The GCL Yankees 1 swept a double header against the GCL Blue Jays in Dunedin and the GCL Yankees 2 outlasted the Astros in ten innings, but the news was not all good today.
Frank Frias walked to lead off the bottom of the second for the Yankees 2 in a game they would eventually win 7-6. One out later his career was in jeopardy. According to hitting coach Drew Henson’s Twitter feed, Frias dislocated his ankle and fractured his fibula on a play that had him forced at second base. This seems to be the result of a slide gone horribly wrong, reminiscent of Ravel Santana in 2011. Santana was a big-time prospect with all kinds of physical tools, but he was never the same after his injury. Frias’ unfortunate injury sounds like the kind that makes a player different, whether he heals enough to play or not. Regardless, he has a long recovery and rehabilitation ahead of him, and hopefully all goes well.
As for the game, the Yankees 2 scored seven runs from the seventh inning on, highlighted by a five-run seventh. That inning included back-to-back homers from RJ Johnson and Jose Augusto Figueroa which produced four of those runs. The healthy Yankees offense put up fourteen hits, getting two apiece from Johnson, Figueroa, first baseman Jake Hernandez, catcher Kevin Alexander, and shortstop Graham Ramos. Not contributing to the hit parade, but a pleasant sight in the box score nonetheless, was Scranton outfielder Ramon Flores. He hadn’t played since June 1 because of an injury, but he is clearly on his way back and is a potential September call-up for the Major League team if he’s healthy.
Seven Yankees 2 pitchers struck out ten and allowed six hits over ten innings, with the win going to usual closer Mike Noteware. The game was started by a rehabbing Preston Claiborne, and he was relieved by fellow rehabber Caleb Cotham, who struck out three of the four batters he faced.
It took extra innings for the GCL Yankees 1 to get by the Blue Jays 8-6 in Game One. The offense got big days from Billy Fleming, Alexander Palma, and Dominic Jose, who combined to go 7 for 12 with six RBI and four runs scored. Reynaldo Polanco allowed two inherited runners to score in the fifth inning, but he gave up nothing else in three innings of work to get the win in relief.
In Game Two, the Yankees 1 score four times in the first two innings and hung on to win 4-2 in seven innings. The offense got two hits each from Fleming and shortstop Tyler Palmer and one apiece from Palma, Jose, and catcher Brian Reyes.
Jose, an outfielder drafted from Stanford in the 24th round this year and the son of former Major Leaguer Felix Jose, finished the day 4 for 8 with five RBI. He is having a great professional debut, now hitting .348/.412/.543, and is perhaps positioning himself to finish the summer in Staten Island.
Fleming wasn’t drafted at all, but he signed with the Yankees after his junior year at West Virginia. The Yankees scout the Cape Cod League heavily, and Fleming actually played in that league this summer and made the all-star team. He has played second, third, and short for the Yankees, and his bat has been interesting. Fleming, 21, was a highly productive hitter throughout his college career, and following today’s double header he is now hitting .403/.486/.532 in the GCL after 62 at-bats. He is an interesting guy to watch.
Derek Callahan and Travis Hissong combined to allow only four hits in seven innings of work, and they earned their first win and save respectively.