Patrick Teale

We sat down with Yankees minor league field coordinator Jody Reed to discuss his opinions on Instructs.

We sat down with Yankees' minor league field coordinator Jody Reed for a Q&A session to discuss Instructs. In the final part of this three-part series we get his take on the return of Luis Torrens, how Domingo Acevedo and James Kaprielian looked, get his thoughts on development of Jose Campos and Rookie Davis, and much, much more!. Let's move on to Ricardo Ferreira.  We've been talking about all of this shortstop depth and Ferreira is part of that depth, and yet he seems to have begun moving to the outfield.  Is he transitioning to the outfield now or is it just a way to get him some at-bats?  What's the deal with him now?

Reed: No, we're transitioning him to the outfield.  This guy has elite speed.  It's elite; 80 run speed.  He can't run, he can fly.  The decision was shortstop/middle infield was clearly a strong position for us and we have a player here that has elite speed, switch-hits, and if he stays in the middle infield where is he on the depth chart?  But if we can take and transition this speed and this athleticism and move it out to centerfield where clearly the organization doesn't have the same depth as in the middle infield and quite honestly it's in this kid's best skillset to do that, why not?  Why wouldn't we do what's the best for the kid? Obviously it's just in the beginning stages but what are the early returns?  How does he look out there so far?

Reed: He looks great and quite honestly one of the biggest reasons this kid is going to excel is we have one of the best outfield coaches and one of the best base running coaches in the game in Reggie Willits.  Just seeing the early returns on what 'Rico' has done in one Instructional League -- we moved him to the outfield in one Instructional League -- to watch him play there at the end it was like 'wow, this is going to be good'. Alexander Palma didn't have a very good year.  He dug himself quite a hole earlier in the season that took him forever to dig himself out of numbers-wise, but how did he look down there at Instructs.

Reed: He got dinged up there in Instructs.  He came in early and did well [initially[ but then got hurt so you didn't get to see a long look of him, and then did well there at the end, but it just wasn't a long look at him.  Instructional League for him kind of got stalled. We're talking about injuries now so I'd be remiss if I didn't ask about Luis Torrens.  How did he look after the shoulder surgery?

Reed: Well he actually swung the bat very well.  He was able to DH the entire Instructional League and he swung the bat well, I mean really well.  Here's an example of a kid, a young player who's starting to get that power in his body.  You see it.  You're like 'wow, this kid's starting to get that man body' and it's showing.  He swung the bat very well.  Believe it or not but the last two games of Instructional League he caught behind the plate.  So he was able to get some playing time at catcher behind the dish the last couple of days so he should be good to go for Spring Training. Well that's got to be exciting for you guys.  We're talking about all of these teenagers and Torrens is still a teenager, and you'll have him back leading the charge of these youngsters so to speak.

Reed: It's funny, it just hit me when you said teenagers.  These are teenagers.  We're talking about the greatest Major League team in the history of the world and we're talking about the teenagers in the organization.  That's fun.  Come on, that's exciting! That was going to be my next question.  The Yankee farm system as a whole had a very good year this season.  Forget for a moment guys like Cale Coshow and Rookie Davis, guys who made significant jumps in their prospect status and there's a bunch of guys like that.  You also had guys like Luis Severino, Greg Bird, and others who made significant contributions at the big league level.  You graduated a lot of guys to the big leagues but it also seems like here you are, you have this next wave and it seems to be at least in the early going to be a bigger wave and that's got to be encouraging and exciting to you as the guy in charge of the farm system, no?

Reed: It's fun.  Everywhere we go, everywhere I go, every affiliate you go in and you're like 'sweet', there's at least a handful of guys where you're like 'let's see where we're at'.  You know they've got a chance to keep climbing the ladder.  That doesn't happen a whole lot but it's happening now.  It's fun.  I think 18 rookies made their [big league] debut for the Yankees this year.  Now obviously that can't happen every year.  At some point there's a saturation point.  It's a good time right now because of the combination of the players we have coming up through the organization and I think the culture of the game.  You really need these young players to respond for various reasons.  Giving our players in the organization the opportunity and having them respond, it's a lot of fun.  It's fun for everybody. Let's move on to some of the pitchers.  You mentioned Chance Adams sticking out.  What did you like about him?  What stood out?

Reed: I like his bulldog attitude quite honestly.  He's fearless.  We just drafted him so initial impressions for me are big.  This guy wants the ball, he comes right at you, he's fearless [and says] 'let's go, let's compete'.  For me that's a big part of the makeup of a Major League pitcher. Everyone knows he throws hard but what have you seen from secondary stuff-wise?

Reed: It's not that he throws hard and he's got a real good slider, and yeah he's got some good secondary pitches -- that's great -- I've seen a lot of guys have that but they're not successful.  Why is that?  Because Chance Adams is fearless.  He just competes.  He gets out there and says 'let's go.  It's me against you, let's go'. I'm glad you gave that answer because to me Gabe Encinas has wipeout stuff and yet he still walks way too many batters.  In fact, I think his stuff gets totally underrated by many simply because the numbers haven't been great thus far. Have you see any development in his command, control, and even his go-get-them attitude that leads you to believe more strikes are coming down the road where the stuff can play better?

