Yankees announce Minor League signings, spring invitations

We’re getting close now. The Yankees have officially announced a few Minor League contracts with invitations to Spring Training, as well as a few hot prospects who will get a look in camp. Here’s the official news release: 

YANKEES SIGN SIX PLAYERS TO MINOR LEAGUE CONTRACTS WITH INVITATIONS TO MAJOR LEAGUE SPRING TRAINING; INVITE A TOTAL OF 26 ADDITIONAL PLAYERS TO 2015 SPRING TRAINING

The New York Yankees today announced that they have signed six players to minor league contracts with an invitation to Major League Spring Training: RHP Scott Baker, INF Cole Figueroa, INF Jonathan Galvez, C Juan Graterol, INF Nick Noonan, and C Eddy Rodriguez.  The club has also invited 20 additional players to 2015 spring training, bringing the total number of invitees to 26 (11 pitchers, five catchers, seven infielders and three outfielders).  The number of players now scheduled to report is 66.

Baker, 33, owns a 66-52 record with a 4.25 ERA (1,053.2IP, 497ER) in 191 games (170 starts) in nine seasons at the Major League level with Minnesota (2005-11), Chicago-NL (2013) and Texas (2014).  He spent the majority of the 2014 season with Texas, going 3-4 with a 5.47 ERA (80.2IP, 49ER) and 55K in 25 games (eight starts).  He also spent time with Triple-A Round Rock, going 4-1 with a 3.32 ERA (38.0IP, 14ER) in six starts. Baker was born in Shreveport, La., and was drafted by the Twins in the second round of the 2003 First-Year Player Draft out of Oklahoma State University.

Figueroa, 27, made his Major League debut with Tampa Bay in 2014, batting .233 (10-for-43) with 6RBI in 23 games.  He also played in 71 games with Triple-A Durham, where he hit .282 (74-for-262) with 3HR and 33RBI.  In 674 career minor league games, he has batted .290 (707-for-2,439) with 26HR and 325RBI. The left-handed batter was born in Tallahassee, Fla., and was selected by the Padres in the sixth round of the 2008 First-Year Player Draft out of the University of Florida.

Noonan, 25, appeared in 62 career Major League games with San Francisco (all in 2013), batting .219 (23-for-105) with 12R, 2 doubles and 5RBI.  In 793 games over eight minor league seasons, he has hit .262 (787-for-3,008) with 149 doubles, 40HR and 351RBI.  In 2014, he appeared with Single-A San Jose and Triple-A Fresno, combining to bat .234 (93-for-398) with 4HR and 26RBI in 108 games.  Born in Poway, Calif., Noonan was originally selected by the Giants in Compensation Round A of the 2007 First-Year Player Draft (32nd overall).

RHP Andrew Bailey was signed by the Yankees to a minor league contract on March 7, 2014, but spent the season recovering from right shoulder surgery, which was performed on July 24, 2013.  In 206 career Major League relief appearances with Oakland (2009-11) and Boston (2012-13), he has gone 11-12 with 89 saves, a 2.64 ERA (218.0IP, 64ER) and 227K.  Bailey was born in Voorhees, N.J. and graduated from Wagner College (N.Y.).  He was selected by the Athletics in the sixth round of the 2006 First-Year Player Draft.

RHP Luis Severino earned an invitation after combining to go 6-5 with a 2.46 ERA (113.1IP, 31ER) and 127K in 24 starts with Single-A Charleston, Single-A Tampa and Double-A Trenton in 2014.  Following the season, during which he led all Yankees minor league pitchers in strikeouts, he was named the Yankees’ top prospect by Baseball America.  In 48 career minor league appearances (46 starts), he has gone 14-9 with a 2.23 ERA (221.2IP, 55ER) and 225K.  A native of Sabana de la Mar, D.R., Severino was originally signed by the Yankees as a minor league free agent on July 20, 2012.

Of the Yankees’ 26 non-roster invitees, 14 were originally drafted by the Yankees, including the Yankees second round pick in 2014, LHP Jacob Lindgren.  Lindgren made his professional debut after being drafted, combining to go 2-1 with one save, a 2.16 ERA (25.0IP, 6ER) and 48K in 19 relief appearances with the GCL Yankees, Single-A Charleston, Single-A Tampa and Double-A Trenton.  Following the season, he was tabbed by Baseball America as the Yankees’ eighth-best prospect.  A native of Mississippi, Lindgren played three seasons for Mississippi State, going 12-6 with a 2.64 ERA (139.2IP, 41ER) and 189K.

Also invited are four players who were selected by the Yankees in the 2013 First-Year Player Draft: OF Aaron Judge (first round, 32nd overall), RHP Nick Rumbelow (seventh), LHP Tyler Webb (10th) and C Trent Garrison (28th).  In 2014, Judge made his professional debut, combining at Single-A Charleston and Single-A Tampa to hit .308 (144-for-467) with 24 doubles, 17HR and 78RBI in 131 games, leading all Yankees minor leaguers in RBI, while ranking fifth in home runs and sixth in batting average.  Following the season, he was ranked by Baseball America as the second-best prospect in the Yankees organization.

The Yankees remaining draft picks attending spring training as non-roster invitees are selections from 2012: INF Rob Refsnyder (fifth round), RHP Nick Goody (sixth), LHP James Pazos (13th); 2011: INF Greg Bird (fifth round) and OF Jake Cave (sixth) and 2010: INF Cito Culver (first round, 32nd overall) and INF Kyle Roller (eighth).  Rounding out the Yankees draft picks in attendance are OF Slade Heathcott (first round, 29th overall in 2009) and C Kyle Higashioka (seventh round in 2008).  Bird, a native of Cordova, Tenn., combined at Single-A Tampa and Double-A Trenton to bat .271 (100-for-369) with 14HR and 43RBI in 102 games.  Following the season, he played for Scottsdale in the Arizona Fall League and hit .313 (31-for-99) with 21R, 6HR and 21RBI in 26 games en route to being named the 2014 Joe Black MVP after ranking among league leaders in runs (first), home runs (tied for first), RBI (second) and batting average (sixth). The left-handed batter enters the 2015 season tabbed by Baseball America as the fourth-best prospect in the Yankees organization. Refsnyder, who was born in Seoul, South Korea, combined with Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to bat .318 (164-for-515) with 82R, 14HR and 63RBI in 137 games in 2014, ranking third among Yankees minor leaguers in batting average.  He attended the University of Arizona and finished the season ranked as the Yankees’ seventh-best prospect by Baseball America.

Rounding out the Yankees’ invitees are C Francisco Arcia, RHP Vicente Campos, RHP Diego Moreno and RHP Wilking Rodriguez.

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