The LoHud Yankees Blog

A New York Yankees blog by Chad Jennings and the staff of The Journal News

Minor league notes: De Paula impressive in High-A debut

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Misc on Jun 24, 2013 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

In the past week or two, the Yankees minor league system has changed quite a bit. Draft picks have signed, new additions have filled the upper-level injury gaps, and a few key promotions have moved big names up a notch. Here are a few basics from the minors…

DePaula• Perhaps none of the mid-year promotions has been more intriguing than Rafael De Paula, who jumped from Charleston to Tampa and promptly pitched five scoreless innings in his High-A debut yesterday. This is De Paula’s first year pitching in the States, and he’s been overwhelmingly good. With Charleston he had a 2.94 ERA and 1.03 WHIP with 96 strikeouts through 64.1 innings.

J.R. Murphy‘s first 10 Triple-A games: .343/.425/.571 with two homers, five walks, five strikeouts and 20 total bases. To be fair, Austin Romine was hitting .333/.391/.405 before his call-up, and that offense hasn’t translated, but Murphy has always seemed to have a higher offensive upside.

Dellin Betances as a starter this season: 24 IP, 16 BB, 25 K and a .213 opponents batting average. Betances since moving into the bullpen: 23.2 IP, 9 BB, 27 K and a .169 opponents batting average. In his past eight relief appearances, he’s allowed five hits, five walks and struck out 18 through 14.2 innings.

Ramirez• In last week’s flurry of minor league moves, Jose Ramirez was technically demoted from Triple-A to Double-A, but that appears to be nothing more than a paper move to open a roster spot. He’s still Scranton/Wilkes-Barre’s scheduled starter for Tuesday. His first two Triple-A starts have been pretty rocky.

• Speaking of Tuesday starters, Michael Pineda‘s next rehab start is tomorrow with Double-A Trenton. It’s getting to the point that it’s at least conceivable the Yankees could see Pineda as a big league option in the near future. Of course, that depends on whether they think his stuff is better than what they have in the big leagues. We know his fastball velocity has been good, but this guy hasn’t pitched to anything more advanced than A-ball kids in a year and a half.

• The highly touted Double-A outfield is underperforming so far. Slade Heathcott hit for a little bit of power in May, but he’s hitting just .240/.308/.366 for the season and .227/.338/.333 for the month of June. Tyler Austin is hitting just .267/.360/.388 this season, showing a significant power outage after last year’s breakout season. Ramon Flores is still drawing walks, but his .245/.341/.332 slash line isn’t particularly inspiring.

Roller• Know who does have pretty good Double-A numbers? First baseman Kyle Roller is hitting .272/.361/.463. He and Gary Sanchez are tied for the second-most home runs in the organization with 10. The organization’s home run leader is…

• Catcher Peter O’Brien has been bumped up from Charleston to Tampa, and he hit a grand slam in his second game after the promotion. For now, Tampa still has Sanchez, and that’s kept O’Brien in the DH spot for two of his first three games at High-A. Josh Norris reports that O’Brien will get some time at third base as well. It’s important to remember that the Yankees tinkered with some third base time for J.R. Murphy a few years back, but he’s moved back to being a fulltime catcher in the upper levels.

• Second base prospect Angelo Gumbs was demoted from High-A to Low-A this weekend (he was hitting just .214/.265/.302). Instead, Tampa’s standout at second is Robert Refsnyder who had brilliant April, a pedestrian May, and has so far hit .344 with more walks than strikeouts in June. … No demotion for Mason Williams, but he’s hitting just .250/.331/.335 for Tampa, who’s outfield standout has instead been Ben Gamel hitting .277/.346/.419. He’s third in RBI (39) and second in stolen bases (15) in the organization.

Campos• Charleston has lost its top pitchers to call-ups — not only De Paula, but also relievers Alex Smith (38 K, 4 BB) and Dietrich Enns (69 K in 44.1 IP) — and there’s a reason Jose Campos is still in Low-A. He went four scoreless innings with five strikeouts in his last start, but overall he has a 4.31 ERA with more hits than innings pitched. He hasn’t been bad, but he’s been easily overshadowed by De Paula.

• First baseman Greg Bird has hit for more power month-by-month, and he’s been getting on base all year. Overall he’s hitting .289/.410/.459 with 49 walks, tied for the most in the South Atlantic League.

• Paul O’Neill’s nephew Michael O’Neill (this year’s third-round pick) is hitting .350/.381/.400 in Staten Island. He’s been good, but the numbers that jump out come from his teammate, 36th rounder Kale Sumner, who’s hitting .476/.593/.524.

• Down in the Gulf Coast League, second-rounder Gosuke Katoh has homered in each of his first two pro games. … Last year’s second-round pick Austin Aune has been playing right field, not shortstop, which he played last year.

Herndon• Also in the Gulf Coast League, reliever David Herndon (a former big leaguer signed this winter after Tommy John surgery) got into his first real game on Saturday, pitching two scoreless innings. In the same game, outfielder Adonis Garcia (who was injured in spring training) also got into his first game and went 1-for-2.

• These aren’t big names in the Yankees system, but a series of injuries have pushed a few guys into surprising roles. … Utility man Addison Maruszak became Scranton/Wilkes-Barre’s leadoff hitter and a regular outfielder for a while. He’s hit .257/.350/.361 for the year, but had a .407 on-base percentage in those games when he was batting first. … Outfielder Cody Grice went from being a backup in High-A to being the everyday center fielder in Triple-A, and he’s actually hit .283/.339/.491 since the emergency call-up. … Casey Stevenson has played six different positions at three different levels. He jumped to Triple-A on Saturday and homered twice in his first game.




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