A Minor Review of 2014: Orioles, Yankees

Welcome to the annual series called: ‘A Minor Review of 20__” This series is a great way to receive a quick recap of the 2014 minor league season for your favorite club(s), while also receiving a brief look toward the 2015 season and beyond. It can also be a handy feature for fantasy baseball managers in keeper and Dynasty leagues.

A Minor Review of 2014: Yankees

The Graduate: Shane Greene, RHP: Greene is proof that scouting is not an exact science. The right-hander flew under the radar for five minor league seasons due to inconsistent results. His stuff took a step forward in 2014 and he could be in the Yankees’ starting rotation for years to come thanks to his combination of velocity, movement and sink on his offerings.

The Riser: Luis Severino, RHP: Severino’s mix of velocity and above-average control allowed the 20-year-old hurler to fly through three minor league levels in 2014: Low-A, High-A and Double-A. I was big on this pitching prospect prior to the 2014 season and ranked him as the 11th best prospect in the system but I definitely didn’t expect him to take such a huge step forward. He could reach the Majors in 2015.

The Tumbler: Mason Williams, OF: Williams’ light was shining bright after the 2012 season but he stumbled in 2013 while splitting the year between High-A and Double-A. He returned to Double-A in 2014 and saw him OPS bottom out at a paltry .593 in 128 games. Interestingly, strikeouts are not a major issue for Williams; rather, it’s his lack of hard contact, as well as poor pitch selection.

The ’14 Draft Pick: Jacob Lindgren, LHP: Lindgren won’t be the first 2014 draftee to the Majors (the Royals Brandon Finnegan took care of that) but he likely will be one of the first three to five players to arrive — assuming he stays healthy. His nasty stuff could make the Yankees’ bullpen very scary in less than a year’s time when he complements David Robertson and Dellin Betances.

The Lottery Ticket: Luis Torrens, C: Torrens, 18, was on my radar at the beginning of 2014 when I ranked him as the 15th-best prospect in the system and he’s attracted even more attention after a solid offensive season in the New-York-Penn League. He needs additional polish behind the plate but he threw out 42% of runners trying to steal on him at that level.

A Minor Review of 2014: Orioles

The Graduate: Kevin Gausman, RHP: This young pitcher has been a key piece of the Orioles’ 2014 quest for a World Series berth by producing a 3.83 ERA in 96.1 innings of work (to date). Armed with a mid-90s fastball and a nasty changeup(s), it’s somewhat surprising that his strikeout rate sits at just 6.65 K/9 but his breaking ball remains a work-in-progress.

The Riser: Chance Sisco, C: It’s now possible to foresee a time when Matt Wieters is not behind the plate for the Orioles and Sisco appears to be the favorite to assume the mantle. However, he’ll need to show improvement behind the dish if he’s going to stick back there. With a career slash line of .345/.419/.449 in two seasons, there are far fewer questions about his ability to hit.

The Tumbler: Michael Ohlman, C: Sisco’s value is on the rise, while Ohlman’s is on the decline after a disappointing ’14 season in Double-A. The 6’5’’ catcher already faces a tough task to stick behind the plate so the slip in offense — including a loss of more than .200 points in slugging — doesn’t bode well for his future.

The ’14 Draft Pick: Pat Connaughton, RHP: A Notre Dame alum, Connaughton was an attractive college sign as an athletic brimming with raw talent who’s only begun to scratch the surface on his baseball potential. If he can polish both his command and his secondary offerings, he could be a nice steal as a fourth-round selection.

The Lottery Ticket: Jomar Reyes, 3B: The Orioles don’t typically dole out big bucks on the international market but they handed Reyes $350,000 earlier this year. Just 17, he more than held his own and flashed his trademark right-handed power — the tool that caught Baltimore’s attention. He’ll likely need one more season of extended spring training and short-season ball before he moves up into the full-season leagues.





Marc Hulet has been writing at FanGraphs since 2008. His work focuses on prospects and fantasy. Follow him on Twitter @marchulet.

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Chris Mitchell
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Williams was all sorts of terrible this year. It’s starting to look like he’s not even 5th outfielder material.