Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Yanks Sign Two Out of the Independent Leagues

The Yankees signed two independent leaguers over the past few days. On Sunday they signed left-handed pitchers Edwin Walker. Then yesterday they bought the rights to Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks third baseman Yurendell DeCaster.

DeCaster's contract was purchased from the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks and he will report to the Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes Barre Yankees on Tuesday. Here's a little more on DeCaster (hat tip to Was Watching):

DeCaster, 29, joined the RedHawks this spring and was arguably the top player in the Northern League this season. Entering tonight's play, DeCaster was leading the Northern League in hits (54), doubles (14), home runs (13), RBI (43) and slugging percentage (.682). He was batting .344, good for fifth in the league, and was second in runs scored with 36.

DeCaster was selected to the Great Plains team for the 2009 Northern League All-Star Game earlier today and was the top vote-getter in the league but will not participate in the game.

"For my money, he is one of the best players to ever come through the Northern League, and that is the caliber of player we like to have in RedHawks uniforms" said RedHawks Manager Doug Simunic. "We knew this day was coming and we are glad he can continue his career at the Triple-A level. Hopefully we can see him in Yankee Stadium sometime soon."

DeCaster was part of the surprising Dutch team at this year's WBC. He was the guy who hit the ball that Willy Aybar couldn't handle that sent the Dominican Republic to an early exit. In 23 WBC at-bats DeCaster hit .217/.308/.304 with two doubles and two RBI in 23 at-bats at for the Netherlands.

DeCaster has also played over 1067 minor-legue games in the Rays, Pirates and the Nationals. In his minor league career he's hitting .262/.332/.438. He's primarily been a third baseman, but he can also play first and a the outfield.

Here's some info on Walker from RailcatsBaseball.com (hat-tip to The Voice of Yankees Universe):
Hard-throwing left-hander Edwin Walker has been sold to the New York Yankees where he will report to the Charleston RiverDogs (A) of the South Atlantic League, the team announced today.

Walker, 25, becomes the 19th RailCats player – and ninth pitcher – sold to a major league organization since 2002. The Texan returns to the affiliated minor leagues after spending the first three seasons of his professional career (2002-04) with a pair of Milwaukee Brewers farm teams. The Brewers first drafted Walker in the ninth round in 2002 out of Highlands High School in San Antonio.

This season, Walker has been one of the best arms in an excellent RailCats bullpen, posting a 3.26 ERA in 19.1 innings and striking out a whopping 29 hitters. Walker picked up three saves in 16 outings, going 3-0 and holding opposing hitters to just a .194 average. Fargo-Moorhead was the only team in the Northern League to score runs off Walker in 2009, tagging the left-hander in three different appearances, otherwise Walker threw 18.0 scoreless innings against the league’s other four teams. Walker gave up only 14 hits – eight in three outings vs. Fargo – and walked ten.
Walker also played three years of rookie ball with the Brewers organization from 2002-2004, and in 28 games went 5-4, with a 5.09 ERA.

The Yankees have done a good job signing indy leaguers over the past few seasons, hopefully these two can help down the road.


SteveB said...

I linked to this article, Greg. Nicely done.

Greg Cohen said...

Nice, thanks Steve.

Mike R. said...

The Northern League? Didn't it succeed the Northeastern league? I used to love watching the Glens Falls Lumberjacks while on vacation :)

Yankeeboy98 "B-Boy" said...

I barely know about DeCaster, but is there any chance he may be a September call-up? He was assigned to Triple-A, so I'm just wondering.

Greg Cohen said...


It's definitely possible. If he plays well, why not?