I’ve been fortunate to have been granted access to the mini-camp that the Yankees are holding for select minor leaguers and I have been able to view some of the talent that’s being showcased in the camp, which is being held down in Tampa, FL.
Most of what’s been seen since our previous update has been simulated games for pitchers and some batting practice. Pitchers are on a tight pitch count, about 25 pitches, and there’s a rotation of about 3-4 pitchers per field depending on time.
Camp starts before the gate opens to the media, so this means that we miss out on some batting practice, but I’m still fortunate to see about an hour and a half or so of action altogether.
The day starts off with batting practice via pitching machine on fields 1 and 2, and the coach aims the machine to work on a certain segment of the zone. On Tuesday the 15th, they worked on low strikes, and on Friday the 11th, they worked on the middle of the zone. Keep in mind that the now Yankees batting coach and former minor league hitting instructor, Dillon Lawson, has implemented the “Hit Strikes Hard” mentality in the organization, so we expect that they will keep working on hitting the entire zone throughout Spring Training.
Friday the 11th had prospects like Chad Bell, Trey Sweeney and Anthony Volpe take batting practice on field 1, with Josh Breaux, Elijah Dunham and Tyler Hardman, among others, on field 2. Everyone that I saw on the 11th impressed with their power and ability to consistently hit the ball on the same “sweet spot” of the bat. Friday’s focus seemed to have an emphasis on getting more reps in and just making contact with the ball. This was in contrast to what was seen on the upcoming Tuesday.
On Tuesday the 15th, we saw Jasson Dominguez, Volpe, Hardman, Ryder Green and Brandon Lockridge, among others take batting practice between the two fields. Tuesday was a little different given the focus was to hit low strikes, so there were a number of pop-ups and not as much overall power compared to Friday. I saw lots of line drives into the infield, but they wouldn’t get past the dirt as say where the shortstop would typically play. Occasionally, someone would get a hold of a pitch and rocket it into the outfield and a few got out, but not nearly as many got as close to the wall as what was seen on Friday.
As stated earlier, there was also a focus to get some arms to face some live batters, so I was fortunate to see a number of notable pitchers between the two days.
Both days had the same pitchers, so I was able to see parts of the appearances for Blane Abeyta, Beck Way, Brock Selvidge, Mitch Spence and Hayden Wesneski, among a few others. As stated previously, the pitchers are limited to 25 pitches (or sometimes less). The pitching coach is stationed behind the mound to call balls and strikes via the Trackman (similar to what’s used for the ABS system). I didn’t hear if they were working the pitchers to focus on certain pitches or certain areas of control, but I think that like the batters, it’s more to get the pitchers into a consistent and regular routine so that they don’t get hurt ramping up towards the beginning of the season in April.