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We sat down with Yankees co-pitching coordinator Danny Borrell for a Q&A session.

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 thoughts on Dillon Tate [in the photo above] and Eric Swanson, if Daris Vargas or Cody Carroll are ready to take that next step, what kind of stuff he saw from Yefrey Ramirez in his breakout season last year, and much, much more!.

PinstripesPlus.com: Let's talk about Dillon Tate.  Talk about what you saw from him over the last part of the season when he initially came over and there at Instructs.

Borrell: Just like any other guy I think a change of scenery helped him out a little bit.  I mean, heck, we're getting the fourth overall pick in the draft so the talent is obviously there.  He showed up and was ready to work.  He was open to everything but it was mostly about getting him back to how he felt athletically and and comfortable.  All the credit goes to him because it was pretty much instant.  His first game he was 95-97 mph and he hovered just north of 95 [mph] as an average.  Just getting him back to feeling comfortable was pretty much what we worked on and he did a nice job on it. 

PinstripesPlus.com: Secondary pitch-wise how did he look in particular?  Was the repertoire pared down in the shorter relief stints he pitched in Charleston? 

Borrell: It was.  He came in with a curveball and slider, and we felt comfortable as did he -- he was adamant that he wanted to work on his slider, and of the two pitches it is the better of the two.  So he was fastball-slider-changeup once he started pitching for us.  He has a solid average changeup.  It's a good pitch against both righties and lefties, gets some swings and misses with it, and gets ground ball outs with it.  He didn't throw his slider too much with Texas so he's just trying to get his feet back underneath him when it comes to that.  He spins it really well though and he'll snap some really good plus ones off so he just needs to work on that consistency with the shape and spin.  You're talking about three potential plus pitches and the pedigree is there so we're excited to have him. 

PinstripesPlus.com: He moved to the bullpen when he was traded over to you guys but is the plan to move him back into the rotation this upcoming season?  

Borrell: He's a really good arm and for us we try to put our best arms in the rotation.  There's a good chance we're going to extend him back out as comfortably and I guess as conservatively as possible.  Yeah he's got a power pitch repertoire so we're going to see if we can get some innings out of him, whether that's in extended relief or as a starter we'll let Mr. Cashman and Mr. Denbo figure that out but a guy with arm you want to get him some innings.

PinstripesPlus.com: Let's go to another guy who came over via trade from Texas and that's Erik Swanson.  I don't want to call him the throw-in but obviously Tate was the headliner in that Carlos Beltran trade.  What did you see from Swanson when he came over?

Borrell: 'Swanny's' first start with us he was 94-98 mph through four-plus innings.  He kind of slowed down after that.  I saw all but one of his outings [last year] and it was his first year as a starter.  He came to us and was obviously revved up and pumped up in his first outing.  It's a big-time fastball.  I don't expect him to sit 96 mph like he was in his first game with us but I expect mid-90s out of him in his extended period of time, five, six innings.  He has a nice little breaking ball.  He came over with a curveball and a slider, and he concentrated on the curveball while he was here.  And he has a good feel for a changeup.  It's a power arm, it's a loose arm.

PinstripesPlus.com: I don't know that I've seen enough of Swanson to make this exact comparison but he reminds me of Cale Coshow as a big-bodied, big arm, decent secondary pitch guy.  Do you see the comparison?

Borrell: Oh yeah, big guy with a huge arm and both are really good athletes too.  Just because they're built like football players -- I'll tell you what, they're both good athletes and they both have quality feel for their pitch package.  

PinstripesPlus.com: Does that pitch package get a little muddied?  Like Coshow could he be both a starter and a reliever, depending on the team needs? 

Borrell:  Without a doubt.  We look at him as a guy that can hold that velocity over for five, six, even seven innings, and if he can do that now you're talking about a mid-90s guy with feel for two other pitches.  We're certainly going to give him some innings and see what happens. 

PinstripesPlus.com: Let's talk about Daris Vargas because for me he's one of the real unsung guys.  I think people forget this guy didn't really have the reputation of being a strike-thrower at all coming up through the Dominican Summer League and yet his control has gotten so much better over the years.  Talk about his development to date.

Borrell: Yeah I'll tell you what, he really turned it on.  I was there for four or five of his starts in August and I'll tell you what, he was really impressive.  He was 94-98 mph, held his velocity, nice run and cut to his fastball, and he would flash average slider and average changeup.  Depending on the night one can be better than the other.  Obviously he still needs consistency of the quality but he flashes it and he threw a ton of strikes for us, and he threw a lot of innings too so it's a nice, durable arm too.

PinstripesPlus.com: Does he throw both the two and four-seam?

Borrell: Yeah he throws both but both are the same velocity.  He'll sneak a two-seam in there but the majority are four-seamers even though he has a good feel for his two-seamer. 

PinstripesPlus.com: What's the next big step for him?  The control has improved a ton, the secondary pitches are coming along, etc.  What's the biggest thing he needs to improve going forward?

Borrell: If it turns out he starts the year the way he finished [last season] it's another potential starting piece right there.  Yeah he's a little older than other prospects but he was a position player and he hasn't been pitching for too long, and he's shown he cam pick it up pretty quick.  

PinstripesPlus.com: Let's talk about Cody Carroll?  I thought he was one of the better 'sleeper' prospects entering the season last year at the lower levels after seeing him in Spring Training camp a year ago but I thought it would be as a starting pitcher, and yet he had a very good season pitching more out of the bullpen.  What did you like better about him coming out of the bullpen?

Borrell: I'm a big fan of Cody.  Even though he pitched a majority of his time out of the bullpen he was a scheduled reliever so every time he pitched he'd pitch three to five innings.  A couple of times he'd go shorter but for the most part he was pitching on a schedule.  We wanted to get him reps out of the bullpen as well in between outings and his bullpens.  I like Cody a lot.  The stuff is there.  He's got two quality offpseed pitches and his fastball plays, and it's an easy delivery.  The ball flies out of his hands.  It's another guy I've seen up to 98 mph and pretty much every outing I saw him up to 97 mph, and he [sits] 94-96 mph, and he threw a ton of strikes at the end of the year.  He did a tremendous job.  Actually Justin [Pope] did a tremendous job with all of those guys. .

PinstripesPlus.com: Talk about the breaking ball in particular.

Borrell: The breaking ball is more of a curveball.  The shorter the better, that's his thought process.  Whether he calls it a slider or not it comes in 79-83 mph and at times it has big league bite.  Especially at the end of the season he was more consistent in his delivery .

PinstripesPlus.com: Like Swanson is he a starter or reliever, just depending on what you guys wants?.

Borrell: Yeah and heck we're always open to them forcing our hand.  We're going to give these guys every opportunity to succeed and whoever pushes their way to the top are going to be the ones to get the innings.  Again, it's another mid-90s arm that we're proud of.. 

PinstripesPlus.com: Talk about forcing your hand -- I don't want to say Yefrey Ramirez came out of nowhere because he was a Rule 5 Draft pick but man what a year he had.  Talk about the stuff you saw from Ramirez.  .

Borrell:  Tremendous.  He had pitched low-A the year before and our analytics guys did a tremendous job of finding this kid.  He just comes in and fills the zone.  He throws strikes, has a nice pitch package -- fastball, breaking ball, changeup, and in that order -- 91-96 mph, he has some cut and rise to his fastball, guys have a hard time squaring it up, and he can throw his breaking ball for a strike any time he wants.  Obviously the numbers back that up. 

PinstripesPlus.com: Is he a starter in your mind?

Borrell: He forced our hand last year and the more innings we gave him the better he performed.  So we'll obviously give him that opportunity this next year.  .


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