Who’s hot on the farm: Rookie Leagues
Dario Unda – 21-years-old, LF – Unda has had a good season so far, but with the caveat that he’s been around for a while and he’s 21 and still in rookie ball. He has a .279/.338/.484/.822 line with five homeruns, eight doubles, and three triples. He’ll have to continue the power surge and move very quickly from here to be considered a serious prospect.
Frederick Cuevas – 19-years-old, LF – Cuevas is having a breakout season. He’s hitting .312/.373/.455/.827 with three homeruns, 11 doubles, and one triple for Pulaski. He also has six stolen bases but has been caught six times. This season was a major improvement for him, and he will look to continue his success next year. It will be important for him to find a place on a long season roster next year. At 5-foot-11, the long term power projection is limited, but he has now become a prospect to watch.
Daniel Ramos – 22-years-old, RHP – Ramos is on the older side, but over his last four starts he has looked really good. He has thrown 21 innings and let up just three earned runs (1.29 ERA). During that time, he has 21 K to three walks. On the season he has a 3.81 ERA and 56 K : 16 BB in 52 innings pitched. He had shoulder surgery at 17-years-old, so he may just now be coming back into his own. Before surgery he was a 90-94 mph with incredible breaking stuff.
Kyle Zurak – 22-years-old, RHP – He has done what he is supposed to at the rookie leagues so far, which is to dominate. He has a 2.39 ERA and 33 K in 26.1 innings pitched this season so far. He has a fastball that can hit 95 mph. The Yankees got his power arm in the 8th round and at a senior discount so to speak. They hope they can make him into a power reliever.
Matthew Wivinis – 24-years-old, RHP – Wivinis is an older guy, and didn’t even get drafted, but he has sure shown he belongs in professional baseball so far. He has a 0.61 ERA and 46 K : 4 BB in 29.1 innings pitched so far this season. He has 10 saves in 10 opportunities. They signed him out of the Frontier League, an independent league. The only scouting report I can find on him has him at 89 mph with cut and sink, and a hard slurve. That scouting report was from over two years ago though, and that was as a starter. I’d be interested to find out what his stuff is looking like these days, as that report was the year after he had Tommy John Surgery.
Nolan Martinez – 19-years-old, RHP – He was the Yankees’ third round pick last year and has a ton of upside. This year he missed some time with an undisclosed injury, but since returning he has done really well. He just made his first start in Pulaski, but overall he has 14 K : 3 BB and a 0.66 ERA in 13.2 innings. That’s an impressive start to his career. Hopefully he can build on this and stay healthy next season. Building up his innings will certainly be a priority for him. Before the draft he was sitting 89-93 mph with a devastating curveball.
GCL Yankees East and West
Canaan Smith – 18-years-old, OF – Yankees made a great pickup in the fourth round of the 2017 draft with Canaan Smith. He has extreme patience for an 18-year-old, and has speed and power to go with it. On the season he has a .288/.429/.424/.853 line with five homeruns, five SB, and 10 doubles. With his mix of power, speed, contact, patience, and a solid arm, he has all of the tools necessary to be a top prospect. The Yankees will look to get a nice return on investment from a guy at this point in the draft. So far it’s working out quite well. In his last 10 games, he’s 9/32 (.281) with a homerun, a double (.406 SLG), and seven walks (.410 OBP). On top of all of his other skills, he’s very consistent for a high schooler too.
Jose Carrera – 22-years-old, 3B – Carrera is going to be a fun guy to follow as he goes up the minor league ladder. He is just 5-foot-2, and unsurprisingly went undrafted this season. He is a tiny hit machine though. On the season he’s batting .273/.395/.364/.758 with one homerun, six doubles, and one triple while stealing 11 bases. He has done even better in the past 11 games, 11/33 (.333) with nine walks (.476 OBP), six stolen bases, and a double (.353 SLG). His absolute ceiling is a Torreyes type, but it would be a great story if he was able to hit that ceiling.
