New York Minor League Report for 6/1/16

Phil Coke, starting pitcher? It’s hard to believe that the veteran reliever would agree to such a move but since coming back to the New York Yankees’ organization, the 32-year old Coke has made three starts for Triple A Scranton-Wilkes Barre. He has allowed a grand total of one run in 15 2/3 innings pitched. It’s hard to say if the role will become permanent for him and perhaps he won’t be starting a game in the Bronx any time soon, but at least he is making himself more attractive, be it to New York or some place else. Who knows, if the Yanks decide enough is enough with Michael Pineda in the rotation, Coke could take his place in the rotation. Stranger things have happened.

Courtesy: nypost.com

Courtesy: nypost.com

On to the rest of your Minor League recap.

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The Yankees

Shortstop Jorge Mateo is the Tampa Yankee everyone has eyes on. However, perhaps more attention should be paid to the player to Mateo’s right. Third baseman Miguel Andujar is proving to be no slouch himself with the bat. The 21-year old Andujar is excelling once again in this, his second season in the Florida State League, leading all hitters in RBI’s with 37. He also has nine home runs, second league-wide and his 51 hits tie him for eighth. The right-handed batter was signed as a free agent from the Dominican Republic in 2011. Andujar had a solid 2014 for Charleston of the South Atlantic League with 25 doubles, four triples, ten home runs and 70 RBI’s for the River Dogs. Last year, he won the Florida State League Home Run Derby and also led Tampa in doubles with 25 and hits with 119. Andujar seems to have outgrown the FSL and a trip up to Double A should happen before the end of 2016.

Outside of the big three guns, the rest of the Yankees’ bullpen has been hit or miss. Perhaps this will open the door for 25-year old right-hander Mark Montgomery, currently at Scranton. Promoted from Double A Trenton on May 4th, Montgomery has pitched 7 2/3 innings for the Railriders so far, allowing only four hits and no walks while striking out nine. Taken in the 11th round of the 2011 Draft, he has risen steadily through the system with all but four of his 200 career Minor League games coming in relief. Control has sometimes been an issue with Montgomery but interestingly enough, between a 2015 stint in Scranton and this year, he has not walked a batter in 15 1/3 innings.

Who says big guys don’t have good batting eyes? Charleston First baseman Chris Gittens, all 6-foot-4, 250 pounds of him has a career on-base percentage of .398. The 22-year old first baseman was taken in the 12th round of the 2014 Draft from Grayson College in Denison, Texas. The lefty-swinging Gitens hit .363 with eight home runs in 143 at-bats for the Rookie League Gulf Coast Yankees in 2015. He then moved up to Tampa, struggling a bit with only two hits in 14 at-bats. This year, his 24 runs scored, 25 RBI’s and .371 OBP is tops on the River Dogs. A move back up to Tampa by season’s end remains a possibility as long as he continues getting on base lifts his power numbers.

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The Mets

Unfortunately for the Mets, their bullpen let them down last night. Right-handed reliever Kevin McGowan hasn’t let the St. Lucie Mets down much this season. McGowan, 13th round selection in 2013 from Franklin Pierce College, has allowed only three earned runs in 27 innings of work, converting both of his save opportunities. The last time he pitched exclusively out of the bullpen was in 2013 for the Brooklyn Cyclones. In 23 starts plus one relief appearance last year for St. Lucie, the 24-year old McGowan went 6-10 with a 4.50 ERA, allowing 139 hits and 49 walks in 132 innings. The bullpen seems to be a much better fit for him. He has walked only two batters and struck out 29 in which all but one of his 13 games came in relief.

How close is it to being Brandon Nimmo time in Queens? The 2011 first round selection doesn’t have great home run power but he has good extra base skills with 12 doubles and four triples for Triple A Las Vegas. His most impressive attribute is his ability to get on base. He has a .383 on-base percentage for the 51’s with a lifetime mark of .381 in his six-year Minor League career. Nimmo has been hot over his last 10 games, hitting .351 with seven RBI’s and six runs scored. The Mets don’t need someone in the outfield but they could use a player that can balance out their power-laden lineup. Nimmo would be a good fit but there is not a spot for him at the moment.

Another reliever doing excellent work out of the bullpen is Columbia Fireflies’ right-hander Tyler Bashlor. An 11th round selection in 2013 from South Georgia State, the 23-year old Bashlor has allowed only 14 hits and three earned runs in 22 2/3 innings. He will need to bring down his 13 walks but his 27 strikeouts are a solid number. This makes for a great story as Bashlor has missed the last two years because of injuries, including Tommy John surgery. If he can harness his control, expect Bashlor to get a promotion later this year to St. Lucie.

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