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A New York Yankees blog by Chad Jennings and the staff of The Journal News


Five questions with Wilkin De La Rosa

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Misc on Mar 06, 2010 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

A converted outfielder, Wilkin De La Rosa moved to the mound in 2007 and has pitched his way onto the Yankees 40-man roster. He’s slated to work as a starter in Double-A this season — and the Yankees will give him every chance to stay in the rotation — but he could get on the fast track as a left-handed reliever. And it’s Wilkin, not Wilkins. “With no S,” he said.

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How did you find out that the Yankees wanted to make you a pitcher?
De La Rosa: I had been playing in the New York-Penn League. After the season, when I got back to the Dominican, they called me and said the team wanted to try me on the mound, and I said, let’s see what I can do. I just said yes… I had to learn another part of the game, mentally especially. I had to practice something that I did not know. I got in this, and I feel in more control now.

Had you pitched before? Did you pitch as a kid?
De La Rosa: No. I never pitched. I always liked to be a position player, so that’s what I did when I was a kid. I played third base and outfield. I always had a good arm.

Did you start just throwing fastballs, just trying to throw strikes?
De La Rosa: I just started with fastballs. In my sides, everything was fastballs. When I came to the mound, my first inning was just fastballs to see how I could handle this. And then I established my breaking ball.

Was a breaking ball harder to figure out?
De La Rosa: For me it was a little hard, because I had never done it before. I just worked hard on that stuff. The pitching coach in the Dominican told me that I was working so hard, so that has helped me out a lot. I was with a pitching coach from the Dominican Summer League… I tried a curveball first, but they switched me and told me I had to throw a slider.

Do you miss hitting?
De La Rosa: A lot. When I started pitching, that was so hard for me because I had been hitting the whole time, my whole life, but I feel comfortable now. I’m just going to be working hard.

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66 Responses to “Five questions with Wilkin De La Rosa”

  1. Phil the Thrill March 6th, 2010 at 10:24 pm

    He’s a kid who’s capable of having a breakout season this year.

  2. GreenBeret7 March 6th, 2010 at 10:26 pm

    Nice interview on De La Rosa, Chad. Did he say who taught him that Bugs Bunny change-up? It’s a thing of beauty. Thanks.

  3. MTU March 6th, 2010 at 10:29 pm

    GB-

    How’s his C and C ?

    Three pitches

    FB, Slider and Change ?

  4. MTU March 6th, 2010 at 10:33 pm

    Chad-

    Thanks for this series of interviews.

    It has been good to begin to get to know some of our lesser known players.

  5. GreenBeret7 March 6th, 2010 at 10:34 pm

    Pat M.
    March 6th, 2010 at 10:19 pm
    The Senators / Nationals are a team that is on the move….As I mentioned earlier, both the AL / NL West are wide open, as all the clubs are at 83-2-83 wins…..However the NL West is set to play the AL East during interleague this season….This is proving to be far more difficult arrangement than I originally thought….I have always been able to pick out 5-6 teams, but this season I have to pick all 30 clubs….So it’s going to come down to my best 5-7 teams and just play the remaining teams at 20.00…..That’s why I’ve seeked out consultaions for this…..No lip service stat crap, I want good baseball imput from those you how the game beyond a stat sheet….

    ————————————————————

    Like I said, Pat…I’m not much on betting picks, but, those are the teams that I think will be better than the wins they’ve set. I also think that if NYY is healthy all season and nobody falls off the cliff, they could challenge the 1998 Yankees.

  6. Rich in NJ March 6th, 2010 at 10:43 pm

    “I also think that if NYY is healthy all season and nobody falls off the cliff, they could challenge the 1998 Yankees.”

    Especially if Vazquez’s 2010 season is similar to his 2009 season.

  7. MTU March 6th, 2010 at 10:46 pm

    Rich-

    How many wins are you projecting for JV ?

  8. GreenBeret7 March 6th, 2010 at 10:51 pm

    MTU, he’s a really good strikeout/swing and miss guy and he stays around the plate.

    Usually gets to 92-95 MPH and can hit in the upper 90s (97)when he needs to. Decent curve and the nastiest change-up this side of Trevor Hoffman.

  9. MTU March 6th, 2010 at 10:51 pm

    here’s mine :

    CC – 21
    AJ- 18
    Andy-15
    JV-15
    #5- 10

  10. MTU March 6th, 2010 at 10:53 pm

    GB-

    Sounds like a winner. :)

    He starts at AA this year, right ?

  11. Rich in NJ March 6th, 2010 at 10:53 pm

    MTU

    I think he has a chance to be the #2 starter by the end of the season, with something like a 115 ERA+.

    By way of comparison, it was 143 last season. CC’s was 127. The next best ERA+ for a Yankee starter was AJ’s 106.

    btw, I think CC’s ERA+ will be over 135.

