Q&A with Rays 4th Round Pick Nolan Gannon

In the fourth round of the 2012 MLB Draft, the Rays selected their first pitcher, California prep right-hander Nolan Gannon. Gannon, who has already signed with the team, is a typical Rays draft pick - a high-upside and very-projectable high school pitcher. Inside, Gannon talks about his long history with the Rays organization, what he thinks he provides as a player and much more.

Rays Digest: I understand the Rays are your favorite team. Could you describe what the moment was like when you found out they drafted you?

Nolan Gannon: The moment the Rays drafted me was pure excitement. The one thing I remember most about that moment was my dad jumping up and screaming "Yes!"

Rays Digest: Had you been in contact with the organization previously? Were you surprised at all when they picked you?

Nolan Gannon: I have known Jake Wilson, the area scout for the Rays, for a while now and I have played on his scout team for the past 3 years. When the Rays picked me, it was a little surprising due to the fact that you do not know what round you are going to be picked in or what team is going to pick you.

Rays Digest: What makes you such a fan of the Rays?

Nolan Gannon: Jake Wilson's scout ball team had a lot to do with me becoming a fan of the Rays. Playing baseball with the Rays' name on my jersey gave me a reason to take interest in the big league club.

Rays Digest: You played a big role in helping the Eagles become the CIF San Diego Section Division IV champs for a second straight year. What does it mean to you to be a part of such a successful team, and how has that helped you as you move on to the next chapter of your career?

Nolan Gannon: Winning the CIF Division IV and being a part of a successful team influenced the way I played majorly. I knew I could rely on my teammates, which resulted in me being more focused on what I had to do and executing my job when I needed to.

Rays Digest: What do you bring to the table as a player? Could you provide a brief scouting report on yourself?

Nolan Gannon: As a player and teammate, I believe that I bring a unique sense of leadership to the field. I am not a loud guy. The way I lead is by my actions and body language on and off the field. I throw a 4-seam and 2-seam fastball, a curveball, and a changeup.

Rays Digest: In which areas are you looking to improve the most?

Nolan Gannon: One area I would like to improve is my physique. I would like to gain more weight and improve my flexibility so I can put more mph. on my fastball.

Rays Digest: What's your approach on the mound? How do you go about attacking hitters?

Nolan Gannon: My approach on the mound is very simple, challenge the hitter. Be aggressive with the inside fastball and smart with the off-speed.

Rays Digest: Are there any players you've tried to model your game after?

Nolan Gannon: There are really no players I model myself after.

Rays Digest: The Rays are known for being very good at developing pitchers, and have a couple of home-grown 4th rounders in Jeremy Hellickson and Alex Cobb that have fared very well so far in MLB. Now that you have officially signed, what does it mean to you to be a part of an organization like this?

Nolan Gannon: Being a part of an organization that is well-known for developing young pitchers such as myself is very comforting. I know that I am in good hands and that my coaches and instructors are knowledgeable in their teachings.

Rays Digest: Lastly, who has helped you become the player and person you are today?

Nolan Gannon: My dad has been a major part in me becoming the young man I am today. His enthusiasm for the game of baseball is very motivating for me and has contributed to making this opportunity of professional baseball I have been given a reality.

Brad Lymburner is the GCL Rays beat writer for Rays Digest. You can follow him on Twitter at @_BradL.


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