New York Minor League Report 5-25-16

The big news in the land of the Minor Leagues is that Alex Rodriguez landed at Double A Trenton on Tuesday evening. The New York Yankees’ designated hitter began a rehab assignment with the Thunder as he works his way back from a hamstring strain. The thought was the Yanks were going to activate Rodriguez once they returned home from Oakland but evidently, the front office changed their minds. However, it still might be a short stay for the veteran as the organization will re-evaluate him after Wednesday’s game in Trenton.

Courtesy: nj.com

Courtesy: nj.com

On to the actual Minor Leaguers:

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The Yankees

Undrafted free agents are the longest of longshots to make it to the Major Leagues. But that doesn’t stop them from trying to make it to the Show. Billy Fleming is such a player, having been signed by the Yankees in July of 2014 after a three-year career at West Virginia in which he was an All-Big 12 selection after his Junior season. The 23-year old Fleming spent time at four different levels of ball starting with Pulaski of the Appalachian League and ending with the Thunder. This year, the righty swinger hit .329 with a .395 on-base percentage for Class A Tampa before being promoted back to Trenton on Monday.

Another longshot finds his way onto our report this week. Last year’s 33rd round selection, right-handed pitcher Christian Morris has been outstanding for the Charleston River Dogs of the South Atlantic League. The 22-year old Morris, who went to school at the University of Indiana, is 3-0 with a 1.48 ERA in five starts. In 24 1/3 innings pitched, he has allowed only 17 hits and six walks while striking out 21. Opponents are hitting .205 off him. He had a rough go during his first professional season with a 5.59 ERA in hine appearances.

Climbing up the selection ladder, we have Tyler Webb, a left-handed pitcher who was taken in the 10th round of the 2013 Draft. The 6-6, 225 pound Webb went to the University of South Carolina and has now reached Triple A with the Scranton-Wilkes Barre RailRiders. He has been sparkling out of the bullpen, allowing only three earned runs in 17 2/3 innings allowing 13 hits while striking out 25 batters. Webb has pitched as a reliever throughout his Minor League career and reached Triple A in 2015. However, he missed over two months with a tendon injury and subsequently spent time in the Arizona Fall League.

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The Mets

The Triple A Las Vegas 51’s had their second award winner in as many weeks. Shortstop T.J. Rivera was named the Pacific Coast Player of the Week Award seven days after Rafael Montero claimed the pitching award. The 27-year old right-handed hitter from the Bronx is hitting a blistering .523 over his last ten games, raising his season average to .377, second in the PCL to the just-promoted Ty Kelly. Rivera has hit at every single level of the Minors with a lifetime .323 average and .370 on-base percentage. He has 25 or more doubles three out of the past four years, all the more puzzling as to why the Mets have not brought him up yet.

Speaking of awards, right-handed pitcher Ricky Knapp was named the Florida State League Pitcher of the Week. The 2013 8th round pick from Florida Gulf Coast allowed only six hits and one earned run in 15 innings last week. Knapp, age 24, now has a 1.64 in seven starts, eight games total, with a seven inning complete game shutout tossed on May 18th. In 49 1/3 innings, he has surrendered 423 hits and only 11 walks while fanning 26. He seems to be on track for a promotion to Double A Binghamton.

One of the most eye-popping seasons so far in Minor League ball belongs to Columbia Fireflies’ left-handed starter P.J. Conlon. The 13th round pick, who was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, sports a 1.06 ERA in 51 innings, covering eight starts. The 22-year old Conlon has given up 43 hits and only six walks while striking out 43. This comes less than a year after he pitched in 17 games, all in relief for the Brooklyn Cyclones, and allowing zero earned runs in 17 innings. All told, in 25 Minor League games, Conlon sports a 0.79 ERA.

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