When I walked into the minor league complex this morning, at around 9 a.m., I saw Rafael DePaula run by me out of the bullpen area. Crap, I thought, I missed him throwing. Turns out, I hadn't missed a thing. DePaula, the new 21-year-old, was among the pitchers scheduled to throw in a simulated game while the Scranton and Trenton games were being played.
For whatever reason, the Trenton game was played on Field 2, which is the worst of the four fields as far as getting halfway decent vantage points for video. Getting anything from behind the plate is virtually impossible. There are poles, bars, benches and screens in the way.
DePaula provided a pretty decent alternative, I think.
In all, the half-million dollar man threw 24 pitches -- 14 fastballs, 7 curves and 3 change-ups. The fastball was mostly between 91 and 93, and topped out at 94 miles per hour. He was very wild, and nearly hit two batters. The curveball broke hard and late, was generally in the mid-70s and was pretty darn dirty, if you ask me.
Isaias Tejeda caught the DePaula, and suggested that some nerves might be involved, especially given that this was DePaula's first appearance in the U.S. At one point, Tejeda went to the mound to talk to DePaula (how often do you see that during a sim game?). He said he told his pitcher to slow down and take it easy and let his stuff take over.
The next pitch? His only 94 of the afternoon. Over the inside part of the plate, too, if I remember.
Asked afterward how hard he expects DePaula to throw once he gets his legs under him, Yankees pitching coordinator Nardi Contreras, who watched the whole sim game from behind the batting cage, said "100."
Once he calms down, it's pretty safe to say DePaula can be added to the massive list of arms on which Yankees fans can dream.