As the Yankees prepare for the 2016 season, they are focused on more than just the major league roster. Every year they purge the organization of players they feel they no longer need. Several have already left in free agency and they previously released four minor league pitchers. Now they have released six more prospects.
The Yankees previously announced the release of right-handed pitchers Gean Batista and Francis Joseph. Signed before the 2010 season, Batista had been used as a starter and reliever. The 24-year-old spent four seasons in the Dominican Summer League before playing two years on the Gulf Coast. Joseph was signed before the 2011 season and was used primarily as a reliever. After five seasons in the Dominican Summer League and Gulf Coast League, he pitched a total of 4.0 inning at Staten Island.
Several other prospects were let go this past week, biggest of all was former 82nd-overall pick of the 2010 MLB Draft, Angelo Gumbs. He was a big time prospect for a few years, hitting well through the 2012 season and OPSing over .700 during his time in Staten Island and Charleston. He missed the second half of the season due to injury and nothing was the same again. He reached High-A Tampa in 2013, and unable to catch his bat up to the level, had a sub-.600 OPS after three seasons in Florida. He only managed to steal 26 bases over the next three seasons after stealing 26 in 2012 alone. During his fall from grace, he was passed by on the second base depth chart by Rob Refsnyder and it was soon clear that he was no longer a prospect. It's unfortunate to find out that during his struggles on the field, he was also going through troubles off as he was scammed out of thousands of dollars by a man who posed as an official MLBPA agent. He has yet to master High-A, but at the age of 23, he at least has a small chance to catch on somewhere.
The Yankees also cut ties with Isaias Tejeda, who was very, very briefly thought to be an interesting sleeper prospect after OPsing .965 in 2011 between rookie ball and Staten Island. Unfortunately, he spent the next three seasons at Staten Island and couldn't OPS over .600 for two of them. After four years as a catcher, he was predominately played at third and first in 2015 while finally getting a chance in A-ball. It was likely already too late, though, and the 24-year-old probably won't have much in the way of a future.
Somewhat surprisingly, the Yankees have given up on yet another 2014 draft pick, releasing 24th-round pick Griff Gordon. They already released 11th-round pick Matt Borens, 20th-round pick Corey Holmes, and 28th-round pick Lee Casas. Gordon, an outfielder, signed early to give himself a full season in 2014, but never showed to be very capable with the bat. As a former college pick, he was never going to have much time to develop, so the 23-year-old is likely done with baseball.
The Yankees released outfielder Teodoro Martinez after only one season in the organization. Originally signed out of Venezuela by the Texas Rangers, Martinez spent six seasons in their organization, topping out in Double-A, and was released last offseason. He signed on with the Yankees in June and almost immediately missed about a month because of injury. He finished out the season in rookie ball and then the 23-year-old was sent packing.
According to Baseball America, the road has ended for three other prospects as well. Shortstop Bryan Cuevas has been released after his third season in rookie ball. The 22-year-old had hit well in 2014 with a .969 OPS, but he's old for the level now and a down 2015 sealed his fate. The Yankees finally pulled the plug on outfielder Jordan Barnes after he showed no promise with the bat. Drafted in the 15th round of the 2013 season, Barnes was signed well under slot and was marked as a long shot. The 21-year-old has spent all three professional seasons in rookie ball. The 22-year-old Jose Infante was also cut loose after just two years in the organization. He was a 22-year-old outfielder who was still in rookie ball, so it's probably ok they gave up on him so quickly.
It's disappointing to see Angelo Gumbs' Yankees career finally end, but he had been a non-factor for a few years now. What will be interesting to watch is the 2014 draft class and whether or not the Yankees will continue to ditch those players. Time will tell if this means anything.