• Mel Stottlemyre & Aaron Small

    Posted by on February 18th, 2006 · Comments (7)

    From the New York Times:

    In the first week of spring training, Small gripped a ball along the seams that frame the sweet spot. That, he explained, was how he used to throw a sinker. Last spring, the pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre suggested that he move his fingers up a bit, so only the right one rested on a seam.

    The effect was astounding. If Small made a mistake, the ball would sink a little. If he didn’t, the ball would sink a lot, darting away from a left-handed hitter. It was a revelation, and the Yankees liked what they saw.

    Go figure.

    Comments on Mel Stottlemyre & Aaron Small

    1. JohnnyC
      February 18th, 2006 | 11:13 pm

      Aaron Small…a 33 year-old career minor-leaguer with no realistic opportunity to make the 25 man roster, Aaron Small he has time for. But Mel can’t find the time to work with Sean Henn, Chiang Ming Wang, or any of the legions of pitching prospects who have marched through camp in the last 10 years. Not even something as simple as changing the position or pressure of a single finger in a sinkerball grip. What, did Small catch Mel in a free moment on the back nine somewhere?

    2. RICH
      February 19th, 2006 | 6:10 am

      Wow,

      You criticize Stottlemyre for helping Small and then conclude he didn’t work at all with the others?

      Have there been verified accounts of him not making the time to work with the pitchers you cited?

    3. JohnnyC
      February 19th, 2006 | 1:10 pm

      Wow,

      Do these verifed accounts need to be notarized or sworn to in a court of law?

      Ten years. Ten years in which not a single pitching prospect has been developed into even a 30 start back of the rotation guy or, more importantly, a middle reliever or set-up man who could eat up some innings at the very least.

      We’re not talking about unearthing the next Jim Palmer. We’re talking about league-average. Nothing. Zilch.

      Who’s at least partly responsible for that? It ain’t Bill Emslie

    4. Nick from Washington Heights
      February 19th, 2006 | 1:33 pm

      So does Mel get credit for turning Aaron Small around? And if so, does he get a little credit for turning around the Yanks season last year? Nah, it was the geniuses in the front office that brought us Tony Womack, Jaret Wright, and Carl Pavano, and failed to address on center field situation. Of course, 3/4 of those choices were made by the Boss and Tampa…but let’s blame Mel. Let’s use this example as a way to shit on his tenure with the Yanks. It’s absolutely Karl Rovesque to turn this positive on his record (think Kerry in Vietnam) into a negative. The Mel-haters will never be satisfied. Never.

    5. MJ
      February 19th, 2006 | 1:45 pm

      Here’s a question — if the Yanks never developed one single pitcher in 10 years and that this fact is attributable to Mel, I ask then if the minor league pitching coaching staff bears ANY responsibility or none at all? If Mel is in New York in July and calls up a pitcher who stinks, was that because Mel didn’t give him the five minutes in February or because the coaches in Florida, Staten Island, Trenton and Columbus didn’t do their jobs either?

    6. Raf
      February 19th, 2006 | 2:25 pm

      Ten years. Ten years in which not a single pitching prospect has been developed into even a 30 start back of the rotation guy or, more importantly, a middle reliever or set-up man who could eat up some innings at the very least.
      ===========

      Wang doesn’t count?

      Anyhow, it’s not Mel’s fault the Yanks prefer to bring in “proven veterans.” It’s not Mel’s fault the Yanks trade young arms to get what they want/need.

    7. redbug
      February 20th, 2006 | 8:11 am

      Let’s see, does Rivera count? How about Pettitte? Mendoza? How about getting us through last season w/ the worst case of injuries and lousy pitchers??

      If not for Mel’s adjustment to Small’s grip on the ball, the Yanks never would’ve made it to the postseason.

      Have to agree w/ Nick – “It’s absolutely Karl Rovesque to turn this positive on his record (think Kerry in Vietnam) into a negative. The Mel-haters will never be satisfied. Never.”

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