Latest Yankees News Roundup: Carlos Beltran, Wells, Voit, and more

austin wells, yankees

With the MLB lockout still in effect, while a new CBA agreement still has not been reached, the New York Yankees, along with all the other MLB teams don’t have much going on, but there still is news to report. Here is today’s roundup for the weekend.

Carlos Beltran hired by the YES Network

He will take part in broadcasting 36 games, according to reports. Beltran, the one-time Yankee player during the 2013-2016 seasons and ex-Mets manager, will likely fill in for David Cone in some games as he balances his work with the YES Network and his new job with ESPN.

Ex-Yankee slams MLB for David Ortiz enshrinement

Jose Canseco, who played for the Yankees in 2000, is mad as hell. Canseco complained that the Hall of Fame elected David Ortiz to the Hall on his first ballot. He sighted that other players that tested positive for PED’s have been rejected mostly for their use of drugs. He likely means Alex Rodriguez, Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, and others. He called it a double standard and hypocrisy.

“If ortiz is in the hall of fame so should the other guys who use PED,s again MLB screws it up again talk about hypocrisy.”

Canseco is not the only one complaining, social media is full of comments at least questioning the move of the Hall and the baseball writers. It should be mentioned that Canseco was also a proven drug user. Just like Pettitte, there is some question regarding Ortiz’s use of PEDs. Pettitte used the drugs just to help cure an injury. One of the reasons of logic may indicate that Ortiz’s single positive test was before the rule came into effect. Following that positive test, Ortiz never had another positive during the last ten years of his career.

Catcher Austin Wells could be impactful this season

The Yankees, this postseason, had to again decide whether to keep Gary Sanchez as their starting backstop for the 2022 season. Ultimately they did, teaming up the combo of Sanchez and Kyle Higashioka to handle the catching job. Meanwhile, prospect Austin Wells has been advancing in his catching skills. Should either of the starters become injured, you will surely see Wells at the Stadium until either return. Wells last season playing for the Tampa Tarpons and the Hudson Valley Renegades had an impressive season hitting .258 with Tampa and .274 for Hudson Valley with a combined total of ten home runs. It’s important to acknowledge that his batting average is far better than Gary Sanchez.

Is Voit sending a message in latest video posting?

No one on the New York Yankees team is more uncertain of his future than Luke Voit. Luke is a dynamic player but can’t stay healthy enough to be impactful. The Yankees kept him for another season, but it is unclear if he will again play at first base or end up being traded for another Yankee need. The Yankees have to decide if they will go with Voit saving money for a new shortstop or a starting pitcher. Anthony Rizzo, who played first after the trade deadline still, is waiting to see if he will be resigned. Matt Olson and Freddie Freeman have been mentioned as replacements. Meanwhile, Voit has been pictured and vocal on his social media account, keeping his name in the mix. In his last video, it showed him working out with the Red Sox Rafael Devers.

Is Stephen Ridings set for a break-out season?

The 26-year-old minor league pitcher has played for six teams in his career, gradually advancing. Last season he played in 30 games with the Somerset Patriots and the Scranton Wilkes/Barre Rail Riders and even pitched during five innings in five games with the Yankees. His ERA with the Yankees was an impressive 1.80, although the sampling was small. He dominated in his MLB debut.

Riding has a fastball that settles in at about 100mph, a wicked slider that drops off at the last second, and an above-average change. Manager Aaron Boone had his to say about Ridings.

“The stuff was impressive from the side. He had a little strut out there. We were impressed with his demeanor.”

Now the question is, is he good enough to become impactful from the bullpen in the 2022 season. If he continues to impress, you will likely see him on the mound sooner than later.

What’s going with Freddie Freeman and the Braves?

The situation with first baseman Freddie Freeman is becoming less clear by the day. Prior to the MLB lockout, the Atlanta Braves still had not resigned their star first baseman. Depending on where the Yankees spend their money this offseason, they certainly have interest in the dominant first baseman. It has been assumed that the Braves are the odds on favorites to resign him. But questions linger. Recently the Braves are examining other options.

The Braves may have made a costly decision by not extending Freeman instead of letting him enter free agency. The Braves could not lock him up with an agreement before the lockout. The sticking point may be the length of the contract. It is rumored that the star wanted a six-year contract that the Braves were not going to accept. Reports indicate he is looking for at least $180 million over six years. Although Freeman may be attractive to the Yankees, at age 32, they too may be reluctant to take on a contract that would bring him to age 38.

