New Yankee, Cotton, Ready to Start Pro Career

Earlier this week it was announced that the New York Yankees signed right-handed pitcher Bryant Cotton as a non-drafted free agent out of Saint Louis University.  The 6 foot 2 inch right-handed pitcher spent two seasons with the Billikens after transferring from Butler County Community College.  He struck out 151 batters and posted a career 4.46 ERA with the Billikens with 14wins including tying the school record of nine this past season.

“I was so excited,” said the young pitcher about the Yankees signing him, “the first thing I did was call my grandfather and tell him the news.  He was more excited than me.”

The new Yankee prospect will be working as a reliever this summer after spending his college career primarily as a starter.  The right-hander throws a plethora of pitches possessing a four-seam fastball, two-seam fastball, a sinker, curveball, splitter, slider and a change-up.  His main strike out pitch is his slider which he successfully developed over the past year.

The former St. Louis University pitcher will be with the Staten Island Yankees and is hoping for a great season.  “I expect to help the team in any way that I can to win,” said Cotton, “and I hope that I keep getting better because that will help the team also.”

Cotton will be joined in Staten Island by several new draftees and players coming up from Extended Spring Training down in Florida.  One of those that are confirmed to make his professional debut with the Baby Bombers is Chase Whitley out of Troy University.  The 15th round draft pick was 7-3 with a 3.68 ERA in 32 relief appearances this season.  In 66 innings he struck out 65 and walked 24 while limiting opposing hitters to just a .211.  He possesses an average fastball that sits between 88 and 92 MPH, a plush change up and a fringe curveball that still needs to develop.

As for the rest of the roster right-handed starting pitchers Zachary Varce (11th round, University of Portland), Preseton Claiborne (17th round, Tulane University), Conor Mulle (24th round, St. Peters College), James Gipson (31st round, Florida Atlantic University), Williams Oliver (35th round, Palomar College), Nathan Forer (46th round, S. Illinois University-Carbondale), left-handed starter Trevor Johnson (22nd Round, College of the Desert), and left-handed reliever Frederick Lewis (47th round, Tennessee Wesleyan College) could see time with the Staten Island Yankees this season.  They will be joined by right-handers Manny Barreda, Michael O’Brien and left-handed pitchers Nik Turley and Samuel Elam from extended spring training.

Matt Richardson

Matt Richardson pitching for the SI Yankees in 2009 - Photo Credit: Robert M. Pimpsner

Right-handed pitcher Matt Richardson will join Staten Island later in the season after getting his innings up down in Tampa after being shut down for a couple of weeks to work out some mechanical issues.

New York Yankees catching prospect J.R. Murphy is expected to join the Staten Island Yankees from the Charleston RiverDogs of the South Atlantic League.  Backing him up could be Nick McCoy (36th round, University of San Diego) and Jhorge Liccien out of extended spring training.

In the infield first baseman Kyle Roller (8th round, East Carolina University) could man first base or designated hitter for the Yankees this season.  Casey Stevenson (25th round, University of California-Irvine) is expected to play second for Staten Island.  Several players could be coming up from extended spring training to make up the baby bomber infield such as Garrison Lassiter (3B), Jose Toussen (2B), Carlos Urena (1B), Carmen Angelini, Jose Mojica and Luis Parache (SS).  Third baseman Kevin Mahoney will be joining the team from Trenton where he was a reserve player.

In the outfielder Michael Ferraro (20th round, University of San Diego) and Shane Brown (23rd round, University of Central Florida) are expected to make their professional debuts.  Top outfielder prospects Kelvin DeLeon, Eduardo Sosa and Ramon Flores could also see time this season in the outfield at the Richmond County Bank Ballpark.  With his success in the South Atlantic League it is less likely now that the Yankees would send top outfield prospect Slade Heathcott down to Staten Island from the Charleston RiverDogs.  Judd Golson is also a possibility for a spot in the Yankees outfield this season.