Today, the Yankees announced six players being added to the 40-man roster in order to avoid exposure to the Rule V draft that takes place on the final day of the Winter Meetings. Unfamiliar with the Rule V draft? Read up on the eligibility rules here. Not too long after we received the news regarding the 40-man roster, the Yankees announced the return of Hiroki Kuroda on a one year, $15 million deal with an additional $1 million of incentives. Make no mistake, bringing Kuroda back was pivotal. More on that tomorrow.
The six players include LHP Manny Banuelos, OF Ramon Flores, RHP Brett Marshall, RHP Jose Ramirez, LHP Francisco Rondon, and LHP Nik Turley.
They also claimed RHP Mickey Storey (today), LHP Josh Spence, and C Eli Whiteside this offseason which are three new additions. As it currently stands, the 40-man roster is full.
Obviously there are still holes to fill on the Opening Day roster, but adding players the the 60-day DL (Banuelos, Pineda) will free up space. If need be, they can probably spare Francisco Cervelli after claiming Whiteside. Remember, the current count obviously does not include Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera; both who have a good chance at returning. Russell Martin and Ichiro could be back as well. There would have to be at least one more guy on the chopping block after the three I just mentioned.
Now, about the new guys from within the organization: you already know about Banuelos and Marshall from our article on the top 10 Yankees prospects linked above, so let’s get a little more familiar with the other guys added from the organization.
Flores is an undersized (5-10, 150) but speedy outfielder that has flown under the radar. The left handed outfielder started his career in rookie ball in 2009, and reached AA this season (albeit for one game). Flores will be 21 in March, and had his best season of his minor league career in 2012. In high A Tampa, he posted a 126 wRC+, stole 24 bases, and posted a .302/.370/.420 slash line. He also cut down on strike outs from 2011 to 2012 (17.4% to 14.6%).
Here’s a brief scouting report on Jose Ramirez, a starter who’ll turn 23 in January. He broke out in 2010 in Charleston, but struggled in 2011 only to pitch well again this season in high A Tampa. In 98.2 innings, Ramirez posted a K/9 just below 9, while walking less than 3 per 9, resulting in a 3.19 ERA and 3.28 FIP. He may seem old for his level, but given his power fastball, it made sense to protect him from a team considering converting him to a reliever now rather than later.
Francisco Rondon, a lefty reliever, was an interesting and perhaps somewhat peculiar addition to the 40 man. He pitched primarily in AA last year, appearing once in AAA. He’s posted some sick K/9s throughout his minor league career, but control has been skeptical. He turns 25 next April, so the clock is ticking on him a little bit. With lefties already on the 40-man like Boone Logan, Clay Rapada, Josh Spence, and Cesar Cabral. I’m not exactly sure if I follow this decision.
Southpaw Nik Turley was selected all the way back in the 50th round of 2008 out of high school, but has done pretty well. He doesn’t have exceptional stuff, but he pitched exceedingly well in Tampa this year. In 112 innings, he posted a 2.89 ERA and 3.36 FIP, buffered by a 9.32 K/9 and 3.54 BB/9. The FSL is a pitcher’s league, but considering how well he pitched in the SAL in 2011 (a notorious hitters league) was impressive. He had a 2.51 ERA and 3.53 FIP with Charleston in 82.1 innings that season. Turley just turned 23 in September. Expect him to start in AA Trenton in 2013, where he made one start at the end of 2012. Photo by By Cbl62 [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons Statistics courtesy of Fangraphs.com