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Luis Gil's Slider Opened Eyes At Alt Site



Yankees director of pitching Sam Briend wished it wasn’t over.

He had watched 22-year-old righthander Luis Gil, one of the organization’s brightest pupils, snap off a series of impressive 87 mph sliders in his final outings at the Yankees' alternate training site at PNC Field in Moosic, Pa., in September.

The pitches—devastating in their sweep and control—represented months of sweat Gil had put into evolving beyond someone known simply for his scorching fastball and arm speed.

“We really started seeing some changes right there at the end,” Briend said. “I wish it had gone longer than it did.”

Gil’s name isn’t new to those eying minor league talent. They organization's No. 4 prospect has been on the radar since New York acquired him from the Twins for outfielder Jake Cave in March 2018. Minnesota signed Gil out of the Dominican Republic at age 16 in 2014.

When workouts ended at the Yankees’ alternate site, Gil had further cemented his stature as someone on whom the organization can dream.

“He’s just incredibly impressive to begin with,” Briend said.

Gil’s upper-90s heater is his calling card and the big reason he fanned 123 hitters over 96 innings between Low-A Charleston and High-A Tampa in 2019. And like many young arms, Gil is still fashioning his control. He has walked 5.4 batters per nine innings in his career.

Gil was pitching this winter with Licey in the Dominican League, where the Yankees have charged him with mastering consistency, Briend said. The pitching director said that, he was “pretty happy” with how Gil had approached his work there.

But it was Gil’s development of his secondary pitches—and particularly his slider—that has stood out most and could put him in the mix for a spot in the Bronx sooner rather than later.

“Luis was awesome in terms of his work ethic and the way he bought into a handful of new and unique training programs,” Briend said. “The offspeed changes and command were our big focuses for him at the alt site.”

YANKEE DOODLES

— Gil may have second-best fastball in the Yankees’ organization, just behind righthander Brooks Kriske’s, which has a rising effect similar to Chad Green’s and touched 98 mph at the alternate site, Briend said.

— Briend added that Gil’s changeup is nothing to sleep on, either. “It just doesn’t get enough credit,” the director of pitching said. “It’s really a plus pitch at times.”

Daulton Varsho Gettyootp

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