While Scottsdale may have been the worst team in the Arizona Fall League with just 13 wins, many of the Yankees prospects that were rostered with the Scorpions had outstanding campaigns in the desert. We will recap all of the position prospects who suited up in the AFL and recap their performance.
Gleyber Torres: While the Cubs were orchestrating a memorable World Series championship run in October, the crown jewel prospect that they dealt to the Yankees for Aroldis Chapman was taking the AFL by storm. At just 19-years old, Gleyber Torres is considered the front-runner to win the league’s MVP honor. As one of the youngest talents in the league, Torres was selected to play in the Fall Stars game and was named the AFL player of the week on two occasions. The shortstop concluded his whirlwind 2016 campaign by hitting an AFL best .403 in 18 games for the Scorpions. His star-studded performance against this premiere showcase of prospects should pave the way for Torres to get his first taste of the minor leagues upper levels when he opens the season with Trenton in April.
Torres final AFL stats: 18 G, 62 AB, 15 R, 25 H, 4 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 11 RBI, 14 BB, 8 K, 4 SB, 2 CS, .403 AVG, .513 OBP, .645 SLG
Miguel Andujar: Third baseman Miguel Andujar had one of the best seasons in the entire Yankees system in 2016. Between High-A Tampa and Double-A Trenton, the 21-year old Andujar combined to hit .273 with 12 home runs, 83 RBIs and a .332 on-base percentage. The 21-year old third baseman joined Torres in the Fall Stars game and hit .284 in 19 games for Scottsdale while showcasing a plus-arm at the hot corner. With declining veteran Chase Headley slated in the big leagues and a lack of positional depth throughout the system, Andujar appears poised to make his Triple-A debut this spring and could certainly see major league action in 2017 should a need arise.
Andujar final AFL stats: 19 G, 67 AB, 10 R, 19 H, 2 2B, 2 3B, 0 HR, 5 RBI, 9 BB, 11 K, 0 SB, 1 CS, .284 AVG, .364 OBP, .373 SLG
Greg Bird: Young prospects like Torres and Andujar often come to the AFL for seasoning and experience against comparable talent. After undergoing right shoulder surgery to repair a torn labrum in February, first baseman Greg Bird was forced out of action for all of the 2016 regular season. After winning the league’s MVP award in 2014, Bird returned to the AFL for his first live action in over a year in what amounts to be an extended rehab assignment of sorts. It is very likely that Bird will be the Yankees everyday first baseman in 2017 so the organization was more interested in gauging the health of his surgically repaired shoulder than they were in his actual results. Bird concluded a healthy AFL campaign by hitting just .217 in 17 games for Scottsdale.
Bird final AFL stats: 17 G, 65 AB, 9 R, 14 H, 4 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 10 RBI, 12 BB, 17 K, 1 SB, 0 CS, .215 AVG, .346 OBP, .354 SLG
Tyler Wade: Tyler Wade had a solid season in his first full year in Double-A. The 22-year old served as the catalyst at the top of Manager Bobby Mitchell’s lineup and slashed .259/.352/.349 while stealing 27 bases and scoring 90 runs in the leadoff spot. The fortification of Didi Gregorius as a big leaguer and Torres and Jorge Mateo knocking on the door, Wade often gets lost in the conversation. The Yankees asked Wade to get some work in the outfield during this AFL campaign so that he could increase his versatility around the diamond. While Wade appeared in 18 games for Scottsdale, he received only 54 at-bats in the campaign and was never seemed to establish a rhythm; he hit .241 with just one extra base hit and four RBI in his time with Scottsdale. Wade made the most of his time on base, he scored 17 times and stole 10 bases and was caught on just one attempt. While Torres is slated to open the season in Trenton, Wade will likely open the season as the everyday shortstop in Scranton.
Wade final AFL stats: 18 G, 54 AB, 17 R, 13 H, 0 2B, 1 3B, 0 HR, 4 RBI, 13 BB, 11 K, 10 SB, 1 CS, .241 AVG, .391 OBP, .278 SLG