In the Eastern League, baseball prospects are just a step or two away from a Major League debut. Sometimes, the best prospects in baseball will jump from Double-A to the show, but this group of players is still developing and a year or two away from MLB. After a handful of scouting pieces on the best prospects scouted in a series between Trenton (Yankees) and Bowie (Orioles), these notes on select Yankees and Orioles prospects empties the notebook so to speak. Gary Sanchez is the headliner, but several names can fill big league roles — especially if negotiations with David Robertson go wrong.
In Year one A.M. (After Mo) the Yankees’ bullpen did not miss a beat. In Year two, 2014 draftee, Jacob Lindgren, needs to chip in and keep the ship afloat. The 2013 season saw failed starting pitching prospect, Dellin Betances, author one of the greatest relief seasons of all time. In doing so, he stakes a claim as closer of the future. Adam Warren, former back of the rotation starting pitching prospect, improved on a solid 2013 major league debut as a reliever. And David Robertson, after years of serving as the setup man for Mariano Rivera, was excellent in his first year as the team’s closer. Unfortunately for the Yankees, as quickly as Robertson established himself as closer, free agency may find him in another uniform next season. As the Yankees consider what to do with Robertson, Lindgren looms large.
Greg BirdListed at 6-foot-3, 215 pounds and looking every bit the part, Greg Bird strikes an imposing figure. Despite Bird’s stature, he failed to put on a show in batting practice at Prince George’s Stadium, home of the Bowie Baysox. He didn’t attempt to muscle balls over the fence, nor did the ball make a loud crack when the left-handed hitter’s bat connected. Did warning track power in batting practice result in less than stellar results in game action?
Listed at a mere six feet and 150 pounds, Zach Davies was able to stand out during a recent visit to watch the Bowie Baysox take on the Trenton Thunder. At 20 pounds more than his listed weight, Davies lacks big velocity. However, he delivered a standout performance by relying on location and his secondary pitches do Dominate the Trenton Thunder.
In recent years, Trenton has earned a reputation as the place Yankees’ prospect bats flame out. Tyler Austin, Slade Heathcott, Mason Williams, prospect-after-prospect has seen his offensive production stagnate in Double-A. Jake Cave bucked this trend, while almost doubling his career home run total in two months of Eastern League play. With the big club’s offense on life support is Cave poised to be a contributor in the near future?
Mason Williams began the 2013 season as the number one prospect in the Yankees system and one of the top ranked outfielders in minor league baseball. He then struggled in High-A before being arrested for driving under the influence. As questions about his makeup arose, Williams continued to sputter until a late season surge quieted doubters. Williams’ .288/.328/.384 second half was enough for the Yankees to promote him to Double-A to end the year. The former top-100 prospect has struggled to adjust since.
The Yankees recently made waves by spending about $12 million more than their allotted two million dollar International Free Agency (IFA) bonus pool. Dermis Garcia, Nelson Gomez, Juan DeLeon, Jonathan Amundaray, Hyo-Jun Park, Wilkerman Garcia and Miguel Flames all benefited from the Yankees’ IFA largesse to the tune of $1 million or more each in signing bonuses. As a keeper league owner, how many of these names do you need to know?
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