This off-season the New York Yankees added right-handed pitching prospect Branden Pinder to the 40-man roster in order to protect him from the Rule-V draft. Pinder, 26, was originally drafted in the 16th round of the 2011 First-Year-Player Draft.
In Branden’s first professional season he earned a 2-2 record with a 1.16 ERA in 24 games out of the Staten Island Yankees bullpen. He was successful in completing all 14 save opportunities with the Baby Bombers and struck out 38 in 31 innings.
Pinder earned a promotion in 2012 to the Tampa Yankees of the Florida State League where in 41 games out of the bullpen he threw 67.2 innings, striking out 67 batters and earning 9 saves with a 2.79 ERA. His success earned him a one-game promotion to the Trenton Thunder where he allowed one hit in a 1.1 innings.
Branden then split the 2013 season between Tampa and Trenton again, where he was 2-3 with a 4.42 ERA in 73.1 innings between the two levels and striking out 72. Even though an injury shortened his 2014 season he managed to reach as high as Triple-A where he was 1-0 with a 3.78 ERA in 13 games for the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders. Between the three levels he pitched he was 3-0 with a 2.04 ERA in 29 games, 4 starts and 5 saves, in 39.2 innings pitched.
Let’s start by giving the fans a little bit of background on you. Describe your approach on the mound. Did you make any changes before or during the season?
“My approach on the mound is having a bulldog attitude, taking it one pitch at a time and trying to get strike one and then go from there.”
You missed some time this past season due to injury, how are you feeling now?
“I am feeling good I have no issues at all.”
Where do you feel you are right now with your command and control? Are you where you want to be?
“I have thrown four bullpens so far so it’s hard to tell. I’ve just been working on getting my arm in shape and my command will be there come spring and during the season.”
What is your focus for the off season? Are you looking to make any changes as you go into Spring Training?
“I like to get stronger every off-season. I work out a lot and make sure I am in my best shape I can be.”
This being your first Spring Training as a member of the Yankees 40-man roster, how does it feel knowing the Yankees thought highly of you and protected you from the Rule V draft? Were you worried that the Yankees would not protect you?
“I am very appreciative that the Yankees thought highly of me and protected me. But if they did not I would not have been worried.”
Do you feel that this coming season will be a key season for you?
“Yes this season is key to me just like every season has been to me.”