With the Yankees starting to send the first group of players who have been with the big club back to the Minor League Complex, affiliate rosters will begin to take shape.
As things begin to shake out for Double-A Trenton, righties Cale Coshow and Jonathan Holder have a chance to establish themselves as serious prospects with the Thunder in 2016. Coshow, after being moved from the bullpen, ended 2015 with the Thunder, while Holder spent all of 2015 at Class-A Advanced Tampa, with the exception of a few appearances in the Gulf Coast League and one appearance at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Those two, along with right-hander Eric Ruth and left-hander Caleb Smith, will likely start 2016 in the Trenton rotation. with lefties Miguel Sulbaran and Dan Camarena – coming off injuries – perhaps battling for a fifth spot. The spotlight, however, will be on both Coshow and Holder.
Coshow, 23, who finished 9-5, 2,45 in 33 appearances (15 starts) in 2015, could easily be the Thunder’s No. 2 starter behind the pinpoint-controlling Ruth. At 6-foot-5, 260, his fastball can reach the 96-97 area, and his secondary stuff is improving. He showed he belonged at Double-A at the end of last season.
“What impressed me about Cale is he is not afraid to just go after hitters,” said former Trenton manager Al Pedrique, who will be with Triple-A Scranton in 2016. “He has confidence in his pitches and takes a great attitude out there,
“He’ll continue to get better as a starter.”
Coshow, a 2013 13th-round pick by the Yankees out of Oklahoma Christian University, began to emerge at Tampa in 2015. putting together a 7-2, 2.23 mark in 16 games (nine starts), which included a complete game. For the season, he had a strikeout-walk ratio of 97-28 and held opposing hitters to a .208 average with a WHIP of 0.99.
“I’m just glad I got a chance to pitch in Double-A, and I can’t wait until next season,” Coshow said. “I thank the Yankees for this opportunity.”
Asked about Holder, Coshow predicted success for him in Trenton.
“He (Holder) can get people out,” Coshow said. “He has real good control.”
Holder, a sixth-round pick in 2014 out of Mississippi State, the same program that produced Jacob Lindgren, found success at Tampa, putting together a 7-5, 2,44 effort in 18 games (18 starts). He had a strikeout-walk ratio of 78-21 with the T-Yanks and a WHIP of 1.08 and also tossed a complete game.
For the season, Holder, 22, finished 7-6, 2.52 with a strikeout/walk ratio of 90-25. Hitters batted ,228 against him. Like Lindgren, he was a reliever at Mississippi State. Unlike his former Bulldogs teammate, he is on the road to be a starter. His fastball sits in the low 90s, set up by a slow curve he controls well. An improving cutter and change complete his arsenal.
The 6-foot-2, 235-pound native of Gulfport, Miss., appears ready to tackle the Eastern League both on paper and in the eyes of past and future teammate Coshow.
Ruth is a control artist like Brady Lail, and proved quite effective in Trenton last season, Caleb Smith showed he’s a battler and can pitch at that level. Those four throwers will give the 2016 Thunder rotation a solid core, even with the trade of Rookie Davis to Cincinnati.
Those four pitchers have also bolstered starting-pitching depth in the Yankees system as hurlers such as Ian Clarkin, Austin DeCarr and Ty Hensley battle back from injury, a situation which has given both Coshow and Holder a chance to step up.
Both plan on doing just that at Trenton this season.