Known as arguably the most athletic player in the draft this year, the Texas Rangers took Utah high school outfielder/shortstop Garrett Nash with their fourth round pick in the 2007 draft.
Nash, who has signed a letter of intent to play at Oregon State University, believes he has a good chance of signing with the Rangers. Lone Star Dugout spoke with the speedster shortly after being drafted.
Jason Cole: What are your thoughts on being drafted by the Rangers today?
Garrett Nash: I'm definitely excited. It was an exciting day. All day I was looking forward to seeing my name come up with somebody.
Cole: How much do you know about the Rangers' organization?
Nash: I'm sure I could know a lot more, but I know a little bit. They're my favorite team in the American League West, so I like them a lot.
Cole: Did you have a favorite team when you were growing up?
Nash: Yeah, the Red Sox have always been my favorite team.
Cole: What about a favorite player?
Nash: Right now my favorite player is Jose Reyes of the Mets.
Cole: Is there a player that you would compare yourself to?
Nash: I'd have to say Jose Reyes.
Cole: How much did you talk to the Rangers before they picked you?
Nash: The local area scout met with us in the fall and came over to our house. We had a good meeting with him and got to know him a little bit. I saw him in Las Vegas and I got to talk to him before one of my games when we were in a tournament there. That's about all the talking that I've done with them.
Cole: How many other clubs did you talk to?
Nash: I got questionnaires, letters, and phone calls from every major league team. There were a lot of them at my house.
Cole: What school did you sign with?
Nash: I signed with Oregon State University.
Cole: Why did you choose them?
Nash: They had a great season last year obviously. The last couple of years have been real good for them. I went up there and really liked their coaches, Pat Casey and the rest of the coaching staff. They were really great. I really liked the atmosphere up there in Corvallis. It was kind of a college town and everybody really likes the baseball team. I just thought it would be a really great opportunity for me. I think that I would have had an opportunity to step in and try to earn a starting spot next fall. I just thought it was a good thought for me.
Cole: Can you talk about your chances of going to Oregon State versus signing with the Rangers?
Nash: I still have to talk to my parents and my advisors and see what is the best option for me. I think there's a really good chance that I do sign at some point. It's been my dream since I was little.
Cole: Were you happy with the way you performed in high school this year?
Nash: Yeah, I don't think it could have gone any better. We had a good year and we ended up winning our region and the state championship last week. I don't know of anybody that wouldn't want to end their senior year that way.
Cole: You're a shortstop right now. Have you ever played in the outfield?
Nash: Last summer I played centerfield when I was traveling around. I've played a lot of centerfield and middle infield as well.
Cole: Which do you think you'll play in the Rangers' organization?
Nash: I don't know. I just want to play. I think I'll end up at the spot that will either be the best to help me get to the big leagues or the spot that's going to help the team the most.
Cole: Is there one that you prefer over the other?
Nash: Right now I prefer shortstop because that's where I've played almost my whole life. I'm more comfortable there. That's how I feel right now, but anywhere is good for me.
Cole: How long have you been a switch-hitter?
Nash: I first tried it when I was about eight years old. I just kept practicing. When I was 11 years old, I made the switch. I said ‘alright, there's no turning back'. Since then I've been a switch hitter.
Cole: Is there a side you feel that you're better at right now?
Nash: No, I feel really comfortable with both sides. I feel like they're about even.
Cole: Talk to me about your approach at the plate. What kind of hitter are you?
Nash: With my speed, I've always been a leadoff hitter. All through high school I've been a leadoff hitter. My job has been to get on base whenever you can and start big innings. I make it tough for the pitcher and for the defense. That's going to be my approach. I have to be selective and if I get my pitch, I'm going to hit it and get on base. If I don't get a good pitch, then I'll walk.
Cole: You mentioned your speed. Can you talk about the importance of using your speed to your advantage on the bases?
Nash: It's definitely important. I think it's the biggest advantage that I have. It's not very common among most other players and it's definitely important for a leadoff hitter to be able to get on base and start big innings and get things going. A stolen base can be huge, like we saw in the World Series with the Red Sox in 2004. One stolen base can turn the whole thing around.
Cole: How about in the field?
Nash: On the defensive side, speed helps you be able to play more positions on the field. It also helps you take away base hits in the infield and the outfield.
Cole: What area of your game do you think could use the most improvement right now?
Nash: I don't know. I definitely need to improve everything. I need to just continue to work hard and become a better hitter and get bigger and stronger. I'm not sure that I could just name one thing that I need to work on.
Lone Star Dugout Q&A: Garrett Nash
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