  12. Pokey March 6th, 2010 at 10:53 pm

    Only in a video game are you going to get that many wins out of the rotation.

  13. MTU March 6th, 2010 at 10:56 pm

    “Only in a video game are you going to get that many wins out of the rotation.”

    Where am I over ?

  14. Betsy - Romine wasn't built in a day March 6th, 2010 at 10:56 pm

    Pat M and GB, on another board, I saw a poster express something along the lines of disappointment/annoyance by the idea of AJ throwing a 91 MPH change. Is that a problem? What is the ideal differential between a change and a FB?

    http://newyork.yankees.mlb.com.....8;c_id=nyy

    AJ doesn’t throw 96/97 – he tries to stay around 93/94. Given that, how is a 91 MPH change effective? If it’s like a 2 seam FB, then what is the point even of throwing it?

  15. Rich in NJ March 6th, 2010 at 10:57 pm

    I don’t think wins are a great way to judge pitchers. There are too many unknown variables that can skew W-L records.

  16. Pat M. March 6th, 2010 at 10:57 pm

    Thanks GB, Your opinion is highly regarded in my book….I am inclined to take Boston ( 94 ) on the unders…I already have the same wager I had last season with the Bombers winning 100 games ….100.00 GETS ME 195.00

  17. Betsy - Romine wasn't built in a day March 6th, 2010 at 11:01 pm

    Sounds like a good kid, though I feel badly for him that he misses hitting so much. It must be very difficult to convert a player to pitcher, especially as regards to throwing breaking pitches. I thought the Yankees don’t like their kids to throw sliders and prefer them to throw curves; I wonder why they switched it around with De La Rosa.

  18. Phil the Thrill March 6th, 2010 at 11:02 pm

    When is Vazquez gonna pitch?

  19. Rich in NJ March 6th, 2010 at 11:02 pm

    I saw AJ hitting 88 on the gun with his change. A six to seven mph differential between FB and CH is fine if you can throw it with the same arm action and throw it for strikes.

  20. MTU March 6th, 2010 at 11:03 pm

    Wont Bleich and WDLR both be in the AA rotation this year ?

  21. Pokey March 6th, 2010 at 11:04 pm

    I think you need to knock 2 off of everyone except the 5 spot, possibly 3 in AJ’s case and you’d be more on the mark. It’s a tall order to get 79 wins out of a rotation, especially since the Yankees tend to start slow. Also, that’s assuming no one misses a start all season.

  22. Pat M. March 6th, 2010 at 11:07 pm

    GB,Where is Dennis Coztanza been???

  23. Pokey March 6th, 2010 at 11:08 pm

    As he gains a better feel for the pitch, he should be able to take a couple more ticks off of it.

    I don’t know why WDLR says he misses hitting. Judging by his numbers, he never hit anything anyway. Glad to see that they found a way to use him though. Intriguing stuff.

  24. GreenBeret7 March 6th, 2010 at 11:08 pm

    Betsy – Romine wasn’t built in a day
    March 6th, 2010 at 10:56 pm
    Pat M and GB, on another board, I saw a poster express something along the lines of disappointment/annoyance by the idea of AJ throwing a 91 MPH change. Is that a problem? What is the ideal differential between a change and a FB?

    http://newyork.yankees.mlb.com…..p;c_id=nyy

    AJ doesn’t throw 96/97 – he tries to stay around 93/94. Given that, how is a 91 MPH change effective? If it’s like a 2 seam FB, then what is the point even of throwing it?

    ————————————————————

    Burnett does get up to 96-97 MPH, but usually 93-95. His chageup is around 89-91 I guess from what they said, but, with him, it’s the unusual downward movement. Change-up ideally is 10-13 MPH less than fastball. With the strange movements on his pitches, anything that moves will be a hitter’s heartache.

  25. MTU March 6th, 2010 at 11:10 pm

    Pokey-

    This is all guess work but here’s how I see it.

    CC had 19 last year. I think he betters that.

    AJ can do better than last year. He won 18 with Toronto.

    Andy almost always seems to win around 14 so I’m giving him +1

    JV- if he’s as good as some people seem to think I don’t believe 15 is a bridge too far.

    Joba had 10. If It’s Hughes I think he does that also.

    So that’s how I see it.

    Even if you knock a few off that a lot of wins from the starters so I’m happy either way.

  26. Pokey March 6th, 2010 at 11:10 pm

    Rich that’s a great point. If you only looked at wins and ERA, Dice-K would be the best pitcher in the AL East.

  27. Pokey March 6th, 2010 at 11:12 pm

    Oh, I think they’re all possible, especially since they are in line with what they’ve done in the past. I wish we could get that, especially since it would mean the bullpen would be well-rested for the entire season.

  28. GreenBeret7 March 6th, 2010 at 11:12 pm

    Pat M.
    March 6th, 2010 at 11:07 pm
    GB,Where is Dennis Coztanza been???

