After a solid first full professional season with the Low-A Beloit Snappers in 2013, Derek De Young looked poised for big things in 2014 when an injured elbow stopped him in his tracks. De Young was hurt during spring training and had Tommy John surgery a few weeks later. After more than a year of rehab, De Young returned to game action with the short-season Vermont Lake Monsters in July of this year.
Kept on a strict innings limit, De Young threw only 11.2 innings, but he came out of the year healthy. He struggled with his command -- as many pitchers do when coming back from Tommy John surgery -- but De Young proved very hard to hit. He held opposing batters to a .182 average and struck-out nearly a batter an inning (11).
Donald Moore spoke with De Young during a Lake Monsters' road trip in late July.
Donald Moore: Hi Derek, how is everything going for you this year?
Derek De Young: It's going good. I've been here for a few weeks now. Having a lot of fun playing.
DM: What are your goals for this year?
DD: Just finish the season healthy.
DM: What is your greatest strength as a baseball player?
DD: Probably my fastball.
DM: What would you'd like to improve on?
DD: Command, like throwing strikes and stuff.
DM: It's your third year playing professional baseball, how are you acclimating this year?
DD: I had Tommy John surgery in 2014, so it's my third full year. I have been out a whole year and five months and I am feeling pretty good. My arm is coming back good, still a little rusty, but coming back. My velocity is down and I've only thrown two innings so far, but that is about it.
DM: What is the best thing about being a professional athlete?
DD: Probably not having to go to school and work and stuff.
DM: Any pre-game routines?
DD: No, I don't have any pre-game routines. I just go with the flow.
DM: Any hobbies?
DD: Playing video games and hanging out with friends.
DM: Favorite baseball team growing up?
DD: The White Sox.
DM: Where are you originally from?
DM: If there is one person who taught you the most about baseball, who would that be?
DD: Oh, my father, for sure. Taught me everything.
DM: Craziest thing you have ever seen on a baseball diamond?
DD: Off the top of my head, I really can't thing of anything. But I have seen a lot of crazy things though.
DM: Where do you see yourself regarding your future as a professional baseball player?
DD: Hopefully the big leagues.
DM: It was nice meeting you and the best of luck to you and your career.
DD: It was my pleasure, thank you.