Today’s Minor League Prospect Profile centers around Trenton starting pitcher, Jaron Long. He was signed by the Yankees in 2013 out of The Ohio State University after weighing offers from other clubs. He is also the son of Yankees’ hitting coach, Kevin Long. So when the younger had his first taste of pro ball in 2013, it certainly was not his first experience with the Yankees, as Dan Martin of the New York Post wrote this past spring:
“I’ve been a Yankee fan since my dad has been with the team,” Long said. “I’d spend spring break at big league camp with him and then the summer in New York.”
Although it was brief, Long got a small sample of Minor League play at the end of last season. He appeared in six games for the Yankees Gulf Coast League and Low-A Charleston. 2014 has proved to be a coming out party for Long. The 22-year-old has pitched for Charleston, Tampa and Trenton so far this season. Through 105.0 innings, he is 9-3 with a 2.23 ERA. His 95/15 K/BB ratio is exceptional for a player with such little professional experience.
What might be most impressive is the fact that Long is doing this without over-powering stuff. His fastball sits in the high-80s to low-90s. His ability to consistently throw his heater for strikes improves the effectiveness of his secondary pitches (curveball and change-up).
The first comparison that came to mind, was Andy Pettitte. I’m not saying Long will develop into the player Pettitte was, but the pitching style is comparable. Pettitte is one of many players that Jaron has had the opportunity to work with and learn from during his father’s time with the Yankees.
Long has made a rapid rise through the lower levels of the minors. He will likely finish the season in Double-A. If he can continue to maintain his efficiency and consistency, while continuing to learn how to pitch, he is a player to keep an eye on in 2015. Seeing him in the Bronx as early as next season (or a 2014 September call-up) is not a stretch, especially when you factor in that he is familiar with coming out of the bullpen (ten relief appearances this season).