While the New York Yankees are off to a lousy 8-12 start to the 2016 season, things are looking better for each of their minor league affiliates.
Note: Team records and statistics are as of April 28.
Class A - South Atlantic League - Charleston RiverDogs
Record: 15-5, 1st place, Southern Division
The RiverDogs have been getting done with pitching so far this season, as just two of their regulars are hitting above .260: Thairo Estrada (.324) and Trey Amburguy (.281). The collective team OPS sits at .666.
On the rubber, right-hander Domingo Acevado has a 2-0 record in five starts. Acevado owns a 1.91 ERA, 0.81 WHIP and 32 strikeouts in 28 1/3 innings pitched. Left-hander Josh Rodgers is 2-1 with a 1.59 ERA, 0.71 WHIP and 25 strikeouts in 22 2/3 innings. The entire pitching staff sports a 3.20 ERA and has struck out a league-leading 216 batters in 183 innings.
Advanced A - Florida State League - Tampa Yankees
Record: 14-7, 2nd place, 1.0 GB, North Division
Unfortunately, the top news out of Tampa was injury related. Right-hander James Kaprielian was shut down this week after experiencing discomfort in his throwing elbow. An MRI confirmed inflammation, but no tear in the ulnar collateral ligament. Kaprielian had gotten off to a great start, striking out 22 batters in 18 innings with a 1.50 ERA.
There is no timetable for Kaprielian's return, but the Yankees noted he would be taken along slowly. Any notion that Kaprielian would make an appearance in the big leagues this season has been severely damaged at this point.
Tampa outfielder Mark Payton was named the FSL player of the week for games played April 19-25. Payton went 7 for 18 with two home runs and a double, while driving in nine runs. Payton was a seventh-round pick in the 2014 draft.
Shortstop Jorge Mateo, the Yankees' top prospect, according to MLBPipeline.com, is raking. Mateo is among six Tampa regulars with an OPS at or above .900. Mateo has two home runs, 14 RBIs and seven steals on the young season. Mateo stole 82 bases across two levels in 2015, but he is beginning to show some power to go along with the blazing speed.
Double-A - Eastern League - Trenton Thunder
Record: 12-8, 3rd place, Eastern Division
The celebrated news out of Trenton was the combined no-hitter tossed by Ronald Herrera and Jonathan Holder. Herrera, a 20-year-old righty, struck out five batters in eight innings, and Holder finished the no-no off with a two-strikeout inning. Herrera came to the Yankees in the trade that sent infielder Jose Pirela to San Diego. Herrera is 3-0 with a 1.29 ERA this season.
The offense is struggling in Trenton as well, where the team is hitting a collective .237, and the Thunder have scored just 76 runs in their 20 games. One bright spot on offense is Jake Cave, who was left unprotected during the Rule 5 Draft, was taken by the Reds and then returned as spring training ended. Cave is slashing .292/.373/.462 with four doubles, two triples and a home run, and leads the Thunder with 13 RBIs.
On the mound, left-hander Dietrich Enns has turned heads in his four starts with the Thunder. Enns, drafted in the 19th round in 2012, is 3-0 and has yet to allow a run in 23 2/3 innings. Enns, 24, has struck out 25 batters, and if there is an issue, it is the number of walks (13) he has issued. He owns a cumulative 1.74 ERA in 233 minor league innings.
On the down side, Brady Lail, who showed promise in 2015, has suffered a rough start to the season. Lail, a 22-year-old righty, is 0-2 with a 5.23 ERA and 1.55 WHIP. He has walked the same number of batters (10) as he has struck out.
Triple-A - International League - Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders
Record: 10-10, 3rd place, North Division
Since coming to the RailRiders from the Atlanta Braves, former Yankee 1B/OF Nick Swisher has swung a hot bat. Swisher, who has primarily played first base for the RailRiders, has a triple-slash line of .357/.391/.595 with three home runs and six RBIs in 45 plate appearances.
Some of the club's top prospects have gotten off to slow starts on offense. Infielder Rob Refsnyder has a .496 OPS and outfielder Aaron Judge (.696 OPS, 25 strikeouts and four walks) has cooled off since a promising start.
Outfielder Ben Gamel (.314/.383/.371, 11 R, six SB) and catcher Gary Sanchez (.769 OPS, seven 2B, two HR, 10 RBIs) have carried much of the offensive load so far this season.
On the hill, RailRiders pitchers own a 3.20 ERA and a 9.0 K/9 ratio. Right-hander Chad Green has a 0-3 record despite a 1.44 ERA and 25 strikeouts in 25 innings. Green, 24, arrived to the Yankees system along with Luis Cessa via the Justin Wilson trade this past offseason.