We all know what’s going on with the New York Yankees, but there is so much happening in the team’s farm system that you may not know about. The young guys down in the minors are the future of the Yankees and baseball in general, so to not know what’s happening would be a real shame. Let’s take a look at how a few of the Yankees minor league teams have been doing so far.
Scranton Wilkes/Barre Railriders:
The Railriders, who are the Triple-A affiliate of the Yankees had a disappointing week, going 2-4, and dropping their record on the season to 29-36, good for fourth place in the IL North standings. The team played against the Buffalo Bisons and Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs, who are the affiliates of the Toronto Blue Jays and Philadelphia Phillies, respectively. Against Buffalo, Railriders starter Brett Marshall continued his season struggles, only lasting five innings while giving up five runs. His ERA on the season inflated to 7.45 after the start, but would go down to 7.04 after a decent start a few days later against Lehigh Valley. Buffalo would outscore Scranton 21-17 in their series, despite losing two of the games played.
Thomas Neal had a very good series, going 7-15 with a couple of RBIs. He was lighting up the International League this season, so he received a well-deserved call up to the big league club. Another player with a good series was Chris Bootcheck, who despite getting the loss in the game he pitched, went seven innings while striking out five. He too received a call-up along with Neal.
In two games against Lehigh, the pitching has improved, allowing significantly less runs. Unfortunately, the offense hasn’t been able to capitalize. Josh Bell has given Scranton two of the three runs that they have scored throughout these two games. On the season, Bell is hitting .192 with three home runs and 11 RBIs. Over the next week, Scranton will finish up their series against Lehigh and go on to face Rochester and Norfolk.
Trenton, the Yankees Double-A squad also struggled this past week, going 1-5, and dropping to third place in the Eastern League. They played the Richmond Flying Squirrels, Binghamton Mets, and have just started a series against the Altoona Curve. Those are the affiliates of the San Francisco Giants, New York Mets, and Pittsburgh Pirates.
Against Richmond, the Thunder got their worst pitching performance from Cesar Cabral, who is currently on a rehab assignment. He pitched two innings and allowed three runs on three hits. His ERA is now an awful 12.15. This isn’t what the guys working in the Yankees’ front office want to see. Trenton this year has gotten publicity due to the fact that they have three of the Yankees top prospects in their outfield – Tyler Austin, Slade Heathcott, and Ramon Flores. Arguably all three are struggling, with batting averages of .272, .241, and .247, respectively.
In the six games that the Thunder have played this week though, all three players have had at least one RBI.
Kyle Roller continues to have a good season for Trenton; in the five games that he’s played, he’s seen his batting average go from .261 to .282 with a couple of RBIs. He is a player who does not get much attention, but is definitely somebody to watch as the season goes on. Tommy Khanle has also brought his season ERA down to 1.88, as he continues to be close to unhittable for Trenton. He too, will be a player to look out for down the line. This week, Trenton will finish up with Altoona, and then move on to Akron and Portland.
Like Scranton, Tampa went 2-4 last week, matching up against the Lakeland Flying Tigers (what’s with minor league teams and flying animals) and the Charlotte Stonecrabs. They are the Single-A affiliates of the Detroit Tigers and Tampa Bay Rays, respectively. I chose to look at the Tampa Yankees for this piece because their roster features the likes of Gary Sanchez, Mason Williams, and Robert Refsnyder, among others. It should be noted that in Tampa’s first game against Lakeland, Michael Pineda made a rehab start, going 4.1 innings and allowing no runs. One of Tampa’s biggest problems is their bullpen – more specifically Zach Arneson and Diego Moreno, who both have ERAs above 9.00. Mason Williams, one of the Yankees top prospects has struggled this year, batting just .240 with two home runs and 14 RBI. In fact, no hitter in Tampa’s everyday lineup has really stood out. The closest thing to a standout that the T-Yanks have is Robert Refsnyder, who is batting .299.
For whatever reason, this Tampa team, although loaded with talent, just can’t seem to get on the same page with each other. This is why Tampa is currently last in the Florida State League with a record of 28-37.