Gerritse Still Working

Gerritse is holding batters to a .171 average

Coming into the 2011 season, Brett Gerritse had put in a lot of work into his game. While making adjustments to virtually every part of his pitching in 2010, Gerritse still pitched his way to a 2-2 record and a 3.82 ERA. Not much has changed in the world of Brett Gerritse. He is still working on the changes, but the results are showing.

Spring Training was a continuation of the 20-year old's workload, still adjusting to the ongoing modifications but also working on finding some lost fastball speed.

"I came in and my arm was a little tired from the past year, and my velocity was down so it was trying to work on the velocity. That was pretty much all I worked on in the spring," Gerritse said.

Not to say that the constant adjustments Gerritse has been making over the past year have taken a back seat, he insists the work never stops.

"My work on the mechanics has never stopped," he admitted. "Since the day I signed it hasn't stopped. We still work on the mechanics every day and it's progressively getting better and better, but there's still work to do."

Gerritse and GCL Yankees Pitching Coach Carlos Chantres started working on virtually every one of Gerrtise's pitches and mechanics. The curveball was one of the priorities. The idea of a large, slow curveball had found it's way into Gerritse's mind as a possible addition but it wasn't something that would work for the young righty.

"Carlos and I started working on it when it got real big, like 12-6 and it was slow, like 73-74 but when I first signed it was at about 78-79 so we've been getting it back up and getting some tilt to it so it's not so big and slow."

"Early on," he continued, "I assumed it would be better if it was bigger and it's not better that way. When I tried to make it 12-6 it would just fall in there and wasn't good."

Gerritse's changeup needed some work as well, but the Yankees seem content with it having some power behind it. The California native seems happy with what it has become. At one point, his change was being slowed down, as it was too close in speed to his fastball, but the power-change seems to be where it's headed.

"I'm trying to speed that up so it's gotten to the point where it can be a power-change. I'll take the velocity on that when it's got some movement to it. So [Staten Island Pitching Coach] Danny Borrell and I have been working on the movement on it."

Borrell knows Gerritse isn't comfortable with the current status of the changeup, but thinks time and confidence are the keys to it becoming a formidable weapon.

"I know he hasn't gotten to where he's wanted to with his changeup," Borrell said. "Recently he's been getting in the right direction with it. So going out and having the confidence to throw it is important. His mechanics are pretty good, he has a good curve, locates his fastball. It's just the more he goes out and throws the change, the more confidence he builds."

The mechanics of Gerritse's pitching seems to be a constant consideration for him and the organization. The 6-foot-4 frame can be a hindrance to some pitchers as they try to contain the sizable motion of a large frame.

But this is not to say it hasn't gone well, and if his 3-0 record and 1.25 ERA from this season are any indicator, everyone has found a happy medium.

"We tried to get him smoother and he's worked hard trying to get his delivery smoothed out," said Borrell. "It wasn't anything specific, just trying to get him to repeat a smooth delivery as generic as that is to say. But it's so paramount for these kids, trying to get them into repetition."

This has all seemed pretty morbid, but Gerritse's numbers speak for themselves and the fastball has been one of his most reliable pitches this season, something he has felt confident letting loose to NY-Penn League hitters.

"Since the day I walked into spring training, the command on the fastball has been good," Gerritse said. "It was important to get it down in the zone and that's been a lot better. It used to be that everything was belt-high but it's been slowly coming down to the knees and working really well."

For now, the work continues as it does for all the Yankees players at this level but Gerritse has found a good balance this season and hopes to continue his success.

"I'm pretty happy so far," he said. "It's a combination of things like getting the fastball down and the curveball is getting better, the changeup is slowly getting there, but really I think its being effective with my pitches. And that's been the key."

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