Q&A with Yankees 1st Round Pick Kyle Holder

We sat down with Yankees' 1 st round pick, Kyle Holder, for a Draft Day Q&A session. Find out what the shortstop from the University of San Diego says about his game, how he feels being drafted by the Yankees, whether or not the choice to choose college baseball or basketball was a tough one to make, and much more.

PinstripesPlus.com: Tell us what it feels like to be selected by the New York Yankees?

Kyle Holder: I couldn’t even grasp the moment. I was so happy and ecstatic that a great organization would pick me. I was with a bunch of family and friends, and I could not even put it into words how I was feeling and it took me a couple of hours for me to realize that I was going to be playing for the New York Yankees.

PinstripesPlus.com: Were you expecting to be drafted by the Yankees? Was there any indication that from them that they might pick you?

Holder: Absolutely. I met the local area scout for San Diego. He and I had a pretty good relationship and I knew they were interested. Going into the draft, I was told that the Yankees had a couple of first round picks and one in the second round and that they were one of the teams that were thinking about picking me.

PinstripesPlus.com: What were your first impressions to meeting and talking with members of the organization?

Holder: I went to Tampa immediately after the draft to get a physical, get to talk to the head guys over there and I even got to meet some players who were from the San Diego, California area and got acclimated well with them and got accustomed to the weather.

PinstripesPlus.com: What are your strengths and your weaknesses?

Holder: I’ve always been told to work hard and that’s what I have been doing. I always try to keep negative thoughts away from my head and focus on what got me here, which is believe in my ability to play shortstop, play defense, just continue to improve offensively. That’s one thing I need to keep working on in order to be a better all-around player and now I’m going to work even harder to move up the ladder and improve.

PinstripesPlus.com: You mentioned working on your offense. Your numbers from 2014 to 2015 definitely improved. Did you work on anything in particular?

Holder: Not necessarily. I think the numbers, at least, average-wise, is good, but I can keep improving. It’s just a matter on working on a lot of different things. Our hitting coach in San Diego, Brad Marcelino, knows what he’s doing and he changed my offensive side completely and helped me work hard every day to improve on those things.

PinstripesPlus.com: How about your defensive game?

Holder: I take a lot of pride in my defense and I got a pretty good arm, and feel like I can play the position for a long time.

PinstripesPlus.com: Who would you compare your game to at the Major League level so the Yankees' fans have an idea of what your game is like?

Holder: It’s kind of hard to compare yourself to big leaguers, especially with myself and my playing style, but I would say I’m a bit like Brandon Crawford. I’ve been compared to Brendan Ryan. I know these are great defenders and not really known for their offensive game. They’re very good all-around players that are going to stay in this league playing shortstop for a long time.

PinstripesPlus.com: Do you see yourself staying at the same position or do you think you'll be moved to another position?

Holder: I’ve been told that my draft stock kept going up because of my ability to play the position long-term and be an everyday guy at shortstop. I take that as a compliment because I know how important being a shortstop is and it’s an honor being called an A+ shortstop.

PinstripesPlus.com: Who was your favorite team and player growing up?

Holder: Definitely San Diego. I’ve always been a die-hard Padres fan. I didn’t really have a favorite baseball player. I’ve been a fan and admired the players that worked really hard. Tony Gwynn was a guy that I admired growing up and was a hometown hero playing for the Padres, and he played basketball as well. So that kind of resonated with me and stuck with me.

PinstripesPlus.com: Did you have a hard time deciding to choose between playing basketball and baseball at the University of San Diego?

Holder: Without a doubt yes. I’ve been playing basketball my entire life. I spent pretty much my whole life playing both sports equally. I guess I felt like I had a lot of untapped potential in baseball and never really played baseball year round until my freshman year in college. It’s exciting to know there is more come being a professional baseball player.

PinstripesPlus.com: What are your immediate plans now that you have been drafted by the Yankees?

Holder: I just signed with the Yankees when I was in Tampa. I flew back home to spend time with friends and family coming down and then I’m going to head for Staten Island to start my professional career there.

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

Holder: It’s probably pretty cliché to say but just the last couple of days, being drafted by the Yankees. Looking back that’s definitely the best moment I’ve ever had.

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