"His velocity was between 94-97 [mph], so he had no problems and he's ready to go for Major League camp," said Mark Newman, the Yankees' senior vice president of baseball operations. "His stuff is outstanding, and he's getting a feel for his delivery and throwing strikes. But first and foremost, he was healthy and, at times, dominant."
The delivery and mechanics are definitely the biggest challenge for Brackman, and not just because he has had so little mound time. For a pitcher of his size, there are both benefits and challenges.
"To watch him run, he looks like he's 6-foot-2," Newman said of the young man who offsets that explosive heat with a knuckle curve and a developing changeup.
So while it's impossible at this point to make a prediction on Brackman's ETA to the big leagues, it's equally impossible not to dream about his upside.
Acquired in the '06 trade for Gary Sheffield, Sanchez underwent his [Tommy John] surgery in April '07, and after a second operation to remove calcified bone spurs in his elbow, he began his comeback in the Gulf Coast League with two-thirds of an inning of work June 24.
"I feel pretty good, but honestly, I forgot what 100 percent feels like," he joked from Arizona, where he was enjoying a few hours off watching his beloved New York Giants. "I feel as good as I can going into Spring Training, and being out here has helped a lot. Along with the conditioning and fitness work, we've also been doing what we call 'prehab' to try to prevent injuries."
But whether he starts the spring in New York or in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Melancon is probably the Yankees' most promising heir to the throne of Mariano Rivera, both thanks to his stuff and his mound makeup.
His '08 campaign proved that stuff -- a fastball in the low-to-mid 90s, a power curve and a newly added changeup -- are all present and accounted for. All he needs now are more reps.
Now, if the Yanks only had an emerging SS talent who might be ready in two years...