Staten Island's P.J. Pilittere Discusses The Staff

P.J. Pilittere has spent most of 2005 handling the best pitching staff in the New York-Penn League. And, he has also earned a reputation for being an outstanding receiver. So, who better to question about the 2005 Staten Island Yankees' pitching staff. P.J. checked in with to give us some insight.

Pilittere on his overall take on the Staten Island pitching staff:

"They've been, for the most part, very consistent. And, they've all just been pretty solid. For each guy that goes out there everyday, you pretty much know that they're going to give you a solid outing. Every game, they're just giving us our best chance to win. And, I think that's been the difference for this team. I think that's why this staff is so good. They really, really compete and they always give us a chance to win. As a whole, it has been a pretty amazing staff."

On his extra experience helping the less experienced pitchers along:

"I think having the extra experience helps. I think, for the most part, especially with the newer guys, I think I have a little more experience calling the games and managing the games. I think it helps our pitchers that I'm a little more familiar with the ballparks and just being a minor leaguer with an extra year of experience. I'm able to, you know, show them the ropes a little bit. And, I think it helps these pitchers a little when advice is coming from their catcher too. I think it makes them more receptive."

On the most impressive pitches possessed by the best pitchers on the staff:

"Well, Josh Schmidt has a very, very good slider. That's a pitch I'd certainly call outstanding. It's definitely very above average. And, then there is Cory Stuart. I'd put his slider right up there with Schmidt's. He comes down sidearm a little bit and he can be really, really dominating with that slider. Not too many guys are touching it. His is pretty phenomenal. As far as one distinct pitch, those guys have the pitches where when they come in, you're saying, "ok, this is something special." Another guy I look at with a pitch like that is actually Jim Conroy. His changeup is pretty special. It's a really different kind of changeup and it is pretty special and pretty impressive. He doesn't get talked about a lot because of the guys we have on this staff, but with a changeup like that, he's going to be a real good pitcher."

A TREAT TO WATCH? Garrett Patterson, as seen in this photo, could be fun to watch if he can harness his 95 MPH, says his catcher, P.J. Pilittere. (Photo: Frankie Piliere/
On the difference between more polished pitchers like Zach Kroenke and raw prospects such as fellow lefthander, Garrett Patterson:

"I think a guy like Zach [Kroenke] might be a hair polished. He throws upper 80's, low 90's, but he can spot the ball up, down, in and out. Then you look at a guy "Patty", (Garrett Patterson). He has a great arm but he's a little more raw than a guy like Kroenke. Plus, Zach has thrown a lot more innings the last couple years in college, because I know Patterson was battling an elbow injury. But, "Patty" has a live arm and he's running it up there at 95 MPH consistently. He's a little more raw and we're trying to get him settled and comfortable with his mechanics and stuff like that. Then, in my opinion, once he gets settled, he's going to be really, really special to watch."

On the future of recently traded pitching prospect, Justin Berg:

"A guy that not a lot of people talking about is Justin Berg. He's got a really, really power sinker. It's 93-94 MPH with extraordinary movement. It's an explosive sinker. I think he's only a year or two away from really putting it all together. We're just trying to get him there mentality wise. But, as far as stuff wise, he's got some pretty special stuff."

On righthander, Jim Conroy:

"Conroy is a guy with a great changeup. It has a lot of movement and it is really a different, unique type of pitch. He's not a guy out there to overpower anybody, but a guy with a plus pitch like that is somebody to watch closely. He's got great command and an outstanding changeup. I think he could be real good."

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