Midseason prospect update: Baby Bombers who crush

Life is good.  The calendar says July, burgers and brats are on the grill, fireworks are filling the air, and The New York Yankees are the best team in baseball.  Sure, the Dodgers are playing good ball and fans in Minnesota and Houston might have something to say about that stance, but for now Yankee fans are sitting in a great spot.  The ball club has won 57 games and sits atop the AL East by 6.5 games. 

For many fans, the top concern at the season’s midway point could be who the club is targeting in a trade.  I am of the belief that a reliable starting pitcher needs to be added to the staff in order to put this team over the bump and secure meaningful wins in October.  However, we must ask, “at what cost?”  Along with premier young pitching, the Yankees have some big bats in the farm system and while their professional future is still unwritten, let’s look back at the first half of their 2019 seasons and call out the studs.

Image result for breyvic valera railriders
Credit: NJ.com

Triple-A: Scranton/Wilkes-Barre
The RailRiders have been playing great baseball this year.  They’ve won 52 games and sit atop the IL North Division.  This shouldn’t come as a surprise when you look at the team’s hitting, most notably the right side of the infield.  First baseman, Mike Ford, has been ripping the cover off the ball.  He’s hitting .318, with 19 home runs.  He’s also leading the team in RBIs with 50.  His counterpart at first, Ryan McBroom, is also hitting extremely well.  He’s hitting .310 with 17 home runs and leads the team in hits (87) and total bases (159).  Luckily, he can also play some outfield so him and Ford have both been in the lineup often.  Second baseman, Breyvic Valera, has been getting in on the fun too.  Of hitters that have had at least 180 at bats, he’s leading the team with a batting average of .348. As a result, he was recently called up to the majors. 

Double-A: Trenton
The Trenton Thunder have not shared the same amount of team success as the RailRiders have, but there have still been some notable standouts at the plate.  First baseman, Chris Gittens is leading the team in batting average, home runs, and RBIs (.289/14/51).  He’ll need to continue to improve his plate discipline, however.  He’s struck out 87 times in 246 at-bats. 

Left fielder, Ben Ruta, has put together a nice season thus far.  He’s hitting a modest .281 with 39 RBIs.  His best metrics in the first half were his 19 doubles and 18 steals, both of which lead the team.  It’ll be interesting to see how the Yankees value Ruta going forward.  With the likely departure of Clint Frazier, there could be an opening for him in Scranton for the second half of the season.  However, speed on the base paths is not valued the same way it used to be.

Image result for ben ruta
Credit: The Trentonian

Single-A (Adv.): Tampa

The most notable standout for the Yankees Single-A club in Tampa has been right fielder, Isiah Gilliam.  He’s swung such hot bat that just about a week ago on July 3rd, the club assigned him to AA Trenton.  He’s only had 15 at-bats in Trenton, but with Tampa he had a .269 average, .352 OBP, eight home runs, 13 stolen bases,and 15 doubles .  The former 20th round pick has a long uphill battle ahead of him, but he’s shown promise and continuous improvement thus far in his young career.  I am anxious to see if he can bring his success at the plate to the AA level.

Image result for isiah gilliam
Credit: Mark LoMoglio

Honorable Mention: NYY Top Prospect - Estevan Florial

The Yankees’ top position player prospect has had somewhat of an underwhelming summer thus far, but I attribute it to a shortened season.  An injury that he sustained in Spring Training kept him sidelined until early June.  Since then, he’s hit .229 with four home runs and 16 RBIs.  Scouts have reported that he still has some learning to do in center field, but he has a cannon for an arm which has been on display in his young career.  He’s shown early signs of being a 5-tool-player for the Yanks and I will certainly be circling back after the season to see how the 21-year-old fared, as this sample size is far too small to derive much judgment. 

Article by: John Messina


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