Bonus Section: Q&A with Nardi Contreras

Nardi likes Chris Cabrera's upside

In a bonus session to talk about the Dominican Summer League pitchers who might be ready to come States-side, Nardi Contreras, the Yankees Minor League Pitching Coordinator, sits down with PinstripesPlus.com for another interview. In this bonus section, Nardi discusses Chris Cabrera, Harold Garce, Juan Heredia, Juan Marcano, and more.

PinstripesPlus.com: Let me ask you your early impressions about one of the newest pitchers in the organization - Chris Cabrera. Word is he throws pretty hard.

Nardi Contreras: I saw an average fastball. He had been working out for about a month with us at the complex before Instructional League started. By the time I left Instructional League he was pitching in the strike zone, which is very good. The changeup of course needs work and his breaking ball needs work, but it looks like he can spin the ball. It's not a complete curveball right now, it's a breaking ball. He's pitched well. He's a youngster but he looks like he's going to be somebody very interesting for us. He has some upside.

PinstripesPlus.com: I had heard that he had hit as high as 96 MPH. Is that not true?

Contreras: I never saw that but our guns were a little low. It's an average fastball at this time from what I saw. If he's done more than that before I saw him, great. If he's done more than that after I saw him, great.

PinstripesPlus.com: Erick Tapia throws very hard, especially for a lefty. Are his secondary pitches the reason why he's taking a little longer to get here to the United States?

Contreras: No, he has a good changeup. He pitched just one time when I was there at Dominican Instructs. I've seen him throw a plus fastball before. I didn't see it this time but I know he has it. He is still working on improving his breaking pitch.

PinstripesPlus.com: The numbers Juan Marcano put up this year were ridiculous. What can you tell me about where he is in his development?

Contreras: Juan Marcano is very interesting. I saw him when we first signed him and he was in the low-80's with his fastball. Now he shows an average fastball. He spins the ball and he has a changeup. I think he's 18 now and I believe he has a real good chance to come see us next Spring. He's a lefty who has added 8-10 MPH on his fastball, throws strikes, and his delivery is pretty solid.

PinstripesPlus.com: Juan Heredia also put up insane numbers this year. I saw a real good breaking ball from him but the fastball velocity was lacking in my opinion. Do you think he needs to throw harder to have anywhere near the same kind of success over here?

Contreras: Yeah I think he has to gain some more arm strength. I've never seen him throw hard. I do know he can spin the ball. As he fills out he should be able to throw harder.

PinstripesPlus.com: Jose Quintana, another lefty, another set of crazy stats. Did you get to see him?

Contreras: Yes and it was just a fair outing. His stuff was not crisp that day. Besides his fastball he throws a curveball and a changeup. The reports have him better than what I saw of him that day.

PinstripesPlus.com: There seems to be a little something with Victor Beriguete. What are your impressions?

Contreras: He has arm strength. He needs to continue to learn the game of baseball and all of the fundamentals. As his delivery and knowledge improve, his value with improve.

PinstripesPlus.com: Harold Garce on the other hand has some serious arm strength. Last year he walked a gazillion guys but he seems to have made strides, no?

Contreras: Boy does he have arm strength. He's better controlling the baseball so he now has the chance to pitch in the States. He's getting his breaking ball and changeup over the plate, and he throws real hard. His delivery is cleaned up. Are there still inconsistencies? Yeah, but now he has a better chance of throwing the ball over the plate, not in command but he's throwing more strikes. He does some other things well. I saw him do some pickoff moves to first base, short and quick, with good tosses. He's made great improvements and I would think that would help him be considered for coming to the United States.

PinstripesPlus.com: Yobanny Reyes is a little older but he seems to be pretty intriguing. You agree?

Contreras: He has a plus fastball and he shows a quality slider at times. He also showed a quality changeup at times. He has a plus arm, but he has not been able to stay healthy. He's healthy now though and he's one of the top guys I saw during my time in the DR.

PinstripesPlus.com: Of the guys I didn't bring up, was there anybody else who stood out somewhat?

Contreras: Israel Tolentino throws pretty hard too. He needs to continue working with his delivery. Another kid, Charlyn Garcia, has a plus arm. All three pitches are plus, but like Tolentino, comprehension of delivery and release point is not there yet. If you package his three pitches next to any of those other guys, I'm not sure anybody can compete with him.

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