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Trenton Thunder’s Cale Coshow works against the New Hampshire Fisher Cats on July 23, 2017. (Martin Griff)


Stars, Heels and Stripes: Connect Four

How have four top players in the Yankees organization fared between 2016 and 2017? Let’s connect the stats and see where they’re improving, and still have room to grow.

Cale Coshow – PITCHER Cale Coshow spent 2016 in Trenton, with the Double-A Thunder and he’s repeating that level this season.

Appearances: 36 in 2016/31 so far in 2017

Hits: 84 in 2016/53 in 2017

Walks: 50 in 2016/12 in 2017

Strikeouts:  70 in 2016/51 in 2017

REVIEW: In April, through 9 relief appearances, Coshow walked just 4. He followed that up by walking only 2 in April, also in 9 appearances. He’s kept the pace going in June and July with just six walks spread out over 13 outings. He’s averaging an inning of work, but for a guy who was originally a starter, he’s able to put in a few extra innings here and there, including a 3-inning appearance in mid-July. He allowed just two hits and no runs.

The big righty has been a work in progress through the years, starting back in Short Season-A ball, when he went into the 2014 season with the intention of slimming down. He would, losing around 30 pounds, which he acknowledged helped him to not only feel healthier but improved his pitching ability overall. He’s striking out 11 per 9 innings pitched this season, after averaging seven strikeouts per 9 in 2016.

Coshow’s continuing to prove he’s an asset out of the bullpen, with the stamina to contribute beyond an inning and to keep the free passes to a minimum. He’s giving the teams he’s with a chance to win every time he gets the ball.

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Trenton Thunder’s Thairo Estrada gets a hit in the first inning of the Eastern League All Star Classic in Manchester, NH on Wednesday, July 12, 2017. (Martin Griff)

Thairo Estrada – Estrada’s 2016 campaign with High-A Tampa was solid overall, and he ended the season on a high note. Double-A has not been a huge adjustment for him.

Games:  118 in 2016/89 in 2017

Hits: 132 in 2016/112 in 2017

RBI: 49 in 2016/32 in 2017

BA/OBP/SLG: .290/.346/.391 in 2016/.309/.363//.401 in 2017

REVIEW: He made his professional debut at just 17 in the Gulf Coast League, and has impressed at every level he’s played. While small in stature, he’s been a productive part of each team he’s been assigned to, including the Thunder this season. A versatile infielder, he saw time around the infield at second and third base, as well as shortstop in Tampa. This season, he’s getting important playing time at short.

Estrada’s made the crucial jump to Double-A, positioning himself in the brighter lights to prove he deserves more notice from the Yankees. He’s a high-contact hitter who can give the Yankees more depth off the bench in the (near?) future.

 Caleb Frare works in relief against the Hartford Yard Goats in Trenton on Wednesday, June 07, 2017. (Martin Griff)

Caleb Frare – Reliever Frare has gotten some Double-A playing time this season, but he continues to develop in Tampa, where he’s struggled off and on. In 2016, he showed an ability to bounce back from Tommy John surgery (2012) and a car accident (2014)

Appearances: 32 in 2016/29 in 2017

Earned runs: 5 in 2016/22 in 2017

Walks: 23 in 2016/40 in 2017

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Strikeouts: 52 in 2016/53 in 2017

REVIEW: Frare has been through a lot of grueling recoveries over the past five years, and 2016 was a watershed moment. He gave his team a chance with every opportunity, by guys off base and making few mistakes. This year, the walks are up, but the strikeouts remain high, and he’ll finish the season strong in that department.

His fastball and slider have been solid pitches for him. This season, he has a few particular difficulties according to Pinstriped Prospects reporter Antonio Mendes: “He seems to be in a mechanical slump. You saw how great he was last year and then he had success with Trenton shortly after his promotion. He’s lost movement and control, and now that he’s getting hit it seems like he’s trying to get batters to go outside, resulting in the walks.”

Last season Frare was dominating in some ways, including increased velocity, but also had strong command of all his pitches, especially his secondary stuff. But a big part of last season’s success for Frare was working with pitching coach Tim Norton, who helped him realize velocity didn’t need to be the focus. He increased his confidence in his slider and in his overall ability to get guys out without overpowering them. Being back with Norton could be exactly what Frare needs.

Trey Amburgey has spent all of the 2017 season with the Tampa Yankees. (Mark LoMoglio)

Trey Amburgey – Leftfielder Amburgey, 22, did some level jumping in 2016, including to Tampa where he’s spent all of the 2017 season.

Games:  68 games in 2016/89 in 2017

Hits: 74 in 2016/78 in 2017

HR: 2 in 2016/12 in 2017

RBI: 32 in 2016/46 in 2017

REVIEW: The 22-year old showed self-discipline and dedication to establishing a routine in 2016, after recovering from a hamstring injury. He impressed the Tampa coaching staff with his tireless efforts, which resulted in hitting the ball to all fields and driving in runs.

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This year has seen him extend that success, but he’s also still working out some kinks to be a complete player. Discipline is again the key factor.

“He’s getting under a majority of the pitches he sees. I think his stance will need some adjustments,” Mendes said. “He has the strength to hit 15-25 home runs a year and his defense is solid. He just needs better plate discipline. If they make some tweaks to his swing and timing, he could learn to open up and hit the ball, either way, a lot more.”

Amburgey is still really young, and a repeat in High-A was the right call. What he was able to do in 2016, he needs to be able to replicate and develop further to advance to the next level, where he’ll be challenged by pitchers with a better plan. If Amburgey can finish the season strong in terms of his power and approach, leading to better production, look for him to start 2018 in Trenton.


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