Q&A with Mark Newman

Yankees Senior Vice President of Baseball Operations Mark Newman, responsible for both player development and scouting, sits down for a Q&A session to talk about what he saw during Spring Training; which prospects stood out, which of the EST players there we should watch out for later this season, to get jury updates on Greg Bird, Zach Arneson, to see how Rafael DePaula did, and much, much more!

PinstripesPlus.com: First a general question about Spring Training -- overall how do you think it went?

Mark Newman: We had great weather so it was a chance to work consistently so that was a plus. Our injuries were kept to a minimum and that was a real plus. And I think our guys are prepared. You don't make too many judgments because of the time of the year and the size of the sample but they're prepared to go out and play and what we hope to see is continued improvement over the course of a five and half month season. We'll see how it goes. It's a marathon as you know so we just go to work, stay patient, and see how things work.

PinstripesPlus.com: There were quite a few guys who stood out but for me Gary Sanchez really stood out. He seemed to be more energized, paying attention more, and even becoming more of a team leader. What do you think of, I don't want to call it a turnaround because that's not exactly fair, but his progression thus far?

Newman: Yeah it is a progression. He's a young guy -- he was 18 years old last year, [basically] a high school senior playing in the South Atlantic League -- and as you would expect there was some immaturity. Day by day he's maturing. He's a good kid who really wants to be a good player and he's learning how to prepare on a daily basis. I think his time in Major League camp was helpful. We're very happy with him. That's a plus, that kind of mental leap forward was really, really good to see and gratifying.

PinstripesPlus.com: We all know he can hit but he seems so much better defensively in just a year's time. Do you see that?

Newman: Yeah he is and he's going to get a lot more reps in the next few years before he's ready to play in the big leagues. Everybody knows he's got a great throwing arm. He can really throw and he's accurate. His hands are good. He's a big guy so he's going to have to continue to work on lower body flexibility but he did a nice job with that, he did a nice job with blocking, he's starting to build relationships with pitchers, he's starting to demonstrate some leadership qualities back there -- I felt really good about that. We saw the same thing with J.R. Murphy too. 'Murph' is starting in the Florida State League and he's really improved defensively. One of the leaps physically he made is his arm strength from average to plus now. His receiving skills and game management skills are growing. That's really good to see. We've always felt good about his bat. We thought defensively --- his tools have improved. That doesn't happen all that often.

PinstripesPlus.com: Before I touch on some of these lower-level guys I do want to ask about Zoilo Almonte because, like Sanchez, he too seems to have taken a leap mentally; hustling more, showing more focus, etc. He seems more energized. Did you see that from him this year?

Newman: Yeah I think so. He's 22 so he's a little more time at it than somebody like Gary Sanchez had. He's kind of an introverted guy. He went on the major league roster this offseason and in major league camp he played well, and I know he took confidence from that. He's had a nice start so far in Double-A but it's only a few games and it doesn't mean a whole lot, but I think he's playing with more confidence. We'll see how it plays out over time but he seems to have improved mentally. I agree with you, he seems to be playing with more energy level and a little more confidence.

PinstripesPlus.com: Going back to the lower levels, I don't know if I've ever seen one of your minor league teams as stacked with prospects as the Charleston team is this year. No?

Newman: It really is. It really is a good group. That team is a testimony to our team of scouts across the United States and in Latin America. That's a really good looking group of people.

PinstripesPlus.com: Let's talk specifics -- Tyler Austin moved to right field and I thought looked tremendous out there, no?

Newman: It's amazing that a guy can go from third base to right field that quickly and make the adjustment so seamlessly. I was really surprised that he plays as well as he has with so little time. He made routine plays, he made good plays, he threw the ball to the right base, he demonstrated a feel for how to position himself. He's a smart guy and he's a tough guy, and he works. There's something going on with this guy.

PinstripesPlus.com: He seems to be on the cusp of putting it together now that he seems more comfortable defensively in the outfield. Do you think he's ready to take his game to the next level?

Newman: We really like him offensively. We have an organizational need in outfield, especially in right field, and we'd like it to be a right-handed hitter. We took, not a flyer but a bit of a calculated gamble, to put him in right field to see what it would look like and it really looked good. That was a huge plus, plus we've got this other kid playing third base that isn't too bad.

PinstripesPlus.com: Well let's talk Dante Bichette Jr. on that note. What did you think of his camp?

Newman: Good, very consistent for a young guy. He's very mature, [he] understands the game and that's a testimony to his upbringing. There's a lot of things about him that are a testimony to his upbringing, not just his baseball IQ.

