Friday, December 9, 2016


(Photo Credit: Ryan "Moose" Morris - Freelance Photographer)
This week on the Yankees Prospect Watch we continue our countdown of the top 20 Yankees prospects according to with #16 OF Billy McKinney and #15 SS/2B Tyler Wade.

The Yankees acquired the A’s former first rounder, Billy McKinney, from the Cubs in July as part of the deal that sent Aroldis Chapman to Chicago. While Gleyber Torres was the prize of the trade, McKinney is a former first rounder and is just 22 years-old.

Photo by Martin Griff/Pinstriped Prospects
Billy McKinney made it up to Double-A in 2015 after being drafted in the 2013 amateur draft. McKinney totaled 113 hits, including 31 doubles, seven homers while adding 64 RBI between High-A ball and Double-A in 2015. Known for his quick hands and discipline at the plate, albeit with limited power, McKinney regressed in 2016 while still playing in Double-A Tennessee and then Trenton.

His stock fell some last year, but McKinney is still a first rounder who did make quick work of the lower levels of the minors from 2013-2015. He is not a speedster and has limited abilities on the base paths, as shown by his 18 career stolen bases in 410 professional games, and his defensive limitations of a mediocre arm and speed, make him best suited for left field even though he was drafted as a center fielder.

Gregg Slaboda — Trentonian Photo
People around baseball say that Double-A can be a make or break test and while he succeeded in 2015, his combined .246/.342/.338 slash line in 2016 with just 27 extra base hits in 123 games doesn’t create a lot of excitement. He does draw plenty of walks as shown by his OBP, but he will have to produce more at the plate since his other attributes are middle of the road.

McKinney is still young and could be a Big League contributor with some more improvement, added power and a bounce back year, but his 2015 season did bring up some question marks as evidenced by the Cubs willingness to include him with Torres in the Chapman deal. With a good start to the season though, McKinney could find his way up to Triple-A Scranton-Wilkes Barre in 2017 making the big leagues just a phone call away over the next two years.

(Photo: Associated Press)
SS/2B Tyler Wade, the Yankees fourth round selection in the 2013 amateur draft has taken a similar track to McKinney reaching Double-A Trenton in 2015, just his third year in pro ball. Wade is known for his glove and although he is a short stop by trade, the Yankees have a ton of depth at short and Wade could be moved over to second permanently as he appeared in 38 games, about 30% of his playing time, at second base in 2016.

Wade has made quite a few errors, as many youngsters do, but his error totals dropped from 35 to 26 from 2015 to 2016 as he showed continued development. The Yankees love his baseball intelligence and leadership skills and compared his makeup to former All-Star Walt Weiss.

(Photo Courtesy:
At the plate, Wade is a lefty contact hitter who understands he is not much of a power threat and does his job by making solid contact and getting on base. In 2016 Wade slashed .259/.352/.349 in Trenton while adding five home runs, 66 walks and 27 stolen bases. Wade is a Brett Gardner type offensive player with the chance to be a number two hitter or more likely be a pesky contributor from the bottom of the lineup.

Like McKinney, Wade could find his way up to Triple-A Scranton-Wilkes Barre in 2017, whether it be out of camp or as a promotion, with a chance to be in the Bronx something next summer or in 2018. The Yankees are flush with short stop talent and Wade will have a target on his back by the likes of Gleyber Torres, Wilkerman Garcia and Jorge Mateo, although he is ahead of them (especially Garcia who is just 18) in terms of development as of this winter.

(Photo: Mark LoMoglio/Yankees)
On the next Yankees Prospect Watch, we will profile one the most exciting young arms in the system who made a huge splash in 2015; #15 RHP Chance Adams.
As the winter continues we will continue our countdown and it only gets more exciting from here.

