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Almonte and Ichiro Improving Outfield

The Yankees outfield has been a mess for most of the season. Outside of Brett Gardner and a hot start from Vernon Wells, they have gotten little production from their outfielders. However, recently, Zoilo Almonte and Ichiro Suzuki have been very productive, and if they can keep on playing well the outfield situation will look a lot better.

Ichiro’s walk-off home run last night was not his only contribution of late. Ichiro has hit .299/.341/.390/.731 with a 101 wRC+ and .323 wOBA in the month of June. Overall, he only has a .289 wOBA, 78 wRC+ and .6667 OPS, which are very poor numbers. However, the Yankees would be ecstatic if he could keep those numbers from June up for the rest of the season. Ichiro has also made a lot of sparkling plays in the field of late.

In only 18 at-bats, Almonte has hit .438, with a home run and 4 RBI. He has provided a spark to the team like few players have for the Yankees so far this season. Obviously, the sample size is extremely small, but Almonte has shown he has some skills to work with. It has not only been his skills, but his approach at the plate that has been impressive, as Almonte has not looked over matched by MLB pitching so far. Almonte hit .297/.369/.421/.789 in Triple-A before he got called up.

Almonte is not considered to be one of the Yankees’ best prospects, but then again neither were Gardner or Robinson Cano, so you just never know. The Yankees are in desperate need of a young breakout player, so they will give Almonte every opportunity to do that. They could really use young and cheap players not only for this season, but next year when they try to get under $189 million in payroll.

If Almonte and Ichiro can keep up their hot streaks, the Yankees might look more at infield help at the trade deadline. That is not to say that if a good deal for an outfielder comes along the Yankees shouldn’t jump on it because they need bats at any position they can get them. However, the infield seems to be in worse shape than the outfield at this point.

David Adams and Jayson Nix may just be the left side of the infield combo in all of MLB at this point. After a hot start to his Yankees career, Adams looks absolutely lost at the plate right now. He has hit .105/.171/.105/.276 in the month of June, which is pretty much as bad as a player can possible be at the plate. Despite the love Joe Girardi has given Nix at times he is not a MLB caliber starting shortstop. His .280 wOBA, 71 wRC+, and .066 ISO are just not good enough.

The Yankees are also getting horrible production out of first base and catcher. Despite the perception of how good he has been this year, Lyle Overbay really is not very good. Yes, he has had some key hits and has been better than expected, but that is still not saying much. Overbay’s .232 avg, .289 OBP, 90 wRC+ and .1 WAR are just not very impressive.

Like their left side of the infield combination, the Yankees’ catching combination is also in the running for the worst combo in MLB. Chris Stewart is nothing more than a backup catcher and Austin Romine is nothing more than a Triple-A catcher right now. This is the bed the Yankees made when they refused to pony up money for Russell Martin or A.J. Pierzynski. Hopefully, Francisco Cervelli is on his way back soon.

Despite all of this, the Yankees are still only one game behind the Red Sox in the loss column in the AL East. They still have great pitching and with some offensive reinforcements coming back and some potential trades the Yankees can still win the division.

With a little more than a month to go until the trade deadline a lot of the potential trade targets are still just speculation. However, with Ichiro and Almonte playing well and Curtis Granderson returning the Yankees may need infielders more than outfielders. Ideally, the Yankees could trade for a versatile players like Chase Headley, Mike Morse, or Corey Hart who could play both. The trade deadline season is just beginning and it will be a very interesting time for the Yankees.

Yankees Player of the Week

Zoilo Almonte 4

The Yankees had a very good week going 4-2 against the Angels, Dodgers and Rays. They salvaged their final game against the Angels after nearly blowing a 6-0 ninth inning lead and they hung on to win 6-5. They split a doubleheader against the Dodgers, but the night game was embarrassing as they got shutout by a bad pitcher in Chris Capuano.  Their offense futility continued the next night in an 8-3 loss to the Rays. However, they had two huge wins the last two days over Tampa Bay, as Zoilo Almonte gave them the spark they seemed to need. Yesterday’s win was one of the best of the year as Vernon Wells hit a bases clearing double to give the Yankees a 7-5 lead in the 7th inning after the Rays had gone up 5-3 on a Will Myers grand slam. This week’s nominees for Yankees player of the Weel are Mariano Rivera, Zoilo Almonte, Lyle Overbay and Ichiro Suzuki. 

