It’s Not Just The Yankees’ Players Who Are Prospects

Yankees prospects have been in high demand in the past few seasons. Eight prospects who ranked among the system’s top 30 in 2017 have been traded to other organizations, while another four went in the major league phase of the Rule 5 draft in December.

But it wasn’t just the Yankees’ minor league players who made their way to the big leagues. The organization also lost five minor league coaches or coordinators to major league coaching staffs this offseason.

That list includes two—P.J. Pilittere (co-hitting coach) and Carlos Mendoza (quality control/infield instructor)—who made it to the majors with the Yankees, and three more who left for other clubs.

Tom Slater, who had bounced around the system and spent 2017 as Double-A Trenton’s hitting coach, became an assistant hitting coach with the Mets. Josh Paul, who was the team’s catching coordinator for three seasons, left to become the Angels’ bench coach. And Al Pedrique, who spent the last two seasons as Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre’s manager, joined the Athletics as their third-base coach.

As a first-year farm director, Kevin Reese would have preferred to keep things static as he begins his new role. Even so, the departures speak well for the quality of the Yankees’ minor league field staff.

“That’s obviously what you want as you’re developing coaches,” Reese said. “We’re developing coaches at the same time as we’re developing players, and I think that the greatest part about that is that we were able to promote a couple of those guys from within to our major league staff . . .

“I’m obviously happy for Josh Paul and Al Pedrique and Tommy Slater as well. It’s great. We’re all co-workers, but for the most part we’re all friends, and I think it’s good to see guys get opportunities in the game. And I think it does speak well for the Yankees organization.”

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman has seen the same attrition—losing former farm director Gary Denbo and player development analyst Dan Greenlee to the Marlins once Derek Jeter took the reigns in Miami—and believes it reflects well on the hires the team has made over the years.

“It speaks to the various department heads who identified and trained those personnel and produced them to fill higher categories with other clubs,” Cashman said. “We’re certainly proud of the work and the commitment and the impact that all the people we’ve had who’ve left us had on the players who we’ve been enjoying. That’s obviously led them to higher ground elsewhere.”

Players are obviously the focal point of any farm system, but they’re not the only ones who are working to forge a path to the big leagues.

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