--Dan Lucia,  
BYB 'Series' Writer
Follow me on Twitter: @DManLucia


Last week here on BYB's Yankee Prospect Watch we profiled now former Yankees catching prospect Luis Torrens. Read YANKEE PROSPECT WATCH: CLARKIN & TORRENS to get up to speed. As we noted in the piece, Torrens was left unprotected in the Rule 5 Draft and was promptly taken second overall by the Reds and quickly shipped out to San Diego in a trade on Thursday. (Read YANKEES LOSE TY HENSLEY TO THE TAMPA BAY RAYS where we talked about Torrens and some of the other players.) I was sad to see Luis selected, but I’m not too concerned about it just yet. 
Here’s why…

Torrens played in just 52 games last year between low-A ball and A-ball and missed the entire 2015 season due to a torn labrum. He has never played in any level higher than A-ball. Needless to say, having him stick on a Major League roster for an entire 162 game season is unlikely. Is it possible? Sure. He is a good defensive catcher and the Padres could hide him on the roster and use him as a backup, but in my opinion it would be an injustice to his development and would be probably be a waste of a roster spot for the Padres.

For those who are unaware, if he does not stay on the Major League roster, he will be offered back to the Yankees for a fee. If that’s the case, I’m sure the Yankees will gladly take him back and let him continue to develop in their minor league system. If the Yankees choose not to take him back, he would then be waived. And I'm going to go further, helping to educate my BYB readers today with the rules of the Rule 5 Draft.  Click HERE to understand how the whole thing works.  It's very interesting.

For anyone who is concerned about losing him like I am, don’t fret too much just yet. There is a good chance he finds his way back to the Yankees organization, and the Yankees have Gary Sanchez who will hopefully be holding down the backstop position for many, many moons. There are several other catching prospects working their way up the ladder as well.

I hope the best for Torrens in the future and if he makes the roster (and stays on it) in San Diego, fantastic! If he doesn’t, then the Yankees will likely have one of their top catching prospects back.

--Dan Lucia,  
BYB 'Series' Writer
Follow me on Twitter: @DManLucia

Thursday, December 8, 2016


The journey doesn't end for Ty Hensley folks... it just got more exciting...

(Photo: Ashley Marshall/
This is small in many people's worlds, but a very important piece of information coming out of Yankeeland right now.  And it's personal for me because I appreciate Ty and his family so much having getting to know them over the last 4 years.  Ty Hensley was lost by the Yankees in the Rule 5 Draft to the Tampa Bay Rays.

SNY this nugget, including a bunch of other players you will know if you've been following the youth movement as extensively as we have over the years.

"C Luis Torrens, RHP Tyler Jones, LHP Caleb Smith, and LHP Tyler Webb were all selected in the Rule 5 Draft... Torrens was selected by the Reds, Jones was selected by the Diamondbacks, Smith was selected by the Brewers, and Webb was selected by the Pirates.

In order for any/all of the above players to become property of the team who selected them, they must remain on that team's 25-man roster for the entirety of the 2017 season. If not, they will be offered back to the Yankees.

In the minor league portion of the draft, the Yankees lost RHP Ty Hensley -- a former first round pick --...."

As Marci has just put out on Facebook:

"Friends and family as you know Ty was honored to be chosen by the Yankees in 2012 and has had a tough road since the draft. This morning he starts a new journey with the Tampa Rays as he was selected in the AAA portion of the Rule 5 draft. He has never felt better and been more prepared for a season. We appreciate the Yankees for taking care of our son like family! It's a happy/bittersweet day. We are excited that the Rays believe in him as an asset to their organization. Congratulations Ty! I know this will be a great year!"

Always the professional! All of the Hensleys are!

Photo Credit:
Now, I will do my best to get you any info I can, but out of respect for the family, I like to let things resonate.  Remember, there's a determination factor here.  Ty has a goal. And look, here's the important part of this if you're a Yankee fan... just chill. This was a move that had to be made because of the Rule 5 Draft. It's a rule.  Knowing what I know about Ty Hensley, sure, he wanted to be a New York Yankee, and one day he could be again. But there's more to it. It's about drive. Even if it was the New York Yankees, the Rays, the Daytona Beach Gorillas... the goal is to make it.  And that's what's going on in this kid's head. It's about personal achievement, and trust me, Ty has a much better shot coming up with the Rays than the Yankees just because of the way the organizations handle things. They are alittle different.  The Rays could give this kid chances the Yankees may not have given him early on. 

And look, it's a long road... it always is in baseball, and so, you gotta applaud the grind here. You just gotta wish  this guy well.  This is the business they are in.  We are just fans on the outside looking in.