Mariano Rivera- Mo had three saves on the week and he really started to use his two-seam fastball on righties a ton this week. He looks as nasty as ever. 

Zoilo Almonte- Almonte hit .625 on the week with a home run and 4 RBI. He has shown great discipline at the plate and has given the Yankees a much needed spark. He had three hits in Friday’s win and three RBI in yesterday’s win. 

Lyle Overbay- Overybay continues to get the job done in place of Mark Teixeira. He hit .318 with 4 RBI on the week. 

Ichiro Suzuki- Ichiro has hit better at the plate of late and hit .273 with 1 HR and 4 RBI on the week. Also, he made a few sparkling plays out in right field. 

Not much an argument can be made against Zoilo Almonte this week, so he is your Yankees Player of the Week. Vote for your player of the week and discuss the week that was in the comments. 

Minor Night Cap: Part 1 of 2: Trenton wins with help of 3 run homer from Melky Mesa

Trenton Thunder W 7-1

PTF Zoilo Almonte – 1H, 1K, .265

Abraham Almonte – 2H, 1BB, 1RBI, 2K, .283

Ronnier Musteiler – 1R, 2H, 1BB .362

Cody Johnson – 1R, 1H, 1BB, .343

Walter Ibarra – 1R, .282

Jose Gil – 1H, 1RBI, .300

Melky Mesa – 2R, 1H (3run homer), 3RBI, SB, 1BB, 2K, .283, Outfield assist

Luke Murton – 1R, 1H, .200

Kevin Mahoney – 1R, 2BB, .235

Pitching
PTF Brett Marshall (DNP)

Cory Arbiso – 4.2IP, 4H, 1R, 1ER, 1BB, 3K, 1.42era

Ryan Pope (W1-2) – 2.1IP, 2H, 1BB, 3K, 5.68era

Kelvin Perez – 2.0IP, 1H, 1BB, 1K, 0.00era

The other two games will be updated after they play later on tonight.

Yankees Top 40 Prospects for 2012

Could Mason Williams be #1 on this list next year?

Based on their recent actions and remarks, it seems the Yankees are serious about sticking to a smaller payroll now and at least through the 2014 season in an attempt to get under the $189 Million Luxury Tax threshold.  In order to do so, the club will need to look  to fill important positions from within and develop both impact and role players.

The Yankees system became known in recent years as being deep in Pitchers and Catchers but lacking in strong position prospects.  This was definitely a weakness identified by Mark Newman & Damon Oppenheimer and they addressed it by adding several solid up the middle athletes and corner players who can rake in the last 2 years.  Now, the system is more well-rounded although there is definitely a lack of upper-echelon hitters in the higher levels of the organization.

The system is still strong in upper level pitching. Even with Nova & Noesi graduating to NY, they still have 5 potential MLB starters in AAA (Banuelos, Betances, Warren, Phelps, DJ Mitchell).  The next level of pitching is led by Brett Marshall and several guys that need to take a step forward in 2012.  Oppenheimer has a history of drafting good college relievers and there are many strong-armed righties in the pipeline who could advance quickly.

Today, I will list the Top 40 with a quick blurb, then will follow-up with more in-depth on the Top 20 or so players in the coming weeks.  Each player has their position, Opening Day 2012 Age & expected level to start season.

1) Jesus Montero – C/DH, 22 – MLB

Has an elite bat that will make him a middle of the order MLB hitter for the next decade+. Rare blend of natural power to all fields with ability to make adjustments and take what pitcher gives him.   Only question is whether he will be anything more than a DH but a .300 hitter with 30 HR power will always find a spot even if he’s eventually a full-time DH.