PinstripesPlus.com: He hit those two home runs in the big league game and it just seems to me that more than ever you guys are bringing up more and more of these lower level prospects into the big league games. Is that designed to give them more confidence or exposure?

Newman: It's exposure and we think they're ready for it. Certainly we have several in Charleston and we have some in Tampa, and we think these guys can go out there and hold their own. When they get in that environment earlier we think so much the better, especially when you get into the Yankee environment with all of that. It's a great thing. Mason [Williams] got a hit and Dante had a really special day in front of his family. It was cool.

PinstripesPlus.com: I know Jose Campos is young and inexperienced but he just has the look of a quick mover with the polish he's shown. Could he move quickly?

Newman: He's got the delivery and the arm stroke, and all of that stuff is good. We'll be patient with him. There's a chance he would move this year but we're going to be patient with him. We want to make sure he's got his feet on the ground and make sure he's executing what he's supposed to be executing before he moves on to the next level. But he is, he's done a nice job so far. He's a pitcher, he's not out there trying to light up the radar gun. He can because he's got a very good arm but he's not a max-effort guy.

PinstripesPlus.com: Bryan Mitchell can light up a radar gun. He's got just filthy stuff and I've always said when he's down at the knees with his pitches he's nearly unhittable. What do you think is the biggest thing holding him back from doing that more consistently?

Newman: A little bit of it his mechanics and a little bit of it is a lack of ability to concentrate and focus pitch to pitch. Just stay in the moment. But he's got electric stuff and he works at it. He should be fine.

PinstripesPlus.com: Let's talk about some of these guys who are in Extended Spring Training. Lefty Daniel Camarena was about impressive a pitcher as there was in camp this year -- was he being in EST and not in Charleston more of a depth thing?

Newman: Well he hadn't pitched yet. He was a late sign and he didn't have many innings. We want to see him over a longer period of time. We're not going to rush to judgment and say he should go pitch in Charleston after twelve innings in professional baseball. That's way too quick and there's too many things he's got to learn. And he's got to get used to physically pitching in this environment where you go every five days and you have work days, PFP's, arm exercise programs and strength programs -- there's a physical transition that has to be made from high school to professional baseball. The workload is significant and we want to manage that workload and manage it here. Once they've spent a year in our system and gotten used to various programs they have to take part in to be a starting pitcher here, we [then] feel much more comfortable moving them along. This is a controlled environment here and we can manage his workload.

PinstripesPlus.com: Let's get specific with him though -- what do you like, what needs work?

Newman: He can pitch. He's got a breaking ball he can throw for a strike behind in the count, he can change speeds, he's got a really good angle on his fastball so he gets some downward plane even though he's not a particularly tall guy. He's got a feel for attacking hitters and he's got command of his stuff. He's going to have to, over time, adjust to the physical demands of his business. We want to see how the velocity holds up over time, but he's on his way. He's a more sophisticated high school pitcher than you'll typically find..

PinstripesPlus.com: Let's talk about a guy who fast becoming one of my favorites -- Jake Cave. He showed some really good tools in camp this year; speed, opposite field power, the whole thing. Give me your early impressions of Cave.

Newman: He plays with white-hot intensity. I love the way he goes at it. He plays hard all of the time. He has hitting ability, he's into the defensive half of an inning, he's a good looking young player.

PinstripesPlus.com: Of the young guys down in Extended right now are there any who have stood out for you in the early going?

Newman: [Claudio] Custodio has been really good. He was good in Spring Training and he's been good here. He's a plus-plus runner and plays defense. He can play shortstop and he has hitting ability. We've got Ravel Santana back from the ankle injury and that's great to see. Those have been the two big pluses. And we've got Rafael DePaula who threw [Thursday] three innings in a game for the first time and it was really good. It was 92-94 mph and it was his first time out, threw strikes, and changed speeds. It was impressive.

PinstripesPlus.com: Anyone else?

Newman: I'll tell you two more who have made great strides -- Evan Rutckyj and Gabe Encinas. They've really done some nice things. Their velocities have jumped, the quality of their stuff has, they're maturing and learning how to prepare the right way and get ready to pitch every fifth day, and they're really doing a nice job.

PinstripesPlus.com: Rutckyj seemed to have blossomed in particular -- getting up to 91-94 and showing more pitch-ability. Is he ready to take that next time in his development do you think?

Newman: He's making progress so we're happy about that. He's a worker, he's a tough kid, and he's a really good looking prospect. I'm excited about him.

