The GCL Yankees 1 struggled against the GCL Pirates on Friday, and that continued in Game One of a double header on Saturday. They fell 8-1 and could only manage two hits, a single by right fielder Alexander Palma and a double by first baseman Dalton Smith, in seven innings.
Power-armed Simon De la Rosa started for the Yankees and got hit around a bit. He gave up seven hits and five earned runs in four innings, but did strike out six Pirates. The 21-year old De la Rosa has the ability to be counted among the Yankees best pitching prospects, in spite of his rough day, and he has struck out almost 11 batters per 9 innings pitched.
The GCL Yankees 1 were able to turn it around in Game Two with a productive fifth inning, winning 6-2. In the six-run fifth, the Yankees loaded the bases with no one out on a single by left fielder Griffin Gordon, a double by catcher Brian Reyes, and walk to second baseman Derek Toadvine. An RBI single by shortstop Tyler Palmer was followed by run-scoring plunkings of third baseman Billy Fleming and center fielder Leonardo Molina. Alexander Palma then singled to knock in a run, and the scoring concluded when designated hitter Drew Bridges and Dalton Smith followed with sacrifice flies.
Yankee pitching fared better in Game Two as well, highlighted by right-handed starter Manolo Reyes. He did not allow an earned run in four innings and struck out five. Although he is in his first season stateside, Reyes is 24. He signed with the Braves in 2009, but Major League Baseball voided his contract and kept him in limbo until last year. Reyes’ identity was not called into question, but there was a discrepancy in his paperwork regarding his place of birth. Reyes struggles with his control, evidenced by his 17 walks in 27 innings this year, but he can also reach the upper 90’s with his fastball, which shows in his 29 strikeouts.
At 27-16, the GCL Yankees 1 lead their division by 1.5 games. Remarkably, the GCL Yankees 2 hold the same lead over their division with a record of 26-18, but today was not a good day for them. They were dropped by the GCL Tigers 10-2 in Lakeland.
The Yankees did manage nine hits against Tiger pitching, including two by second baseman Jake Anderson, who started the summer in Staten Island, and three by Jose Augusto Figueroa, who also walked and stole his eleventh base. The 21-year old Mexican Figueroa is repeating the GCL this year, but his numbers are up across the board and he received favorable reviews for his performance in the Dominican Summer League two years ago.
The loss went to lefty Carlos Diaz, who once again had trouble throwing strikes. Diaz has now walked 33 in 31.2 innings after his five walks today. His 34 strikeouts support the touting Diaz got coming out of the DSL, but he is obviously ironing out his control in the GCL. Righty reliever Able Mora, who had only given up two earned runs in 16.1 innings this year, got roughed up for four earned runs without recording an out.