2) Manny Banuelos– LHSP, 21 – AAA

Manny Banuelos

Had control issues in AA/AAA but most believe it’s just a matter of trying to be too fine as he has solid mechanics and repeats his delivery well.  Threw a career-high 130 innings so will be in line for 150-160 this year and could be ready to pitch for NY in 2nd half.

3) Gary Sanchez – C, 19 – HiA

Has big-time raw power and still growing into his 6’2″ frame.  His defense has been poor but I think he has the athleticism to convert to corner OF or 1B down the line and his bat is definitely strong enough to support such a switch.

4) Dellin Betances – RHSP, 24 – AAA

This is a big year for Betances. At 24, he needs to have a good year in AAA to prove he can pitch in a MLB rotation. Has plus, swing-and-miss stuff but most improve his control to cut down his pitch counts.

5) Mason Williams – CF, 20 – LoA

Dynamic player with plus-plus MLB speed and defense already. He put on a show in rookie ball and if he shows his offensive skills are for real this year in full-season ball, he may vault to #1 on this list next year.

6)  Dante Bichette, Jr. – 3B, 19 – LoA

Drafted for his plus power, he’s shown better defense than was thought. He’s really impressed the organization with his intangibles & makeup – namely his work ethic, advanced approach, knowledge of the game & leadership. Baseball America named him top prospect in Gulf Coast League and VP of baseball operations Mark Newman calls him “a special player and person.”

7) Austin Romine– C, 23 – AAA

His defense behind the plate is MLB-ready now.  His bat isn’t special but will be good enough for him to have a long career as a starting catcher in the bigs.

Phelps is a winner.

8) David Phelps – RHSP, 25 – AAA

Phelps is a winner who knows how to pitch. He’s 38-15 with a 2.61 ERA in his 4 years in the organization. He’s maintained the same solid numbers at every level including a 7.4 K/9 & 2.0 BB/9. Reminds me a little of Ian Kennedy. Missed time with shoulder issue but came back strong in August and was solid in AFL also.

9) Ravel Santana – OF, 19 – LoA

Tremendous physical skill set with power & speed. BA rated the wiry 6’2″ 160 pounder  right behind Bichette as best in the Gulf Coast League after he put up a .425 wOBA. Will have to overcome the broken ankle & torn ligaments he suffered last season so will likely start in extended ST this year.

10) Tyler Austin– 3B, 20 – LoA

Tyler Austin can hit for average and power.

I seem to be in the minority but I  really like this guy. He made his debut in the Gulf Coast and smashed to a .517 wOBA in 20 games, then followed up with .448 wOBA  in Staten Island. Has power to all fields and an advanced approach that helps him drive off-speed pitches. How many 20-year olds can you say that about? BA ranked him 8th best prospect in NY Penn League. Only question mark is his defense at 3B but he’s athletic enough to play the OF if need be. He even stole 18 of 18 bases in just 47 games which tells me he has good instincts and a feel for the game.

11) J.R. Murphy – C/3B, 20 – HiA

Improved his game offensively & defensively before ending season early with leg injury. Rips line drives to all fields and scouts now believe he has the ability to remain as a catcher while also showing the athleticism to play 3B and OF. Could become a very versatile asset in the Majors.

12) Slade Heathcott – CF, 21 – HiA

He’s Gardner-like in the OF right now and has more offensive potential. However, I’m a little concerned with his constant injuries and questionable makeup. To have his speed and get thrown out stealing 17 times in 38 attempts is baffling. But, if he matures and stays healthy, he could be special.

13) Brett Marshall– RHSP, 22 – AA

Brett Marshall

Now fully recovered from his 2009 Tommy John Surgery, he threw career high 140 IP with 3.24 FIP. Has good low 90s sinker and makings of a plus slider. Has flashed mid 90s velocity at times and will be interesting how he does in AA this year.

14) Adam Warren– RHSP,  24 – AAA

Warren is next in a succession of Yankee right handers, behind Nova and Noesi, ready to advance to the majors. He threw 152 IP in AAA with a 3.60 ERA and on a lesser team without depth, he’d have a great chance to make the rotation.

