Tag: Estevan Florial

Yankees Sign Shane Robinson to Minor League Deal

The 33-year-old is just the second outfielder invited to Yankees camp.

The Yankees added another name to their crowded outfield mix Thursday, adding former Angel Shane Robinson on a minor league deal with an invitation to Spring Training. The deal was first reported by USA Today’s Bob Nightengale.

As the tweet illustrates, Robinson would make $950,000 if he’s on the big league roster. That is more than Aaron Judge will make in 2018, oddly enough. The 33-year-old saw 20 games in the MLB last season, slashing .194/.257/.194. He was a fifth-round pick of the Cardinals in 2006.

The signing of Robinson is just another depth move. The Yankees only invited one pure outfielder to camp (top prospect Estevan Florial), and a utility player (Jace Peterson). The surplus of outfielders at the big league level means Robinson would not get guaranteed time at Triple-A Scranton. It is unclear if Robinson has an opt-out in his contract related to his roster status at the end of Spring Training.

With the signing of Robinson, here is the current Yankee outfield depth:

  1. Jabari Blash
  2. Jake Cave
  3. Jacoby Ellsbury
  4. Estevan Florial
  5. Clint Frazier
  6. Brett Gardner
  7. Aaron Hicks
  8. Aaron Judge
  9. Billy McKinney
  10. Shane Robinson
  11. Giancarlo Stanton

Clearly, a lot of competition. That list doesn’t include guys like Peterson, Ronald Torreyes and Tyler Wade, who have all logged games in the outfield. Barring injuries, it looks like the MLB outfield is set. Robinson is likely competing for Triple-A playing time.

Yankees to Sign International Prospects Raimfer Salinas, Antonio Cabello

After the Yankees worked hard to acquire international signing bonus pool money to woo Shohei Ohtani, they have bestowed it on different recipients. Per Baseball America’s Ben Badler, the Bombers will sign international amateur outfielder Raimfer Salinas and catcher Antonio Cabello.

Badler said on Twitter that the amount of money each player signed for would not be published yet “out of respect for the requests of several Venezuelan players/families”. The Yankees had $3.5 million in signing bonus money that they needed to spend before next summer.

Salinas is 16 years old, and is ranked as the No. 10 international prospect for the 2017 class. Cabello is 17 years old, and ranked at No. 15 on the same Baseball America list. The two join OF Everson Pereira (No. 5), SS Ronny Rojas (No. 11), SS Roberto Chirinos (No. 20) and OF Anthony García (No. 28) as the six players on Baseball America’s top 50 prospects list now in the Yankees organization.

These players join a system that already boasts five prospects on MLB.com’s Top 100 list: INF Gleyber Torres, RHP Chance Adams, OF Estevan Florial, LHP Justus Sheffield and 3B Miguel Andújar.

The club has not confirmed the signings of Salinas or Cabello at this point.

Baseball America Lists Yankees Top 10 Prospects for 2018

To get the bad taste of Shohei Ohtani‘s spurning of the Yankees out of our collective mouths, here’s some good news about players the Yankees actually do have. Baseball America’s Josh Norris ranked the top 10 prospects in the Yankees system leading up to 2018.

Without further ado (* indicates player on 40-man roster):

  1. INF Gleyber Torres *
  2. OF Estevan Florial
  3. LHP Justus Sheffield
  4. RHP Chance Adams
  5. 3B Miguel Andújar *
  6. RHP Albert Abreu *
  7. RHP Jorge Guzman
  8. RHP Luis Medina
  9. SS/2B Thairo Estrada *
  10. RHP Domingo Acevedo *

One of the biggest knocks against the Yankees is that they cannot develop pitchers. However, this prospect list clearly indicates that the Yankees have some promising arms that could be MLB-ready soon. Sheffield is the most MLB-ready of the bunch, having hit 98 mph with his fastball and the best slider in the system. Norris listed the pitching depth as the system’s biggest strength.

