Trentonian Q&A with Yankees hitting coordinator James Rowson
Here’s what he had to say:
JN: What have you seen from guys like Austin Romine and Dan Brewer and Brandon Laird this season?
JR: These guys have done a great job all year, all three of those guys. At different points, obviously all of them have had success this year.
At different points of the year, these guys have gone through downs and ups and been able to get through them. Toward the end of the year now, they’re shining and doing what we think they’re capable of doing.
JN: What do they need to do to keep away from the ups and downs, to get some more consistency?
JR: With these guys, when you get to this level, it’s a lot of experience, at-bats and game plan. The more pitchers you face, the different types and styles of pitchers, they’ll get more comfortable with setting a game plan to face more pitchers. At this point, it’s really experience more than anything else.
JN: Specifically, with Romine, has he done what you wanted him to do at this level?
JR: No doubt about it. Romine’s had a really good year this year. Like I said, this is the first year he’s caught a lot of games, he’s played a lot of defense. He hasn’t done that in the past. He’s been able to maintain his offense.
Yes, he gone through a lot of ups and downs throughout the year, but he’s battled through them. At this point, he’s right where we’d like him to be. I’m happy with what he’s done this year.
JN: What have you seen from Melky Mesa? What kind of progress has he made, and do you think he’s ready for Double-A next season?
JR: He’s made outstanding progress this year. He’s had a really solid season at Tampa. He had a spurt last year where he had a really good season in Charleston at some point. We’re looking forward to him being able to conquer Double-A at some point.
When that move happens, obviously that’s going to be an organizational decision, but we look forward to, when that move happens, he’ll be able to compete well here.
JN: Same deal with Slade Heathcott and J.R. Murphy. What’s their progress been like this year at Charleston?
JR: We just want them to adapt. They’re young players coming into the organization, and this year we just kind of let those guys play and show their ability, show their talents and adapt to playing pro ball.
It definitely takes some time coming from high school to adapt to pro ball and the life style and the bus rides and everything else that goes along with playing baseball.
Really, we’re excited about those guys. They’re talented, and we want them to get as many at-bats and just adapt to pro baseball as good as possible.
JN: With Murphy, who’s coming out of a baseball factory like The Pendleton School, do you expect that adjustment period to be shorter?
JR: You know, you can’t tell. Murphy’s a really, really polished kid, in a way. He’s very polished, knows how to go about his business, does things very professional, goes about things the right way.
But you never can tell, it’s just going to be, when you come into the game and start getting at-bats, you start facing competition, and we’ll let the game tell us where he is as a player.
JN: What are the early returns on Gary Sanchez, who just got promoted to Staten Island?
JR: Really talented young player. He can impact the baseball. He impacts the baseball as well as anybody we have. He’s fun to watch, a really talented young player. Right now, he’s done well in the GCL. We just want to let him progress and see how he goes from year to year.
There’s no rush. The thing’s going to be, just dominate every level, and as you move forward we’ll take it as it goes. It’s really exciting to see what he does, because you can’t teach what he does. He’s just a talented athlete.
JN: How does he compare to Jesus Montero when he was that age?
JR: It’s very close. They both are plus-plus bats. Both of those guys swing bats – I’ve been doing this for a little while in baseball – and those are two of the best young bats I’ve seen. Sanchy’s right there with Jesus Montero, so let’s just see what time does for them.
JN: Speaking of Montero, he struggled early in the year and now is raking. What changed?
JR: It’s just what we were talking about, it’s the adjustment period. There was no doubt that Jesus Montero was going to hit in Triple-A. The guy’s going to hit in the major leagues.
He’s a good hitter, he has a knack for putting the barrel on the ball. They pitched him a little differently; he had to learn how to deal with some of the offspeed pitches and the ways he pitched. (There are) experienced pitchers facing him now, (and) he’s adapted this season. He’s right where we want him to be. He’s a good hitter, and he’s proven it.