15) Corban Joseph – 2B, 23 – AAA

Has patient approach and nice lefty stroke that generates hard line drives but there are concerns about his defense at 2B and 3B. He had .346 wOBA in Trenton with 38 doubles and 8 triples but doesn’t get the lift and backspin to hit HRs.

16) Zoilo Almonte – OF, 22 – AA

Solid all-around skills. Good defense, speed and power that has improved the last 2 years. Yanks added the switch-hitter to their 40-man to protect him from Rule 5 draft and he could be a candidate to make the team in 2013.

17) Graham Stoneburner – RHSP, 24 – AA

Season was marred by a neck injury that kept him out 2 months and he was never quite effective as excellent debut in 2010. But he still has a great sinking fastball that gets tons of grounders.

18) David Adams – 2B, 24 – AA

The ankle injury he suffered in 2010 lingered all season and the Yankees were very careful with Adams. He played sparingly in only 29 games.  If he’s finally healthy this season he could progress quickly as he has an excellent bat that rips line drives to all fields.

19) Angelo Gumbs– 2B, 19 – LoA

Great up the middle athlete shows lightning quick bat speed and raw power to go with strong arm and nice speed. BA rated him 14th best prospect in NY Penn League where he had .341 wOBA, 4 triples & 11 SB in 220 PAs.

Nik Turley has that Andy Pettitte look down pat.

20) Nik Turley – LHSP. 22 – HiA

6’7″ lefty reminds me a litle of Andy Pettitte.  Took a step forward with 2.51 ERA and 8.9 K/9 and 2.3 BB/9 in 82 IP in Charleston til a broken hand ended his season after being promoted to Tampa.

21) DJ Mitchell – RHSP, 24 – AAA

Similar to David Phelps, Mitchell is someone who just keeps pitching well and winning. Sinker/slider pitcher with solid change-up could be another back end starter/long-relief candidate.

22) Mark Montgomery – RHRP, 21 – HiA

Overwhelmed hitters with low-mid 90s Fastball and an unhittable slider leading to a 16.4 K/9 and 1.91 ERA as closer in Charleston.  His slider is just unfair to young hitters and he needs to be tested against more advanced hitters to see how quick he can advance.

23) Brandon Laird – 3B, 24 – AAA

Strong defensive 3B with good power but he doesn’t take many walks or hit for much average.  Has also played some 1B & LF so could be a backup candidate in NY.

24) Cito Culver– SS, 19 – LoA

Showed strong arm with smoothness in the field and compact swing from both sides of the plate. BA rated him 6th best prospect in NYPenn League where he hit .250/.323/.337.  He’s a project that will take time to develop his offensive game.

25) Ramon Flores – OF, 20 – HiA

Sweet lefty stroke and patient approach at plate, had .350 wOBA in Charleston. Good OF with strong arm and solid all-around tools. Only 5’10” 160 so should get stronger and develop some pop.

26) George Kontos – RHRP, 26 – MLB

Standard FB/Slider reliever, held RH hitters to a .182 BAA in AAA.  Averages about a strikeout per inning but is a fly-ball pitcher who is prone to HRs.

27) Claudio Custodio – 2B, 21 – LoA

Talented 2B/SS with very good speed.  Hit ball well in GCL and  showed willingness to take a walk.  Hit .325 with .433 OBP and 26 SB in 28 attempts.

28) Tommy Kahnle – RHRP, 22 – HiA

Power reliever had 2.45 FIP in 81 IP with 12.4 K/9 but also 5.4 BB/9. Sits around 93-95 and can dial it up to 96-97 with a developing slider.  Needs to improve his command and secondary pitches.

29) Isias Tejada – C, 20 – LoA

Next in line of promising Yankee catcher prospects, Tejada showed his ability to make good, hard contact with a .971 OPS in the GCL with only a 12% strike out rate.

