Ex-Yankees prospect torches Brian Cashman’s minor league development strategy

Oct 3, 2018; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees executive Brian Cashman and manager Aaron Boone (17) talk before the game against the Oakland Athletics in the 2018 American League wild card playoff baseball game at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Outfielder Ben Ruta was drafted in the 30th round of the 2016 MLB Draft by the New York Yankees. He was actually one of the best outfield prospect in the system in 2018 and 2019 when he aced High-A and Double-A with wRC+ marks above 110.

He was placed on waivers in 2020, and the San Diego Padres claimed him. He spent the 2021 campaign in Double-A and Triple-A but couldn’t figure out the upper minors and was released.

Having spent four years in the Yankees organization moving up the ladder, he knows how things work there. This week, Ruta had some harsh criticism of how the franchise develops its prospects.

Ruta appeared on an episode of the “Foul Territory” podcast on Wednesday and criticized general manager Brian Cashman’s all-in commitment to analytics.

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Ruta said running the Yankees exclusively by analytics is “dumb”

Podcast host Scott Braun read some comments Ruta left in the chat:

“Fully expect them (the Yankees) to clear house in the minor leagues. All the coaches were brought in by [former hitting coach] Dillon Lawson and the analytics guys,” was his first message.

“They will change developmental culture back to old Yankees days. Keep in mind, I played in the Yanks’ [organization] before analytics (2016-2018) and then after (2018-2020). Stark difference in developments.”

Ruta was critical of the fact that there is no focus on teaching the fundamentals of the game.

Ruta closed by saying that he thinks analytics can be included in today’s game, but he is definitely against them completely taking over an organization like the Yankees.

“Here’s all you need to know,” Ruta said. “In 2020, before COVID hit spring training, we played a game called ‘pitchers vs hitters,’ the only way to score a point was to walk or hit a ball 95 mph-plus. There’s no baseball being taught there anymore. No base-running, moving runners, fundamentals, etc.”

“I do believe there is a place in the game for analytics,” Ruta wrote. “It needs to be a healthy mix. It’s not a knock on the coaches they have. They were doing exactly what they were hired to do. The strategy of running an org like this is just dumb.”