One player that seems to be moving up through the system quickly is Ronnier Mustelier. The 5' 10" 210 pounder from Santiago de Cuba, Cuba signed with Yankees as a free agent on June 7, 2011 after he defected from Cuba. The right-handed hitting second baseman began the season at Double-A Trenton where he hit .353 with 6 doubles, 5 homeruns and 20 RBIs. In 25 games he had an OBP of .412, a slugging percentage of .598 and an OPS of 1.010. He had 9 walks, 10 strikeouts and 3 stolen bases. Since then he has moved up to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre playing in 13 games hitting .320. with 2 homeruns, 2 doubles and 7 RBIs. He has a .370 OBP, a .420 slugging percentage and an OPS of .820. Since defecting from Cuba the 28 year old is moving through the Yankees system fast. After 2 years in the minors he's hitting .342. In 298 at bats he has 22 doubles, 10 homeruns, 54 RBIs, 14 stolen bases and 41 strike outs. His OBP is .389, a .544 slugging percentage and an OPS of .942. He's a solid defensive player committing only 9 errors with a fielding percentage of .946. Since being called up to Scranton he's played 8 games at second base but he has spent most of his career playing all three outfield positions and even 24 games at third base. He was the EAS Player of the Week for the week of May 7, 2012. Keep in mind he could be used as utility man sometime in the near future.
Continuing to impress since my last Who's Hot Who's Not blog is first baseman Steve Pearce. The Lakeland Florida native is hitting .326 with 12 doubles, 8 homeruns and 22 RBIs in 39 games. He has an OBP of .418, slugging percentage of .582, and an OPS of 1.000. He was voted the International Player of the Week for the week of May 14, 2012. He was selected by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the eighth round (241st overall) of the June 2005 First-Year Player Draft out of the University of South Carolina. He played two seasons at USC leading the team in batting average, home runs and RBIs both years. He hit 42 home runs in his two seasons with USC to become the first player in school history to reach the 40-homerun mark that quickly. We'll keep an eye on him as the season heads into the dog days of summer.
Right handed pitcher Micheal Todd O' Brien began the season in Single-A Tampa going 4-1 with an ERA of 2.92 in 7 games, 6 as a starter. The 22 year old 5' 11' 185 pounder from Roanoke, Virginia threw 37 innings giving up 31 hits and 13 runs, 12 of them earned. He walked 13 batters while striking out 32. He was then moved up to Double-A Trenton where he picked up a win throwing 7 solid innings in his first start giving up 1 run (a homerun) on 3 hits while walking 1 and striking out 3. Selected by the New York Yankees in the ninth round of the 2008 First-Year Player Draft out of Hidden Valley (Va.) HS he was named the 2008 Timesland Player of the Year after going 11-1 with a 0.69 ERA and 142 strikeouts in 81 innings pitched as a senior.
Another pitcher to watch at Triple-A Scranton is 6 foot right-hander D.J. Mitchell from Winston-Salem N.C. In 6 starts he's 3-1 with an ERA of 2.75. In 36 innings he's walked 10 while striking out 33. He's given 12 runs (11 earned) 25 hits three of which were homeruns and opponents are hitting just .195 off him. Selected by the New York Yankees in the 10th round of the 2008 First-Year Player Draft out of Clemson University where he went 6-5 with a 3.47 ERA in 20 appearances (14 starts) while leading all starters in ERA and tying for the team lead in starts. He threw 98.2 innings giving up 97 hits, 49 runs, (38 earned) 40 walks and had 106 strikeouts in 2008. During the 2007 season he made the transition from position player to pitcher. He also played for the Bourne Braves of the Cape Cod League in 2007 where he went 1-2 with a 1.47 ERA in eight starts. In 49 innings he gave 36 hits, 8 earned runs, 23 walks, and led the Cape Cod League in strikeouts with 58.
The Yankees number 1 prospect, left handed pitcher Manny Banuelos has struggled a bit a Triple-A Scranton going 0-2 with an ERA of 4.50. In 6 starts he's pitched 24 innings giving up 29 hits, 12 earned runs, 10 walks while striking out 22. Opponents are hitting a robust .299 off of him. In his starts he's only pitched into the 6th inning one time. I took a closer look at his numbers. It just seems to me that if he's not walking batters he's just getting hit very hard. After pitching two games in early April where he went only 5.1 innings in those two starts, he was sidelined with a back injury for about a month. So let's see if the MLB's number 13 ranked prospect can get back to pitching like he's capable of.
Stay tuned for my first third of the season evaluation and what effect this past off season moves have had on the team so far.