    ————————————————————

    Haven seen Dennis since just after New Years, Pat. Maybe he’s been on business or Ms Amy hid his computer from him. she may have a showing somewhere, too. He’s good people. Let me tell you, though, Ms Amy is a fantastic photographer. Some of the most beautiful photos you’ll ever see.

  29. Betsy - Romine wasn't built in a day March 6th, 2010 at 11:14 pm

    http://web.yesnetwork.com/index.jsp

    good stuff with Jack Curry…

    Rich, thanks. I did tape AJ’s innings, so maybe I will watch them again to see; I don’t remember seeing any 88 MPH pitches, but I could have missed them.

    Pokey, that’s true. I suppose Jorge was just estimating anyway; it’s really not fair to hold him to exact #s.

  30. Pat M. March 6th, 2010 at 11:16 pm

    MTU, 80 wins from the rotation isn’t that far fetched…..The key will be the 5th starter….

  31. Betsy - Romine wasn't built in a day March 6th, 2010 at 11:16 pm

    GB, oh AJ can definitely get it up there, but he purposely doesn’t throw that hard because it’s easier on his arm. LOL that’s true about the movement on his pitches…

  32. MTU March 6th, 2010 at 11:17 pm

    Pat M-

    Wether it’s Phil or Joba I see 10 wins as no problem at all.

    Maybe more.

  33. Pat M. March 6th, 2010 at 11:18 pm

    Miss Dennis, always had solid contributions to the blog…..Seems like we’re missing a few people, hopefully once the season gets under way we’ll have the whole crew back…..

  34. GreenBeret7 March 6th, 2010 at 11:18 pm

    MTU
    March 6th, 2010 at 11:03 pm
    Wont Bleich and WDLR both be in the AA rotation this year ?

    ————————————————————

    Yeah, Bleich will, but, De La Rosa might start in Scranton, but, he had some injuries last year, so, maybe he starts in Trenton until May.

  35. MTU March 6th, 2010 at 11:20 pm

    GB-

    “Yeah, Bleich will, but, De La Rosa might start in Scranton, but, he had some injuries last year, so, maybe he starts in Trenton until May.”

    We’ve got a lot of arms moving thru the system to the higher levels.

    Where do they go ??????

  36. Pokey March 6th, 2010 at 11:23 pm

    The ’98 team won 114 games and got 79 wins from the rotation. Can this team win 108+ games? Maybe.

  37. GreenBeret7 March 6th, 2010 at 11:23 pm

    Pat M.
    March 6th, 2010 at 11:18 pm
    Miss Dennis, always had solid contributions to the blog…..Seems like we’re missing a few people, hopefully once the season gets under way we’ll have the whole crew back…..

    ————————————————————

    Yeah, Dennis and Ray (sox fan) are good people and solid contributors….especially considering the way they lean….towards Boston. They must have drank some tainted Bosco or Ovaltine as kids and scrambled their wires.

  38. MTU March 6th, 2010 at 11:24 pm

    I see a similar pattern to last year wherein we win a lot of games due to our strong offense and solid bullpen later in games.

    We hold it close and kill em late.

  39. Pat M. March 6th, 2010 at 11:26 pm

    GB, The Curt Gowdy factor for both of them

  40. GreenBeret7 March 6th, 2010 at 11:27 pm

    MTU
    March 6th, 2010 at 11:20 pm
    GB-

    “Yeah, Bleich will, but, De La Rosa might start in Scranton, but, he had some injuries last year, so, maybe he starts in Trenton until May.”

    We’ve got a lot of arms moving thru the system to the higher levels.

    Where do they go ??????

    ————————————————————

    Injuries at higher levels and trades will thin them out, I’d think. As long as they get in their innings, that’s the important part. Guys like Brackman, Banuelos, Mitchell, Phelps and Marshall. Others like Pendleton and Lare may improve and move up or on.

  41. Pokey March 6th, 2010 at 11:27 pm

    MTU,
    Well we’ve trimmed down the number of arms this offseason. What will be interesting is seeing what we do if some of these guys out of college or coming off of injuries start to put themselves on the fast track through the system.

  42. MTU March 6th, 2010 at 11:29 pm

    How many wins does 900 runs, a starter’s ERA of 4.0, and a lockdown BP translate to ?

  43. Rich in NJ March 6th, 2010 at 11:29 pm

    Actually, if both the RS and TB are 90+ win teams, winning 105+ could be problematic. The Yankees could lose 15-18 games combined against those two teams.

  44. Pat M. March 6th, 2010 at 11:30 pm

    MTU, I’am saying 100 wins

  45. MTU March 6th, 2010 at 11:30 pm

    Pokey-

    Personally, and it might be a good thing, I see a glut developing.

