Tuesday, February 4, 2014

After the departure of Robinson Cano, the Yankees decided to try to find a new second-baseman off of the scrap heap. While Brian Roberts and Scott Sizemore aren't bad options, their injury riddled past may mean that the Yankees will need to make a trade or call-up one of their own prospects to man the position.

Major League Ready:

Corban Joseph highlights this rather thin section. Joseph has a big chance to replace Cano, as he is the type of hitter that the Yankees like. He has great at-bats and has some power. In his last full season in AAA he had a WRC+ of 134. But he was much more average in 47 games last year, and he looked over-matched in his short stay in the majors.

Defensively Joseph is a decent fielder, but can be error-prone. Joseph doesn't have the type of range to be a utility player, which may put him at a disadvantage when compared to the Yankees other upper level second-base prospects.

Two players that can serve as utility players are Jose Peirella and Adonis Garcia. Pirela is the bigger prospect of the two, and the Yankees seem to believe in his ability to play in the majors.

Pirela has spent the majority of the last three seasons in AA, this was mostly due to the presence of Corban Joseph and David Adams in AAA. Overall Pirela has done well in AA and had an OPS of .777 last season at that level.

After the season Pirela went on to play in winter league and dominated. While he still doesn't show much power, he really has improved as a hitter in the past few seasons.Defensively he is decent  at second, and can also play shortstop, third-base and the outfield. 

In a recent interview Mark Newman spoke highly of the young second-baseman progress and his winter league numbers, stating  “He’s still just 23 (actually, 24). He’s been around or a while, but he’s not old. … He’s really made strides in the last couple of years. He’s really improving offensively he’s really made a lot of progress.”.

Pirela earned himself an invitation to spring training, and actually has a chance to win a starting gig if he gets over his history of slow starts.Considering that he will be just 24 years old next season he should still be looked at as a prospect.

The same can not be said for Adonis Garcia, as he is already 28 years old. However, the Cuban expat can still be a useful piece for the 2014 Yankees. That's because he is so versatile. Garcia can play the outfield, second and third.

Garcia and Pirela were both invited to spring training where they will be able to show the Yankees whether or not they can handle playing in the majors.

Depth Below AA:

Robert Refsynder quietly may of had the best offensive season of any Yankee minor league player last season. The lack of attention is surprising considering he was only 22 last season.

Refsnyder showed great on-base skills last season and showed good power with 41 extra-base hits. The biggest weakness in his game was his defense, but considering he used to be an outfielder until he was drafted it isn't really a big deal. Refsnyder defense will improve as he gets more playing time at the position.

Refsnyder will begin the season in AA and if he continues to perform well he may have a shot at a late season promotion. This would be an aggressive approach but some prospects are capable of skipping AAA.Refsnyder may have the highest floor of any Yankee prospect.

Angelo Gumbs, and Gosuke Katoh are the two second-basemen in the system, with highest ceilings. Gumbs ceiling would make him a top ten Yankee prospect but he has struggled in recent years.

Some of these struggles are related to injuries as he was hurt for a bit over the past two seasons. But his failures go beyond his injuries as he hasn't taken advantage of his raw ability. This was the reason that he was sent down to repeat A-Ball last season.

Gumbs has too much ability to stay in A-Ball for three seasons, so the Yankees will have to push him back to High-A. This will be complicated as Anderson Feliz will also need playing time at that level and there is no open DH spot on the team.

Gumbs has a higher ceiling than Feliz and some of the players that would be playing DH, so it would make sense for him to get the most playing time. Gumbs is known for his excellent bat speed; it is one of the first things scouts mention when they watch him play. His bat speed  is the reason so many think he has so much offensive potential.

But Gumbs is more than just a bat, he also has plus speed, and has shown potential on defense. He has a plus arm and solid range. If Gumbs puts all these tools together he can become an elite player, he is still just 21 so he has time to reach his potential.

Hopefully he has a better and healthier season in 2014, as he could have a major impact on the Yankees in a couple of years if he doesn't bust.

Kotah, who Baseball America ranked as the systems tenth best prospect, may not have Gumbs upside but he is currently a borderline top ten second base prospect.

Kotah dominated the GCl hitting,  310/.402/.522. People expected him to be able to hit, but his power was truly surprising.Kotah is already a good runner and excellent defender so even if his power isn't real he would remain a good prospect.

If he can keep that up as he advances through the system, he should be a top 100 prospect despite his position.


Anderson Feliz is one of New York's toolsiest players, and he might be the systems best switch hitter. Feliz's struggles in the past two years are related to several injuries. He has only been able to play 36 games last season and only 45 games in 2012.

Because of this Feliz has never really had a chance to put up the type of statistical season he is capable of. However fans shouldn't give up on him yet, as he has above average power, and could hit for a decent average.

It is unclear where Feliz will begin the 2014 season, as he and Gumbs would benefit from starting the year at High-A. Because of the logjam at third and first, the DH position will always be filled by a decent prospect. This means that Gumbs or Feliz can only get playing time at second.


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