Robert Javier – 18-years-old, CF – Javier is another small guy, standing at just 5-foot-8. He too has been hot lately though. He is 11/34 (.324) with four walks (.395 OBP), three SB, and a double over his last 10 games. At his height the ceiling isn’t vast, but as young as he is he could surprise as an athletic kid who is able to outperform expectations regularly.
Tony Hernandez – 21-years-old, LHP – The Yankees got Hernandez in the 15th round of the draft last season out of community college. It looks like this year they have decided to groom him as a starter. He has taken to the new role well, with a 3.44 ERA and 45 K : 14 BB in 52.1 innings. He has a long way to go, but a successful season in the GCL is a good way to start.
Luis Rijo – 18-years-old, RHP – The Yankees signed Rijo in 2015 and he has one year of DSL experience under his belt and is playing well in his first taste of the GCL. He has a 3.75 ERA and 49 K : 9 BB in 48 innings this season. He’s a low velocity guy, sitting in the high 80’s, low 90’s right now. He has good secondary pitches though and at his age should add some velocity as the years go on.
Wellington Diaz - 20-years-old, RHP – I can’t tell you much about Wellington Diaz, but I can tell you he is 6-foot-4, from the DR, and the Yankees signed him this year in March. I can also tell you he has performed pretty well in his debut season. He has a 3.43 ERA and 29 K : 8 BB in 44.2 innings so far, and I’ll be interested to learn more about him in the coming days.
Pedro Espinola – 21-years-old, RHP – Espinola Has pitched quite well in his last four appearances, covering 17.1 innings and letting up just two earned runs (1.04 ERA) and striking out 18 while walking 11. The walks are way too high but this is his first taste of professional baseball and he is coming off Tommy John surgery. He’s a big, 6-foot-4 kid and the stuff is reportedly pretty good already.
Aaron McGarrity – 22-years-old, RHP – The Yankees got him in the 15th round this year and he’s done really well in his debut. He’s thrown 20.2 innings and has a 2.18 ERA and a 27 K : 2 BB ratio. He has a mid-90’s fastball and a good breaking ball to pair it with.
Dalton Higgins – 22-years-old, RHP – Higgins has a 2.41 ERA and 18 K : 4 BB in 18.2 innings so far. He was the seventh round pick in the 2017 draft for the Yankees. He has a fastball which can reach mid-90’s and is a plus pitch. He has no plus secondary pitches but he does throw a slide and the Yankees will work with him to improve that to a usable, if not above average pitch.
Shawn Semple – 21-years-old, RHP – This 11th rounder has had a stellar performance in the GCL. He sports a 1.06 ERA and 20 K in 17 IP and has just one walk on the season. He has a low-90’s fastball and a solid feel for both a curve and changeup, and he throws strikes.
Gustavo Campero – 19-years-old, C -Campero was having an excellent first year stateside when something, I’m assuming injury, cut his season short. He hasn’t played since the middle of August, but prior to that he was on fire. He was 11/31 (.355) in his last 10 games with 10 walks (.512) and four stolen bases. He also had two homeruns and two doubles (.613 SLG). On the season, he had a .292/.444/.521/.964 stateside, with three homeruns, seven doubles, three triples, and 11 SB with 0 CS. There are more talented catchers in the system but not a single one had a performance close to this. Not even the highly touted Saul Torres. He’s just 5-foot7, but he’s very quick and has surprising pop. He has all the tools to stick behind the plate, and he’s a switch hitter who can really hit from both sides. His height limits his upside but he could surprise and become a Francisco Cervelli type, especially if he continues to perform like this.
Nelvin Correa – 20-years-old, RHP – In 54 innings (four starts), he has 44 K : 11 BB and a 2.48 ERA. I don’t know much about him, except that he’s 6-foot-1, Dominican, and that he was signed in July of 2016.