Yankees Prospects: Week 12 minor league review

Syndication: Poughkeepsie Journal
Spencer Jones | Patrick Oehler/Poughkeepsie Journal / USA TODAY NETWORK

It was a great week for first-round picks Trey Sweeney and Spencer Jones.

It was another busy week down on the farm for the Yankees’ organization. The Hudson Valley rotation shoved again, Estevan Florial continued his home run barrage, and it was a very good week for former first round picks Trey Sweeney and Spencer Jones.

Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders

Record: 31-37 and 14 games back in the International League East after losing four out of six games to the Rochester Red Wings (Nationals)

Run Differential: +13

Coming up: Back home for six games against the Buffalo Bisons (Blue Jays) starting on Tuesday, June 20th

With the Yankees offense sputtering in a way it hasn’t since their non-contender days, the clamor for Estevan Florial to get a real shot in the big leagues has grown louder and louder. The reason for the support stems from Florial’s refusal to stop hitting in Triple-A. Last week he drilled another four homers and drove in 10 runs. His OPS against Rochester was a robust 1.007, which is actually beneath his number for the season. Add in his outstanding defense in the outfield, the ability to play center, and his speed on the bases, and it almost doesn’t make sense why the Yankees won’t give him a real shot. Almost. Florial still strikes out over 30 percent of the time, which is a concern that’s only exacerbated at the major league level. But desperate times call for desperate measures, and Florial could force the Yankees’ hand by continuing to mash the way he has.

Another player fans were hoping could help solve the Yankees’ offensive woes at some point is Andrés Chaparro, but, unlike Florial, his recent performance isn’t helping his case. He hasn’t homered since May 17th, and his .596 OPS over the last month does not have him knocking on the door of the Bronx. His strikeout percentage in that time (19.8) is encouraging, so hope is not unfounded for a Chaparro turnaround as we head into summer.

Players of note (stats are season totals):

3B Andrés Chaparro: .744 OPS, 11 HR, 40 RBI, 12 2B, 41 R, 28 BB

OF Estevan Florial: 1.026 OPS, 18 HR, 44 RBI, 44 R, 35 BB, 13 SB, 78 K

SS Oswald Peraza: .923 OPS, 11 HR, 24 RBI, 25 R, 4 2B, 11 SB

C Carlos Narvaez: .910 OPS, 4 HR, 11 RBI, 2 2B, 14 R (75 at-bats)

SP Will Warren: 6.29 ERA, 24.1 IP, 27 H, 12 BB, 27 K

SP Mitch Spence: 5.22 ERA, 70.2 IP, 74 H, 29 BB, 58 K

SP Randy Vásquez: 5.94 ERA, 50 IP, 58 H, 29 BB, 59 K

RP Aaron McGarity: 4.55 ERA, 31.2 IP, 17 H, 12 BB, 42 K

Double-A Somerset Patriots

Record: 39-23 and in first place by a game in the Eastern League Northeast after taking five out of six from the Altoona Curve (Pirates)

Run Differential: +71

Coming up: Home for six games against the New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Blue Jays) starting Tuesday, June 20th

It is sometimes good to be reminded that Trey Sweeney is only in his second full season of professional baseball since being chosen in the first round out of Eastern Illinois in 2021. After finishing last year in Somerset, Sweeney has been the Patriots’ starting shortstop from day one of this season, but his performance in 2023 has not drawn a great deal of attention to this point. Maybe he is starting to do something about that. Sweeney homered three times against the Curve and drove in eight, and his line over the last couple of weeks is .321/.379/.585. His strikeout percentage for the year is down to 20.1 and he is walking at a 14.5 percent rate — very encouraging numbers, and hopefully Sweeney can build on this recent trend.

Another player with some past Double-A experience who also seems to be making the adjustment is Aaron Palensky. After forcing his way to Somerset by destroying the South Atlantic League, Palensky now has an OPS of 1.230 over the last two weeks. He is one of the more intriguing hitters in the system, considering there were little-to-no public expectations of his offense before the season, and now it is difficult to deny what a force he has been for three months.

