Yankees MiLB Report: Triple-A standouts combine for 5 HRs, FCL affiliate clinches division, top IFA flashes great upside

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Dave Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

Following one of the most action-packed reports we’ve done due to Somerset’s 22-run explosion, the Yankees’ farm system didn’t disappoint the following day. Yesterday’s action was full of back-and-forth games that came with plenty of standout offensive performances, even if they didn’t all result in wins. As we near closer to September, the demand to see young talent come up becomes even greater, and with how the Major League and Minor League teams have differed in performance and results, it becomes less and less defendable to keep them in MiLB.

We’ve got plenty to cover in today’s action as we go from the Dominican Summer League up to Triple-A.

Top DSL Prospect Continues Hot Streak, Affiliates Split Twin Bill

The talk of the town in the Dominican Summer League for the Yankees was their top International Free Agent in, Brando Mayea. Listed as the Yankees’ #11 Prospect, he got off to an extremely fast start, slashing .294/.429/.451 with a 140 wRC+ and 17.5% BB% in his first 14 games. In the 13 games after, he’s gone 10-51 with a 45 wRC+, dropping his season OPS to just .692. He had a solid OBP (.358) but saw his SLG% plummet to .333, but the month of August has been much kinder to the 17-year-old outfielder.

Mayea has hit two of his three HRs in August, stealing five bags and hitting .300 with a 134 wRC+. He added on the second HR of the month yesterday, going 1-3 with a walk and the aforementioned solo blast. The DSL Yankees lost 10-3, as poor defense and a sloppy inning by reliever Jose M. Rodriguez blew the game wide open in the top of the 8th, with two costly errors sinking the team’s chances to win.

The Yankees’ second DSL affiliate (DSL Bombers) was able to get a 9-2 win over the Nationals thanks to the flurry of baserunners they had all game. With 12 hits and 10 walks in their trips to the plate, as a team, they collectively hit .353 with three hit batsmen and three errors by the Nationals’ affiliate to bring the total baserunner count to 28 on the ledger. 17-year-old left-handed outfielder Gabriel Lara continues to impress, going 1-3 with a walk and HBP, giving him a .424 OBP over his last 21 games.

FCL Yankees Punch Their Ticket to the Postseason

The FCL Yankees entered yesterday’s game needing just one win to seal the deal and clinch their division, giving them one of the four spots in the Florida Complex League postseason, giving them a chance to defend their 2022 title. Power pitcher Carlos Lagrange didn’t just deliver, he dominated as the Yankees’ opener for the game, striking out seven batters while walking two in 2.1 scoreless frames.

The towering right-hander sits in the high 90s and has exceeded 100 MPH already at just 20 when most pitchers would be in college. He lowers his ERA on the season to 4.97, which isn’t indicative of his true talent, as he has a 20.1% K-BB% and 51.2% GB% in the FCL. Three more pitchers would follow, with all of them delivering scoreless frames and shutting out the Toronto Blue Jays’ FCL affiliate for a 5-0 win and a trip to the postseason.

Keiner Delgado reached base twice on a single and a walk, George Lombard Jr. did the exact same, although he added an RBI, and Hans Montero would reach base three times on a single and two walks. John Cruz has continued to flash great discipline alongside his power, working his fifth and sixth walk in his last four games. Cruz is just 17 years old and is 2nd in HRs in the FCL, trailing only Dakota Kotowski, who is six years older than Cruz.

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Aug 28, 2022; Phoenix, Arizona, US; East infielder George Lombard (21) during the Perfect Game All-American Classic high school baseball game at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The FCL Yankees join the Somerset Patriots (AA) and Hudson Valley Renegades (A+) as Yankee affiliates that are postseason bound, mirroring the Patriots’ situation where they’ll enter as the reigning champions.

Tampa Pitching Loses the Strike Zone, Recent Draftee Keeps Working Walks

If you want to win baseball games, walking 10 batters and striking out just three typically doesn’t help. The Tampa Tarpons struggled to keep runners off the basepaths, issuing 10 free passes but also giving up 11 hits in the process. The Daytona Tortugas were relentless offensively, tagging three separate Tarpon pitchers for three or more runs. Ryan Harvey looked to build on a recent outing against the Phillies’ affiliate, where he allowed one run over three innings with four strikeouts, but his command issues reared their ugly head instead.

Harvey walked four batters in four innings, allowing five hits, including a HR, committing a balk, hitting a batter, and striking out just three. He was Tampa’s only pitcher to record a strikeout that evening, and while allowing free passes is bad, working walks is a good thing. Roc Riggio took that to heart, going 1-3 with an RBI and two more walks, giving him 14 walks in nine games played for the Tampa Tarpons. It’s completely carried his wRC+ to 127 since the promotion, and if he can get his swing going, the Yankees could have a seriously dangerous hitter in the 21-year-old left-handed infielder.

Hudson Valley Continues Second Half Slide

While they have a +30 Run Differential in the second half, the myriad of promotions have started to take their toll on Hudson Valley’s production. They lost a thrilling 8-7 game against the Brooklyn Cyclones, who have stormed to a 28-19 start in the second half, giving them a chance to clinch a playoff spot like the Renegades did in the first half. Spencer Jones went 1-4 with a double, walk, and his 34th stolen base of the season, recently-promoted Jared Serna went 1-3 with a walk, RBI, and stolen base, but it was Christopher Familia who once again stole the show.

