Seven Yankees headed to the Arizona Fall League
Headed west this fall to be part of the 2014 Scottsdale Scorpions are: RHPs Caleb Cotham, Branden Pinder, and Alex Smith, outfielders Tyler Austin and Aaron Judge, first baseman Greg Bird, and third baseman Eric Jagielo.
In addition to the seven players, Tampa Yankees hitting coach P.J. Pilittere will also be there, serving the same role on the Scorpions staff.
Cotham, 25, was a fifth-round pick of the Yankees in 2009 out of Vanderbilt. He split the first two months of 2014 between Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, going 0-4 with a 5.77 ERA in 10 starts before landing on the disabled list. He missed more than two months before returning in early August and has since made six appearances between Class-A Advanced Tampa and the Yankees' two Gulf Coast League teams, not allowing an earned run in 8 1/3 innings.
Pinder, 25, was a sixteenth-round pick in 2011 and, like Cotham, has split the season between Double-A and Triple-A while also spending time on the DL. Pinder was 2-0 with a 0.56 ERA and four saves in 12 relief appearances earlier this year in Trenton, and is 1-0 with a 3.78 ERA and one save in 13 outings for the SWB RailRiders.
Smith, 24, is a Connecticut native who was signed as an undrafted free agent in February 2012. He has spent the entire season in the Tampa Yankees bullpen, going 5-5 with a 2.40 ERA and seven saves in 44 appearances.
Austin, 22, played in the AFL briefly last year, but left after just four games because of a recurrence of the wrist injury that cost him much of the 2013 regular season. So far this year at Double-A, the 2010 13th-round pick has hit .275 with nine home runs, 47 RBI, and 20 doubles in 105 games.
Judge, 22, was the middle selection of the Yankees' three first-rounders in 2013 (No. 32 overall) and has split 2014 between Class-A Charleston and Tampa, hitting .309 overall with 17 homers, 78 RBI, 24 doubles, and a .910 OPS.
Bird, 21, was the Yankees' fifth-rounder in 2011 and won the Kevin Lawn Award this spring as the Yankees' outstanding minor-league position player in 2013. He missed the first month of the season with a back injury but has since split the year between Tampa and Trenton, hitting .272 with 14 homers, 42 RBI, 28 doubles, and an .853 OPS.
Jagielo, 22, was the Yankees' top overall pick in 2013 (No. 26 overall) and has spent most of this season in Tampa, hitting .246 with 17 homers and 54 RBI in 80 games. He missed about six weeks in May and June because of a ribcage injury, and played seven rehab games in the GCL before rejoining the T-Yanks.
Pilittere and the seven Yankees prospects will join players from the Mets, Phillies, Pirates and Giants organization on the 2014 Scorpions and will be managed by current Pirates bench coach Jeff Bannister.
The 32-game Arizona Fall League schedule begins October 7 and concludes with a championship game on November 15.