Yankees already have their long-term shortstop, catcher, and relief ace in the system

anthony volpe, yankees

The New York Yankees have big plans for the future, most of which revolve around their youth prospects rather than lucrative free agent signings and trade acquisitions. It’s unlikely GM Brian Cashman spends big money on a player like Carlos Correa, and trading for a new catcher already seems to be off the table as the Yankees tendered Gary Sanchez for $8 million.

However, if their elite prospects develop into starting talent, they will be in great shape for the future with the flexibility to spend big money with important positions locked up for cheap.

The Yankees have three premium prospects climbing the ranks:

SS: Anthony Volpe

The Yankees’ No. 1 prospect is none other than Anthony Volpe, who hit .294 with 27 homers this past season with Hudson Valley and Tampa. Volpe has sparked interest from around the league for his incredible bat and efficient defense at shortstop.

“He had a very impressive year,” Cashman said recently. “He certainly caught the attention of the entire industry. It really reinforces and justifies everything we heard from our amateur department when we drafted him, and so we’re excited about his future.”

Volpe isn’t only a fantastic player, he’s also humble, indicating his desire to be the best player he can be but understanding he has a long way to go.

“I don’t really pay too much attention to the stuff outside of my control,” Volpe said on YES Network. “It’s definitely an honor and one I don’t take lightly, but at the same time, I just want to be the best player I can possibly be. Whether that’s an unranked bottom-of-the-order prospect or where I am now, the Yankees’ No. 1 prospect, I think I still have a long way to go to reach my potential.”

At this rate, Volpe is about two years out from making an on-schedule MLB debut. His performance in Low-A ball was encouraging, but the Yankees want to see consistency across the farm system, brewing optimism he can perform at the MLB level.

C: Austin Wells

Another premium-level prospect for the Bombers is catcher Austin Wells, taken in the 2018 June Amateur Draft. Wells was phenomenal, posting a .264 average, 16 homers, 76 RBIs, and 16 stolen bases. With incredible athleticism Wells has the ability to be the Yankees’ next big thing at catcher, surpassing Sanchez and his inability to progress at the top level.

“Those two guys continue to reinforce — one, as expected (Wells), and the other, that he’s the real deal (Dunham),” general manager Brian Cashman said on Sunday, via NJ.com:

While Wells has plenty of development left to do, he’s expected to make the jump to AA ball at some point in the near future; that much closer to a debut with the Yankees’ MLB squad. Wells and Volpe seem to be on a similar timetable.

RP: Luis Medina

Whenever you have a prospect hitting 100 MPH out of the bullpen, you know you’ve got something special. Luis Medina is one of the Yankees’ most valuable prospects in the pitching department, and he could earn an opportunity to feature in the MLB this upcoming season.

Medina recorded a 3.39 ERA this past season with Somerset and Hudson Valley over 109 innings. As a strong-armed relief pitcher, the Yankees are extremely high on him and his velocity.

The Yankees already have their long-term solution at catcher in the system

austin wells, yankees

The New York Yankees tendered catcher Gary Sanchez this off-season, providing him with a pay increase to $8 million for the 2021 season. However, the team has not decided on their long-term future at catcher, and Sanchez continues to struggle both offensively and defensively.

This past season, Sanchez hit .204 with 23 homers and 54 RBIs. While he remains a solid slugger, he posted just a .730 OPS and 0.7 WAR. While it is entirely possible to Yankees roll with him for one more season, they have one young prospect climbing the ranks that looks like the future at a spot of weakness currently.

General manager Brian Cashman gushed about their first-round pick from 2018, Austin Wells, attesting to his growth.

“Those two guys continue to reinforce — one, as expected (Wells), and the other, that he’s the real deal (Dunham),” general manager Brian Cashman said on Sunday, via NJ.com:

Wells, who has spent the last three years in the Yankees’ farm system, played in 103 games this past year at 21-years-old. At Low and High-A ball, featuring with Hudson Valley and Tampa, he posted a collective .264 average with 16 homers, 76 RBIs and 16 stolen bases.

The young prospect presents not only a slugger with awesome batting attributes but is also a freak athlete with awesome speed on the base paths. His fielding percentage was equally as impressive, recording a .993 success rate and 16 passed balls over 585 innings. He will be looking to reduce his past-ball number and only posted a 13% caught stealing percentage, allowing 98 stolen bases. This could be due to poor pitching and transition to his hand, but as he makes his way through the system, that number will likely increase.

