Staten Island, New York — There are always players that force you to watch.
When Cale Coshow takes the mound, there’s a lot going on, and it’s a study in “working it out.”
The energy and power from the 265 pound Oklahoma Christian product has been at times wild and unhinged, at other times his ability to overpower hitters and shut down an inning with electric delivery and deception, has been impressive and fun to witness.
The righty was drafted this year in the thirteenth round by the Yankees, and he was promptly assigned to short season New York Penn League, to play for the Staten Island Yankees.
Through twenty innings, seven games, three started, he’s allowed ten walks and struck out twenty. In his first five games at the pro level, he allowed just four earned runs. In two consecutive outings of those five, he didn’t allow an earned run, accumulated seven strikeouts, and gave up just three hits.
In his second start in early July, going against the Hudson Valley Renegades, he spun a curveball with tremendous depth as it broke, and a heavy sinking fastball. He was most effective with that mix, particularly when he attacked the zone. Attack is almost too weak a word to describe just how dominating he is when he has command.
When pitching in the bottom part of the zone, he located more often. But when trying to go away, he couldn’t control the ball as effectively, and the ball rocketed behind the plate a few times; he also nearly plunked a few batters.
In that same game, three unearned runs scored in the 2nd. With two outs, and running a 2-1 count, he went back on the inner part of the plate with a fastball that the batter couldn’t catch up to. Coshow never appeared rattled, coming back from the frustrating moment with the same approach. It was his second start of the season, and he went three innings, giving up a walk and striking out two. He held Renegades hitters to one hit.
Eleven days later against the Batavia Muckdogs (I didn’t see his next start after the Hudson Valley series), his effectiveness was stronger when keeping the ball down. He began the inning with a ground ball out, allowing a hit to the second batter, but a running mistake led to the runner being tagged trying to steal second.
In the second inning, a lot of variables were on display. He labored quite a bit. But what you saw was a guy that has a keen talent for skillfully, patiently staying the course to end the inning with minimal damage.
He walked the leadoff hitter, but a grounder toward the mound, that he handled swiftly, got the runner at first base. Coshow followed that with a four-pitch walk. He’d throw six straight balls that inning, and received a mound visit from manager Justin Pope.
What he did after that chat, was interesting. He’d fire two strikes over the plate, then locate a pitch so far outside Bob Uecker‘s voice came to mind. His next pitch was a fiery, late moving fastball, with tons of spin that the batter had no chance on, and struck out. He allowed a hit to the next batter, and with bases loaded, and two outs, he managed himself, staying composed. But a grounder that would’ve ended the inning was bobbled by shortstop John Murphy for an error, and a run crossed the plate to tie it.
While Coshow looked visibly shaken, that emotional display didn’t last. He threw one pitch to get the next guy to fly out.
Later, pitching with Batavia leading 3-1, his pitch selection and consistency were mostly solid, but he struggled with the same issue, as he tried to smooth out his command.
He’d get the leadoff batter to fly out after seeing just two pitches, and induce a grounder, to get to two quick outs.
To infielder Scott Carcaise, he threw a fastball that ran in on Carcaise, and used late breaking off-speed stuff to get him swinging. He also threw another way wild pitch that landed against the backstop. Carcaise won the at-bat with a hit to right field.
Pope relieved Coshow at that point, giving him 2 and 1/3 innings of work, four runs, two earned, on four hits. He walked a season high three, and got two strikeouts. His fastball topped out at 93. In the past, he’s been consistently clocked in the mid to lower nineties, with reports of him hitting 96 mph in college.
Everything about Coshow pulls your eye to him. His size, power to the plate, ability to falter, then refocus, and process of finding command, are interesting, exciting, and tense.
In those two starts, his command was inconsistent, but he regained it to freeze hitters with a big fastball, a snappy curveball, and a slider that broke across the plate. The drop was enough to deceive hitters at the last minute. His wildness and inconsistency hurt him, but didn’t break him. If he pitched into trouble, he mostly worked through it, and escaped without veering too far off track. The pitch sequences didn’t always work, but he took his time, and went to something else if it wasn’t effective. He needs to pitch deeper into games, and see the order more than twice to build more confidence and refine his command.
Coshow’s starts have become something to pencil in and make sure to catch. There’s so much happening, you’ll want to see where he takes it next.
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