Minor Leagues

Yankees minor league update: flamethrowing arms

It’s been a big week for top prospects in the Yankees minor league system, as four top prospects received their first taste of “The Show.” Shortstop prospect Tyler Wade received the call before Tuesday’s game. Third baseman Miguel Andujar earned two call-ups this week; he played one game Thursday, and was both recalled and sent down before playing another game. Outfielder Dustin Fowler joined the Yankees for Friday’s game, but tragically suffered a knee injury in the field before he could complete his first at-bat, eliciting a comparison to former Giants outfielder and “Field of Dreams” character Moonlight Graham. As Fowler is expected to miss the remainder of the season, that opened up an opportunity for outfielder Clint Frazier, one of the Yankees’ most exciting prospects. The future has come much quicker than expected to the Bronx.

Fortunately for the Yankees, however, more reinforcements are coming in the years ahead. Two Yankees prospects, pitcher Domingo Acevedo and outfielder Estevan Florial, both coincidentally profiled in last week’s Yankees minor league update, were named to the Team World roster of the MLB Futures Game, which will be played Sunday in Miami. Acevedo, who can regularly touch 100 miles per hour with his fastball, is just one of many exciting, hard-throwing arms in the Yankees minor league system. Here are three other fireballers you should keep an eye on down the road:

Dillon Tate- RHP- Tampa (A-Advanced)- Tate started his season just two weeks ago after spending the first half of the season in extended spring training, but has not shown any sort of rust, allowing just three runs and fanning 21 batters in just 18 1/3 innings. The Yankees have exercised some patience with Tate, a 2015 1st-round pick of the Rangers acquired in last summer’s trade for Carlos Beltran, but the 23-year-old is increasingly proving that the Yankees took a worthwhile gamble on him. There was reason to doubt Tate after he struggled in low-A last year, pitching to a 5.12 ERA and a 1.62 WHIP before the Yankees acquired him. Nevertheless, the wiry 6’2″ right-hander has been cruising through his first taste of High-A. He still flashes a lot of the same potential that warranted selecting him with the 4th overall pick, as his fastball can jump into the high-90s at times and he mixes in a sharp slider and an occasional changeup. Considering that his control is also improving, as he walked just three batters, it remains possible that Tate could jump to Trenton before the end of the summer.

Freicer Perez- RHP- Charleston (A)– The 21-year-old Perez signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2014 for just $10,000, but is turning out to be a “diamond in the rough” for the Yankees. A tall, lanky 6’8″ righty, Perez lights up the radar gun, with his fastball clocking in as high as 99 miles per hour. He has had his share of control issues, including last year with Staten Island when he issued 25 free passes in 52 1/3 innings. This season, however, Perez has curbed the issue somewhat, with just 23 walks in 64 1/3 innings for the RiverDogs. In that same span, he has struck out 56 batters and pitched to a 3.22 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP. In his most recent start Tuesday, he went six innings, allowing four hits and two runs while striking out seven. In an encouraging sign for his control issue, Perez did not issue a single walk. Perez may move a little more slowly than an older, more proven prospect like Tate, but as a pitcher who can approach 100 miles per hour with a fastball and who is not incredibly wild, he may have possible upside as a reliever if he cannot hold his own in the rotation.

Jorge Guzman-RHP- Staten Island (Short-Season A)– Guzman has perhaps the most electric fastball in the entire Yankees minor league system. His slower fastballs clock in at 97 miles per hour and he can touch 103 on the radar gun. Control has been an issue for the flamethrowing Guzman since he turned professional, but the righty, acquired in last November’s trade with the Astros for Brian McCann, has shown signs of turning a corner since joining the Yankees organization. In a start last Monday, Guzman threw six shutout innings, allowing just two hits and punching out seven hitters. He allowed two walks, but has been pretty dominant in the New York-Penn League so far, pitching to a 2.45 ERA, a 0.82 WHIP, and striking out a batter per inning. Barry Bloom at MLB.com wrote a substantial piece about Guzman and the Baby Bombers, which would be recommended reading for anyone interested in even more info on the 21-year-old Dominican. The piece included details from team manager Julio Mosquera, who noted that Guzman is using his breaking ball more often and gaining confidence in his off-speed offerings. If he can keep executing on the mound and shows the ability to mix in off-speed pitches with his high heat, he should be able to move quickly through the Yankees’ system.

(Photo via Bill Mitchell/Baseball America)

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