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 six of this multi-part series we get his take on the debut of Drew Finley, what progress he saw from Simon De La Rosa and Juan Jimenez, to get his thoughts on just how good Nestor Cortes could be, how big of a 'sleeper' prospect Brody Koerner is, and much, much more!.

PinstripesPlus.com: Let's move on to the Pulaski staff and get your initial impressions of right-hander Drew Finley.

Borrell: Really advanced kid. Obviously with his background you'd certainly expect that. This is a kid that came in and we pushed him. That's one of the first times we've had a high school pitcher skip over the GCL all together and go straight to a short-season [league], and he more than held his own. In fact, in pretty much every start he had dominating innings and strung together some really good outings. The fastball is up to 94 mph, he spins his curveball extremely well, and to his credit really wanted to work on and develop that changeup throughout the season. He's a good kid, he knows exactly what he needs to work on to get better, obviously the result of his upbringing in the game, and we expect some pretty good things from him.

PinstripesPlus.com: Is there a comparison between him and Brady Lail at similar points in their careers? It seems like they have similar stuff, similar command and pitch-ability, etc. Do you see the comparisons between the two?

Borrell: Oh yes. Mr. Finley has a little bit more velo than Lail did when he first came in but yeah, the curveball is very similar, good strike-throwers, so yeah that's a really good comparison.

PinstripesPlus.com: Let's talk about Nestor Cortes. He had a strong season this year down there in Pulaski.

Borrell: It was great. I love watching that kid pitch. You look at him and he's 87-90 mph, he'll touch some 91s, but these guys don't see his fastball. he has great deception, he throws a ton of strikes to both sides of the plate, he's got a nice changeup, and his breaking ball -- he has two of them -- he has a pretty good chance to be that lefty that's going to defy the odds and pitch a lot here in the next couple of years.

PinstripesPlus.com: Well as I just did with Finley and Lail the first comparison that comes to mind watching Nestor pitch is Daniel Camarena. Is that a fair comparison?

Borrell: Yeah, very. Both kids know how to pitch, they know how to sequence, they control the running game, both of them have solid secondary pitches, they're both good athletes, so yeah, that's a good comparison.

PinstripesPlus.com: Let's move on to Simon De La Rosa. He has a big-time arm and I'm sure the emphasis for him is throwing more strikes and limiting the walks. Talk about his strike-throwing; is it getting better and how is the changeup in particular progressing?

Borrell: The changeup is coming along. He's just going to have that different changeup. It's not going to have the big fade or big bottom, or anything like that. It's going to be a relatively straight changeup but he threw it in some situations this year that he normally wouldn't have thrown them in and probably would have given up a few more hits than he would have liked but Justin Pope did a great job with him just keeping him in games and helping him repeat his delivery. I just talked about Nestor's deceptive fastball and Simon has the same thing, and he's 92-95 mph. He could go through a game just throwing his fastball and he would be just fine.

PinstripesPlus.com: I asked Gil Patterson before the season began if De La Rosa could be a guy who could move quicker if he was switched to the bullpen. I realize he's not too old when it comes to experience but he is older age-wise. Is there a temptation to just throw him in the bullpen and let him run with it?

Borrell: Yeah but I think our philosophy going forward is going to be our best arms we're trying to get them as many innings as possible, regardless of their age, especially with Simon. Simon had some injury issues early and yeah he may be a little more advanced in terms of age than some other guys but when you have an arm like that we're certainly going to try to put him in the best situation for him to succeed and for us to create as much value as we can.

PinstripesPlus.com: Okay, then would the same hold true for Juan Jimenez?

Borrell: Yeah, the two times I saw him in Pulaski he was touching 97 mph. He certainly has a good arm [too] and obviously for him it's always been about the health. He showed this year that he could stay healthy and he gave us a good amount of innings. He'll also be in that discussion next year of 'do we start, do we relieve, what's the best for him' an ultimately it's going to come down to the health of his arm.

PinstripesPlus.com: How do his secondary pitches look thus far?

Borrell: The slider is quick. It's short but shows consistent spin. I've seen it as a Major League pitch one game and then the next game just so-so. It's certainly in there though and he's got a nice changeup. But the ball just flies out of his hand.

PinstripesPlus.com: You mentioned the ball just flying out of his hand -- I know the same holds true for Eduardo Rivera. Talk about his development thus far. The numbers say he's throwing more strikes but is throwing more strikes with the same power he was reputed to have down in the Dominican Summer League earlier in his career?

Borrell: Yeah, just to get the redundancy out of the way, 'Popey' did a great job with him and all of these guys. He went from eight walks per nine innings to four and half this year and the velo, I've seen him 99 mph pretty much every outing. And at Instructs he was up to 99 mph again. He'll average 94-96 mph so that's obviously a big power arm. Again though, yeah the fastball is 95-96 mph but it actually plays a little bit more than that just by the spin he puts on it. He has a great curveball, as good as it gets, and we started working on his changeup at Instructional League.

PinstripesPlus.com: So just like with De La Rosa, Rivera isn't somebody who should be overlooked just because of his older age?

Borrell: Yeah. Some of these guys just take longer to develop and he just happens to be one of them. But goodness gracious, he's as electric as it gets.

PinstripesPlus.com: I know Adonis Rosa doesn't throw as hard as some of these other Pulaski guys we've been talking about but I know the changeup is quality. Is he a guy with some ceiling?

Borrell: Yeah without a doubt. The kid just turned 19 years old and [went to Pulaski] because we knew this kid was going to throw strikes. He's got a little extra to his fastball. It only registers up to 93 mph but we do know it plays harder than that. He did a great job all year and throws his changeup. He has an okay breaking ball. It's getting better and for a kid his age he's just trying to get as consistent as he can with the breaking ball and changeup, but the strike zone ability is through the roof so we're just going to try to get him stronger and go from there.

PinstripesPlus.com: Talking with baseball people and team officials Brody Koerner is a name that keeps popping up. What can you tell us about his game right now?

Borrell: Hats off to our scouts for this one because this kid shows up and it's 93-96 mph with sink. He's got a Major League curveball, a Major League slider, and a Major League changeup. I'm not sure how it lasted that long in the draft but we're very happy to have him. He's a great kid who works his tail off. He was at Instructional League learning how to be a starter.

PinstripesPlus.com: Well that was going to be my next question -- with the amount of quality pitches that you mentioned it would seem starting is an option for him.

Borrell: Yeah it's not an option for him, it's going to happen. That'll be good.

PinstripesPlus.com: I know he didn't pitch too much for Pulaski but let's talk about David Palladino. I know he's been a bit of a project given his size. He was a little bit all over the place assignment-wise this year. Talk about his development thus far. Is the stuff starting to get better?

Borrell: Yeah he was. Just like you said though, the kid is 6-foot-8, 6-foot-9, and he came into the year with five pitches. We kind of did with him what we did with Rookie [Davis]. We wanted him to master three pitches and go from there, and once he did that you could tell the results were much better, the confidence was much better, and he was able to repeat his delivery at a more consistent rate. He's 22 years old I believe -- if he's 23 he just turned it -- but I've seen him up to 95 mph and I know there's more in there. I know that and I've seen it before. We just want to make sure that he repeats his delivery and the more innings he gets the better he's going to be.

PinstripesPlus.com: I know when he first signed he was more 88-91 mph. Velocity-wise is he higher now?

Borrell: He averaged 91-93 mph and it just depended on the game. Some games he would average 91 mph and some games he would bump up higher.


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