30) Brandon Pinder – RHRP, 23 – LoA

Dominated mostly younger hitters as closer in Staten Island with 11.0 K/9, 1.4 BB/9 and 1.16 ERA.  Has great command of 94-95 mph Fastball but has no quality secondary pitch yet.

31) Bryan MitchellRHSP, 20 – LoA

Plus stuff but still very raw. Put things together by end of year and shows strikeout (8.6 K/9) and ground-ball stuff (2.19 GO/AO rate)

32) Jose Rosario– SS/2B, 20 – LoA

Hit just as well as teammate Bichette with .331 average and .529 SLG%.  He’s a hacker with a 3.2% Walk rate but he’s caught the attention of the organization and earned a late season promotion to Charleston. Mark Newman stated, “He can run (11 SB in 43 games) and throw. He hit 6 HRs, so he has some ability to impact the ball.  By diligence, he’s turning himself into a quality prospect.”

33) Taylor Morton – RHSP, 20 – LoA

Made impressive debut in GCL. The 6’3″ righty should get stronger and he already possesses a plus change, low 90’s FB and good command.

34) Rob Segedin – 3B, 23 – HiA

Big 3B/OF with strong hitting skills. Earned promotion with .395wOBA at Charleston but struggled some in Tampa. Yanks put him in AFL this Fall where he went .250/.367/.407.

35) Daniel Lopez – CF, 20 – LoA

Another emerging all-around athlete with good speed. Showed power potential this year hitting .327/.413/.490 with 27 SB in 61 games across 3 levels.

36) Jose Ramirez – RHSP, 22 – HiA

Promising arm took a step back this year but still notched strong K rates so stuff is still there.

37) Evan Rutckyj– LHSP, 20 – LoA

Big strong 6’5″ lefty got stronger as the season progressed and generates a lot of ground-balls.

38) Cesar Cabral – LHRP, 23 – MLB

Rule 5 pick from Red Sox system, he’ll have chance to make team in ST as second lefty in pen. Gets a lot of Ks with good Fastball and plus Changeup.

39) Pat Venditte SWRP, 26 – AAA

Doesn’t have dominating stuff but continues to post good overall numbers and solid K rates at every level.  Biggest drawback is he’s a heavy flyball pitcher.

40) Abe Almonte – OF, 22 – AA

Plus defender and baserunner but wildly inconsistent at the plate. Switch-hitter had huge 2nd half, riding a 30-game hitting streak and showing off good extra base hit power.  Needs to prove 2nd half surge was real at AA this year.

Other NotablesWalter Ibarra, Kyle Roller, Zach Nuding, Dan Burawa, Chase Whitley, Ronnie Mustlier, Yeicock Calderon, Robert Lyerly, Melky Mesa, Dan Brewer, Brad Suttle, Jorge Vazquez, Ben Gamel, Gabe  Encinas, Matt Tracy, Zach Wilson, Evan DeLuca, Mikey O’Brien

New Additions to Watch in 2012: Greg Bird, Jake Cave, Matt Duran, Jordan Cote, Justin James, Dan Camarena, Hayden Sharp, Rookie Davis, Miquel Andujar

Afternoon Notes: Wilson, Garza, Gonzalez, Danks, 40-Man Roster

The Yanks have expressed particular interest in White Sox hurler John Danks. Chicago on the other hand is a big fan of NYY Triple-A catcher, Austin Romine.

Via Joel Sherman of the NY Post:

— Brian Cashman would like to do something this offseason, before Christmas, but he won’t unless the prices drop from where they are now. (Sherman)

— Symbolic of the Yankees’ current lack of enthusiasm, when C.J. Wilson’s agent requested a meeting in New York, he was told “we’ll get back to you.”

— The Yanks have looked into a possible trade for Cubs’ starter, Matt Garza. However, a Chicago official said trading Garza would be “very, very unlikely”.

— Among their particular likings is left-hander Gio Gonzalez of the Athletics. Billy Beane, talking about the availability of Gonzalez and Trevor Cahill, said, “In our situation, we are open to anything.” However, Oakland is looking for an ace return for either Gio or Cahill. This probably implies a package centered around Jesus Montero or Manny Baneulos.