Reed: That was probably Gabe's single biggest objective down at Instructional League, let's see if we can increase your fastball command.  The stuff is good, it's electric.  This guy's got a live wire for an arm.  He's got big league stuff.  But like you said with the walks, he needs to develop the fastball command.  Everything works off of that.  Everything.  That was his objective down at Instructional League.  We saw some improvement at times.  Sometimes it's just a matter of something clicking; the pitching coach says something.  It doesn't even have to be a pitching coach.  It could be anybody for that matter.  There were some instances there where we saw some improvement and we said 'good, let's see where this takes him going forward'.  Gabe will be one of those guys you want to keep on in Spring Training and early on to see if it did click. I don't care about Jose Campos' numbers in 2015 coming back from Tommy John surgery.  However, was he starting to resemble the pitcher he was stuff-wise before the surgery by season's end?

Reed: Again, I wasn't here to see him [pre-surgery].  I know that we are very high on him.  He is coming back from rehabbing.  More than anything we just need to be patient, let him get his legs back underneath him and get some innings under his belt, and see where he's at. Let's talk about the story among the pitchers this year, Domingo Acevedo.  Obviously the New York Penn League Pitcher of the Year and he's throwing 100 mph-plus, he's out in the Arizona Fall League and he's not a small man, I just want to know how is that breaking ball coming along.  Everyone knows he throws hard, throws strikes, and has a great changeup, but in particular how is the breaking ball coming along?

Reed: It's progressing.  Like we've been talking though, it takes time.  It takes time to develop a Major League player; Major League pitcher, Major League hitter, Major League fielder.  It takes a lot of time, a lot of reps.  He's what, 21 years old?  That's not a lot of innings and not a lot of experience; that's a junior in college, maybe a senior, just coming out [to pro ball].  He's moving forward with it.  Obviously he has a big arm, the advanced pitches with some of the other ones, but you need some patience to see how the breaking ball plays out.  It's kind of hard when you throw 100 mph and get guys out to want to throw the breaking ball.  It's tough to tell him to keep throwing the ball when he can say 'but wait, I can throw 100 mph and get these guys out now'.  I'm actually out in Arizona and I'll be watching him pitch.  This is actually a nice bellweather to see where he's at because these will be the best hitters he's faced by far.  I'm interested to watch what happens to see where we're at. If you take the height equation out of it there seems to be a good comparison between Acevedo and Luis Severino; plus fastballs, both throw strikes, both have advanced changeups, both need work on the breaking ball, etc.  Do you see the comparison if you take out the obvious height difference?

Reed: It's almost two different players for me.  Now they both have that bulldog mentality, that go out there and compete, go right at them approach, that goes without saying but 'Sevi' is an athlete.  This is an athletic pitcher, not that Domingo is not, but he's [Acevedo] is a tall, leveraging pitcher.  'Sevi' is just a flat-out athlete.  Just their body type if you will are completely different, what their body allows them to do. You mentioned James Kaprielian standing out in camp; how did he stand out?  What did you like?

Reed: What don't you like?  He's got Major League stuff, three pitches that he can command right now, the mentality is good, he's displaying leadership qualities from day one.  This is a guy -- I'll be honest with you -- I wouldn't be surprised if he has an agenda and wants to climb the ladder quick.  This guy's got stuff.  He's got the capabilities to move up the ranks pretty quick, I think.  He wasn't a number one [pick] for nothing. Talk about the development you saw from Rookie Davis this year.  He didn't have a good year at all last season and he's the first to admit it, and then this year he seemed to have turned it around.  What did you see from him development-wise?

Reed: Rookie's growing up.  Again, like we've been talking about, he went from being 20 years old to 21, he worked hard on his body in the offseason, got the power in the lower-half, and it all of the sudden it showed up when he went out on the bump.  This is what happens.  We just have to wait for these guys' bodies to develop for the power to get into them so they can do the things that they were taught to do and have it start showing up on the field.  Rookie is a great example of that.  This kid is growing up and it's showing up out on the field. I want to ask you about these two guys together, both of whom are later round picks with some big arms that apparently, from all accounts, had a very good Instructional League; Brody Koerner and Will Carter.  Talk about those guys, they seems to have opened some eyes.

Reed: Good stuff.  Literally from the first day they walked in and saw their first bullpens and sim games, you're like 'wow, these guys have some good stuff" and they continue to have good stuff.  Is there some excitement with these two?  Yeah because they're good. I'd be remiss again if I didn't ask about Dietrich Enns.  I know it wasn't a full season but statistically he had about as good a return from Tommy John surgery as anyone could possibly have.  That's no small task.

Reed: In all honesty Patrick, the last day or two he pitched and I thought the ball was coming out great.  I thought his command was good, I thought he felt comfortable, it wasn't max-effort, it was really good.  I didn't know Dietrich before he got hurt so I was asking around 'before he got hurt was he this good?' and everybody was like 'yeah, he was good'  I don't know if you're asking if he's back to form, I don't know because I don't know where he was before but I like what I see right now. 

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