Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Van Benschoten Call Up Could Mean A Promotion for Venditte

According to Donnie Collins of the Scranton Times Tribune, the SWB Yankees have finally filled the roster spot created by the call up of Boone Logan. Righthanded pitcher John Van Benschoten was added to the active roster prior to Monday's game. Van Benschoten, signed with the Yankees as a minor league free agent on March 1st of this year. He was converted to a pitcher after he was the 8th pick in the first round of the 2001 draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates. The 29 year old has 90 major league innings with a 1 -3 record and a lofty 9.20 ERA. He spent the 2009 season in the White Sox system and pitched for Charlotte where he went 2-8 with a 6.35 ERA in 22 games, 13 as a starter. So far this year, Van Benschoten has been working out of the bullpen and was 1-0 in two games with the Thunder with a 0.00 ERA and allowed 2 hits in 4.0 innings with 2 strikeouts.

This now creates an open roster spot for the Trenton Thunder. If the Thunder decides to fill the bullpen slot, it could be with Cory Arbiso who is currently on the disabled list. However, this could be an opportunity to bring up switch pitcher, Pat Venditte, who has been excellent with Tampa. In 3 games he has pitched 7+ innings striking out 13, and pitching to an ERA of 3.68.

Having Venditte repeat in Tampa starting this year, was a sign the Yankees didn't recognize him as a true prospect. However, in EJ Fagan's post, Pat Venditte Finally Considered a Prospect, he makes the following observation:

Usually, you can tell who the Yankees consider a prospect and who they do not. The Yankees do something very specific with their prospect relief pitchers: they stretch them out and put them on a set rotation. That means that they will pitch every 3rd day for 2-3 innings. They’ve done it with David Robertson, Mark Melancon, Wilkins De La Rosa, J.B. Cox, Anthony Claggett, and Michael Dunn. No others on a real schedule come to mind. Those guys are far and away the seven most-valued Yankee relief prospects of the last 5 years. Guys like Jon Hovis, Eric Wordekemper, Josh Schmidt, etc have stuck around the Yankee farm system, but haven’t been given the playing time of the true prospects. Venditte was getting playing time similar to the latter group up until the end of last year, but the Yankees started stretching him out more following his promotion to High-A in 2009.

What happened on Saturday? Pet Venditte pitched a fairly unnecessary 3 innings, following Adam Warren’s 6-inning start. A well-rested Tampa bullpen had plenty of guys who could have used work to pitch a third inning, but the Yankees pushed Venditte back out, who was dominating and presumably going to go until he hit his pitch count.

Venditte followed up that 1st 3 inning appearance with two more outings of 2 innings each, 3 days apart. This seems to support the fact that he has been upgraded to a top prospect relief pitcher by the organization. A promotion to Double-A will further support that conclusion.

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