We sat down with Yankees pitching coordinator Danny Borrell for a Q&A session to discuss the upper-level pitching prospects.

We sat down with Yankees' minor league pitching coordinator Danny Borrell for a Q&A session. In part two of this multi-part series we get his take on the breakout seasons of Rookie Davis and Cale Coshow, if Jose Campos looked better than his numbers suggested, if Kyle Haynes is somebody to watch, if Gabe Encinas is close to breaking out in his opinion, and much, much more!.

PinstripesPlus.com: Let's talk about Caleb Smith. I think for a while now he's just been one of these guys that's underrated. I think his stuff is underrated. In my opinion he can be nasty.

Borrell: Yeah he's such an enigma because he's got a funky delivery and he'll give you a few outings where he walks three, four, maybe even five guys and then he'll turn around and do what he did to finish the season, and just completely dominate a lineup. I've seen him up to 95 mph but he'll pitch comfortably at 90-92 mph. He's got a nice little changeup and he throws both a curveball and a slider. He only pitched 30 or 40 innings in Tampa last year so we pushed the envelope with him this year moving him up to Double-A and he certainly more than held his own.

PinstripesPlus.com: What's the big thing he needs to work on moving forward?

Borrell: Just consistent strikes, that's going to be his biggest thing. He knows it. He's one of the few guys that even though he doesn't throw 98 mph his fastball plays and the more aggressive he is in the zone the better he's going to be. He doesn't really need to command the ball as much as other guys do. If he just throws more strikes he's going to miss some bats.

PinstripesPlus.com: Let's talk about another injury guy, Conor Mullee. I don't know how anyone can not root for this kid. He's not even a kid anymore. He's a 27-year old man. We saw he pitched the whole year with good results but talk about his stuff. What did you see from him stuff-wise?

Borrell: I was there when he showed up when he first signed, the kid who had thrown one inning in his life. He's gone through his Tommy Johns and he just puts his head down and works. Just like you said, you can't do anything but root for him. He performed at every level; single-A, Double-A, Triple-A. He was up to 96 mph again. I'm just so happy for him. I just want him to get to the big leagues. What a great story that would be.

PinstripesPlus.com: He's still mostly two-seamers, right?

Borrell: Yeah he's still mostly two-seamers. He has just a smooth power delivery. It's amazing the power he generates with that effortless, smooth, easy delivery. He has a good changeup and a nice little slider. That slider has really turned into a good pitch. Greg Pavlik spent a couple of years with him and obviously sprayed some of that magic dust on him because he was absolutely great.

PinstripesPlus.com: Let's talk about Mark Montgomery. We know he has the killer slider and we know he puts up numbers, but where is the power in his arm? Is he back to where he was a couple of years ago power-wise?

Borrell: He has. It wasn't every outing but I certainly saw him on several occasions throughout the season and in Scranton he was [back to] 92-94 mph. I know Scotty Aldred sent me a text 'hey, this is the guy we've heard about'. The slider is still there and he was 92-94 mph on several occasions. We're very happy. I know it's been a tough go for him from where he was and lost a little bit velocity-wise but good for him this year.

PinstripesPlus.com: Let's talk about Kyle Haynes. He had a big year this season and really jumped up on the radar. What did you see from him this season?

Borrell: He came to Instructional League to work on a curveball and this kid has a chance to take off. Another guy that was a reliever that we moved into the rotation. He has elite velocity, a really good slider, the changeup is there -- I've seen him thrown some really good changeups to lefties and righties, and now we've introduced a curveball to him, and that should give him the ability to control swings much better -- speaking of under the radar, if he can just go out and throw consistent strikes he's got the chance to not just pitch for us but have a large impact for us. He averages 95 mph as a starter. He's one of the few guys who maintained his velocity and whose arm actually gets stronger as the game goes; pitch 101-115 he's still averaging 95 mph. It's in there and hopefully he gets his chance next year. His slider is a tick above Major League average. His changeup is knocking on Major League average and the curveball is early but it has the chance to be a plus Major League pitch. All he has to do is throw those strikes and he's going to be just fine. He got traded to us [from Pittsburgh] and it's not like he got lost in the reliever mix but we have a lot of power arms in the bullpen and he got almost a new life for him. It's a power arm out of the rotation and that's what we like.

