July 1 Hardman accomplished the rare feat of hitting three home runs in one game, and he also boasts three multi-homer games in his last 12 games played. The 24-year-old has pushed his OPS for the year over .900, and he is forcing his way into the discussion of the organization’s better prospects.