The system’s biggest weakness? Catching. That won’t be a short-term problem since Gary Sánchez will control the starting catching job for years to come, barring anything unexpected. Their next best catcher is Kyle Higashioka, who went hitless in 20 plate appearances while Sánchez was injured in 2017. Higashioka did hit .338/.390/.797 in the minors in 2017, but in just 21 games because of injuries. Norris lists Jason Lopez and Saul Torres as the “next catching prospects,” but notes they “played at short-season Staten Island and Rookie-level Pulaski, respectively.”

Norris opines that the Yankees’ system is trending downwards, but that is only because of trades and graduations to the big leagues. When talents like Aaron Judge, Clint Frazier, Chad Green and Jordan Montgomery are no longer “prospects,” it’s easy to see how the system takes a hit.

Be sure to read through the whole post on Baseball America (linked above), as Norris projects the Yankees 2021 lineup and also lists which players have the best tools in the system.

Billy McKinney Voted Into AFL Fall Stars Game

Outfielder/first baseman Billy McKinney has won a fan vote to join the East team in the 2017 Arizona Fall League Fall Stars Game.

McKinney, ranked as the Yankees No. 23 prospect, rides a strong .310/.373/.500 line through 11 AFL games. He also leads the league with 18 RBIs. He finished the season batting .306 with 10 home runs and 35 RBI for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

Embed from Getty Images

Fellow Scottsdale Scorpions teammate Estevan Florial was also a candidate for the Final 2 vote, but fell short. Florial, the Yankees’ No. 3 prospect, currently has a .293/.408/.415 batting line through 11 AFL games.

McKinney joins teammates LHP Justus Sheffield and SS/2B Thairo Estrada on the East Fall Stars team.

 

Aaron Hicks Injury Forces Yankees’ Hand on Cave/McKinney

With Aaron Hicks going down with yet another oblique injury, the Yankees could find themselves in a tough situation that greatly affects their future.

There are still doubts regarding the effectiveness of Jacoby Ellsbury‘s bat. Clint Frazier begins his rehab assignment with Double-A Trenton on Monday. The next top Yankee outfield prospect, Estevan Florial, has yet to crack Double-A with Trenton.

With 40-man rosters, the Yankees could do nothing. But, they need another outfielder to back up Ellsbury, Brett Gardner and Aaron Judge. Sure, they could recall Tyler Austin or Tyler Wade, who have experience in the outfield corners. Sure, they could ask Matt Holliday to don an outfield glove and pray nothing bad happens.

Or, they could look to their Nos. 19 and 24 prospects: Jake Cave and Billy McKinney, respectively. Cave, 24, leads the RailRiders in batting average with his .328 clip for the 2017 season. Plus, he is tied with Ji-Man Choi for the team lead in home runs with 15. He has started 28 games in center field for Scranton, as well as 24 in right field and 12 in left field. He has just one error in the outfield this season. At his age, Cave is eligible for the Rule-5 draft. He knows all about that process, having spent 2017 Spring Training with the Cincinnati Reds. Cave was returned to the Yankees on April 5, 2016. Cave is also eligible for Minor League free agency after the season.

Billy McKinney, though he profiles as a corner outfielder, could still help the Yankees down the stretch. His .312 average puts him behind just Cave and Miguel Andújar for the best mark on the RailRiders. He, too, has shown a power stroke by clobbering 10 home runs in the International League. He has played both outfield corners regularly. At age 23, the former first round pick is Rule-5 eligible.

Both players have impressed at the highest levels of the minor leagues. A rebuilding team could be willing to take a chance on either player through the Rule-5 Draft since both have shown quality outfield defense and a talented left-handed bat. The Hicks injury essentially forces the Yankees to look at both Cave and McKinney as outfield options down the stretch. They may not trust Ellsbury, and certainly do not want to rush their No. 2 prospect, Clint Frazier, back from injury.

Protecting either Jake Cave or Billy McKinney allows them to keep a valuable future asset in the system while filling a current need on the MLB roster.