Q&A with Yankees 36th Rnd Pick Nestor Cortes

We sat down with Yankees' 36th round pick, Nestor Cortes, for a Draft Day Q&A session. Find out what the left-handed pitcher from Hialeah Senior High School in Florida says about his game, how he feels being drafted by the Yankees, what he plans on doing, and much more.

PinstripesPlus.com: Tell us what is going through your mind after being selected by a team like the Yankees.

Nestor Cortes: Well basically, I was on the phone with the area scout of the Yankees, and he was telling me that I might not get drafted, and at first I thought I wasn't going to get drafted. But, then he told me that I was the next one in line. When I heard that, I was so excited. You know, I guess it's everyone's childhood dream to be a Yankee, and I think mine is coming true now.

PinstripesPlus.com: Were you surprised it was the Yankees that selected you? Had you and the Yankees talked much before the draft?

Cortes: The scout was taking me through the process, and telling me that the Yankees had a good shot of taking me. He just didn't know what round it was. I told him that as long as I get an opportunity to be a Yankee, I'll be pretty happy with that.

PinstripesPlus.com: What type of pitches do you throw and at what speeds? Give us a scouting report please - what are your strengths and what do you need to work on the most?

Cortes: Basically, I have a fastball between 87-91 mph – I might get some 92's in there. I'm working on my curveball now. It's not the sharpest. But I think my changeup is one of my strongest pitches. Right now, the biggest thing I have to work on is my curveball, you know, getting a sharper break and throwing it harder. My strengths, I have a very live fastball. Once it's halfway to home plate, it has some action, and it's very heavy. Even though it might not be mid-90's or high-90's, I know it's a very heavy fastball, and it's going to get people out.

PinstripesPlus.com: Did you play any other positions in high school?

Cortes: Actually, my freshman and sophomore years I played right field, and my coach told me he would transfer me into a pitcher. My junior year, I was part-time pitcher and part-time outfielder, half and half. I would pitch, and then every other four days, I would go to right field. But, I'm fine now with being a pitcher. Coming into high school, I knew I wasn't going to be a good hitter even though I was the first batter for my team. But the pitching role is something I love to do and have a good time with.

PinstripesPlus.com: Did you have a favorite team growing up or a favorite player?

Cortes: Well since I'm from Miami, I like the Miami Marlins. But after this thing I'm going through with the MLB Draft and concentrating on getting better these past two years and to have the opportunity to be a minor league player, I don't have a favorite team right now.

PinstripesPlus.com: Who would you compare your stuff to at the Major League level so Yankees' fans can get an idea of what you're like on the mound? And why?

Cortes: I don't know if it's a coincidence, but the guy I compare myself to is Gio Gonzalez. We're both Hialeah kids. We have almost the same delivery, same mechanics. He has a sharper curveball than me, there's no doubt about that. But, we're both almost the same height, same weight, big strong legs and not so big upper body. He's also my favorite pitcher.

PinstripesPlus.com: What would you say is your best moment in baseball and why?

Cortes: There's so many good moments, I don't know which one to pick! Actually, my best moment wasn't as a pitcher. It was my sophomore year when my high school team made it to states. We had eight sophomore starters on the team. That was our best class. We won regional finals to go to states.

PinstripesPlus.com: You're committed to Florida International University. Are you looking to sign quickly and get your professional career started right away?

Cortes: Well for right now, I want to start my professional life. I think I have a good opportunity to pitch in the minor leagues. Some people have told me, "If you have it, take it because you never know when you're going to get that chance again." I know in three years if I go to FIU, I'll be a better pitcher. But, I'm sure, as well, if I sign and go into professional baseball, I'll be a better pitcher, also. So, I'm thinking into it, but I don't know exactly what my decision will be yet.

PinstripesPlus.com: Do you think the pressures of pitching in New York might be a problem?

Cortes: I would overcome the rowdiness and everything that will be going on at Yankee Stadium and in the minor leagues. I think I deal pretty good with pressure and adversity.