No pitcher in the Yankees’ organization has burst onto the scene like Chase Hampton has in 2023, and he made his Double-A debut last week. Hampton is still in his first professional season after being drafted in the sixth round out of Texas Tech last summer, but he lit up Single-A with 77 Ks in 47 innings. Hampton’s first start for the Patriots was a continuation of what we’ve seen from him so far: six innings, four hits, two earned runs, and eight strikeouts. The Somerset rotation, now with Clayton Beeter, Richard Fitts, and Hampton at the front of it, gives fans something exciting to watch each week, and scouts may pay close attention as well with the trade deadline creeping up.

Players of note:

OF Jasson Domínguez: .745 OPS, 10 HR, 37 RBI, 48 BB, 16 SB, 44 R

C Austin Wells: .856 OPS, 9 HR, 32 RBI, 8 2B, 21 R (35 games)

SS Trey Sweeney: .764 OPS, 7 HR, 28 RBI, 13 2B, 38 R, 9 SB

1B T.J. Rumfield: .806 OPS, 12 HR, 35 RBI, 5 2B, 28 R

3B Tyler Hardman: .838 OPS, 13 HR, 32 RBI, 31 R, 6 2B, 2 3B

SP Clayton Beeter: 2.08 ERA, 60.2 IP, 44 H, 76 K, 31 BB

SP Richard Fitts: 4.27 ERA, 65.1 IP, 66 H, 73 K, 15 BB

SP Yoendrys Gómez: 0.84 ERA, 10.2 IP, 6 H, 10 K, 6 BB (4 starts)

High-A Hudson Valley Renegades

Record: 37-26 and leading the South Atlantic League North by three games after winning four out of six with the Rome Braves

Run Differential: +71

Coming up: On the road for six games against the Brooklyn Cyclones (Mets) beginning Tuesday, June 20th

Spencer Jones took it to the Braves last week (more on that below), and the gaudy offensive numbers he provided behind the stellar Renegades’ pitching staff had a lot to do with the series win. Beyond Jones, and ever so quietly, Antonio Gomez was 4-for-12 against Rome, which by itself isn’t noteworthy, but in the context of his last month of play contributes to a positive trend at the plate for him. After struggling through the first two months of the season, Gomez has a slash line of .313/.366/.469 over his last four series and he’s striking out at a manageable 26.4 percent. Gomez’s defensive tools could be enough to get him to the big leagues some day, but he’ll need to hit his way onto the 40-man roster after the season. Hopefully the recent version of his bat becomes the norm.

The metronome of the Hudson Valley starting pitchers ticked on against Rome, in a week where former Renegade Matt Sauer continued his rehab by throwing two scoreless and hitless innings while striking out five. The other pitchers to start in the series, Zach Messinger, Juan Carela, Drew Thorpe, Tyrone Yulie, and Joel Valdez, combined to allow only four earned runs in 28 innings, punching out 38 in the process. Carela struck out 10 for the third consecutive start, and Thorpe has not allowed a run to cross the plate in the month of June.

With such spectacular starting pitching, relievers like Bailey Dees can fly under the radar. Perhaps he should start to get some attention. Another three scoreless and six Ks last week now give him 40 in 26.1 innings this year. He’s allowed only 15 hits and his ERA is down to 2.39, giving the Renegades another formidable option late in games.

Players of note:

OF Spencer Jones: .875 OPS, 10 HR, 36 RBI, 19 2B, 3 3B, 37 R

1B Spencer Henson: .843 OPS, 9 HR, 31 RBI, 10 2B, 34 R

2B Benjamin Cowles: .772 OPS, 6 2B, 6 HR, 18 RBI, 26 R

SS Alexander Vargas: .656 OPS, 6 HR, 25 RBI, 8 2B, 3 3B, 9 SB, 28 R

SP Zach Messinger: 2.44 ERA, 55.1 IP, 48 H, 68 K, 26 BB

SP Drew Thorpe: 2.64 ERA, 64.2 IP, 51 H, 79 K, 22 BB

SP Juan Carela: 3.04 ERA, 56.1 IP, 40 H, 72 K, 20 BB

RP Jack Neely: 2.00 ERA, 27 IP, 14 H, 39 K, 13 BB

Low-A Tampa Tarpons

Record: 30-33 and 12.5 games back in the Florida State League West after winning four of six games with the Clearwater Threshers (Phillies)

Run Differential: +15

Coming up: Home for six games with the Fort Myers Mighty Mussels (Twins) beginning Tuesday, June 20th

The Christopher Familia show continued last week, and he’s come on so strong since his debut that it’s fair to wonder if a promotion to Hudson Valley within the month is becoming imminent. The hard-hitting outfielder’s 1.339 OPS against the Threshers, supported by six extra base hits, now brings his line in 16 games to .375/.459/.891 with eight homers and 23 RBI. The connection among Everson Pereira, Spencer Jones, Anthony Hall, and Familia will be an interesting one when the Yankees consider promoting players soon. There should be room for everyone to move up, if that is warranted and all players are healthy.