PinstripesPlus.com: I know Miguel Andujar is down there now. What have you seen from him in the brief looks you've gotten of him over the last week?

Newman: He's doing fine. His default setting is very confident. He's comfortable here. He did really well in our Instructional [camp] as you remember and he's picked that up. He's going to play a bunch of games against much tougher competition than he's used to [over] the next two months so we'll have a chance to see where he's at; see if he's ready to play here or if he needs to play in the DSL. We'll find out.

PinstripesPlus.com: What's the status of Greg Bird -- what's the injury and when is he coming back?

Newman: He's coming back [this] week. His hand was sore. He had an injury two years ago in high school and he dinged it a little bit. Structurally it's fine, there's no break. It was a bruise and he's back at it.

PinstripesPlus.com: What's the status of Zach Arneson?

Newman: He's throwing, it's going to be a little while. It's tendonitis in his shoulder.

PinstripesPlus.com: I know he's not part of the rehab program but Evan DeLuca was throwing even lighter this year than last, and last year was a down year velocity-wise. Are there injury concerns wit him?

Newman: We think he's healthy. He's just in a mechanical funk that he's got to get out of. We think he's healthy now.

PinstripesPlus.com: You mentioned funks. Manny Banuelos has gotten off to a rough start this year. Are there any concerns with Banuelos from a command standpoint long-term? Or do you feel like he can get back to where he was command-wise a couple of years ago?

Newman: Oh yeah he can, his delivery is too good. Be patient, he's a young guy. He's been pitching in really cold weather and that's not something he's used to. I'm absolutely certain he's going to be back to throwing the quality strikes he's used to.

PinstripesPlus.com: Banuelos and Betances get most of the press but yet Adam Warren, D.J. Mitchell, and especially David Phelps went out and pitched very well in camp. How impressed were you with those three in particular?

Newman: They've all made big strides. D.J.'s fastball command has really gotten better, Adam's secondary stuff is improving, and David Phelps' shoulder was barking a little bit last year and it looks like he's back to full strength. And David's gotten off to a nice start in the big leagues, that's cool to see.

PinstripesPlus.com: Do you feel he's better suited for the short relief role or is he going to continue to pitch where he is based on team need for now?

Newman: He's pitching in the role that [Hector] Noesi pitched in last year. That's probably a good role for him now to get his feet wet. He can give them multiple innings if they need it. That's a good break in role for him.

PinstripesPlus.com: Ramon Flores has gotten off to a somewhat rough start after what I thought was a very good camp. Any concerns there?

Newman: He's a quality young hitter with great plate discipline and it's been six games. I guarantee he'll have another six games during the season that he doesn't swing it very well.

PinstripesPlus.com: Zach Nuding gets lost in the pantheon of top prospects but he has some real ability. We know he has the power fastball but it seems his secondary pitches, especially his slider, is coming along, no?

Newman: That's the deal with him, secondary stuff [and a] consistent delivery so he's throwing the fastball downhill. He had five strikeouts in three innings the other night and he pitched behind Pettitte in a Florida State League game. He looked really good. He's got the equipment to be really, really good. It's the same thing with him as it is with a lot of young guys -- he's got to mature in his preparation and the way he gets ready to pitch every five days. When he does that he'll be fine. He's a competitive guy, he's a tough guy, and he's got good stuff; it's 95-96 mph, up to 98 mph last year, but if that secondary stuff comes we'll be good.

PinstripesPlus.com: I know he has gotten off to quite the start some of his Charleston teammates have in the early going but Angelo Gumbs was fantastic in camp. The ball just sounds different coming off of his bat. Do you like his progress so far in his career?

Newman: He made a huge jump in hitting mechanics. His lower half is much more involved in his swing. He used to come off of his lower half really early in the swing process and now he stands on his legs, he stays balanced, he stays closed, and he's using his lower half to generate bat speed and impact the ball. He was fun to watch in Spring Training. He hammered it. He's another guy off to a slow start but he has big-time bat speed.