PinstripesPlus.com: I'd be remiss if I didn't ask about what you saw from Jose Campos in his return season from Tommy John surgery this year. I know the numbers were not good at all but I also know you have to take those numbers returning from surgery with a huge grain of salt. What did you see from him stuff-wise? By season's end did you like what you saw from Campos?

Borrell: Yeah very misleading numbers. We don't look at the ERA. I watched him pitch a handful of games this year and every single game at Instructs and it's the same guy I saw two years ago before he got hurt in Charleston. I was lucky enough to have him in Charleston for that season and a half. Man, he's up to 97 mph now which I never saw before and averaging 93-94 mph. He has a good curveball and his changeup is firm but it's got pretty good deception. I'm not concerned at all with the numbers he put up. I was very excited about him answering the bell every five days. The kid's got the chance to be a work-horse.

PinstripesPlus.com: Let's move on to Cale Coshow because I think he's one of the bigger stories down on the farm this season. I don't want to say he came out of nowhere because he throws so hard and he's such a big dude that he's kind of hard to miss. Everyone knows he throws hard though. Talk about his secondary pitches in particular -- how are they progressing?

Borrell: A big reason we put him into the rotation was for him to work on those secondary pitches. Obviously he tops out at 100 mph; huge arm. He didn't need to throw his offspeed pitches as a closer in Charleston so it's one of those things where we challenged him with that promotion and put him into the rotation and his breaking ball -- he had the cutter and he still does, that's up to 91-92 mph and he could throw that in any count if he wanted to, that's how much confidence he has in it -- and at Instructs we worked on his slider and changeup. Both are going to be at least Major League average pitches. His changeup, the harder he throws it the better it is, and that's why he was at Instructs, to throw his offspeed pitches with conviction, to trust them, and just to know that these guys have to respect the fact that he averages 95 mph. He did a great job this year, good for him.

PinstripesPlus.com: So in your opinion he's a guy who put himself squarely on the map?

Borrell: Oh yeah. And he was there before but for him to do what he did out of the rotation, it's a testament to his work ethic and just him knowing that this has the chance to work. What a great year.

PinstripesPlus.com: You talk about a great year, let's move on to Rookie Davis. He had a great year, especially after a not-so-great season a year ago. I know his repertoire was pared down -- what did you pare him down to?

Borrell: Three pitches; he fastball, curveball, changeup. He's a kid who, number one, has a Major League cutter right now. But what we wanted him to do was master those three pitches and pitch like a power pitcher and he certainly did that. He's got a huge arm and he's got fastball command. I probably saw him seven to nine times this year and it seems every single game was a little bit better than the one before. I saw him up in Double-A and he did the same thing. The numbers weren't as great up there but at the same time he was just getting his feet wet. He had a great season. I saw him up to 97 mph every game and with that command it's very rare to find that.

PinstripesPlus.com: How about the changeup and curveball?

Borrell: The changeup is there. He did a great job developing that. Tommy [Phelps] and 'Rosie' did a great job of making him throw that changeup, having confidence in it. The curveball is a true quick power curveball now, up to 83-84 mph. The harder he throws it the better it is. And that's all on him. He did a great job of coming in [to the season] more mature, he worked his tail off all year, and the numbers were there because of that.

PinstripesPlus.com: I think Gabe Encinas is oh-so close to breaking out. I know the walks are problematic but my gosh, the stuff is just electric.

Borrell: Yeah I don't know if you can find many other guys with that arm and the ability to miss bats at the rate he does. Just like we're talking with some of these other guys, it's just going to take him a little bit longer. He has some moving parts to his delivery but when it clicks it's going to be like Rookie. He's going to have a huge season. He has the fastball and curveball, and I've seen games where the changeup is a Major League pitch. We'll take the walks now just because it's him getting some innings. It's going to click for him. He works his absolute tail off and I can't wait to watch it [the breakout] too because it's going to be fun when it clicks.


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