Who's hot on the farm? Staten Island
Staten Island has one of the most intriguing pitching staffs in the entire system. By the same token, there is not much going on with the position players this season. Their excellent record, which is the best in the New York-Penn League, doesn’t have much to do with their hitting. That just goes to show how good their pitching has been. There’s only one hitter worth highlighting on the team right now.
Keith Skinner – 23-years-old, C/1B – Skinner has been on fire his last 10 games. He is 15/35 (.429) with two walks (.459 OBP), and five doubles (.571 SLG). On the season he is a less impressive .252/.291/.311/.602, but he has been bounced around a lot. He was a 7th round senior pick last year, so probably more of an organizational guy at this point. You never know when a guy can change organizational perspectives though. He seems to be doing his best to do just that.
Daniel Alvarez – 21-years-old, RHP – He’s enjoying solid success with Staten Island this year. In 63.1 innings, he has a 3.69 ERA and 64 K to 17 BB. He has a paltry .216 average against. Alvarez, 6-foot-3, has always been more of a polish pitcher than a power pitcher, but he’s pitching this season like both. It may be that he’s had an uptick in stuff, but he’s still a solid prospect even with low-90’s stuff. His secondary offerings, nasty curveball and changeup, are what makes him such a tough pitcher.
Jorge Guzman – 21-years-old, RHP – There’s no bigger helium prospect in the system than Jorge Guzman. He has a fastball that sits in the 98-99 mph range, and hits 103 mph with regularity. His secondary stuff includes a curveball that comes at you at 90 mph, and a changeup which is rapidly improving. He has vastly improved his control this year too. On the year he has thrown 61.2 innings and has a 2.34 ERA with an 85:17 K:BB ratio. Those numbers are unbelievable. Next season I expect him to fly through the system. You can’t teach his skillset.
Juan De Paula – 19-years-old, RHP – Two years younger than Guzman, De Paula has made a nice name for himself in Staten Island this year as well. He has a 44:21 K:BB and a 2.89 ERA with a .188 average against in 53 innings. Moreoevr, he has been even better over his last six starts. In his last 34 innings, he has struck out 33, walked 12, and has a 1.32 ERA. Couple that with his low to mid-90’s fastball and developing curveball and changeup, and you have a guy who is quickly turning into a legitimate prospect. He has the requisite size and youth to significantly improve his velocity too. He’ll be another one to watch in the long season leagues next year. Quite a talented bunch.
Jio Orozco - 20-years-old, RHP – Jio really struggled out of the gate in Charleston, but he was just 19-years-old. Since being demoted to Pulaski and then again promoted to Staten Island, he has brought his season back to respectability. In six Staten Island starts, he has a 2.08 ERA and a 35:18 K:BB in 34.2 innings. The walks need to come down significantly, but he is definitely on the right track now. On the season he has a 3.52 ERA and 109:62 K:BB in 112.2 innings. He has a long way to go to improve his control, but at just 20-years-old with a 91-94 mph sinking fastball, a 12-6 curveball and a changeup that shows flashes of plus, he has the foundation in place to be a big time prospect if things break right.
Trevor Stephan – 21-years-old, RHP – Stephan, the Yankees’ 3rd round pick in the 2017 draft, has been totally dominant in his first taste of professional baseball. He has a 1.48 ERA with 40 K : 6 BB in 30.1 innings. He has a .179 average against. He’s more of a two-pitch guy right now, with a mid-90’s fastball that hit’s 97 mph from a low arm angle. His second pitch is his slider which has been really good so far this year. His third pitch is a changeup which is still in the early stages of development. My guess is the Yankees will have him work at that at instructs and he will come back next season ready to use it.
Jonathan Loaisiga – 22-years-old, RHP – With a fastball that now sits at 95 and has hit 98 mph, Loaisiga has the makings of yet another top starter in the Yankees’ minor league system. He is small, at just 5-foot-11, but he also has a plus curveball and a developing changeup in his arsenal. After undergoing Tommy John surgery early last season, he returned this year and has now made 10 starts. He has 27.2 innings pitched, 31 K : 3 BB, and a .153 average against. Next year he will look to expand the innings and continue to develop his strength. He definitely has a starter’s arsenal though, and is yet another high ceiling, high performance arm ready to storm the scene next season in Low-A.
Glen Otto – 21-years-old, RHP – The Yankees view Otto as yet another starting pitcher, but he has so much competition they have brought him out of the bullpen so far. Next season he will compete for a spot in the Charleston or High-A rotation to start the year. In 2017, he has a 1.02 ERA and 29 K : 3 BB in 17.2 innings. He was their 5th rounder this year. He sits 92-95 mph and tops out at 97 mph, with a hammer spike curveball and a changeup. He’s not quite as high ceiling as some of the others, but he has a high floor for sure.
David Palladino – 24-years-old, RHP – Palladino has been a reliever for a couple of years now, and after this season he will have been with the organization for five years now. He has never come close to the success he is having this season though. Control has always been a problem for him, and this season he has turned it into a strength. He has 30 K and three BB in 21.2 innings this season, with a 0.83 ERA. He was always a soft tosser, especially for a guy his size. That said, sometimes it takes these extremely tall players a long time to get their mechanics under control. Now that he has done that, he could shoot through the system if he had an uptick. Judging by the fact that he is still in Staten Island, however, I would have to bet against that notion. I’m sure we will find out more soon enough.