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Pinstripes Plus Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nPinstripesPlus.com: First a general question about Spring Training -- overall how do you think it went?
\r\n
\r\nMark Newman: We had great weather so it was a chance to work consistently so that was a plus. Our injuries were kept to a minimum and that was a real plus. And I think our guys are prepared. You don't make too many judgments because of the time of the year and the size of the sample but they're prepared to go out and play and what we hope to see is continued improvement over the course of a five and half month season. We'll see how it goes. It's a marathon as you know so we just go to work, stay patient, and see how things work.
\r\n
\r\nPinstripesPlus.com: There were quite a few guys who stood out but for me Gary Sanchez really stood out. He seemed to be more energized, paying attention more, and even becoming more of a team leader. What do you think of, I don't want to call it a turnaround because that's not exactly fair, but his progression thus far?
\r\n
\r\nNewman: Yeah it is a progression. He's a young guy -- he was 18 years old last year, [basically] a high school senior playing in the South Atlantic League -- and as you would expect there was some immaturity. Day by day he's maturing. He's a good kid who really wants to be a good player and he's learning how to prepare on a daily basis. I think his time in Major League camp was helpful. We're very happy with him. That's a plus, that kind of mental leap forward was really, really good to see and gratifying.
\r\n
\r\nPinstripesPlus.com: We all know he can hit but he seems so much better defensively in just a year's time. Do you see that?
\r\n
\r\nNewman: Yeah he is and he's going to get a lot more reps in the next few years before he's ready to play in the big leagues. Everybody knows he's got a great throwing arm. He can really throw and he's accurate. His hands are good. He's a big guy so he's going to have to continue to work on lower body flexibility but he did a nice job with that, he did a nice job with blocking, he's starting to build relationships with pitchers, he's starting to demonstrate some leadership qualities back there -- I felt really good about that. We saw the same thing with J.R. Murphy too. 'Murph' is starting in the Florida State League and he's really improved defensively. One of the leaps physically he made is his arm strength from average to plus now. His receiving skills and game management skills are growing. That's really good to see. We've always felt good about his bat. We thought defensively --- his tools have improved. That doesn't happen all that often.
\r\n
\r\nPinstripesPlus.com: Before I touch on some of these lower-level guys I do want to ask about Zoilo Almonte because, like Sanchez, he too seems to have taken a leap mentally; hustling more, showing more focus, etc. He seems more energized. Did you see that from him this year?
\r\n
\r\nNewman: Yeah I think so. He's 22 so he's a little more time at it than somebody like Gary Sanchez had. He's kind of an introverted guy. He went on the major league roster this offseason and in major league camp he played well, and I know he took confidence from that. He's had a nice start so far in Double-A but it's only a few games and it doesn't mean a whole lot, but I think he's playing with more confidence. We'll see how it plays out over time but he seems to have improved mentally. I agree with you, he seems to be playing with more energy level and a little more confidence.
\r\n
\r\nPinstripesPlus.com: Going back to the lower levels, I don't know if I've ever seen one of your minor league teams as stacked with prospects as the Charleston team is this year. No?
\r\n
\r\nNewman: It really is. It really is a good group. That team is a testimony to our team of scouts across the United States and in Latin America. That's a really good looking group of people.
\r\n
\r\nPinstripesPlus.com: Let's talk specifics -- Tyler Austin moved to right field and I thought looked tremendous out there, no?
\r\n
\r\nNewman: It's amazing that a guy can go from third base to right field that quickly and make the adjustment so seamlessly. I was really surprised that he plays as well as he has with so little time. He made routine plays, he made good plays, he threw the ball to the right base, he demonstrated a feel for how to position himself. He's a smart guy and he's a tough guy, and he works. There's something going on with this guy.
\r\n
\r\nPinstripesPlus.com: He seems to be on the cusp of putting it together now that he seems more comfortable defensively in the outfield. Do you think he's ready to take his game to the next level?
\r\n
\r\nNewman: We really like him offensively. We have an organizational need in outfield, especially in right field, and we'd like it to be a right-handed hitter. We took, not a flyer but a bit of a calculated gamble, to put him in right field to see what it would look like and it really looked good. That was a huge plus, plus we've got this other kid playing third base that isn't too bad.
\r\n
\r\nPinstripesPlus.com: Well let's talk Dante Bichette Jr. on that note. What did you think of his camp?
\r\n
