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Q&A with Frankie Piliere, MLB Scout and Analyst: Part Three

The third and final segment.

Pinstripe Alley: What do you see for the future of Pat Venditte (the switch-pitcher)? Does he ever get past Double-A? Does he reach the majors with any team? Would he be on any roster if he wasn't a switch-pitcher?

Frank Piliere: It's going to be tough for Venditte. He's just pretty limited stuff-wise. I've thought all along his only real chance is probably from the left side. There's been some real junk-ballers that have at least tasted the majors as deceptive southpaws. That's his only real big league value, I think, if he does make it.

PA: Tell us about Slade Heathcott. What are the odds he's the Yankees' center-fielder of the future? How far away is he? Is there any reason to be hopeful or skeptical with him?

FP: I like Heathcott a lot but it's very difficult to say he's the center-fielder of the future. You have to remember how high a standard the Yankees have for their starting lineup. I think he can be a guy who hits 18-20 homers a year, can steal some bases and play a real good center-field. Whether that's up to their standards for a center-fielder remains to be seen.

PA: Where do you think Rafael DePaula will start the year? What is his upside? What are your expectations for him this season?

FP: I assume he'll be in short-season ball but where remains to be seen. I haven't seen him so much as throw a pitch yet, so I'd like to wait and see before making any judgment. But obviously the reports of upside have been very good.

PA: How much is it going to hurt that Gerrit Cole (the Yankees' first-round pick in '08) chose UCLA over the Yanks?

FP: It's going to hurt a lot I think. But the only fault on the Yankees' end is not having a better idea of his signability out of high school. So beyond not knowing he wasn't signable, I can't totally blame them. They tried to get him in the fold but he was intent on school. And this year, barring a disastrous spring or some outrageous demands, I can't see him getting out of the top five picks. He's obviously the real deal and probably the best pitcher on the board this year. Although I think Matt Barnes, Sonny Gray, or [Taylor] Jungmann will give him a run for his money on that title.

Thanks again to Frank and to our readers for providing most of the questions.