Sunday, June 27, 2010

Contreras and Newman on State of the Yankee Farm System

In a couple of posts this weekend Mike Ashmore discussed two interesting interviews he had with Nardi Contreras and Mark Newman. They each provided their current views regarding the Yankee farm system and the prospects with the Trenton Thunder in particular. Good stuff!

Given the number of top pitching prospects in Double-A, a lot of the discussion with pitching instructor, Contreras centered around the pitching standouts so far this season:

David Phelps - 6-0; 2.04 ERA; 84 K; 0.97 WHIP at Trenton

“David Phelps, really good. He’s advanced. He’s got pitches. His curveball…I just watched his bullpen, and his curveball’s better. I know he attacks the zone. He throws a four-seam, two-seam, slider. He’s got the pitches to pitch in the big leagues, the endurance. He’s got the game. He’s got a lot of things going for him. He’s just got to go out across those white lines and continue to pitch and he’ll do really well.”

Andrew Brackman - 5-1; 2.81 ERA, 46 K in last 8 starts at Tampa before promotion

“I saw him in Tampa and of course I saw him here last night. The biggest part of it is his confidence level. Yeah, we made some adjustments with his delivery to allow him to be able to throw more strikes than what he did in Charleston. But the other part of it, is that was his first year coming off the operation. Not having pitched, we don’t know how he really felt with his arm. His delivery faltered. But the last month or so in Charleston, he started putting it together. He’s done really well and he’s on his way, no doubt.”

Graham Stoneburner - 4-3; 1.93 ERA; 39 K; 0.76 WHIP at Tampa

“Stoneburner has pitched really, really well. But he’s made one jump already, he’s gone from Charleston to Tampa. I believe he should stay there. Maybe September or the in the playoffs, if Tampa’s not (in), maybe you see him. “

Hector Noesi - 4-1; 2.20 ERA; 44 K; 1.00 WHIP at Trenton since promotion

“Well, you see, with Noesi, there’s not much to work with with Noesi. What he’s learning is his slider. He can command the fastball, he can command the sinker, he’s got the curveball. Still, he’s got to get a little better with his curveball. But, he’s got the changeup. His delivery’s solid and he can command both sides of the plate. We’ll see what happens.”

Pat Venditte - 1.98 ERA; 2 saves; 51 K; 0.90 WHIP at Tampa

“He gets people out. When it gets to this level, he’s got to get people out. It’s not about he can throw both hands, that’ll put another thousand people in the stands, it’s about getting people out.”

And here are comments from Mark Newman, the Senior Vice President of Baseball Operations for the New York Yankees about some of the positional players at Trenton.

David Adams - .309 Avg.; 32 RBI 5 SB at Trenton (On DL since May 22nd)

“It’s going to take a while, it’s going to take another couple weeks. He’s not around the corner in terms of re-joining the Trenton club.”

Brandon Laird - .293 Avg; 19 HR; 77 RBI at Trenton

“19 home runs in the first half, yeah. No one had that number.”

“Well, he’s made huge strides defensively, which is a more subtle part of the game, but it’s really been a part of his progress. He’s improved as a hitter, but he’s made more improvement as a defender.”

“Well, we’ll try to create positional flexibility with him. But it’s still first and third. It would be nice to have what we call a corner utility guy, someone who can play third, someone who can play first, somebody who can DH and swing the bat. That’s a role that’s important to us as we build our Major League club.”

When asked if he anticipated Laird staying at Trenton the rest of the year, he said:

“I don’t anticipate that far into the future. You never know.”

Newman's assessment of the system and recent successes, I thought were stated very well:

We’ve got young players playing very well. Phil Hughes is 10-1, that’s big. Gardner is up there in on-base percentage, that’s big. Cervelli’s making contributions, Pena…Kevin Russo’s in a utility role up there, Colin Curtis is up there doing some nice stuff off the bench. Robby Cano’s one of the best players in the game. They’ve all been in Trenton in the last two, three, four years. You’ve got Ian, Austin Jackson, Joba, so yeah, that’s a pretty good run. Yes, we’ve traded some this winter, some of them I just mentioned. Phil Coke’s another one. So, we’ve got to re-stock a little bit, but we’ve got some good players here, so we feel good. Our scouts, both domestic and internationally, have really done a nice job.”

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