Welcome to Dante’s inferno…

Preston Claiborne, 23, RHP, A+
6 IP, 9 K, 0 BB, 1 H, 0 HR, 0 ER
Notable: Over 2 relief appearances

NoMaas Ranking – None

Previous 2011 MLPW Wins: None

Drafted in the 17th round of the 2010 draft, Preston Claiborne put up a fantastic stat line over the week and left us no choice but to award the MLPW to a reliever for the first time in 2011.

After being drafted, the Tulane graduate (teammate of Rob Segedin) kicked off his Yankee career at Staten Island and received a late season two-level promotion (skipping over Charleston) to Tampa.

For the current season, Claiborne has a 3.32 ERA, 8.5 K/9, 2.9 BB/9, and a 2.95 K/BB over 62.2 IP. He’s been generous with the long-ball, allowing 8, but has generally kept the ball on the ground with a Groundout/Airout of 1.20. Looking back at his senior year in Tulane, he let up 6 HRs in 46 innings, so maybe he’s someone who offers them up. There isn’t enough data or context for us to tell with any certainty though.

His 62.2 IP is exactly double of what he threw last year for the organization, but as mentioned previously, he pitched 46 innings for Tulane in his senior year and then tacked on 31 more for the Yankees after he was drafted. He’s being utilized as a multiple-inning reliever. He’s 7th on the team in IP, 4th in strikeouts, and 1st in appearances. With the recent promotions of Ryan Flannery and Chase Whitley to Trenton, Claiborne is one of the notable names to watch in the Tampa bullpen.

Dante Bichette Jr., 18, RHB 3B, Rookie
.545/.583/.909 in 24 PAs
Notable: 2 more HRs

NoMaas Ranking – None

Previous 2011 MLPW Win – 14

Back to back MLPW wins for the Yankees’ 2011 top overall draft pick…he is simply crushing the baseball. His season line now stands at .350/.473/.564. He’s throwing pitchers into his inferno (get it?!?!?!).

Among qualified hitters, Bichette ranks 1st in the league in OBP, 3rd in BA, 4th in SLG, 6th in BB% (16%), 7th in BB/K (1.09), and 9th in ISO (.214). He’s tearing it up — but one of his team’s catchers is giving him a run for his money (keep reading).

Honorable Mentions:

Isaias Tejeda, 19, RHB C, Rookie
.352/.421/.823 in 19 PAs

Putting up better season numbers than Bichette: .366/.458/.695 (although in ~35 less PAs). In terms of performance, possibly the best hitter so far in the GCL. Five stolen bases in six attempts too.

Kelvin Castro, 23, RHB SS/2B, A+
.461/.533 OBP/.653 SLG in 30 PAs, 3 SBs

Having an outstanding campaign in Tampa: .321/.371/.485 in 256 PAs, 6/7 SBs

Cito Culver, 18, SHB SS, Short-Season
.292/.370/.541 in 27 PAs

Hit 2 home runs in one game (first two of the season)

Brandon Laird, 23, RHB 3B, AAA
.438/.438/.625 in 16 PAs

His first action since being optioned back after Eric Chavez’s return

Luke Murton, 25, RHB 1B/DH, A+
.458/.500/.666 in 26 PAs

Younger brother of Matt Murton

Wilton Rodriguez, 20, RHP, Short-Season
10 IP, 10 K, 2 BB, 7 H, 2 ER, 0 HR

2008 international free agent out of the DR

Graham Stoneburner, 23, RHP, AA
6 IP, 5 K, 1 BB, 6 H, 1 ER, 0 HR

First start in Trenton since April 21st

Reynaldo Polanco, 18, RHP, Rookie
5 IP, 9 K, 3 BB, 5 H, 2 ER, 1 HR

25:4 K/BB in 23 IP

Pat Venditte, 26, SHP, AA
5 IP, 7 K, 1 BB, 3 H, 1 ER, 0 HR

Splits noticeably better against LHB