On-Base Perception

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Yankees prospects gain seasoning in winter ball

Vidal Nuno delivers a pitch in the first

Vidal Nuno delivers a pitch in the first inning of a game against the Mets at Yankee Stadium. (May 30, 2013) (Credit: Jim McIsaac)

Just because the major league season is over doesn’t mean baseball is done. Several of the Yankees’ top prospects are honing their skills in winter ball, both in the United States and abroad. Here are some of the more notable performers and performances:

Vidal Nuno

The 26-year-old lefthander appeared in five games, starting three, for the Yankees in 2013. His calling card is excellent control. Nuno walked six in 20 MLB innings and issued two walks in 25 minor league innings in 2013. He owns a career 1.7 walks per nine innings rate in 428 minor league innings.

Nuno has carried that trademark accuracy into the Arizona Fall League. He’s pitched 19.2 innings (five games, four starts), walking three and striking out 18. He has a 3.20 ERA and 1.17 WHIP.

Tyler Austin

At the outset of 2013, Austin, 22, appeared to be one of the Yankees’ more promising prospects. And while he didn’t totally sink during his first extended taste of Double-A baseball, hitting .257 with a .344 on-base percentage and six home runs in 83 games, he didn’t exactly star either.

Austin has only had 12 at-bats in the Arizona Fall League, but has four hits, including a triple, and has walked twice. He’s struck out just once.

Gary Sanchez

The power-hitting catcher , who turns 21 in December, hit 15 home runs in 2013 at Class-A advanced and Double-A. It was his third consecutive season with a double-digit home run total. Still, his .253 average, .324 OBP and .412 slugging percentage weren’t anything to write home about.

Playing in the Dominican Winter League for Toros del Este, Sanchez has struggled. In 23 at-bats, he’s batting just .130. He has only three hits – none for extra bases – and hasn’t drawn a walk. He’s struck out seven times.

Zoilo Almonte

The 24-year-old corner outfielder received 113 major league plate appearances in 2013, batting .236 with a home run.

The switch-hitter has been playing in the Dominican Winter League for Aguilas Cibaenas. Almonte is hitting .305 with a .352 OBP and two home runs in 82 at-bats.

Mason Williams

Much like Austin, the 22-year-old Williams came into the 2013 season a highly-touted outfielder that ultimately failed to impress. In 117 games split between Class-A advanced and Double-A, Williams hit .245 with a .304 OBP and four home runs. He particularly struggled after his promotion to Double-A.

He’s performed only marginally better in the Arizona Fall League, hitting .267 with a .330 OBP and no home runs in 86 at-bats.

Tags: Tyler Austin , Vidal Nuno , Mason Williams , Zoilo Almonte , Gary Sanchez

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