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Luis Sojo with Canaan Smith in the Gulf Coast League (Bryan Green)

Gulf Coast League Yankees Year-In-Review

It was a successful season in the Gulf Coast League for the Yankees.  Not only did the GCL Yankees East defeat the GCL Nationals to take the league championship but the GCL Yankees West played to a 32-27 record.

Let’s first take a look at the Gulf Coast League-champion GCL Yankees East team.  The GCL Yankees East ended the 2017 season with a 33-27 record (.550 winning percentage) and a game and a half above the GCL Braves in the Northeast division.  They entered the playoffs with the worst winning percentage out of any of the division leaders.

At the plate, they were led by outfielder Canaan Smith who hit .289/.430/.422 over 57 games in the Rookie-level league.  The 2017 fourth-round draft pick was impressive until the end, hitting .323 over his last 10 games, including when he hit .444 in three games in the postseason.

On the mound, the Yankees had solid seasons from starters Luis Rijo, Tony Hernandez and Wellington Diaz.  Rijo had a 3.50 ERA over 54 innings in 11 games, striking out 55 batters.  Hernandez struck out 45 batters in 52 1/3 innings and had a 3.44 ERA over 11 games.  Diaz had a 3.43 ERA over 10 games throwing 44 2/3 innings.

Matt Sauer made his professional debut in the Gulf Coast League, the Yankees second-round draft pick started six games, throwing just 11 2/3 innings and struck out 12 batters while walking eight.

Former infielder Yancarlos Baez returned to the Gulf Coast League in 2017, but this time as a pitcher.  In his first chance on the mound, he struck out 16 batters and walked seven over 25 2/3 innings in 8 games, five starts, with a 3.51 ERA.  He ended his season on September 4 with an arm injury.

The GCL Yankees West were led by Jordan Scott at the plate, who was second in the entire league with seven home runs.  The 2016 14th round draft pick hit .260/.398/.519 over 32 games in the league.  Shortstop Oswald Peraza hit .266/.363/.332 over 48 games with the GCL Yankees West, leading the team in batting average for the season.

On the mound, 20-year old Nelvin Correa was impressive.  Over 10 games, three starts, he struck out 32 batters in 42 innings allowing earning a 2.14 ERA and five wins which lead the team.

While the GCL Yankees West had the better record, they were third in their division, 4.5 games behind the GCL Phillies.

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