Again though, as I find out more, I will report back to the BYB audience. That's a promise.

But for now, I quick message to Ty:

"It's not about the uniform... it's about getting there. Keep your eye on the prize, and achieve your goal, kid! From all of us here at Bleeding Yankee Blue!"

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(July 6, 2016 - Source: Jason Miller/Getty Images North America)
Wake up, Yankee Universe! The Cuban Missile’s 133-day flight to a World Championship galaxy far, far away is over! Aroldis Chapman is back in the Bronx! Someone please call the Stadium scoreboard operator and tell him to crank up Rage Against The Machine if you would please – and turn it up to 11!

Aroldis Chapman Yankees Entrance Video from Nick Tyrell on Vimeo.

Someone’s going to have to make an entrance video for Brian one of these days because he’s been cutting and closing deals like Mo for months now … and last night, in the final hours of the winter baseball meetings, he closed his biggest deal to date.

(June 23, 2016 - Source: Mike Stobe/Getty Images North America)
The particulars: 5 years. $86 million. (Richest per-ann deal for a relief pitcher ever.) Opt-out after 3 years. Full no trade first 3 years. Limited no trade final 2 years and no trades allowed for the duration of the deal to any West Coast teams.

While both Chapman and the Yankees brass have made no secret of their mutual desire to reunite since the day he was sent packing for a package of prospects, the pressures of high demand for the limited supply of available top-tier arms coupled with Hal’s and Brian’s relentless refrain about budgets made for some scary moments and even scarier rumors involving second-rate alternatives.

(May 14, 2016 - Source: Elsa/Getty Images North America)
But in the end, everyone was happy except the mystery team (likely either the Marlins or Dodgers) that reportedly offered $6 million more than the Yankees for his services. And, like so many of Chapman’s 9th-inning victims, they were left standing at the plate frozen, frustrated and unfulfilled.

‘I love the organization,’ Chapman told ESPN’s Marly Rivera, adding that he chose the Yankees over the Miami Marlins. ‘They welcomed me with open arms and that’s why I decided to go back. I was hoping I had a chance to go back and it happened. Every player dreams of being a Yankee, and if they don’t it’s because they never got the chance.

With all that said, I’m ecstatic about this deal for all the obvious reasons, and I’m fine with every bit of it including the opt-out which apparently helped seal the deal. Heck, if he does well enough between now and then that someone else is willing to top this big coin, that only means we got a bargain – and just like this time, we’ll have the inside track at re-signing him.

(May 8, 2016 - Source: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images North America)
And in a worst-case scenario, if he for some reason suddenly declines and isn’t doing as well as hoped in three years, no sweat. If the re-build has gone as planned by then, the Yankees should be roughly in the same place the Cubs and Indians found themselves this year where securing a better closer as a final piece to their championship puzzle was a no-brainer and the cost became less important than the need.

(Sept. 11, 2016 - Source: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images North America)
In such an eventuality, I have total confidence the Yankees could write off the final $34.4 million on those back two years of the Cuban Missile’s deal while simultaneously throwing a welcome party for their new closer with the same ease and panache the Red Sox just did for Chris Sale only yesterday while writing off the $63 million they had invested in their Cuban prospect Moncada. And all they ever got out of him was 19 at bats yielding 12 strikeouts, 4 hits and 1 lousy RBI 

(May 13, 2016 - Source: Al Bello/Getty Images North America)
Bottom line: You’re going to see a lot of crap thrown at this deal and at Chapman himself. I started seeing it almost from the moment glimmers of it getting done first started to appear on my timeline. Crap about how it’s too long, crap about how it’s too soon, crap about how it’s too much money for a reliever, crap about how it’s too much money for such a horrible person….

My response to it all: Swing and a miss. 

Take a seat, Meat.

 --Barry Millman
BYB Writer
Follow me on Twitter@nyyankeefanfore

  American Eagle


Al Bello/Getty Images
Breaking late last night, Aroldis Chapman is returning to the Bronx.

5 years, $86 million.  We have a big piece coming from newbie BYB writer Barry Millman soon... look for it.

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