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New York Yankees Save Five Prospects from Rule 5 Draft

November 19th, 2011 at 9:00 AM
By Brit Morgan

  The New York Yankees added five prospects to their 40-man roster prior to the November 18 deadline making them ineligible for the Rule 5 Draft which will take place at the Winter Meetings next month.

Several sources have confirmed that the Yankees moved infielders David Adams and Corban Joseph to the 40-man roster along with outfielder Zoilo Almonte and pitchers David Phelps and D.J. Mitchell.

David Phelps was an easy choice for the Yankees, as he had a superb, but injury-riddled season with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees. Phelps has apparently found his groove in Arizona. Earlier this month, the LoHud Yankees Blog reported that David Phelps has started to heat up in the Arizona Fall League following three sub par starts.

Chad Jennings of the LoHud Yankees Blog believes the Yankees are looking to build Phelps' innings up this fall as they see Phelps as a viable option for their pitching staff next season.  

Phelps pitched to a 3.19 ERA over 18 starts for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees. He also ranked eighth on MLB.com's Top 10 Yankees Prospects list last year.

Phelps could potentially win a spot on the Yankees regular season roster this spring. The free-agent market is short on pitchers this season and don't expect Brian Cashman to sign just any arm, even if the Yankees are desperate for pitchers. Cashman has been playing cool at recent meetings, speaking with a select few pitchers and a myriad of position players, including Albert Pujols.

The Yankees also saved D.J. Mitchell from the Rule 5 Draft. Several sources have reported that Mitchell could see time in New York next season as a long reliever or a quick-fix starter. Mitchell went 13-9 for the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees last season and pitched to a 3.18 ERA.

The Yankees also placed David Adams on the 40-man roster. Adams, split time between the Gulf Coast Yankees and Class A Tampa this season hitting for a .370 average. The Yankees may not see Adams as a possible option for their 2012 team, but he could have a high trade value once he has a few more healthy seasons under his belt.

Corban Joseph, who was protected from the Rule 5 Draft, is another guy who will likely not see time in the big leagues with the Yankees this year. Joseph had an average season with Trenton this year as he hit for a .284 average. The Yankees expect Joseph to hit more than the five home runs he hit for Trenton. Joseph could also have a high trade value once his power numbers come around.

The LoHud Yankees Blog also reported that Zoilo Almonte will most likely start next season in Trenton  after he struggled in the second part of the season for Class A Tampa. Almonte blasted 12 home runs in the first half of the season and hit for a .293 average for the first half of the season. The Yankees see potential in Almonte, although it's not likely he'll make his way to New York any time soon.

The Yankees decided against moving ambidextrous pitcher, Pat Venditte
to the 40-man roster, making him eligible for the Rule 5 Draft. Venditte went 3-7 with a 3.40 ERA for Trenton. It seems the initial charm has worn off as the Yankees are starting to figure out Venditte may offer flexibility in lefty-righty match ups, but his pitching ability isn't up to standards just yet.

Tags: albert pujols, arizona fall league, Baseball, Brian Cashman, chad jennings, corban, David Phelps, Gulf Coast Yankees, Injury, lohud yankees blog, MLB, New York, New York Yankees, Pitching, winter meetings

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