At this point in time, Wells is likely two years away from making his debut at the top level, so the Yankees will likely stick with Sanchez for one more season, potentially extending him for another year or finding a stopgap until Wells is ready. They clearly have a few young prospects in mind, with Oswald Peraza and Anthony Volpe making their way through the system as well. They featured on the same team as the young catcher this past season, so they could all make the jump at a similar time. This would provide the Yankees with an incredibly young team and awesome talent to work with.

The Yankees have 2 lowkey stud prospects climbing the ranks, Cashman gushes

austin wells, yankees

The New York Yankees have had trouble developing young players the last few years, seeing Gary Sanchez and Gleyber Torres plateau with their growth. Sanchez is on the cusp of being released after the 2022 season, signing an $8 million tender which gives him a significant pay increase despite his deficiencies.

General manager Brian Cashman waited as long as possible to make Sanchez the long-term solution at catcher, but his awful strikeout rate and inconsistent defending have made him a liability at times. Luckily, the Yankees have a stud prospect climbing the ranks, but at just 21-years-old, he’s at least two years away from reaching the majors.

Former 2018 MLB June Amateur draft pick Austin Wells spent time with Hudson Valley and Tampa this past season, hitting a combine .264 with 16 homers and 76 RBIs over 382 at-bats. He also recorded 16 stolen bases, showcasing speed and athleticism. He’s a bit different than Sanchez, who is a heavier player that lacks mobility.

Wells isn’t the only prospect impressing the Yankees front office, as Elijah Dunham, a 23-year-old outfielder, has also sparked the interest of Cashman.

“Those two guys continue to reinforce — one, as expected (Wells), and the other, that he’s the real deal (Dunham),” general manager Brian Cashman said on Sunday, via NJ.com:

Dunham enjoyed 339 at-bats this past season, hitting .263 with 13 homers, 57 RBIs, and a crazy 28 stolen bases. His stats are eerily similar to Wells, but given he’s an outfielder and even faster, the Yankees could look to him as a potential supplement for Clint Frazier down the road.

“Austin Wells and Elijah Dunham crushed it,” Cashman said. “They did a great job. Austin Wells being a No. 1 pick, not surprising. But I think we’re really proud of also what Elijah’s done because he doesn’t come with that blue chip pedigree. But ever since he’s signed into pro ball he’s been a pro’s pro. He’s excelled at every level and he continues to make a name for himself as he did in the Arizona Fall League.”

Dunham also spend time in Hudson Valley and Tampa this past season. Along with Wells, they both dominated in the Arizona Fall League. Dunham finished with a .357 average, including two homers and 14 RBIs over 84 at-bats. Wells hit .344 with two homers and 18 RBIs.
Both prospects still have a while to go until they’re considered major league talent, but they are on the right path given their dominance of Low-A ball in 2021.

New York Yankees: Four prospects to watch as Minor League Baseball begins

New York Yankees, Austin Wells

After taking the 2020 season off due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Minor League Baseball is finally set to resume play. In the 18+ months since the last MiLB action, the entire farm system structure has changed, including a few affiliates being swapped for the New York Yankees. Scranton remains the Triple-A affiliate for the team, however, the Double-A affiliate is now the Somerset Patriots. Tampa has dropped down to Low-A, while the Hudson Valley Renegades have filled their spot as the High-A affiliate.

With Minor League Baseball resuming, that means that there will be plenty of prospects to keep an eye on throughout the season. Here is one prospect to watch for on each Yankees’ affiliate.

Low-A: Austin Wells (C)

2021 1st round draft pick Austin Wells will make his minor league debut with the Tampa Tarpons this week. Wells, 21, impressed throughout Spring Training and is a likely candidate to replace Gary Sanchez in the future.

That being said, Wells’s progression is something to keep an eye on throughout the season. If Wells performs well in 2021, he could potentially make it to Double-A come September, putting him in a position where he could be MLB ready by the end of the 2022 or the beginning of 2023.

High-A: Luis Medina (RHP)

Ranked 7th in the Yankees orgamization, Luis Medina is looking for a breakout season in the minors in 2021. He struggled in 2018 and 2019 in A-Ball, however, he’s two years older now and has had a ton of time to develop. The Yankees are very high on him and he could be an arm in the MLB rotation in a few seasons.