Familia would club his ninth HR since being promoted, raising his wRC+ with the Renegades to 123. He’s been incredible, specifically in the second half, where he’s slashing .281/.379/.573 in 24 games with eight HRs and a mere 15.5% K%. The Yankees could look to promote the left-handed outfield bat to Double-A late in the season, especially if Jasson Dominguez gets moved up from Double-A to Triple-A at some point during the season.

Christopher Familia has been in the organization since 2019, meaning he became Rule 5 eligible last season, and could garner some interest in the Rule 5 Draft this season. I’d lean towards him not being scooped up, but he’s playing at a pace that could turn the heads of a team in desperate need of outfield play, such as Oakland, Kansas City, or Colorado.

Somerset Falls Just Short of Completing Ninth Inning Comeback

Coming off of a 22-3 beatdown of Reading, the Patriots responded to the Fightin Phils’ first-inning run with back-to-back HRs by Elijah Dunham and Josh Breaux, but Matt Sauer would get shelled in the third inning, coughing up four runs and only completing those three innings of work. An Aaron Palensky triple would score two runners, and he’d come around to score on a wild pitch, knotting things up at five apiece. A solo shot and two-RBI single by Reading in the sixth and seventh innings gave Somerset a 8-5 hole to climb out of in the top of the ninth.

Aaron Palensky would hit a towering two-run blast, giving him his third and fourth RBIs of the day and raising his wRC+ with Double-A to 121. He joins the 20 HR club on the season, the first time he’s reached the mark in a professional season. Somerset would fail to get the final run across, but a valiant effort by Aaron Palensky wasn’t enough to get the job done. Palensky will be Rule 5 eligible this winter, and while he’s 24 years old and still in Double-A, his elite-level swing decisions and improving power could make him worth a 40-Man Roster spot.

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Hudson Valley Renegades outfielder Aaron Palensky during media day on April 5, 2023. Renegades Media Day

The rest of this season will determine how badly the Yankees want to keep the undrafted free agent in the system, but I think there’s a serious chance somebody scoops him up in the draft. Double-A is considered the biggest leap in talent from the previous level, so if Palensky can keep up his recent 12-38 stretch with four HRs and 14 RBIs for a little bit longer, the numbers are really going to entice a market for him if he’s unprotected or create an incentive for the Yankees to protect him.

It should be noted that he’s played eight innings this season at 2B, so he could become a more versatile fielder and garner even more value.

How is Everson Pereira Not in the Bronx?

First, let’s give the Scranton RailRiders the respect they deserve with a quick breakdown of their 14-12 loss to the Worchester WooSox, a valiant effort in a back-and-forth thriller. Oswald Peraza, Austin Wells, Andres Chaparro, and Everson Pereira all went yard, all of whom reached base multiple times in the contest. They were the driving force for Scranton’s offense, totaling eight RBIs between the four of them, who did their job at the top of the RailRiders lineup.

Edgar Barclay just didn’t have it today, allowing two HRs including a grand slam in a three-inning outing where Worchester tagged him for seven runs. The bullpen wasn’t much better either, as Ron Marinaccio and Matt Bowman walked four batters and allowed six total runs (Marinaccio had only one earned), which proved to be the difference in this contest. It took Wilmer Difo coming into the game as a position player pitching to record the final out of the eight, and with Scranton down by six runs, this game looked all but over.

MLB: New York Yankees at Colorado Rockies, oswald peraza
Jul 16, 2023; Denver, Colorado, USA; New York Yankees third baseman Oswald Peraza (91) reacts after hitting an RBI single in the eleventh inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

With his third hit of the day, Oswald Peraza hit a two-run HR to pull the RailRiders within two following a two-RBI single from Jake Lamb, but it was too little too late. The star of the show was Everson Pereira, who went 2-4 with a walk and two solo HRs, giving him 18 on the season and raising his wRC+ at Triple-A to 129. He’s just destroying the baseball right now and has eight HRs in 34 games since his promotion.

Anthony Volpe had a 66 wRC+ and 30.8% K% in his first 250 Plate Appearances, Aaron Judge had a 44.2% K% and 62 wRC+ through his first 27 games, and Derek Jeter had a 90 wRC+ in his first 53 games with a .357 SLG%. Everson Pereira comes with a lot of strikeout issues, so having him go through the inevitable struggles that every player goes through as they come up can help him not just in 2023 but in 2024 and beyond.

Getting a top prospect MLB reps can allow them to develop into much better players, especially since there’s no pressure to immediately perform, allowing the 22-year-old outfielder to stick to his approach and adjust as coaches and teammates see fit. The power we’re seeing from Pereira is phenomenal, as he crushed his first HR at over 110 MPH, and it traveled nearly 480 feet. His second blast was “less impressive” since it was only hit at 103.6 MPH and traveled 436 feet, which is still a monster shot.

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Hudson Valley’s Everson Pereira at bat during the Renegades home opener versus the Brooklyn Cyclones on April 19, 2022. Renegades 2022 Home Opener

For some fun data on Everson Pereira’s Triple-A dominance, here’s his batted ball data with Scranton thus far:

  • 107.2 MPH 90th Percentile Exit Velocity (94th Percentile
  • 92.9 Average Exit Velocity (98th Percentile)
  • 48.4% Hard Hit % (90th Percentile)
  • 11.6% Barrel% (90th Percentile)

Will Warren and Brendan Beck take the hill in today’s MiLB action, we’ll have affiliated play from Single-A to Triple-A as Scranton and Tampa try to salvage these final games and get some momentum going towards a late-season playoff push.

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