  46. GreenBeret7 March 6th, 2010 at 11:31 pm

    Pat M.
    March 6th, 2010 at 11:26 pm
    GB, The Curt Gowdy factor for both of them

    ————————————————————

    Yeah, we can blame it on their environment. Must be tough growing up in a Red Sox family and neighborhood and have to live your life as a closet Yankee fan. The courts need to step in and stop that sort of child abuse.

  47. Pokey March 6th, 2010 at 11:31 pm

    I saw an interview somewhere where they asked if there were plans to add another lower level team. They said there weren’t as of now, but with all the arms and catchers we’ve collected, they may need to change their minds.

  48. MTU March 6th, 2010 at 11:33 pm

    Do we have the best catching pipeline in all of baseball ?

  49. Brandon Awesome (B/c I'm still more AWESOME than you) March 6th, 2010 at 11:37 pm

    He’s definitely on the fast track. You might see him in September in the Bronx.

    OT but I was shocked Boone Logan could touch 95 and 96, last I heard he was 88-92 mph, IDK what he did to get the extra ticks but beautiful.

    Nice seeing Brackman hit the ST mound, very impressive kid, I still want to see what Bleich can do, 1 pitch and out wasn’t what ST was built for, hopefully I see more of him too.

    Last but not least how can anyone not be impressed w/ Colin Curtis, that kid has improved immensely, GI Joe better keep him in the running for 4th OF or 1st call up.

  50. Pokey March 6th, 2010 at 11:39 pm

    Oh, the glut has been there for 2-3 seasons now. Just looking at the guys we’ve had to DFA shows you that.

  51. MTU March 6th, 2010 at 11:40 pm

    Here’s my homer projections:

    A-Rod 40
    Tex 35
    Grandy 30
    Swish 25
    Cano 25
    Posada 20
    Jeter 15

    And with that. I bid you adieu and good night.

  52. Brandon Awesome (B/c I'm still more AWESOME than you) March 6th, 2010 at 11:41 pm

    “Do we have the best catching pipeline in all of baseball ?”

    That honor belongs to Texas I think.

    But we are up there w/ Cisco, Jesus, Romine, and Gary Sanchez

  53. Pokey March 6th, 2010 at 11:44 pm

    As far as I know we have the deepest catching situation in baseball.

    Curtis isn’t going to make the team out of ST, and he’s going to have to really impress to get that first callup since Golson is on the 40 and the FA signees have big league experience.

  54. m March 6th, 2010 at 11:45 pm

    Jeter will hit more HR than Posada. (bold prediction of the nigt)

  55. Pat M. March 6th, 2010 at 11:49 pm

    m, I have concerns about Jorge this season…

  56. Brandon Awesome (B/c I'm still more AWESOME than you) March 6th, 2010 at 11:49 pm

    “Jeter will hit more HR than Posada. (bold prediction of the nigt)”

    Your dreaming.

    “Curtis isn’t going to make the team out of ST, and he’s going to have to really impress to get that first callup since Golson is on the 40 and the FA signees have big league experience.”

    His bat right now is better than Golson. Curtis has improved since he retuned his swing at the AFL, right now his lefty bat in Yankees Stadium is a bit enticing that’s if his bat continues at what he’s showing in ST.

  57. Rich in NJ March 6th, 2010 at 11:50 pm

    Pat M.

    “m, I have concerns about Jorge this season…”

    I have had concerns about Posada for the last five seasons, and the guy keeps proving me wrong.

  58. m March 6th, 2010 at 11:55 pm

    It’s got more to do with Jeter than Jorge. cough-contract-cough-year.

    How many games will Jorge be catching?

    Who will DH on the days that Cervelli starts?

  59. Pat M. March 6th, 2010 at 11:58 pm

    Rich in NJ…..I hope we can squeeze one more Jorge like season out of him….I do believe that if he can duplicate his numbers the next 2 seasons, he’ll have a real shot at getting HOF considerations…..I’d welcome your imput as well in regard to my over /under pool….Looking for 5=6 good picks….The other 25 teams I’ll take play the minimuim 20.00 on

  60. Rich in NJ March 7th, 2010 at 12:27 am

    I’m Channel 7-less.

  61. BFARBS March 7th, 2010 at 12:40 am

    so whose going on the split squad trip tomorrow?

  62. Erica - always OPPC March 7th, 2010 at 1:02 am

    Rich in NJ
    March 7th, 2010 at 12:27 am
    I’m Channel 7-less.
    ******************

    I have been afraid to turn my TV on

    This is bullcrap

  63. Pat M. March 7th, 2010 at 2:43 am

    No more 24 hour service at The LoHud ……Must be James Dolans doing……And this chump wants to buy the NY Yankees…..

  64. Matt March 7th, 2010 at 9:36 am

    Wilkin De La Rosa …… a lefthanded 3rd baseman before he converted to a pitcher ?

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