Charleston RiverDogs

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 six of this multi-part series we get his initial thoughts on Taylor Widener [in the photo above] and Nick Green, what went wrong with Simon De La Rosa in Charleston, if Brody Koerner or somebody else is ready to break out, and much, much more!. Let's move on to another 'sleeper' prospect, Adonis Rosa.  He doesn't throw in the upper-90s like some of these other guys and yet he continues to get good results. 

Borrell: He turned it on though the last month of the season.  I saw him in Staten Island and then again in Charleston, and he was averaging 92-93 mph his last several starts of the season -- a 21-year old.  He throws a ton of strikes.  He's probably one of the best athletes in our system, position player or pitcher.  He has a nice compact delivery and he's able to throw strikes.  We're just going to continue to let him develop.  He has a nice little changeup and his breaking ball has gotten better.  Justin [Pope] did a great job with that.  Now hopefully we get him a little stronger.  He's probably 160 [pounds] soaking wet but then again he's just 21 years old.  He's very intriguing for as young as he is and as good as he has been. How about the breaking ball in particular? 

Borrell: It's a curveball and it'll flash Major League average. Luis Cedeno, prior to his power surge last year, reminded me of Rosa as a pitch-ability first guy.  Talk about Cedeno and where his game is now and where it's headed.  

Borrell: I'm sitting there in Tampa and I'm seeing these game reports seeing Cedeno going 96, 96, 97, hit 98 mph a few times.  I was like 'goodness gracious'.  He got on a roll.  Justin [Pope] got him locked in and he was in the mid-90s with a good curveball, a nice little changeup, and he's a bulldog on the mound.  And he's young too.  He's only 21 years old as well.  He got a little tired there at the end and rightfully so, especially for somebody who jumped in velocity so much.  By the end he was more ]Rosa-like] 92-93 mph but it's still a very big jump from where he was the year before. You guys have so many names these days not only prospect-wise overall but even among the pitching prospects only and it's allowing some pretty talented and productive pitchers to fly under the radar.  Christian Morris for example.

Borrell: I think [last] year his offspeed pitches got a lot better, every single one of them.  His curveball got tighter, his slider got better.  He stayed around the same velocity-wise [with the fastball] but his offspeed pitches got better, and he did a nice job.  He had a nice stretch there too towards the middle to end of the season there where he was lights out.  He won't pop 97-98 mph -- well at least he didn't this past year -- but he still had a nice year for us. Let's move on to Simon De La Rosa.  I know he had much of his success in Staten Island last year.  I was surprised though that he didn't have more success initially in Charleston.  Was the jump too much for him from Pulaski the year prior?  Why do you think he struggled the way he did in Charleston?

Borrell: I think it was one of those instances where he just didn't trust his stuff.  The biggest thing we tell our guys is regardless of level you stay true to who you are and you attack.  And he was the first one to tell me when he went back to Staten Island that just didn't attack like he should have.  The stuff is obviously there; 91--95, hit 96 a few times.  His fastball is one of the most elite when it comes to movement.  His curveball has gotten much better too so now it's just a matter of him being confident in his ability.  Obviously he had a great season in Staten Island. Do you think he rediscovered his confidence in Staten Island last year, enough to make that jump to Charleston this year? 

Borrell:  Without a doubt.  I saw him in Charleston and in Staten Island, and he was just a completely different guy.  You know a lot of times it is mental and it's not necessarily a bad thing to go through something like that.  He certainly learned from it so we expect him to fill it up [this] next year. . Is Sean Carley a lot like that too?  He's another one who, like De La Rosa, has the big arm that people have been expecting to break out somewhat and he just hasn't yet.

Borrell: When he was healthy he had a great season for us.  In fact, he went up to Tampa at the end of the year and did a tremendous job for us.  Again, another low to mid-90s guy and fills the zone with three different pitches.  He did a nice job in Charleston and Tampa so he certainly opened our eyes. What about Jose Mesa?  He, like Carley, seems to takes steps forward but then injuries stall things later on. 

Borrell: Yeah Mesa had a good season and then at the end he went down with an injury.  He did a tremendous job in Charleston again and then went up to Tampa and did the same thing, got a little achy, and then we had to shut him down.  He's mid to upper-90s, nice changeup, good slider, and nice little curveball.  Hiopefully he comes back healthy and ready to go.  He has so many pitches -- quality ones at that -- why is he in the bullpen?

Borrell: At that point once he started performing we started giving him more innings.  But as you can tell, in Charleston we had a ton of [pitching] guys and we had several guys who were already doing piggy-back situations.  He was forcing himself into that situation though when he jumped up to Tampa. What's the secondary pitch of choice for him?  The slider?  

Borrell: The slider is a good pitch for him.  The curveball got tighter for him at the end of the season.  But heck, on any given day he could have any of these three offspeed pitches going. When we talked a year ago you mentioned Brody Koerner being of your 'sleeper' prospects entering last season.  He got off to a strong start and then got hurt.  Is he back now?

Borrell: Yeah he's back now.  He looks good.  He looks healthy, no issues.  It was more of a cleanout [with the elbow] than anything [last year] and came back strong, and feeling good.  He did a nice job in Instructs for us. Prior to getting hurt last year had you seen him in Charleston?

Borrell: Yeah I saw him there a couple of times and in his debut in Tampa, and a couple of outings there.  By that time he was probably hanging a little bit but he was still 91-94 mph with a good feel for his sinker. and had a good feel for the strike zone. So was he a guy whose breakout was just put on pause and perhaps we'll see that breakout this year?

Borrell:  I hope so.  He certainly has the ingredients to do it. Let's talk about Taylor Widener, somebody who had ridiculous numbers last season.  What have you seen from him?

Borrell: Mr. Widener was spectacular.  He was as advertised coming out of the draft.  Damon [Oppenheimer] and the guys did a tremendous job finding this kid.  To find this arm with that pick in the draft is incredible.  He's mid to upper-90s -- I've seen him up to 98 mph -- and most games when I saw him he was averaging 94-95 mph.  He has a nice breaking ball, a nice tight curveball, and [at] Instructional League we added a changeup.  His numbers last year were very similar to Mr. [Chance] Adams the year before. Do you think he could be Adams-like this coming season?

Borrell: I think he could certainly put himself in that mix, yeah. Let's talk about Nick Green.  I think this is another unbelievably under the radar pitching prospect for you guys.  What did you see from Green coming over from Texas last year?

Borrell: Yeah was part of the three and all three of those guys were in Charleston which was nice.  He was 92-95 mph.  His fastball though is different than most.  It's a lot like [Jacob] Lindgren's in that it cuts and sinks at the same time.  Hitters don't normally see a fastball like his so he gets a large amount of ground balls, a lot of soft contacts, and he was a strike-thrower last year.  The curveball, he spins it at an elite rate.  It's one of the highest in professional baseball and shows some quality bite.  We look at that as a plus Major League pitch for him.  And we worked on his changeup during Instructional League.  He did a nice job with it.  If he gets that third pitch going he's certainly an option in the rotation for us. 

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