Previewing the Staten Island Yankees

Like the New York Yankees, the Staten Island Yankees had an excellent season in 2009, finishing first in the McNamara Division with a 47-29 regular season record and winning the New York-Penn League championship.

Greg Fertel of pendingpinstripes.net chatted with Connecticut Tiger Den about players who might end up with Staten Island this season.  The Staten Island Yankees will play a three game series against the Tigers at Dodd Stadium August 20-22.

Stephen Hamel: Can you give a brief scouting report on Slade Heathcott? Is he a guy who might play for Staten Island this season?

Greg Fertel: Heathcott is a five-tool guy; he’s that good of an athlete. He can run and cover a lot of ground in the outfield. He’s an ex-pitcher and therefore has a very strong and accurate throwing arm. He has a quick bat and should be able to hit for power down the road. There is a lot to like with Heathcott. The alleged “behavioral” issues really were not a product of anything Heathcott did, but more of his upbringing. If anything, I’d give him credit for that; I wouldn’t take it away.

SH: I imagine J.R. Murphy stayed in extended spring training to work on his defense. Is he a candidate to play for Staten Island? What is the strength of his game?

GF: Well, Murphy just turned 19-years-old yesterday, so I’m not surprised he didn’t make an opening day roster. The Yankees sent 18-year-old Carmen Angelini to full-season ball recently and got burned, so I think they’re more hesitant to do that.

Given his age, there’s a small chance the Yanks could send him to the GCL, but I doubt it. However, he received rave reviews during the preseason, so my guess would be that he ends up as Staten Island’s starting catcher.

The strength of his game is no doubt hitting. He has a good approach, is selective, and uses the entire field. There are questions about how much power he will hit for, but the kid can definitely hit. As you say, he has to work on his defense as he’s relatively new to the position. He’s pretty athletic and has a good arm, so he could turn into a good defensive catcher as well.

Kelvin De Leon/Photo courtesy of Andres Montana/AP

SH: Is Kelvin De Leon more likely to repeat the GCL or move up to the New York-Penn League this season? Why?

GF: I don’t think that there is any chance he’d repeat the GCL this season. There’s even a possibility he makes the jump to Charleston at some point this year.

With De Leon, the strikeouts are obviously a concern, but with a guy that possesses such good hitting tools, he should be able to hold his own for Staten Island this season, which is where he’s likely to end up.

SH: I am surprised a college pitcher like Caleb Cotham was left in extended spring training. Why do you think he was not assigned to a full-season club?

GF: Well, Cotham actually underwent knee surgery towards the end of spring training. He also had knee surgery last June, so this has been an ongoing issue for him. It looks like he’ll make it back at some point this season, and I could see them sending him to Staten Island when he’s healthy just to get his feet wet.

SH: What kind of stuff does Bryan Mitchell have? Is he the kind of polished high school arm who could handle the New York-Penn League this season?

GF: If you ask the people who are very knowledgeable about the Yankees farm system, a lot of them will tell you that Bryan Mitchell is a name to remember. He hasn’t gotten much game action yet, so I’m not sure that he’ll be sent to Staten Island. I’d actually guess he’d start with the GCL Yankees, but that isn’t really based on anything I’ve heard.

Could he handle the NYPL? Based on what I’ve heard about him, he probably could. But the Yankees would probably prefer to start him out against weaker competition than some college graduates and other advanced prospects.

SH: Is there anyone else in extended spring training who could make an impact with Staten Island this season?

GF: I’m not sure which of these guys will actually be in Staten Island, but they are all young prospects with upside: C Gary Sanchez, OF Eduardo Sosa, 1B Reymond Nunez, and LHP Evan Deluca. There are some others, but these guys probably have the best chance of making an impact if they actually do start out with SI.

I’d like to thank Greg Fertel for helping me preview the 2010 Staten Island Yankees.  His work can be found at pendingpinstripes.net.

Can you give a brief scouting report on Slade Heathcott?  Is he a guy who might play for Staten Island this season?


Heathcott is a five-tool guy; he’s that good of an athlete.  He can run and cover a lot of ground in the outfield. He’s an ex-pitcher and therefore has a very strong and accurate throwing arm. He has a quick bat and should be able to hit for power down the road. There is a lot to like with Heathcott. The alleged “behavioral” issues really were not a product of anything Heathcott did, but more of his upbringing. If anything, I’d give him credit for that; I wouldn’t take it away.

I imagine J.R. Murphy stayed in extended spring training to work on his defense.  Is he a candidate to play for Staten Island?  What is the strength of his game?

Well, Murphy just turned 19-years-old yesterday, so I’m not surprised he didn’t make an opening day roster. The Yankees sent 18-year-old Carmen Angelini to full-season ball recently and got burned, so I think they’re more hesitant to do that.

Given his age, there’s a small chance the Yanks could send him to the GCL, but I doubt it. However, he received rave reviews during the preseason, so my guess would be that he ends up as Staten Island’s starting catcher.

The strength of his game is no doubt hitting. He has a good approach, is selective, and uses the entire field. There are questions about how much power he will hit for, but the kid can definitely hit. As you say, he has to work on his defense as he’s relatively new to the position. He’s pretty athletic and has a good arm, so he could turn into a good defensive catcher as well.

Is Kelvin De Leon more likely to repeat the GCL or move up to the New York-Penn League this season?  Why?

I don’t think that there is any chance he’d repeat the GCL this season. There’s even a possibility he makes the jump to Charleston at some point this year.

With De Leon, the strikeouts are obviously a concern, but with a guy that possesses such good hitting tools, he should be able to hold his own for Staten Island this season, which is where he’s likely to end up.

I am surprised a college pitcher like Caleb Cotham was left in extended spring training.  Why do you think he was not assigned to a full-season club?

Well, Cotham actually underwent knee surgery towards the end of spring training. He also had knee surgery last June, so this has been an ongoing issue for him. It looks like he’ll make it back at some point this season, and I could see them sending him to Staten Island when he’s healthy just to get his feet wet.

What kind of stuff does Bryan Mitchell have?  Is he the kind of polished high school arm who could handle the New York-Penn League this season?

If you ask the people who are very knowledgeable about the Yankees farm system, a lot of them will tell you that Bryan Mitchell is a name to remember. He hasn’t gotten much game action yet, so I’m not sure that he’ll be sent to Staten Island. I’d actually guess he’d start with the GCL Yankees, but that isn’t really based on anything I’ve heard.

Could he handle the NYPL? Based on what I’ve heard about him, he probably could. But the Yankees would probably prefer to start him out against weaker competition than some college graduates and other advanced prospects.

Is there anyone else in extended spring training who could make an impact with Staten Island this season?
I’m not sure which of these guys will actually be in Staten Island, but they are all young prospects with upside: C Gary Sanchez, OF Eduardo Sosa, 1B Reymond Nunez, and LHP Evan Deluca. There are some others, but these guys probably have the best chance of making an impact if they actually do start out with SI.
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2 Comments on “Previewing the Staten Island Yankees”


  1. […] Hamel over at the Connecticut Tiger Den blog asked me a few questions about who we may see in Staten Island. I probably don’t know anything so most of my answers may or may not be made up; we’ll […]

  2. brad rabern Says:

    Greg, thanks for giving us a glimpse of what to expect for SI. But am wondering about a lot of names not mentioned, like Yeicok Calderon, and several other int. players. Also are all the Yankee pitching prospects hurt? Gavin Brooks, Alan Horne and others. I see yhey gave up on Christian Garcia, what a shame.


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