Special invitee Will Warren chasing Yankees dream with grit and talent

Yankees pitching prospect Will Warren
John Allen
Tuesday February 13, 2024

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Will Warren‘s journey from an overlooked eighth-round pick to a top Yankees pitching prospect wasn’t easy. Balancing raw talent with occasional over-excitement, Warren leaned on his coachability, diverse arsenal, and mental fortitude to rise through the ranks. His transition to Triple-A required adjustments, where pitching coach Graham Johnson became instrumental, teaching him to channel his competitive fire productively.

Now, at 24, Will Warren stands on the precipice of his ultimate goal: an MLB debut with the Yankees. The team’s pitching woes last season – riddled with injuries and underperformance – create an enticing opening for him to crack the starting rotation. While established aces like Gerrit Cole, a resurgent Carlos Rodón, and the reliable Nestor Cortes hold their spots, newcomers Marcus Stroman and Clarke Schmidt add depth. The competition includes promising prospects like Clayton Beeter, Yoendrys Gómez, and Luis Gil, and veterans like Luke Weaver and Cody Poteet. But despite not yet being on the 40-man roster, Warren believes his talent and recent success speak for themselves.

Spring training becomes his proving ground. Beyond the outcome, Will Warren’s focus is on showcasing his skills and making a genuine impact. He reflects on his impressive Triple-A season, recognizing the progress made and the potential for further improvement. Fueled by unwavering determination, Will Warren seizes the opportunity with open arms, confident in his ability to contribute meaningfully at the highest level.

Will Warren waits in the wings

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Will Warren’s Triple-A season wasn’t just good, it was elite. Across 19 starts, he sported a solid 3.61 ERA, fanning an impressive 9.9 batters per game while minimizing walks (4.2 per 9 innings). His true dominance came late when he posted a jaw-dropping 2.10 ERA and held hitters to a paltry .194 batting average in his final 10 starts.

Game planning became Will Warren’s secret weapon. As Sam Briend, Yankees director of pitching, pointed out, Warren mastered “at-bat recall,” remembering sequences and intentions, showing strategic preparation and mental toughness.

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Will Warren acknowledged the cutthroat world of Triple-A, filled with veterans and hungry prospects. He highlighted the importance of respecting opponents, but also believing in himself and utilizing pre-game scouting to exploit weaknesses, especially in high-pressure situations.

Under the hood, Will Warren relies on a two-seamer/four-seamer combo (low 90s to 97 mph), a devastating mid-80s high-spin slider, and a developing changeup/cutter. He praises pitching coaches like Graham Johnson, Preston Claiborne, and Gerardo Casadiego for their guidance.

A key adjustment? Tunneling pitches (throwing from the same arm slot). He honed this at Triple-A, along with adapting to the higher seams of major league baseballs.

Now, at the team’s Florida complex, Will Warren trains with big leaguers and fellow prospects. Inspired by their work ethic, he’s hungry for spring training, ready to showcase his skills and earn a spot on the team.

“Ultimately,” Will Warren says, “it’s about showing what I can do.”

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