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Run by The Trentonian's Nick Peruffo, this blog will provide daily multimedia coverage of the Trenton Thunder.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

A short-season preview with Mark Newman


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 stars.

JN: If you’re going out to see Staten Island this year, who’s someone you’d want to watch?

MN: Well, Ravel 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.

JN: Is Rafael DePaula going to be there at all this year, you think?

MN: No. He will not.

JN: So it’s either the DSL or the GCL. Do you expect him to flop between both?

MN: Well, we’ll 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 Staten Island.

JN: What did they allow him to do while he was waiting for his situation to get cleared up?

MN: He just practiced.

JN: Same question as the first, but replace “Staten Island” with the “GCL.” Who would you want to see there?

MN: 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.

JN: What about on the pitching side?

MN: 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.

JN: What about Matt Duran? Is he going to be in the GCL?

MN: 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.

JN: And then, 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?

MN: DePaula’s an 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 Czechoslovakia.

JN: It’s got to be odd for a kid from Czechoslovakia to be in the Dominican Summer League. Does he speak Spanish?

MN: He’s speaks 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.

JN: I noticed you guys have Francisco Duran pitching out there. What happened for you to make that change?

MN: 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.

JN: Speaking of which, I heard someone say Kelvin Castro is converting to a pitcher as well. Is that true?

MN: 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.

JN: Just looking at the roster here, a couple of guys stick out for me as bigger names. Chris Tamarez and Wilmer Romero. How are they progressing?

MN: OK. They both have a ways to go.

JN: Then, one of my personal favorites just on the name alone. How’s Renzo Martini looked down there?

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. 

3 Comments:

Blogger Peter Lacock said...

Shaken, not stirred.

June 18, 2012 at 11:41 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Czechoslovakia? What an idiot ...

why should I trust a man who still lives in the 1980s? Seriously, buy that dude some newspapers, he'll be shocked to year that the Cold War is over.

June 19, 2012 at 10:18 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Divided into two countries now, Mr. Newman: Czech and Slovak Republic respectively.

June 19, 2012 at 9:04 PM 

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