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Future Rangers Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nPinstripesPlus.com: Tell us what is going through your mind after being selected by a team like the Yankees.
\r\n
\r\nNestor Cortes: Well basically, I was on the phone with the area scout of the Yankees, and he was telling me that I might not get drafted, and at first I thought I wasn't going to get drafted. But, then he told me that I was the next one in line. When I heard that, I was so excited. You know, I guess it's everyone's childhood dream to be a Yankee, and I think mine is coming true now.
\r\n
\r\nPinstripesPlus.com: Were you surprised it was the Yankees that selected you? Had you and the Yankees talked much before the draft?
\r\n
\r\nCortes: The scout was taking me through the process, and telling me that the Yankees had a good shot of taking me. He just didn't know what round it was. I told him that as long as I get an opportunity to be a Yankee, I'll be pretty happy with that.
\r\n
\r\nPinstripesPlus.com: What type of pitches do you throw and at what speeds? Give us a scouting report please - what are your strengths and what do you need to work on the most?
\r\n
\r\nCortes: Basically, I have a fastball between 87-91 mph – I might get some 92's in there. I'm working on my curveball now. It's not the sharpest. But I think my changeup is one of my strongest pitches. Right now, the biggest thing I have to work on is my curveball, you know, getting a sharper break and throwing it harder. My strengths, I have a very live fastball. Once it's halfway to home plate, it has some action, and it's very heavy. Even though it might not be mid-90's or high-90's, I know it's a very heavy fastball, and it's going to get people out.
\r\n
\r\nPinstripesPlus.com: Did you play any other positions in high school?
\r\n
\r\nCortes: Actually, my freshman and sophomore years I played right field, and my coach told me he would transfer me into a pitcher. My junior year, I was part-time pitcher and part-time outfielder, half and half. I would pitch, and then every other four days, I would go to right field. But, I'm fine now with being a pitcher. Coming into high school, I knew I wasn't going to be a good hitter even though I was the first batter for my team. But the pitching role is something I love to do and have a good time with.
\r\n
\r\nPinstripesPlus.com: Did you have a favorite team growing up or a favorite player?
\r\n
\r\nCortes: Well since I'm from Miami, I like the Miami Marlins. But after this thing I'm going through with the MLB Draft and concentrating on getting better these past two years and to have the opportunity to be a minor league player, I don't have a favorite team right now.
\r\n
\r\nPinstripesPlus.com: Who would you compare your stuff to at the Major League level so Yankees' fans can get an idea of what you're like on the mound? And why?
\r\n
\r\nCortes: I don't know if it's a coincidence, but the guy I compare myself to is Gio Gonzalez. We're both Hialeah kids. We have almost the same delivery, same mechanics. He has a sharper curveball than me, there's no doubt about that. But, we're both almost the same height, same weight, big strong legs and not so big upper body. He's also my favorite pitcher.
\r\n
\r\nPinstripesPlus.com: What would you say is your best moment in baseball and why?
\r\n
\r\nCortes: There's so many good moments, I don't know which one to pick! Actually, my best moment wasn't as a pitcher. It was my sophomore year when my high school team made it to states. We had eight sophomore starters on the team. That was our best class. We won regional finals to go to states.
\r\n
\r\nPinstripesPlus.com: You're committed to Florida International University. Are you looking to sign quickly and get your professional career started right away?
\r\n
\r\nCortes: Well for right now, I want to start my professional life. I think I have a good opportunity to pitch in the minor leagues. Some people have told me, \"If you have it, take it because you never know when you're going to get that chance again.\" I know in three years if I go to FIU, I'll be a better pitcher. But, I'm sure, as well, if I sign and go into professional baseball, I'll be a better pitcher, also. So, I'm thinking into it, but I don't know exactly what my decision will be yet.
\r\n
\r\nPinstripesPlus.com: Do you think the pressures of pitching in New York might be a problem?
\r\n
\r\nCortes: I would overcome the rowdiness and everything that will be going on at Yankee Stadium and in the minor leagues. I think I deal pretty good with pressure and adversity.
\r\n
\r\n

\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n\r\n
\r\n

Are you a monthly or 3-month subscriber to PinstripesPlus.com? Why not get two months free AND get 4 issues of our PinstripesPlus Magazine included by becoming an annual subscriber? Upgrade today to get the most out of your subscription.

\r\n

\r\n

Become an annual subscriber today!

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