We are reaching that point of the trade deadline season where it is prudent begin to watching for people hugging in dugouts, players randomly being scratched from games, and scouts from other teams at your teams' minor league games.
The Cleveland Indians seemingly had a false alarm yesterday when Francisco Mejia was scratched late from his start with the Lynchburg Hillcats (although he is not in the lineup today, either), but Keith Law gave us another reason to be intrigued this morning:
Cleveland lefty Justus Sheffield 91-95 in the first at Wilmington but he walked 3. Yankees have two guys here to see him, Bobby Bradley, etc— keithlaw (@keithlaw) July 19, 2016
(Open this and leave it in the background to properly set the mood for this post)
The Indians have not been involved in too many rumors this season, unless you count mainstream media personalities spitballing about the Indians "needing" an outfielder or a catcher, which they probably really do not. Instead, they appear to be targeting a relief pitcher such as Andrew Miller or Aroldis Chapman of the New York Yankees. That point was emphasized last night when Bryan Shaw imploded so hard he became a neutron star that spat out toxic Kansas City Royals runs into space.
If the Indians are directly targeting Miller or Chapman, it makes sense that Yankees scouts would be in Lynchburg, as the Hillcats feature several prominent prospects. First and foremost, the two that Law mentioned -- Justus Sheffield and Bobby Bradley -- look like perfect pieces to trade for a reliever, if the Yankees are building for a couple years down the line. If the New York scouts were at least night's game as well they were treated to a show by Bradley, who went 4-for-5 and was just a triple shy of hitting for the cycle.
Outside of his spectacular game yesterday, Bradley is putting together a solid season altogether, slashing .257/.377/.484 with a 14.8 walk rate. His strikeouts are still an issue (31.4%), but he has been working on it recently with a change at the plate.
It's unlikely the Yankees would deal Miller for someone like Tyler Krieger or Anthony Santander, but both are having great seasons and are also in Lynchburg. Greg Allen is not considered much in the Indians system right now, but many scouts project him as a solid outfielder at some point -- he could be another player the Yankees are there to check out.
This could all count for nothing in the end (and I assume they have scouts at other levels in the minors as well), but between this and reports that the Indians and Yankees have already been talking, don't be surprised to see something happen in the coming weeks.