Q&A with Pat Osborn -- Part Two

We sat down with Gulf Coast League Yankees2 Manager Pat Osborn for a Q&A session. In part two of this two-part series we concentrate on the pitchers, including his thoughts on Domingo Acevedo, his thoughts behind the great numbers posted by the likes of Nestor Cortes and Jose Padilla, and much, much more.

PinstripesPlus.com: I know Domingo Acevedo didn't pitch a ton of games in the Gulf Coast League this year but I'm sure you got to see quite a bit of him in Extended Spring Training and Instructs too. What are your impressions of him?

Pat Osborn: His velocity is what stands out first and foremost along with his size. He's a big kid. I think the first couple of times I saw him pitch it was early in Extended [Spring Training] and he was hitting 100 mph consistently. Right then and there the kid jumps out at you. But then he flashes this plus changeup as well which is very rare for a young kid like that, especially for a kid that throws so hard. He's a great kid. He works hard, he wants to learn English, speaks [English] pretty well right now actually, but he's another guy you can tell has a lot of character. That's not going to be an issue. The breaking ball is coming. Jose Rosado, who was my pitching coach, did an outstanding job of helping Domingo out in that area. I think it started out more as a slurvy breaking ball and he and 'Rosey' got it tightened up to where it was coming in 82-84 mph which from what I know is where our pitching guys wanted it. It's a slider now. It's more of a true slider. He's going to be a guy to watch. Anytime you've got a kid like that with that type of arm who can flash two average to above average pitches you know you've got something special.

PinstripesPlus.com: On the other side you've got Nestor Cortes, not nearly as tall and doesn't throw anywhere near as hard, and yet he seems to really know how to pitch. What are your thoughts on him?

Osborn: Yeah I made the comment to people throughout the year that Nestor's a kid that is going to pitch for a long time. He just has that ability -- he knows what's he's doing, he's advanced for his age. His stuff won't jump out at you but he's sneaky. He'll run it up there 88-89 mph. Jose Rosado taught him a cutter which I think will be a big pitch for him to get in on right-handed hitters. And then he throws his changeup which is probably his best pitch. He competes, he's not not scared, and he's going to give you everything he's got every time out. He's going to pitch for a long time.

PinstripesPlus.com: Let's talk about another lefty, Carlos Diaz. I know he walked the ball park this year but stuff-wise what did you see from him?

Osborn: He's got good stuff. It's really good stuff. It was just kind of mind boggling because you look at his year last year and he didn't walk anybody. And then this year he came over and maybe it was just a change of scenery or whatever it may have been, he just struggled to throw the ball over the plate. Stuff-wise though it's an eye-opener. He's a 6-foot-3, 6-foot-4, skinny left-hander who will throw it up there 90-92 mph with a slider that's a swing and miss pitch. The changeup I think is coming. He's somebody I think you drool over to develop. I think he's one of those kids. You don't see it that often, a 6-foot-4 lefty with the ability to potentially be a starter mixing in three of four different pitches.

PinstripesPlus.com: The obvious answer is then he just needs to throw more strikes.

Osborn: Yeah he just needs to throw strikes. If he can get to where he can repeat his delivery and he has better direction to home plate -- that was something Rosie was working on with him, he has a tendency to fall to the third base side of the mound that caused him a lot of problems -- it gives him a better chance to throw more strikes. He's going to fine.

PinstripesPlus.com: What can you tell us about Jonathan Padilla? He had some solid peripherals this year.

Osborn: He's a bulldog. He's a little guy but you put him on that mound and you'd think he's Mariano Rivera, and I think he thinks it too which is why he has success. Average stuff -- he's 88 and might touch 90-91 mph on a good day. His breaking ball is his out-pitch. It seems to give a lot of guys trouble. It's a tight slurve, hard slurvy -- it's not a tight slider and it's not a true curveball. But it has some bite and it generates a lot of swings and misses. He's a good athlete, real good off of the mound. He's one of those guys that if you have the bases loaded and no outs, and you want to give yourself the best chance to win you want Jonathan out there. He's a bulldog.

PinstripesPlus.com: Would Jose Pena fit in that category too? It's tough to have any better numbers than he had this past year. Talk about his stuff.

Osborn: I told him at the end of the year that he was probably the biggest reason we ended up where we were. He came down from Staten Island which probably didn't make him happy but he continued to work hard, he never complained, and like you said his numbers speak for themselves. It's a different arm slot. It's not side-arm, it's not three-quarters, but it generates some deception. It's kind of a short-arm -- it's hard to explain. It creates a ton of deception though. He's got one of those fastballs that people say it seems to rise. He can throw that high fastball all of the time and guys offer at it, and either swing through it or pop it up. And then he'll drop down and throw a little slider off of it that gave guys fits. He's very, very competitive, another bulldog. He's very composed on the mound. He doesn't show a lot of emotion. He's very confident too. You can tell he knows he's going to get the job done.

PinstripesPlus.com: He's more of a 90-91 mph guy?

Osborn: If that. I bet he's more 87-89 mph. He may touch 90-91 mph every once in a while but he's got some deception like I said and he throws that high fastball and guys just chase it. When it crosses the plate it's at the same level when it was released out of his hand. It doesn't have that down angle. It's deceptive, guys offer at it, and they just can't on top of it.

PinstripesPlus.com: What about Eduardo Rivera?

Osborn: He's intimidating. He's a big, big kid. He's another guy with really good stuff but he has to throw more strikes. Power arm, pretty good breaking ball, but he just has to throw more strikes. I think he can just pitch with his fastball and get a lot of outs but he's got to throw the ball over the plate and challenge guys.


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