Mike Ashmore: As an organization, how do you determine which guys you send to the Arizona Fall League?
Newman: “Several factors. First is who needs at-bats, and who is in a physical and mental condition at the end of the year where they can gain from another 50 games out there. That’s the major consideration. We typically want to find players with upside that can make a step in their progress toward the big leagues in that 50-game pod or whatever you want to call it. Those are the criteria.
Pitching can really be difficult because you can’t wear guys out. You’ve got so many bullets, and you don’t want to go beyond a certain limit with them. That’s a little trickier than position players.”
MA: I know the pitchers haven’t been announced yet, but what kind of names are you throwing around as far as guys who might be heading out there?
Newman: “We haven’t announced it because we’re not throwing the names around. There’s several, there’s a group of ten or so.”
MA: Is it typically guys who haven’t had a lot of innings that you’ll send out there?
Newman: “Right. Relievers or starters that have been short on innings is basically it.”
MA: With Betances, was there anything serious on the MRI?
Newman: “No. Biceps tendinitis. He’s had it a couple other times in his life, no structural problem with his shoulder.”
JN: So what’s the next step for him? I know he said he’s going back to Tampa on Friday…
Newman: “He’s got medication, then some treatment and arm exercise programs and then he’ll start to throw.”
JN: How much do you guys work with him on the between the ears side of the game?
Newman: “We’ve worked with him and everybody else. We talk about three aspects of the athlete all the time. Physical; bigger, stronger, faster…Fundamental; catch it, throw it, slide, hit…and mental and emotional. Understanding the game from a strategical and tactical standpoint and then feel the right away about yourself and how you fit in this game at various times. We deal with that with everybody and he’s no different.
Obviously, everybody thinks that he’s a big guy with great stuff and shows flashes of brilliance. We know he needs consistency, well it must be in his head. Well, he needs to improve his ability to concentrate over extended periods of time, but there’s other things that go with it too, there’s a physical component. We don’t think you can isolate any one of those three things; fundamental, physical or mental/emotional. That’s the issue. Typically, there’s multiple issues with every player and there is with him too.”
JN: Is that last aspect — whether that’s his problem or not — is that the hardest to treat?
Newman: “The hardest thing to treat is no ability. I can’t tell you the number of kids I’ve seen over my lifetime in this business that have improved mentally and emotionally and gotten confidence and gained an understanding of the tactical side of the game. Addy has made great improvement, and there’s no reason Dellin can’t do that. Dellin’s had moments where he’s looked like a big leaguer and moments where he was less than that.
He still has major league ability, and we still think he’s going to be a major league pitcher. A lot of times, watching these guys develop, it’s like watching a guy walk up a flight of stairs with a yo-yo. If you focus on the yo-yo, you get the up and down. If you focus on the bigger picture, you see up and down, but overall an increase in performance. You see that with a lot of guys, and with him it hasn’t exactly been that way, but we have confidence that he’s going to get it going and be consistent.”
JN: You said he’s a major league pitcher, do you still see him as a major league starter?
Newman: “We think he can pitch in either role. It might be quicker for him to get there as a reliever. Easier. And we’re not sure how we’re going to pursue this in the long term, but right now he’s a starter.”
MA: Pardon my ignorance on the eligibility rules aspect of it, but is Dellin someone you could and/or would send to the AFL?
Newman: “Yes. I’m not sure that we do because of the health issues, we want to make sure he’s 100 percent.”
MA: Could you foresee guys coming up from Tampa at the end of the year up here? This team is a little thin right now…
Newman: “Yeah, that’s possible. Tampa’s still in it, so we’ll worry about that when it happens. The thing that’s going to drive all this is call-ups in New York on September 1st. We’re not sure what that’s going to be, but that affects…we’ve got right Scranton right now, these guys have a good chance, Tampa’s got a chance. If all three of them in the playoffs, that could get hairy.”
JN: How do you guys value minor league playoffs as far as development is concerned? Does it help them to be in a postseason environment?
Newman: “Yeah, it does. It’s something we think is important. They need to get used to playing in that kind of environment. And we win a lot, we win a lot in Triple-A, and our guys…it doesn’t hurt their development at all. It’s part of being a Yankee. You go out and try to win.”