Tampa, FL- The seasons winding down to the last series, in which the T-Yanks play four games against the Lakeland Flying Tigers (two on the road, two at home), and then prepare for the Florida State League playoffs.
Team Manager Patrick Osborn answered some questions about the Yankees top prospect, infielder Mateo’s development, as well as pitching. Here’s what he said:
Bullpen: “Dillon McNamara’s been consistent all year long. James Reeves is now back there. It was tough to take him out of the rotation. [Matt] Marsh, [Caleb] Frare, [Jordan] Foley, McNamara, Reeves have pretty much been here all year long. We got [Eduardo] Rivera from [Class-A Charleston]. Rivera’s fastball has hit 99; he’s got an excellent curveball. He’s a better weapon out there. The pen’s been good all year. It’s comforting to be able to bring Mac [McNamara] into tough situations. He’s kind of the anchor out there.”
Osborn also addressed the continued and hotly debated development of Mateo. The Yankees suspended Mateo earlier this season due to conflicts between him and team higher-ups. Osborn has spoken confidently about his shortstop’s return, his desire to succeed and the ways in which he’s growing as a person and player.
Mateo: “Big time improvement. He’s done a tremendous job on the field and off the field. I’m proud of Jorge. He’s responded to this thing the right way. And his play has shown it. He’s not getting results, but he’s been hitting the ball hard, right at people. He’s been frustrated, but he’s handling it the right way. He’s made some adjustments at the plate. He’s been a different kid. I think this is going to turn out to be a really big positive in his life. And we all went through times in our life that were tough. He’s a high profile kid. It’s how you deal with him.”
Pressure on Young Players: “I think it’s more compounded because of social media. You have all these ways that they can access opinions instantly. To fans that watch the game and follow the game, they see these kids who are high profile, top prospects; they tend to think of them as kids that should already be in the big leagues. They’re still developing. They still have growing to do on the field and off, maturity-wise. So, yeah, I think there is more pressure because of what they read about. As a competitor, you hear stuff about yourself that you may not like. It can hurt you. You try to block all that stuff, because, at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what people are saying. But it’s hard as a kid. It’s pressure for all the wrong reasons. All you can worry about is the moment you’re in and block out all that white noise.
When it was noted that Gary Sanchez experienced similar issues with the Trenton Thunder, Osborn responded, “What Sanchez went through, is not that different than what Jorge’s gone through. And you see where Gary is now.”
Lineup: The lineup that Osborn used that day is the one he says will basically be what he’ll field, in the playoffs: Mateo (2B), Jeff Hendrix (CF), Gleyber Torres (SS), Trey Amburgey (LF), Zack Zehner (DH), Connor Spencer (1B), Kevin Cornelius (3B), Devyn Bolasky (RF), Wes Wilson (C)
He also said that Wilson “is our number one catcher” and that he’s gotten a big opportunity this year.
“Wes has answered the bell,” Osborn said.