Drabek Looks To Live Up To The Hype

The hype has just started to go full circle, and don't expect it to end now. The off-season for Kyle Drabek has ended, and after working out with his father, former Cy Young Award winner Doug Drabek, Kyle is ready to accomplish his short-term goal. Drabek wants to win a state championship, and have an undefeated season on the mound. His long-term goal? Be selected in the top half of the 2006 draft. Drabek talked to Scout.com about his senior year, his draft expectations, and his future.

Kyle Drabek is about to begin the biggest four months of his young career. The Woodlands High School senior pitcher and shortstop is on every scouting directors draft board, especially the clubs that pick in the top half of the first round in June.

Drabek hears all the talk surrounding him, and realizes with his pedigree, the pressure is at an all-time high right now. However, the two-way player is not concerned with living up to the hype, and tries to ignore the "talk" as much as possible.

"I believe ignoring the pressure will make you focus on your goal that much more.

Drabek has established his short-term goal, and his long-term goal, however, the long-term goal is not as far as some might believe.

"I want to win the state championship," Drabek said.

The 6'0, 190 pound right-hander led his Class 5A team to the Region II semifinals last year, and posted a record of 11-1 with a 0.82 ERA as a junior. Drabek, who struck out 155 batters in 77 innings last season, wants to improve with each and every game, and his one loss during the 2005 season leaves room for improvement.

"My other goal for this season is to post an undefeated record on the mound, and also to see my ERA drop."

As impressive as Drabek was on the mound, he was equally impressive at the pate, where he led his team in hits (46) and batting average (.479). The shortstop also ranked second on the team with six home runs. Not only is Drabek a complete two-way baseball player, but he also is an outstanding athlete, shown by his ability to play wide receiver in football.

Most scouts, and even Drabek himself, believe his future will likely be on the mound and not at the plate.

"Kyle is an outstanding athlete, and could play either position at the Major League level," one American League Scouting Director said. "However, with a 96 MPH fastball and a knee buckling curveball, most clubs would like to see him on the mound."

"I would agree that my future is on the mound," Drabek said.

To go along with his fastball and curveball, Drabek also throws a changeup, slider, and has also tinkered with a knuckle-curve at times. The right-hander consistently throws in the 93-94 MPH range, and would agree that his best pitch is his curveball.

"I am currently working on my slider," Drabek went on to say. "I need it to become a better pitch for me."

Drabek just started throwing the slider and is trying to have it break better.

"My father is always monitoring my game," the younger Drabek said. "When I am pitching, he will let me know what I did wrong, and how I can correct it."

While most top seniors have already committed to a college for the fall, Drabek is undecided, and told Scout.com that he is currently looking at four junior colleges. Experts would be quick to point out that the Drabeks have a professional contract in mind, with this choice.

"If a high school senior is not planning on attending a four-year college, but would rather attend a junior college, that likely means he is focused on playing professional baseball sooner than later," one Scouting Director said.

"It doesn't mean he will be a quick sign. Kyle can still attend a junior college for one year," the Scouting Director went on to say.

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