With prospects Clarke Schmidt and Deivi Garcia already proving themselves as MLB quality pitchers, Medina is essentially the No. 2 pitching prospect in the organization, only behind Luis Gil. If Medina starts off strong in 2021, he could quickly see a promotion to Double-A.

Double-A: Estevan Florial (CF)

Despite making his MLB debut in 2020, Estevan Florial finds himself in Double-A to begin the 2021 season. Currently the Yankees No. 2 outfield prospect behind Jasson Dominguez, Florial could potentially be an impact player for the Yankees this season. The team hasn’t had much production out of outfielders Clint Frazier, Aaron Hicks and Brett Gardner, meaning Florial could potentially be in the mix.

If Florial were to make the MLB roster at some point, a strong performance for him is key to his Yankee future. With Dominguez likely MLB ready in 2023, Florial would like to show that he belongs on the Yankees’ roster and that Dominguez’s route to the majors isn’t as easy as it’s hyped to be.

Triple-A: Deivi Garcia (RP)

Picking Deivi Garcia as the player to watch for this season in Triple-A is a difficult one. Many players on the Scranton/Wilkes Barre Railriders are either MLB veterans or lower-ranked prospects who have already made MLB appearances. However, with the expectation that Garcia will start games next season with the Yankees, we’ll go with Garcia.

2021 will likely see Garcia jump back-and-forth between the Triple-A and MLB roster, but he should hopefully get 25ish starts between the two teams. If Garcia can succeed at both levels this season, then it’ll put him in great shape to have a permanent MLB roster spot in 2022.

Yankees’ assign uber-prospect Jasson Dominguez to extended spring training; Austin Wells to Low-A

New York Yankees, Jasson Dominguez

New York Yankees’ uber-prospect Jasson Dominguez, the best-ranked young player in the Bombers’ system according to MLB Pipeline, will begin the year in extended spring training at the club’s player development complex in Tampa, Fla. That doesn’t mean he can’t and won’t be assigned to one of the minor league affiliates down the road, but for now, that’s the plan.

Meanwhile, Austin Wells, the Yankees’ first pick in the 2020 MLB Draft, is slated to begin the season, the first one of his professional career, with Low-A Tampa this week. Those two are perhaps the Yanks’ most exciting prospects.

Dominguez is a physical specimen like no other, with enormous raw power, a great arm, and good speed before bulking up in the last year or so. However, he just turned 18 and has never played a professional game in his career, so the Yankees’ approach seems to be the right one.

The Yankees have high hopes for Dominguez

And that way, they can evaluate him in person and, after assessing where his tools currently are, and then assign him to the appropriate affiliate.

“Everything that we’ve seen from this kid, he’s super talented, but he hasn’t played a game here yet,” Kevin Reese, the Yankees’ senior director of player development, said this spring according to the team’s official site. “It’s hard to help him manage those expectations, because he’s not going to show up tomorrow and perform like Mike Trout or Aaron Judge or Brett Gardner.

“We’ll keep him working; our goal is to get the best Jasson Dominguez that’s possible. Hopefully, that’s a really good player that helps us win games and win championships.”

The Yankees published the minor league affiliates rosters to open the 2021 minor league season, the first one since 2019. They announced camp rosters in Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Double-A Somerset, High-A Hudson Valley and Low-A Tampa on Sunday.

Other notable assignments are Deivi Garcia to Triple-A, Oswald Peraza to High-A, Luis Gil to Double-A, and Luis Medina to High-A.

2021 could make or break Gary Sanchez’s New York Yankee career

Austin Wells, New York Yankees

It’s certainly been no secret that Gary Sanchez has greatly underperformed the past three seasons for the New York Yankees. In the Aaron Boone era, Sanchez has had just one season above a .200 average and a .800 OPS. He’s worked hard to break out of his extended hitting slump, but now in 2021, there could be even more pressure to do so.

Austin Wells, the Yankees 2020 first round draft pick, has performed well this spring. Despite not yet making any minor league appearances due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Wells’s potential was high enough to receive an invite to major league spring training. In seven at-bats, Wells singled twice, including a hard hit up the middle on March 28 against Philadelphia.

