I was never a pro prospect. I was scouted by several colleges, mostly D-3, and played for a couple years but I didn't hit enough to be a real solid college ball player. I had a fantastic high school coach was taught by some great baseball people over my years. I even coach with several great coaches now and learn on a daily basis. But what I would give to spend an hour, a day, a week or an entire spring with the Yankees and their coaches and instructors.
Every year the Yankees bring in special instructors to help the youngsters, and veterans for that matter, prepare for the grueling season and help the Yankees get a return on investment. I see stories and pictures and videos of former stars coming in to help and if I were a prospect, I'd be in awe and would soak up every ounce of content thrown at me.
The entire core four has helped out with spring training over the past few years with Jorge Posada, Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera and Derek Jeter making appearances. Jeter even has a special get together called The Captains Camp where he talks to and instructs young players on how to be get to the Major Leagues and how to stay there. It doesn't get much better than that!
Ron Guidry is in camp this year and was photographed recently working with fellow lefty Jacob Lindgren. Guidry, who some think should be a Hall of Famer after compiling a 170-91 record with a 3.21 from 1975-1988, brings a wealth of experience to the table, not only as a pitcher but also as a guy who spent his entire career with the Yankees. Any developing pitcher should do their damndest to shadow him while he is in camp.
Even El Duque was seen in the bullpen recently, supposedly observing, but I would assume he had some feedback for some of the youngsters. Vets, such as Carlos Beltran, also act as instructors and mentors to some, in particular Aaron Judge, who the vet asked to have his locker next to. The list of people helping out goes on and on.
As a young prospect trying to work your way up the organizational chain, a young veteran or even a vet who may be winding down his career, listening to these former stars would be a huge bonus to everyday instruction. Not only is getting to the Bigs is a tall task, so is staying there and adapting to yourself as you get older. A player will not be as quick and able to naturally do what they did at 25 when he is 35. Adjustments and regimens become more important, in my opinion, at that point.
While I'm no longer looking to play the game I love, I do want to continue to improve as a coach and a person. So if anyone has the hook up to get me into Spring Training at Steinbrenner Field, let me know. I'll buy the first round afterward. But for the young men in the clubhouse, the quality of instruction could not be better.