— They also favor ChiSox lefty, John Danks, who will be a free agent after this 2012 season. Sherman notes that Danks is “very” available, with the sudden Chicago rebuilding process. The asking price for Danks appears to be similar to that of Billy Beane’s in Oakland. The Yanks don’t view Danks as worth that kind of price, especially considering they’d only be getting one year of him. However, don’t shut the door on this trade possibility. Sherman adds the White Sox are very keen on a number of Yankee prospects, including a “particular fondness” for Austin Romine.

Via Mark Feinsand of the NY Daily News:

— On a different note, the Yankees added infielders David Adams and Corban Joseph, outfielder Zoilo Almonte, and right-handed pitchers, D.J. Mitchell and David Phelps to their 40-Man Roster. It seems likely that the latter two will see at least some time in the majors next season.

A little about each of them.

Almonte batted .276/.345/.459 with 15 homers and 18 steals between High- and Double-A this season. He’s an unexciting talent but one the Yankees felt they couldn’t lose in the Rule 5 draft.

Joseph, 23, hit .277/.353/.415 with five homers and 58 RBI over 499 at-bats for Trenton this season. The former fourth-round pick is below average defensively and hasn’t progressed much with the bat, but the Yankees are still holding out hope that he’ll be a useful piece of the roster eventually.

Adams batted .370/.421/.509 over 29 games in an injury-shortened 2011 season. The former third-round pick has little in the way of tools but profiles as a solid backup at the major league level.

A former outfielder from his college days, Mitchell doesn’t have much upside but has a nice minor league track record, having held a 3.28 ERA over three seasons, including a 3.18 mark at Triple-A in 2011. He probably has a better shot to eventually earn a roster spot for the Yankees as a middle reliever, though.

Phelps is now off-limits for the Rule 5 draft. A former 14th-round pick, Phelps posted a nice 3.19 ERA and 90/26 K/BB ratio over 107 1/3 innings at Triple-A this season. Though his ceiling isn’t high, Phelps boasts a 2.61 ERA in his minor league career and has a good shot of being a useful back-end starter or middle reliever for the Yanks one day.

Minor League Recap – High A Tampa Yankees

As with many A – ball teams, the Tampa Yankees saw a lot of turnover on their roster throughout the season.  Despite all the changes they finished 74-64 in the 12-team Florida State League.  They were led by an offense that finished 3rd in Runs scored & 2nd in Batting Average.  Tampa’s pitching staff finished 10th with a 3.98 team ERA.

The team went through a lot of changes during June. It’s three top hitters, 3B Robert Lyerly, OF Deangelo Mack and CF Zoilo Almonte were promoted to AA Trenton and were eventually replaced by Kyle Roller, Rob Segedin, Slade Heathcott & JR Murphy from Low A Charleston.  Unfortunately, Slade & Murph had there seasons cut short by injury and Roller and Segedin had some trouble adapting to the more advanced pitchers.

HITTERS

Abe Almonte had a 30-game hitting streak

Abraham Almonte – CF, 22, 5’9″ 205

Almonte is a well-built switch-hitter who finished the season on fire with a 30-game hitting streak. He was hitting a pathetic .218/.294/.280 with 12 XBH at the midpoint of the season but was .314/.369/.475 with 30XBH in the 2nd half to finish at .268 with 30 sbs.  Almonte has a plus glove and great speed and shows flashes of being a dynamic offensive player but he’s been wildly inconsistent throughout his career so it remains to be seen if he can build on his huge 2nd half.

Kyle Roller – 1B, 23, 6’1″ 235

Roller’s a big lefty hitter drafted in the 8th rd in 2010 because he can stroke and he did just that in 2011. He was roping in Charleston to start the season with a .925 OPS that got him promoted after 50 games. He held his own against better pitching to finish the season at .284/.371//482/.854 with 31 doubles & 16 HRs in 110 games.

