As the Yankees young core of Baby Bombers have entrenched themselves as the foundation of the big league team in the Bronx over the last two seasons, the reigning Eastern League Manager of the Year Bobby Mitchell has played a pivotal role in molding them in Trenton before they kick down the door in the big show. General Manager Brian Cashman made the first big splash of the offseason with the addition of National League MVP Giancarlo Stanton on Monday, but he stands to lose some very good prospects when the annual Rule 5 Draft takes place on Thursday morning at the winter meetings in Orlando.
As we take a look at some of the Yankees prospects that stand as prime candidates to be plucked and given big league opportunities elsewhere, Mitchell was kind enough to join Pinstriped Prospects via the telephone on Sunday night to give his thoughts on those respective talents.
Nestor Cortes: “Nestor meant an awful lot to our team because he could go from the bullpen to a starter; he could go in any role that you want him in and feel comfortable doing it. When you have guys who have a sore arm and he steps in like he did, not only at our level but up in Triple-A when they needed him, and he performed really well, that is so valuable. He is a lefty, somewhat of a crafty lefty that throws a lot of different pitches from a lot of different angles. As long as he is getting lefties out; I think that is huge for him to be able to get lefties out from a left-handed standpoint, you’re going to be valuable in any role. I think that his role is going to be in the bullpen as a middle guy or even a lefty specialist if he can prove that he can get lefties out consistently. He’s got the stuff, he’s got the command, he’s got the demeanor.”
Cale Coshow: “I think that Cale turned the corner with us this year, maturity-wise. I think that he was his own worst enemy and you could see it sometimes on the mound. He would get riled and mad at himself and he didn’t have a short memory, which you need to have in a closers role day-to-day. I think that as the season went along, he matured and was able to control his emotions more during the game. I thought that he got one hundred percent better with his confidence. He got a lot better knowing that he wasn’t going to be perfect every time out there and I think he became a better teammate and I think the other players saw that. I was really happy to see him go up to the next level to see how he would handle it up there and he needed to be pushed a little bit to see if he could handle another level. He has certainly got the stuff; his stuff got so much better, his slider was much more effective and it was nearer to the zone and he started to get a lot of swings on that pitch.”
Jose Mesa Jr.: “He amazed me because when he is out there and you look at him pitching, sometimes he looks like he is struggling and all of a sudden he has just thrown four innings of two-hit ball. I think that what he was able to do for us a lot was pitch somewhat backwards. Whenever he fell behind in the count 2-0, there was no panic in him; he has a lot of confidence in his secondary stuff. He would throw a change-up in a count where guys were sitting on his fastball; it is a good change-up, a really good change-up. He showed really good command, he didn’t walk many guys and that is huge for a reliever to come in and do that. My confidence and our confidence as a staff in him really grew.”
J.P. Feyereisen: “I think that his competitiveness and his mindset are his strongest assets; it’s just off of the charts. He throws hard and he wants it really bad and works his tail off to try and get better. He almost has a closers mentality. If he can get his command a little better, and I know that he is working really hard at that; nobody works harder and is going to improve any more than he will if he allows himself to, he is going to be very successful. I love the guy and I would love to have that guy on my team. I hope that he is not overlooked because I think that he has a bright future, whether it is with us or another team. If it is not with us, you just root for guys like him to go up and have great careers.”
Stephen Tarpley: “I think that he can get out lefties and I think that is kind of the way that we used him because he came to us so late in the season. He’s got a good arm and everybody is looking for a lefty that have that ability and can throw strikes. I would have liked to see him more, I don’t really have a great feel for his future because I didn’t see him that much, but I think that all teams are looking for a lefty that throws hard. He performed for us and did a really good job and I don’t think he was overwhelmed by anything that happened here.”
Abiatal Avelino: “Avelino has a lot of tools, he really does. He can run a little bit, he’s not a burner, but he can run. His discipline at the plate improved, which is a really big thing for him. He was a good hit-and-run guy for us and he was good at doing it, he liked doing it, which is rare to find these days in the minor leagues. Sometimes the game speeds up on him a bit, but when he is playing under control, this guy can play. He is a solid guy, he can play shortstop, he can play second, he can play third and he was our emergency outfielder if we needed one; he shows a lot of versatility which is going to help him. I think there are a lot of organizations that like him and I understand why. He can definitely be picked up by somebody.”
Mike Ford: “He can just flat out hit. His discipline at the plate creates good pitches for him to hit. He has got a lot of confidence in his knowledge of the strike-zone and you don’t see that very often in players. I don’t think that any pitcher that goes out there to pitch has any advantage over Mike Ford, ever. Because of that fact and because he has great approach; it’s very quiet and not a lot of movement so he sees the ball really good and doesn’t swing at bad pitches. He improved a ton playing first base; he’s certainly not just a DH-type, he can really play.”
Anyelo Gomez: “We really missed him at the end of the season once he got the chance to go up to Triple-A. He was about as solid as they come. I watched him pitch in spring training for us and he was all over the place; he threw hard, you could tell, but my first impressions were that he had a lot of work to do with his command and he would probably be the first to admit that. Rosie [Jose Rosado] did a great job with him; I think he changed a few things in his wind-up to get him more under control and his change-up was solid; it was seriously dirty. The reason that pitch was so effective was because it was always down in the zone and he also kept his fastball down in the zone on both sides of the plate; I was really pleasantly surprised and happy for him that he was able to do that. It would be too bad if we lost a guy like that because he has got a lot of potential.”