I just came across this oldie but goodie from Buster Olney – from back in February of 2000. The feature discusses some young Yankees pitchers heading into that Spring Training. Some highlights:
With the Yankees’ pitchers and catchers beginning workouts in four days in Tampa, Fla., the pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre and General Manager Brian Cashman reviewed their list of spring training goals yesterday for each of the pitchers in camp. They had a long list of young pitchers to discuss.
Cashman and other Yankees officials are trying to stock the organization with new and talented pitchers, to fill needs and for trades.
Cashman dealt for Ed Yarnall last spring, and this year, Yarnall will open camp as the front-runner to be the No. 5 starter.
Compared with most organizations, the Yankees have a wealth of up-and-coming pitching talent.
As training camp begins, virtually all of the spots on the Yankees’ major league pitching staff will be accounted for. But if an injury or two occurs, then the right-hander Ben Ford, 24, may be the first called up. Ford is 6 feet 7 inches and throws hard, and he had a decent season last year, going 6-3 with a 4.73 earned run average, permitting 69 hits and walking 39 in 701/3 innings. ”He could develop quickly,” Cashman said.
This season will be important for the Yankee prospect Ryan Bradley. A high draft pick in 1997, Bradley, 24, blew through the minors in 1998, advancing from Class A Tampa all the way to the majors, and it seemed as if he might progress to the big leagues for good last year.
But Bradley’s control suffered in spring training and never really improved during the regular season, and his confidence suffered; he went 5-12 with a 6.21 e.r.a. for Class AAA Columbus, surrendering 163 hits, 73 walks and 23 wild pitches in 145 innings.
The Yankees shifted Bradley, who has an aggressive mound demeanor, from the starting rotation to the bullpen, a role for which club officials feel he is better suited. Assigned to the Arizona Fall League, the right-hander had some success, but finished poorly. ”He moved very, very quickly through the minors, so he’s probably a league ahead of himself,” said Mark Newman, the Yankees’ president of baseball operations. ”Last year challenged him, and challenged his confidence.”
Jake Westbrook, a former first-round draft pick of the Colorado Rockies, was acquired in the deal for Hideki Irabu with Montreal. Executives from other teams raved about the right-hander and his sinking fastball; the Yankees think that he has developed a slider good enough to complement that fastball, and that he just needs some refining before he is ready for the big leagues. At 22, he has received high marks from scouts for his durability and mental toughness. He went 41-25 in his first four years in the minors and will open in Class AAA, but he could advance to Yankee Stadium by year’s end.
”He’s had at least 170 innings in each of his full seasons in the minors,” Cashman said. ”You don’t see that very often in the minor leagues.”
Luis De Los Santos, 22, possessed enough stuff to compel the Yankees to hold him out of the Chuck Knoblauch deal with Minnesota two years ago. Since then, however, he has sustained major elbow and knee injuries and may spend much of this year rehabilitating. Similarly, Darrell Einertson — a right-hander once viewed as a prospect — is still recovering from shoulder surgery.
Craig Dingman, a right-hander who turns 26 next month, is coming off a year in which he had a 1.57 e.r.a. for Class AA Norwich, and he was added to the 40-man roster in the off-season.
…Cashman and other Yankees officials are trying to stock the organization with new and talented pitchers, to fill needs and for trades…
…Compared with most organizations, the Yankees have a wealth of up-and-coming pitching talent…
Anyone else hearing “I Got You Babe” on their alarm clock radio at this moment?