With the short-season leagues – Staten Island and the Gulf
Coast League – set to open on Monday, and the Dominican Summer League already
in full-swing, I spoke with Yankees vice president of player development last
week to help identify some of the talent headed to those leagues.
We talked about some names you probably know – Ravel Santana
and Rafael De Paula – and quite a few you might not know about. Some of the
system’s top prospects, like Dante Bichette and
Ronnier Mustelier, spent time
in the Gulf Coast League last year, and virtually all of the talent-laden
Charleston club played in Staten Island last summer.
This is an opportunity, with a little guidance from the man
who molds New York’s talent, to get familiar with some of the Yankees’ future
going out to see Staten Island this year, who’s someone you’d want to watch?
Santana was certainly one of the top players in the Gulf Coast League. I think
he was the No. 2 prospect in the Gulf Coast League. He’s ready to rock and
roll. He’s had a remarkable recovery from a difficult injury.
Two middle infielders – Claudio Custodio and Jose Rosario.
Both played very well in the Gulf Coast League. They’re young. Both of them are
shortstops, but they alternate between short and second. They’re excellent.
One exciting guy might be Conor Mullee. He went to Saint
Peter’s College. He’s kind of a local guy, went to college in New Jersey. He’s
a converted shortstop. He’s got a really good arm. He’s coming back from
surgery, and he’s going to start there. So we’ll see how he does.
There will be some player movement over time as we get
people signed from the draft. The list of players to see will be fluid. At this
point, that’s the best I can tell you.
DePaula going to be there at all this year, you think?
either the DSL or the GCL. Do you expect him to flop between both?
see. Right now he’s in the Dominican Summer League. This is the first tie he’s
pitched competitively, so he’s staying there at the moment. He will not be in
What did they
allow him to do while he was waiting for his situation to get cleared up?
as the first, but replace “Staten Island” with the “GCL.” Who would you want to
We have a guy
named Greg Bird who was from last year’s draft and had a hand injury. Catcher.
We spent some money on him. He is an outstanding-looking young kid. He’s an
outstanding young hitter. Bubba Jones
will be there too.
What about on
the pitching side?
A guy named
Gio Gallegos, from Mexico. Really good arm. Several U.S. pitchers that we
drafted last year and they signed late. This will be their first foray. Jordan
Cote, Rookie Davis, Joey Maher, Daniel Camarena. Those guys will be there.
Matt Duran? Is he going to be in the GCL?
Matt Duran is
going to be in Staten Island. He’s a guy people should see. He had a nice start
to his career. He’s from the New York area, New Rochelle.
same idea. If you’re a random fan who has the money to take a trip to the
Dominican, who in the summer league do you want to pay attention to?
obvious one. A pitcher named Luis Severino is very interesting. He’s a
right-hander, up to 94. He has good breaking stuff. There’s also an interesting
catcher there named Daniel Vavrusa. He’s playing very well, and he’s from
It’s got to
be odd for a kid from Czechoslovakia to be in the Dominican Summer League. Does
he speak Spanish?
English very well, so that helps. He’s learning Spanish, and he’s an
interesting young player. He can catch, and he’s swinging the bat very well.
Good size guy, 6-3, 200.
I noticed you
guys have Francisco Duran pitching out there. What happened for you to make
He and Jhorge
Liccien are both converting from catch to pitch. They have a good arms and it
was a struggle offensively for them. They both wanted to do it.
which, I heard someone say Kelvin Castro is converting to a pitcher as well. Is
He’s going to
pitch at one of the short-season teams (not Staten Island). We’ll see. He’s got
a process to go through before he’s ready for competition, though.
at the roster here, a couple of guys stick out for me as bigger names. Chris
Tamarez and Wilmer Romero. How are they progressing?
OK. They both
have a ways to go.
Then, one of
my personal favorites just on the name alone. How’s Renzo Martini looked down
MN: Renzo Martini
can hit. He’s a first baseman and a third baseman, and he’s one of the better
young hitters down there.