Robert Pimpsner

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 five of this multi-part series we get his initial impressions of James Kaprielian, what progress he saw from Domingo Acevedo, to get his thoughts on just how good Jeff Degano could be, how big of a 'sleeper' prospect Will Carter is, and much, much more!. Let's move on to James Kaprielian. What are your initial impressions of him? From the time he was drafted to the end of Instructs how did he look?

Borrell: He's everything that you'd want in a pitcher and a little bit more. Obviously he's had a tough upbringing especially with his mother in the last two years but as good as he is on the field and everybody knows that he's just that good a person off of the field. Great makeup, great character, great integrity, everything that we want with the Yankees, that's what this kid is. I'll tell you what, as advertised he was 91-93 mph and touched 95 mph but in Instructs he was 93-96 mph. His first game he averaged 95 mph and was averaging 94-95 mph the entire Instructional League. He has two really good breaking balls. The curveball is a little bit less consistent than the slider but still has nice shape and good bite to it. The changeup acts like a split, he throws strikes, and he's a good athlete. That's the thing though when he was drafted, people got the impression he was more of a pitch-ability guy than a stuff guy but it seems the stuff is better than initially advertised, no?

Borrell: Yeah, when I saw him I said 'this is not just one of those pitch-ability guys'. The ball flies out of his hand, he has an idea of what he's doing, and for us to get him where we did I think it's a steal, not the other way around. I know it's tough and I'm probably putting in a spot here asking this question but in your opinion is he a guy who could move up the minor league ladder pretty quickly with the stuff that he has, the command that he has, and the makeup that you mentioned?

Borrell: Oh yes, I'm sure that we have every intention of moving him as quick as possible. A guy with his pedigree and with the way he pitches, and how he is on and off the field, he's going to push us to move him. it won't be the other way around where we're rushing him. He'll let us know really quick that he's ready and we're going to give him every opportunity to push himself as quick as he can go. Let's move on to another pitcher who grabbed headlines up there in Staten Island this year, Domingo Acevedo. I was expecting a big year from him and he had a big year. It's probably a little unfair but I was expecting even more from him, perhaps jumping up multiple levels in 2015. Everyone knows he throws hard and he has a quality changeup but talk about the breaking ball in particular. How good is that pitch now?

Borrell: I'll tell you what, Butch Henry did a great job with him during the summer. Obviously I saw him a lot but the more times I saw him in Staten Island and then Instructional League it was just leaps and bounds ahead of where it was. It's going to be a usable Major League pitch and I've seen some quality hitters out in the Arizona Fall League swing and miss at it already. We challenged him with that assignment out there to the Fall League and he's more than held his own. That's a testament to what kind of kid he is now and how hard he works. Obviously we wanted him to pitch 130-140 innings this year and we had the blister issues early but heck, New York Penn League Pitcher of the Year and he certainly deserved that after the season he had. It's a tough comparison because he's so much bigger than Luis Severino but there seems to be some apt comparisons between the two because they both throw hard, they both throw strikes, and they both have the quality changeup. Severino moved quickly. Now that Acevedo has a much better breaking ball and hopefully has those blisters behind him, is he a guy who, like you said with Kaprielian, could force you guys to push him more going forward next year?

Borrell: That's what we're hoping. We certainly hope that and like I said with 'Kap', we're not here to slow these guys down. If they show they're ready then we'll certainly moved them. The same thing with Domingo. We're going to move him at a rate that we think is conducive to his success but at the same time if he shows us he's ready early then we'll try to get him going. Let's talk about Jeff Degano. He only had a handful of appearances this year, especially not pitching at Instructs, but what are your early impressions of him?

Borrell: Great athlete. I didn't see him at his strongest down in the GCL. He probably took a little time off before he signed and the signing process took a little bit longer but he was back up to 93 mph in Staten Island and I can certainly see why we drafted him where we did. Great athlete, repeatable delivery, had performance in college, up to 95 mph, spins his breaking ball really well. We'll have to develop that changeup but he's another kid when he shows he's healthy hopefully he'll give us a lot of innings next year and get him going. Is that the big thing for him, rapidly getting that changeup going?

Borrell: Yeah, he got to go through college with just that fastball-curveball combination. He has a changeup -- we've seen it -- there just wasn't much of a need to throw it too much in college. That's already been a central part of his development and he'll continue to do that. A guy getting a lot of love for his arm is right-hander Will Carter. Talk about him.

Borrell: I'm a big fan of Will. We had him up to 98 [mph] and he sits 93-95 mph. He has a great curveball, the changeup has some nice bottom to it, has great deception. His thing is just staying out on the mound and being able to pitch. The guy works his butt off and he's going to keep on doing that. We've got to make sure he's healthy and strong coming into next year, and heck, I just gave you three Major League pitches. That pretty much answers your question on how we feel about him. Three Major League pitches -- I know he was a reliever this year but he sounds like a starting pitcher. Is he a candidate to go into the rotation next year?

Borrell: Oh yeah, there's a good chance he's going to be throwing a lot of innings next year. Let's talk about Luis Cedeno. He kind of gets lost in the shuffle.

Borrell: He was really young, obviously. He had a great season in the GCL last year so we wanted to push him up to Charleston. Inevitably it was start him up in Charleston -- it wasn't a demotion to Staten Island -- it's just that we had some guys who were going to pitch in Charleston. So he finished up the season in Staten Island. He's up to 95 mph, he's working on the curveball, the changeup is a little firm, but he has a great ability to throw strikes. Sometimes though he shies away form that contact a little bit so we're going to have to keep him as aggressive as possible. That was it. The delivery hasn't changed. It's just a matter of him staying confident in his pitch-package because he has really good stuff, it's just a matter of him trusting it and letting it loose. I would think year walk-wise is going to be an anomaly compared to what he's going to do.

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