University of Louisville Sports Information

We sat down with Yankees' 2nd round pick Nick Solak for a Q&A session.

We sat down with Yankees' 2nd round pick, Nick Solak, for a Draft Day Q&A session. Find out what the second baseman from the University of Louisville says about his game, how he feels being drafted by the Yankees, what he'll bring to the Yankees organization, who he would compare his game to at the big league level, and much more.

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

Nick Solak: We had a draft party with all my teammates and my family and everyone was watching when my name popped up, and Andy Pettite walked down, everyone went nuts and I just kind of froze and was shocked for a second and I hugged my mom afterwards. It was thrilling to be drafted by the Yankees and an honor to get into that organization to start your professional career. It is awesome.

PinstripesPlus.com: Talk about your game a little bit. What type of player are you and how do you see yourself fitting in with the Yankees?

Solak: I’m a real hard-nosed player that is really consistent. I show up every single day and try and help the team. Offensively, I produce year in and year out. I focus on driving runs in and scoring runs, anything that I need to do to help the team, whether it is a big spot comes up and there’s runners in [scoring] position or being a good base runner and getting an extra base and scoring a run. Anything I can do to help the team, I will adjust my game accordingly.

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

Solak: I play extremely hard, hustle every day. I’m always just trying to get more reps at second base. I need to work on my footwork, doing my double-play turn. Those are just some things I need to work on as I get more reps at second base and grow as an infielder.

PinstripesPlus.com: How about your defensive game?

Solak: I played second base and I take a lot of pride in making a game saving play or turning a big double-play in a crucial situation. I like to think that I’m pretty good, but I can always improve.

PinstripesPlus.com: Is the fact that having played a lot of time at shortstop growing up and in the outfield at Louisville going to help you find a place in the organization easier?

Solak: I think the big thing in this game today is that the more positions you play, the more valuable you are to the team and to the organization. If you hit, they’ll find a place to put you in. I can definitely play in some other positions if the team needs me to.

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?

Solak: One of my favorite players is Ian Kinsler from the Detroit Tigers in the fact that he squares up the ball offensively and put up great numbers and make the plays defensively. He’s a guy that it seems like he plays hard every day. I guess that’s someone that you can compare my game to.

PinstripesPlus.com: Were you expecting to be drafted by the Yankees or were you surprised when they selected you?

Solak: It was a little surprising. I did meet with their area scout, Mike Gibbons, in the fall. Then, I met one of their sports psychologists that works with some of the lower levels in the spring. I’ve met with them a few times and I had a pretty good idea that it seemed that they liked me, but you can never gauge that and I’m glad it all worked out.

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

Solak: Starting off, I think I’ll play in second base. I don’t have too much of an idea right now, but I think at second would be my best position, but whatever they need me to do, I’ll do it.

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

Solak: Before getting drafted, I would say it would be getting to play in Omaha in the College World Series in my freshman year. That was a really cool moment and we were very successful with the team that we had that season. That was a great experience.

PinstripesPlus.com: How did you try to manage the emotions of going through the draft process while at the same time, playing in the Super Regionals with a chance to get back to the College World Series?

Solak: We have a really good junior and senior class here and it is very emotional, but at the same time, we are a very mature group of guys. We understand that at the end of the season, people aren’t going to look at how high you were drafted or how many awards you won, but the team as a whole and how much success we attained and whether or not we won the big one. Being together like this helps you maintain focus on the team’s goals.

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

Solak: I’m from the Chicago suburbs and grew up rooting for the White Sox and as far as favorite players go, I like watching Ian Kinsler. I like watching Dustin Pedroia, although I’m not sure I should say that now [laughs]. But Jeter is my third player, definitely.

PinstripesPlus.com: Nice save talking about Jeter.

Solak: Yeah absolutely [laughs]. My family is a big baseball family. Every Spring Training, we would go down to Arizona for the White Sox, but one year, we wanted to go to the beach, so we went to Florida. I remember I went to a Yankees game at Steinbrenner Field and watching Jeter and Robinson Cano, as a middle infielder, I was really young and I was honing in on them and I remember how electric it was for a Spring Training game. It was a very cool atmosphere and that was one of my first Yankees memories.

PinstripesPlus.com: What are your immediate plans now that you have been drafted by the Yankees? Is it your intention to sign now and start your professional career immediately?

Solak: After the season, I’m ready to sign, get going with the team and start my professional career immediately.


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