\r\nNewman: Good, very consistent for a young guy. He's very mature, [he] understands the game and that's a testimony to his upbringing. There's a lot of things about him that are a testimony to his upbringing, not just his baseball IQ.
\r\n
\r\nPinstripesPlus.com: He hit those two home runs in the big league game and it just seems to me that more than ever you guys are bringing up more and more of these lower level prospects into the big league games. Is that designed to give them more confidence or exposure?
\r\n
\r\nNewman: It's exposure and we think they're ready for it. Certainly we have several in Charleston and we have some in Tampa, and we think these guys can go out there and hold their own. When they get in that environment earlier we think so much the better, especially when you get into the Yankee environment with all of that. It's a great thing. Mason [Williams] got a hit and Dante had a really special day in front of his family. It was cool.
\r\n
\r\nPinstripesPlus.com: I know Jose Campos is young and inexperienced but he just has the look of a quick mover with the polish he's shown. Could he move quickly?
\r\n
\r\nNewman: He's got the delivery and the arm stroke, and all of that stuff is good. We'll be patient with him. There's a chance he would move this year but we're going to be patient with him. We want to make sure he's got his feet on the ground and make sure he's executing what he's supposed to be executing before he moves on to the next level. But he is, he's done a nice job so far. He's a pitcher, he's not out there trying to light up the radar gun. He can because he's got a very good arm but he's not a max-effort guy.
\r\n
\r\nPinstripesPlus.com: Bryan Mitchell can light up a radar gun. He's got just filthy stuff and I've always said when he's down at the knees with his pitches he's nearly unhittable. What do you think is the biggest thing holding him back from doing that more consistently?
\r\n
\r\nNewman: A little bit of it his mechanics and a little bit of it is a lack of ability to concentrate and focus pitch to pitch. Just stay in the moment. But he's got electric stuff and he works at it. He should be fine.
\r\n
\r\nPinstripesPlus.com: Let's talk about some of these guys who are in Extended Spring Training. Lefty Daniel Camarena was about impressive a pitcher as there was in camp this year -- was he being in EST and not in Charleston more of a depth thing?
\r\n
\r\nNewman: Well he hadn't pitched yet. He was a late sign and he didn't have many innings. We want to see him over a longer period of time. We're not going to rush to judgment and say he should go pitch in Charleston after twelve innings in professional baseball. That's way too quick and there's too many things he's got to learn. And he's got to get used to physically pitching in this environment where you go every five days and you have work days, PFP's, arm exercise programs and strength programs -- there's a physical transition that has to be made from high school to professional baseball. The workload is significant and we want to manage that workload and manage it here. Once they've spent a year in our system and gotten used to various programs they have to take part in to be a starting pitcher here, we [then] feel much more comfortable moving them along. This is a controlled environment here and we can manage his workload.
\r\n
\r\nPinstripesPlus.com: Let's get specific with him though -- what do you like, what needs work?
\r\n
\r\nNewman: He can pitch. He's got a breaking ball he can throw for a strike behind in the count, he can change speeds, he's got a really good angle on his fastball so he gets some downward plane even though he's not a particularly tall guy. He's got a feel for attacking hitters and he's got command of his stuff. He's going to have to, over time, adjust to the physical demands of his business. We want to see how the velocity holds up over time, but he's on his way. He's a more sophisticated high school pitcher than you'll typically find..
\r\n
\r\nPinstripesPlus.com: Let's talk about a guy who fast becoming one of my favorites -- Jake Cave. He showed some really good tools in camp this year; speed, opposite field power, the whole thing. Give me your early impressions of Cave.
\r\n
\r\nNewman: He plays with white-hot intensity. I love the way he goes at it. He plays hard all of the time. He has hitting ability, he's into the defensive half of an inning, he's a good looking young player.
\r\n
\r\nPinstripesPlus.com: Of the young guys down in Extended right now are there any who have stood out for you in the early going?
\r\n
\r\nNewman: [Claudio] Custodio has been really good. He was good in Spring Training and he's been good here. He's a plus-plus runner and plays defense. He can play shortstop and he has hitting ability. We've got Ravel Santana back from the ankle injury and that's great to see. Those have been the two big pluses. And we've got Rafael DePaula who threw [Thursday] three innings in a game for the first time and it was really good. It was 92-94 mph and it was his first time out, threw strikes, and changed speeds. It was impressive.
\r\n
\r\nPinstripesPlus.com: Anyone else?
\r\n
\r\nNewman: I'll tell you two more who have made great strides -- Evan Rutckyj and Gabe Encinas. They've really done some nice things. Their velocities have jumped, the quality of their stuff has, they're maturing and learning how to prepare the right way and get ready to pitch every fifth day, and they're really doing a nice job.