At just 21 years old, Wells is making a strong impression on the Yankees. He was actually drafted in the 35th round of the 2018 draft by the Yankees out of high school, but decided to go to college instead. Being that the Yankees chose him again in the 2020 draft, that shows how highly the teams thinks of him.

Wells will finally get minor league at-bats this season since MiLB baseball is finally resuming, and he’ll have an opportunity to really show what he can do. If he performs well, the Yankees likely won’t be hesitant to advance him to higher minor league levels, especially if Sanchez is struggling in the majors.

So, if Gary Sanchez doesn’t perform well this season, his Yankee days could soon be outnumbered. If Wells continues his strong play in 2021, he could progress through the minor league ranks quickly and be major league ready soon. It’s certainly not unheard of that players make their MLB debuts within a couple years of their draft, and that could be the case for Wells if Sanchez continue to underperform for the Yankees.

 

Yankees’ 2020 first-round pick is impressing with his hitting ability and knowledge

New York Yankees, Austin Wells

The 2020 season was a lost one for many players and prospects, even in the New York Yankees. There was a shortened MLB season, but the Minor League Baseball campaign was suspended because of the COVID-19 pandemic and other issues.

However, the fact that there wasn’t live baseball for catcher Austin Wells, the Yankees’ 2020 first-round draft pick, didn’t prevent him from making an effort to improve his skills.

“So far he’s been really impressive,” Kevin Reese, the Yankees’ senior director of player development, said to MLB.com. “I think what’s been impressive, too, is just throughout this downtime — I can’t imagine being a player during this time, especially a first-round pick who has to wait a year to get into a game — he’s been a total pro; communicating really well with our hitting, catching, nutrition, strength and conditioning staff.”

The drive to be better is what separates the great ones from the pack, and Wells understands that very well. He played his first professional game a few days ago in spring training, but he managed to impress players and coaches with his hitting prowess.

“I’m just taking it day by day,” Wells said. “I’m not looking too far into the future and not thinking too much about the past and what’s happened, or what should have been. I’m just taking the opportunities that come to me and really taking advantage of those, for sure.”

The Yankees love his demeanor and approach

Wells’ hitting is what stands out from his game. He has a compact swing from the left side of home plate, capable of generating plenty of power but geared for line drives.

“He can hit; we really like his swing,” said manager Aaron Boone. “One of the things that stands out to me is that I didn’t necessarily know how strong he is. He’s as strong as anyone in camp, especially when you test them and everything. Some of the conversations that he’s having are pretty advanced from a hitting standpoint. This is a guy that loves hitting and understands it a little bit.”

One Yankees prospect is raising eyebrows early on in spring training

Austin Wells, New York Yankees

Only pitchers and catchers have reported to spring training thus far, but the New York Yankees are already underway with their progress toward the start of the 2021 season. With some luck, the upcoming campaign won’t be significantly influenced by COVID-19, and after a 2020 season where the league implement new protocols and establish some ground rules, things should be smooth sailing from here on out.

Last season didn’t go as planned for the Yankees, who had World Series aspirations but fell short. The injection of youth and injuries that plastered the roster created problems, but this upcoming season has a bit more optimism around it. The Yankees upgraded their starting pitching rotation and added a few more players to help boost their chances.

One new face is impressing for the Yankees early on:

The start of spring training has gone well, and one young player has impressed early on. This past summer, the Yankees selected catcher Austin Wells out of the University of Arizona. Wells is an intriguing prospect that projects as a quality hitter at the MLB level but had some issues defensively behind the plate. Nonetheless, he is confident he can make a career catching, but it’s his bat that will likely take him to new heights.

“He can hit,” Boone said regarding Austin Wells.

“I really like his swing,’’ Boone said. “One of the things that stands out to me, that I didn’t necessarily know, is how strong he is. He’s as strong as anyone in camp, especially when you test him.”

Offensively, Wells hit .357 with an OPS of 1.035 over two seasons with Arizona. Over 15 games, he posted two homers and 14 RBIs, which is nothing to write home about, indicating he is more of a contact hitter with some hidden power. As a lefty batter, he adds a bit of diversity to the Yankees prospect list, and at 21 years old, he has plenty of time to develop in the coming years.

“Talking with [assistant hitting coach] P.J. Pilittere the other day about some of the conversations he’s having are pretty advanced, as far as from a hitting standpoint,’’ Boone said. “He’s a guy who loves hitting and understands it a little bit.”