Wednesday, June 25, 2014


It has been a few weeks since the last time I updated you with what our future Bombers are up to in the minor league system, so let’s take a look at five more players working their way to the Bronx.

Dante Bichette Jr. (3B/DH) – His father was a power-laden outfielder who could flat out rake.  In 14 big league seasons he hit 274 home runs and batted .299.  Junior seems to have received a lot of that good DNA. 

Dante Bichette Jr. is batting in the heart of the Tampa Yankees (advanced A ball) lineup as a third baseman/designated hitter.  Currently, he’s hitting .276 with seven home runs and 40 RBI (leads the team). 

Drafted by the Yankees in the first round (51st pick) of the 2011 Amateur Draft, the 22-year-old has advanced at least one level each year he has been in the organization.  He has displayed good power and if he can keep his average where it is or higher, it would come as no surprise if he finishes his season at the next level.

There are things to work on for sure, as he’s made 8 errors in 95 chances at the hot corner (a .916 fielding pct) and he tends to be a free-swinger at the plate; striking out 309 times taking a base on balls on 151 occasions in 361 minor league games.   But, those are things that can be worked on and improved over time, and at 22, he has plenty of time. 

Bichette Jr. has a tremendous upside and given the issues the parent club has had at third base, he represents a ray of hope for the future at the position.

Jake Cave (OF) – Drafted in the sixth round of the same draft (2011) as Bichette Jr., outfielder Jake Cave has impressed the past two seasons– he played in just one game in 2011 (breaking a kneecap in a collision at home plate), and missed all of 2012 after re-injuring it in extended spring training.

Currently a teammate of Bichette’s, the 21-year-old outfielder is hitting .297 with a .740 OPS.  In spite of his past injury, he’s a very capable runner on the base paths; swiping 25 in 37 attempts since 2013. Like Bichette, Cave needs to work on plate discipline as he carries nearly a 3-to-1 strikeout to walk ratio.

In the field he has an above average arm and range; playing center field for the Tampa Yankees with a .988 fielding pct.

If he stays healthy, Cave has shown abilities that should put him on the fast track through the organization.

Caleb Smith (LHP) – Left-handed starting pitchers are the blood diamonds in baseball.  Teams will kill for the good ones, and in Caleb Smith the Yankees may have a gem in the works.

Picked in the 14th round of last year’s MLB Amateur Draft, Smith was quick to impress; posting a 1.89 ERA over 9 starts at low-A Staten Island, and even making a late season spot start at Double-A Trenton.

Since joining the organization, the southpaw has struck out 118 in 110 innings pitched and currently is 4-6 with a 3.56 ERA through 14 starts at Charleston (single A).

The 22-year-old has great potential as he showcases a fastball in the 93-95 mph range and an above-average circle change.  He also will occasionally use a slider, and has shown good control; walking just 43 batters in his 110 innings on the mound. 

If he keeps this up, the sky is the limit for Smith.  Given Yankee stadium’s short right-field porch, this lefty starter could find himself in the Bronx ahead of some of the other “baby” Bomber’s I’ve written about.

Jose Rosario (2B, SS,3B, OF) – One trait of successful Yankees teams in the past is that each had a good “all-purpose” player.  They are guys who play virtually every day, but seemingly never at the same position.   Their value lies in the fact that they allow their manager to rest his starters without losing production in the field and at the plate.

Jose Rosario is just that type of player.

Still young (22), this product of the Yankees Dominican Summer League team has shown versatility in the field and competence at the plate.  This season alone, Rosario has seen time at second, third and each of the three outfield positions while being promoted from Single-A Charleston to High-A Tampa.  To date, he’s hitting .295 at Tampa (.292 on the season) and has shown ability on the base paths in stealing 49 bases in 66 attempts during his minor league career.

The fact that he’s already been promoted this year is a good sign for the multi-talented player.  Look for him to continue his climb through the ranks and possibly finish the season at Double-A Trenton.

Jose Ramirez (RHP) – Jose Ramirez is a Baby Bomber who has been given his first taste of “The Show”.  While at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes Barre this season, the 24-year-old right-handed starter-turned-reliever was lights out; posting a microscopic 0.84 ERA with 13 strikeouts in 10.2 innings pitched. 

Since being signed as an 18-year-old amateur free agent in 2007, Ramirez steadily worked his way through the ranks of the system as a starter until last season.  He features a fastball that averages 94 mph, a change up, and a slider.

Even though he’s made it to the Bronx, there are still clearly some things to be worked on - specifically, his WHIP (walks+hits per inning pitched).   In spite of his above average tools, Ramirez seems to pitch to a lot of contact.  He gets a decent number of strikeouts (his average is roughly one per inning), but yields home runs at a high rate (he’s already given up 2 in just 8 innings of big league work), and has had a WHIP higher than 1.2 every season (minors and majors) since 2009. 

Unless he can start missing bats at a better clip, his visit to the Bronx may not amount to much more than a quick cup of coffee.

There you have it – our latest update on some Yankees prospects.  If you have specific Baby Bombers you’d like to know about, feel free to send us the request and we’ll be happy to include them in our write-ups!


--Steve Skinner, BYB Writer
Twitter: @oswegos1


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