\r\n
\r\nPinstripesPlus.com: Rutckyj seemed to have blossomed in particular -- getting up to 91-94 and showing more pitch-ability. Is he ready to take that next time in his development do you think?
\r\n
\r\nNewman: He's making progress so we're happy about that. He's a worker, he's a tough kid, and he's a really good looking prospect. I'm excited about him.
\r\n
\r\nPinstripesPlus.com: I know Miguel Andujar is down there now. What have you seen from him in the brief looks you've gotten of him over the last week?
\r\n
\r\nNewman: He's doing fine. His default setting is very confident. He's comfortable here. He did really well in our Instructional [camp] as you remember and he's picked that up. He's going to play a bunch of games against much tougher competition than he's used to [over] the next two months so we'll have a chance to see where he's at; see if he's ready to play here or if he needs to play in the DSL. We'll find out.
\r\n
\r\nPinstripesPlus.com: What's the status of Greg Bird -- what's the injury and when is he coming back?
\r\n
\r\nNewman: He's coming back [this] week. His hand was sore. He had an injury two years ago in high school and he dinged it a little bit. Structurally it's fine, there's no break. It was a bruise and he's back at it.
\r\n
\r\nPinstripesPlus.com: What's the status of Zach Arneson?
\r\n
\r\nNewman: He's throwing, it's going to be a little while. It's tendonitis in his shoulder.
\r\n
\r\nPinstripesPlus.com: I know he's not part of the rehab program but Evan DeLuca was throwing even lighter this year than last, and last year was a down year velocity-wise. Are there injury concerns wit him?
\r\n
\r\nNewman: We think he's healthy. He's just in a mechanical funk that he's got to get out of. We think he's healthy now.
\r\n
\r\nPinstripesPlus.com: You mentioned funks. Manny Banuelos has gotten off to a rough start this year. Are there any concerns with Banuelos from a command standpoint long-term? Or do you feel like he can get back to where he was command-wise a couple of years ago?
\r\n
\r\nNewman: Oh yeah he can, his delivery is too good. Be patient, he's a young guy. He's been pitching in really cold weather and that's not something he's used to. I'm absolutely certain he's going to be back to throwing the quality strikes he's used to.
\r\n
\r\nPinstripesPlus.com: Banuelos and Betances get most of the press but yet Adam Warren, D.J. Mitchell, and especially David Phelps went out and pitched very well in camp. How impressed were you with those three in particular?
\r\n
\r\nNewman: They've all made big strides. D.J.'s fastball command has really gotten better, Adam's secondary stuff is improving, and David Phelps' shoulder was barking a little bit last year and it looks like he's back to full strength. And David's gotten off to a nice start in the big leagues, that's cool to see.
\r\n
\r\nPinstripesPlus.com: Do you feel he's better suited for the short relief role or is he going to continue to pitch where he is based on team need for now?
\r\n
\r\nNewman: He's pitching in the role that [Hector] Noesi pitched in last year. That's probably a good role for him now to get his feet wet. He can give them multiple innings if they need it. That's a good break in role for him.
\r\n
\r\nPinstripesPlus.com: Ramon Flores has gotten off to a somewhat rough start after what I thought was a very good camp. Any concerns there?
\r\n
\r\nNewman: He's a quality young hitter with great plate discipline and it's been six games. I guarantee he'll have another six games during the season that he doesn't swing it very well.
\r\n
\r\nPinstripesPlus.com: Zach Nuding gets lost in the pantheon of top prospects but he has some real ability. We know he has the power fastball but it seems his secondary pitches, especially his slider, is coming along, no?
\r\n
\r\nNewman: That's the deal with him, secondary stuff [and a] consistent delivery so he's throwing the fastball downhill. He had five strikeouts in three innings the other night and he pitched behind Pettitte in a Florida State League game. He looked really good. He's got the equipment to be really, really good. It's the same thing with him as it is with a lot of young guys -- he's got to mature in his preparation and the way he gets ready to pitch every five days. When he does that he'll be fine. He's a competitive guy, he's a tough guy, and he's got good stuff; it's 95-96 mph, up to 98 mph last year, but if that secondary stuff comes we'll be good.
\r\n
\r\nPinstripesPlus.com: I know he has gotten off to quite the start some of his Charleston teammates have in the early going but Angelo Gumbs was fantastic in camp. The ball just sounds different coming off of his bat. Do you like his progress so far in his career?
\r\n
\r\nNewman: He made a huge jump in hitting mechanics. His lower half is much more involved in his swing. He used to come off of his lower half really early in the swing process and now he stands on his legs, he stays balanced, he stays closed, and he's using his lower half to generate bat speed and impact the ball. He was fun to watch in Spring Training. He hammered it. He's another guy off to a slow start but he has big-time bat speed.
\r\n
\r\n

\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n\r\n
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