Rob Segedin

Rob Segedin – 3B, 22, 6’3″ 220

Like Roller, Segedin was drafted in the 3rd rd of 2010 for his stick.  He began mashing in CHS with an .878 OPS but he did not hit in Tampa after his promotion with a .245/.311/.309 slash in 52 games.  It doesn’t damper his upside as a productive hitting corner IF or OF. His season total was a respectable .287/.358/.403.

Deangelo Mack – LF, 24, 5’10” 190

Mack had a solid year for Charleston and even played 40 games for Trenton from May to July when Melky Mesa was injured. He hit .248/.357/.388 for Trenton but was a .300 hitter in his 59 games for CHS. Overall, he hit .280/.361/.436 with 8 HRs among his 31 xtra base hits. Mack has a good feel for the strike zone and a nice lefty stroke but doesn’t have good power or speed for a corner OF which may hurt his future value.

Walter Ibarra – 2B, 23, 5’11” 180

Ibarra is in his 6th season in the organization and he repeated the FSL despite hitting .301 last yr.  This yr he had his best season hitting .297-.333-.421 with 10 sbs and 33 xbh. The Yanks have a lot of talented 2B in the system rated higher than Ibarra so his future may be as a utility player.

PITCHERS

Marshall is now fully recovered from Tommy John Surgery

Brett Marshall – RHP, 21, 6’0″ 195

Marshall was given an $850,000 signing bonus as a 6th rounder in 2008 but underwent Tommy John Surgery in July 2009. He came back to throw 84 innings last yr and looked good. He got off to a poor start in April this season but rebounded to have a great yr as he got stronger in his 2nd year from TJ surgery. Since May1, he went 8-4 2.87 with 100 Ks in 119 IP and saw a big uptick in his stuff and Ks in the 2nd half.

Brett threw a career high 140.1 IP this season which is big having never thrown more than 87. He proved his arm is healthy.  Overall, he was 9-7 with a 3.78 ERA , 3.24 FIP, 7.3 K/9 & 3.1 BB/9.  He has a good 2-seam fastball he used to post a 1.88 GO/AO ratio. His FB is in the low 90s with ability to throw in the mid 90s and he also features the makings of a plus slider. The organization has to be pleased with his season and they will likely have him begin in AA Trenton next yr.  Look for Marshall to be a highly rated prospect in upcoming rankings.

Jairo Heredia – RHP, 21, 6’1″ 190

Heredia has been a highly ranked prospect for years but is terribly injury prone. Many had given up on him but he returned this season and showed the talent by going 8-2 3.29 with 9.0 k/9 & 2.1 bb/9 through June. However, he was then placed on the DL never to return.  He’s still only 21 and has excellent command to go along with a plus Curveball and low 90s fastball with movement but he has not shown any durability.

Ryan Flannery – RHP, 25, 6’4 245

Dominating yr as the team’s closer going 3-1 with 19 saves and a 1.24 ERA. Had a 7 to 1 K to BB rate and 2.30 Ground Out to Air Out ratio but at 25, he’s very old for this league and needs to prove himself at AA where he didn’t fare well allowing  16 baserunners in 5 IP.

Jose Quintana is a deceptive lefty

Jose Quintana – LHP, 22, 6’0″ 170

Quintana began the season as a reliever and did so well they made him a starter in July. Overall, he finished with a 10-2 record, 2.91 ERA, 2.96 FIP, 7.8 k/9, 2.5 bb/9 and 1.16 GO/AO rate. His strikeout ad groundball numbers were better as a reliever but that is true for most pitchers. Jose is a bit of an unknown not getting a lot of coverage prior to this season.  He sits n the 89-91 range and throws a curve & change.

Michael O’Brien – RHP, 21, 5’11” 185

O’Brien pitched well in Low A so was brought up in late June and continued his success in Tampa. Combined he finished 7-7 with a 3.16 ERA with 99 Ks in 119 IP. He saw a big drop in his Ks after his promotion and was shut down for the season in mid-August