Five observations from watching the Triple-A Railriders
Living in Virginia Beach and being a New York Yankees fan is a tough gig. The closest major league stadiums to me are in Baltimore and Washington DC, and the Bronx is a solid eight-hour drive away. However, the Norfolk Tides, the Triple-A affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles, are a short trip away and this is a prime chance to see the next wave of Yankees talent play when the Railriders come into town, usually once a year. I was able to catch two games of their three-game series (both wins), and here is what I noticed in the eighteen innings I watched.
Ronald Torreyes should be in the majors
The beloved Toe has been stuck in the minors after being a staple part of the Yankees since 2016. He was initially sent down due to a roster crunch, but then complications with his wife’s health led him to miss a good chunk of action. He’s back to playing in Scranton, after a short stint in Tampa, and he has been killing it. Torreyes, who many fans in Norfolk referred to as Ronaldo or Torres, had a three-hit and two-hit performance in the games I attended and has ten hits in his last nineteen at-bats.
He is clearly a veteran presence on the young ball club as he was constantly chattering, hustling, and most importantly smiling. Even when the Railriders were up big in game one, he was seen hustling out a routine, rolled-over groundball. Torreyes arguably displayed the best power out of everyone on the team and hit the ball with authority. He also played both second and third as he continues to prove he is as versatile as it comes. His personality and play are missed in the Bronx, and after seeing him play twice close up, there is no doubt in my mind he should be in the majors.
Tyler Wade is a class act
As talented as Wade is, he has had some tough luck in the early going of his major league career. He had a horrendous summer in 2017 and has not been able to find his groove in 2018, despite a showing some promise during his second stint in the majors this year. Along with Torreyes, it was also clear he was a major league talent playing in Triple-A, but it clearly doesn’t faze him as he created a lot of positive impact off of the playing field.
Wade was one of the first to sign autographs for the small group of Yankees fans in attendance and never hesitated to make a young fans day after he brought in the ball from the inning before. What caught my eye the most was that he played catch with a young fan wearing an Aaron Judge jersey following his warmups, and when it was time to go in the dugout, let the kid keep the ball. Wade hasn’t had the best run in the bigs yet, but he is not letting it affect his attitude.
Brian Cashman rightfully kept Justus Sheffield who is close to the call
Watching Sheffield pitch, it was quite obvious that the stuff is there to be a major league impact arm. His fastball sat 93-95 and his off-speed was keeping hitters way off balanced. He came out after only 86 pitches, despite five scoreless innings, which was likely due to the 100-degree heat index in Norfolk. He was far and away the best pitcher either team trotted out there, but what scouts say he needs to improve on, was also apparent. He ran the count a little higher than it should have been against an abundance of clearly overmatched hitters.
I believe Sheffield could come up to the Yankees today and be a solid starter, but with how promising he looked, it is not surprising the Yanks are not trying to rush him to the bigs, in order to get the most out of him for the long-term.
Ryan McBroom should get the next crack at first base
A trade that saw Rob Refsynder go north of the border netted the Yankees former-WVU first baseman and outfielder Ryan McBroom. McBroom is having a fantastic year in the minors as he is hitting .309 with an OPS north of .800 between Trenton and Scranton. The Yankees acquired the right-handed Luke Voit to get some at-bats at first base with Bird struggling. Voit has only one hit in eight at-bats, which is a small sample size, but if the Yankees opt for another player who provides more verstiality, McBroom is a no-brainer call-up.
McBroom has turned a lot of eyes in the Yankees’ system, and I believe his emergence is one of the reasons the Yankees were not hesitant to trade away Tyler Austin, who is a very similar player. McBroom went 3-for-4 with a walk and two RBI in today’s game. It’s worth nothing that I told him before the game today I felt he was better option in the majors than some of the guys the Yankees currently have. Afterwards, he came up to me and took a picture with me, so he is officially one of my personal favorite Baby Bombers.
Abiatal Avelino is the real deal
Avelino has come out of nowhere this season and jumped on to the Yankees’ prospect radar. He has an .808 OPS between Double-A and Triple-A, while being able to play both second base and short stop. He has 23 stolen bases and also is a lockdown defender. He didn’t steal the show in the games I watched, but he displayed every tool mentioned. He hit the ball all over the field, with high exit velocities, made every play look easy, and was extremely quick on the basepaths. Both Wade and Torreyes were seen talking a lot with him, which makes me think he is eager to learn from guys that have made it to the show.
Article by: Ryan ThomsFollow @RyanThoms_ Follow @BronxBomberBall