Patrick Teale

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

We sat down with Yankees' minor league pitching coordinator Danny Borrell for a Q&A session. In part four of this multi-part series we get his take on the progress of Jose Mesa Jr. and Joey Maher, if Sean Carley started showing some consistency, if Jordan Foley is still a 'sleeper' prospect, how Caleb Frare looked in his return from injury, and much, much more!. When Sean Carley entered the system a year ago he seemed to have the chance to be last year's version of Chance Adams, albeit in more of a long-term reliever role, as somebody who could move quickly. He didn't have the greatest numbers a year ago and was up and down this year too. Did you see more consistency from him stuff-wise this year?

Borrell: It was consistent. At the end he was battling some shin splints and I'm sure that bothered him a majority of the season so I think the numbers were a little skewed because number one the kid wants to pitch everyday so I'm sure he didn't lead as much as others. Again, we brought him back down to Extended [Spring Training] just to try to get a little bit more out of his delivery because when he signed up in Staten Island he was up to 95-96 mph. He started out a little bit slow this year so we brought him back down to Extended just to get that athleticism back into his delivery and it certainly worked. He was back up in the low to mid-90s so hopefully he comes back healthy next year. He still has the slider, he throws a lot of two-seams in on the hands of righties and breaks a lot of bats, and he's got a nice little changeup. To me Jordan Foley's success this year is one of the more underrated stories down in the farm system. Talk about what you saw from him. He was a 'sleeper' entering the season and now I'm not sure he's a 'sleeper' any longer.

Borrell: Yeah I wouldn't think he is. I'll tell you what, he did a great job filling in for us a Triple-A a few times as well. That's just a testament to where he's come from and how he's been raised. He handled that very well. I watched him pitch one of his games in Triple-A. His fastball will pop 95 mph but there's a lot of funk to it. I like his delivery; it's funky, it's different, and his fastball plays big. He's got a slider that's up to 88 mph, his split is a swing and miss pitch to both lefties and righties. Now we're going to introduce something a little slower for him, maybe get a curveball around 80-82 mph so when he gets to the upper-levels he can control those swings a little better. He's certainly a guy and he'll tell us when it's time for him not to start but the kid's got a good arm and he showed that he can repeat it. It was a good season for him. I thought Caleb Frare had a really good season after missing two straight years with injuries. Talk specifically about the stuff he showed in what essentially could be labeled his debut season really?

Borrell: I told him this too but I was just so happy for him with everything the kid has gone through. Big fastball up to 96 mph and he'll average anywhere from 92-94 mph. He's working on a breaking ball, he's got a nice little changeup, and I think he led professional baseball in pickoffs. I don't know the number but it's a huge number so that's another part of his game that he has. It was a great season for him and he certainly deserved that promotion up to Tampa at the end. I know since it was his first season back in some time that you guys were probably trying to limit innings and that was a reason for the shift to the bullpen but is he now a candidate to move back to the starting rotation going forward or has he found a home in the bullpen?

Borrell: Yes it's what you said, it was his first year back and we just wanted to give him some innings this season and finish him healthy but we are going to have that discussion because, like I said, the fastball was up to 96 mph from the left side. His slider is mid-80s right now. He'll get a little more consistent with it as he goes so we'll keep on flirting with that, maybe give him a true curveball, but do what's best for him. Let's move on to Joey Maher because he, like Frare, missed a lot of time the previous two seasons. We all know he had a great year numbers-wise but where is he with his stuff. He had a considerable ceiling at one point -- is he starting to tap it?

Borrell: I saw him top out at 94-95 mph and what a great season for him, just for him to come out and finish the season healthy. I know he was in the discussion for Sally League Pitcher of the Year and ended up getting beat out by someone else but what a great year. Fastball, curveball, changeup, but has just a funky delivery with a lot of deception and the numbers back that up. I know the curveball was a big emphasis for him not just entering the season but in previous seasons. How much better has that pitch specifically gotten?

Borrell: Just for him to repeat as many times as he did and throw as many innings as he did the curveball got better throughout the season. He can throw it for strikes, he can get a lot of strikeouts with it. He did a great job and Tim Norton did a heck of a job with him. We have to talk about Garrett Mundell because the guy still hasn't given up a run yet in his career. The numbers are ridiculous. What's the stuff like and what is he like?

Borrell: Remember Grant Duff? He looks just like Grant Duff and he throws just like him. It's the same slot. Obviously 'Duffer' was up to 98-99 mph. I think with Garrett it's in there for him. I think by the time he got to us he was a little tired after the season [in college] going back and forth from starting to relieving. I saw his fastball up to 94-95 mph but more in the 91-93 mph range. I know there's a lot more in there though. I'm talking to the scouts and just like a lot of the college kids they show up and are a little worn out from a long year but pitch-ability-wise he certainly didn't show that. I think he found a home in the late innings and he got through the season without giving up a run on his fastball. I know he has a nice split, I've seen that. I know he can spin the baseball well. Anytime you make your debut and you don't give up a run you're doing alright. So even though he didn't throw them very much this season he does possess the quality secondary pitches to maybe unleash them more next season?

Borrell: Oh yeah, it's certainly in there. But you know how it is, he pitched in those late-inning games and he was having so much success with his fastball that is was like 'let's let the kid pitch, let's let him succeed, and during the offseason we'll develop those other pitches as well'. What a great start to his career. Let's move on to Matt Wotherspoon. He had a very solid season this year and he continues to fly under the radar a little bit.

Borrell: Man that's another one. He started the season in Extended. He wasn't an afterthought by any means but we had so many quality arms that we had to leave him back. He started throwing harder and harder, and he's one of the few who once we put him into the rotation was throwing harder out of the rotation than he was as a reliever. Great sinking fastball, a nice four-seamer up to 95 mph, actually a little bit higher at times. He'd average 92-93 in his outings and does a great job with his fastball over to both sides of the plate. He has a nice little changeup and Tim Norton did a heck of a job with his slider. His slider was up to 86 mph at the end of the year and getting some swings and misses. Let's talk about Jose Mesa Jr. I know he's a draft pick from a couple of years ago but he seems to be coming into his own numbers-wise. Where is he stuff-wise these days?

Borrell: I'll tell you what, he put himself on the map. What a good kid. He worked his tail off coming back from injury and he got to the point where he was 93-95 mph every outing and he finished the year in Charleston at 93-95 mph. He's always had the ability to fill the zone with strikes and he did it this year except he did it with some more power. It's not just about velocity but anytime you do that and spin the breaking ball well and he's got a nice changeup -- he did a nice job for us. You mentioned the breaking ball -- is it a slider or curveball?

Borrell: It's both; he has both. Talking with 'Norty' -- and by the way Tim Norton and Butch Henry did a great job with him -- his curveball at the beginning of the year was 70-71 mph and now it's 77-78 mph, and the slider is 82-84 mph. They're two disctint pitches and he can go to both of them. You mentioned the four pitches and the power increase -- is there a temptation to move him into the rotation or with his injury history does it seem more likely that he'll remain in the bullpen going forward?

Borrell: That's our goal, to make sure our best arms are put into a position to succeed and for us it's going to be in the rotation so he will certainly be in the [rotation] discussion.

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