It’s also time to start talking about Agustin Ramirez. FanGraphs aggressively put Ramirez at No. 13 in their list of top Yankees prospects before the season, touting his above-average power and offensive potential at a position where offense is scarce. Thanks to a .303/.472/.455 line over the last month, he now owns a 130 wRC+ for the year and ranks among the organization’s leaders in several offensive categories. Like Antonio Gomez, Ramirez will be eligible for Rule 5 selection after the season, so he becomes a very interesting player to watch for more than one reason as the summer rolls on.

Players of note:

2B Jared Serna: .909 OPS, 44 R, 13 HR, 43 RBI, 12 2B, 15 SB

OF Anthony Hall: .815 OPS, 4 HR, 21 RBI, 31 R, 7 2B, 2 3B, 31 BB

OF Christopher Familia: 1.350 OPS, 8 HR, 23 RBI, 5 2B, 19 R (16 games)

1B/3B/C Jesus Rodriguez: .862 OPS, 4 HR, 21 RBI, 34 R, 9 2B

SP Justin Lange: 4.29 ERA, 42 IP, 23 H, 72 K, 34 BB

SP Brock Selvidge: 3.56 ERA, 55.2 IP, 52 H, 64 K, 14 BB

RP Yorlin Calderon: 2.10 ERA, 34.1 IP, 25 H, 41 K, 8 BB

RP Matt Keating: 3.25 ERA, 27.2 IP, 24 H, 44 K, 16 BB

Prospect of the week: Spencer Jones

It seems like observers have been trying to push Jones to Double-A since the beginning of the season, and there have been weeks where that enthusiasm has been warranted. Last week was one of those weeks. After being on an extended slide in his offensive production and piling up a concerning number of strikeouts, Jones was a wrecking ball against the Rome Braves. He went 12-for-24, hit three home runs and a double, drove in six and scored six times, walked three times and stole two bases. His 12 hits were seven more than his nearest teammate facing Rome, and in a small sample of one series, his five strikeouts were a positive sign in a season where Jones has been striking out 32.8 percent of the time.

Monday’s games:

FCL Yankees (8-3): Win vs. FCL Blue Jays 7-1

2B Keiner Delgado 2-5, 2 R, RBI, 2 SB
SS Roderick Arias 2-5, R, 2 RBI, SB
CF Willy Montero 0-5, 3 K
3B Hans Montero 1-4, 2 K
DH Enmanuel Tejada 1-3, BB, 2 SB K
RF John Cruz 0-1, 3 BB, R, SB, K
1B Kelvin Espino 0-3, R, BB, 2 K
LF Joel Mendez 2-4, 3B, R, 2 RBI, K
C Edinson Duran 1-4, R

Jackson Fristoe 2.1 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4 K
Osiel Rodriguez 1.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K
Allen Facundo (W, 1-0) 2.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 7 K
Montana Semmel (S, 1) 2.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K

DSL Bombers (7-4): Lost to DSL Miami 4-2

SS Juan Matheus 0-3, BB, K
2B Gabriel Terrero 2-4, R, 2B
CF Ramiro Altagracia 1-4, SB, K
DH Gabriel Lara 1-3, R, BB, SB
C Edgleen Perez 1-4, RBI
1B Johan Contreras 0-3, BB, K
RF Luis Puello 0-3
3B Kevin Verde 0-3
LF Abrahan Ramirez 0-3, K

Chalniel Arias 5 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 7 K
Daniel Guerrero (L, 0-2) 2.1 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 1 HR allowed
Yordanny Sosa 0.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K

DSL Yankees (9-1): Postponed by rain vs. DSL Mets Blue

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