Mullee Has Come A Long Way

TRENTON, NJ - TRENTON, NJ — — Back in 2010, if you would have told Connor Mullee he would be pitching in the New York Yankees organization, he might have thought you were crazy. After all, the former standout at Saint Peter’s College in Jersey City was a lifelong shortstop. Now in his sixth season in the Yankees farm system, Mullee has done enough to impress the organization.

“I’ll tell you what, Mullee has come a long way. He’s a kid that when we first got him, I thought he was a little shy,” Trenton manager Al Pedrique said. “The command of his pitches was just okay when we first met him, but as the season goes on we’re seeing more and more good things from him.”

Before being drafted, Mullee had only pitched six innings in his life. When a mound is as unfamiliar as it was to him, a shaky start might be expected. But for the 6-foot-3 right-hander, he took the transition in stride.

“The transition was definitely a little tough at first, as you can imagine,” said Mullee. “But I had a great support staff around me and great coaches, so I had a pretty good first year. I think the biggest thing was gaining a little more confidence.”

In his rookie season with the Yankees of the Gulf Coast League, Mullee had some impressive numbers. He finished the 2010 campaign with a record of 2-1 and an ERA of only 1.64 in 14 appearances. He struck out 20, while only allowing one homer the entire year.

The only negative aspect that came out of Mullee’s transition to the mound were injuries.

“My arm definitely wasn’t used to it,” he said. “So I struggled with injuries for a while. It’s tough to have to miss so much baseball when it’s what you love to do, but you definitely appreciate the game more when you’re away from it. It just made me want to come back even stronger.”

Unfortunately, Mullee would have to miss the entirety of the 2011 and 2013 seasons and would undergo Tommy John surgery.

In 2014, Mullee made his return with the Staten Island Yankees of the NY-Penn League and picked up right where he left off. In 14 relief appearances, he finished with a 2-1 record and a 2.01 ERA. He struck out 28 and walked only six.

His performance would promote him to low-A Charleston midway through the season where he recorded an 0.54 ERA in 16.2 innings.

Mullee began 2015 with high-A Tampa but would not stay there for long. After a 2.13 ERA in ten games, he would be promoted to Double-A Trenton.

Pedrique mentioned that Mullee’s continued success was not without hard work.

“One of the things that we wanted to work on with him was the velocity and angle of his fastball. He worked a lot with Jose Rosado our pitching coach and his velocity is up to 92-93, and if I’m not mistaken even 95,” Pedrique said prior to Mullee's promotion to Triple-A on Tuesday. “Now he’s a key guy for us out of the bullpen. He’s a guy we look to in key situations.”

Pitching coach Jose Rosado also talked about the developments he has seen from the 27-year old.

“It’s pretty amazing that when we first saw him he was throwing his fastball at 88-89 and now he’s up to mid-90s,” he said. “He has his confidence back and he’s a guy who knows what he’s doing when he’s out there.”

Mullee’s numbers with Trenton have not been the best of his career, but they were enough to see him promoted to Triple-A Scranton on September 1. In 24 games with the Thunder, he finished with a 3-3 record and a 3.40 ERA.

The former college shortstop who has endured three Tommy John surgeries and is now closer than ever to the big leagues. Mullee feels that it’s only a matter of staying healthy and keeping his confidence if he wants to continue to be successful in the Yankees organization.

“I’ve been feeling pretty good with my stuff lately. My velocity is up from last year,” he said. “I’ve also rediscovered my slider within the last few days. The arm definitely gets a little tired in August but other than that I’m feeling really well."

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