We sat down with Yankees' 8th ound pick Kyle Zurak for a Q&A session.

We sat down with Yankees' 8th round pick, Kyle Zurak, for a Draft Day Q&A session. Find out what the right-handed pitcher from Radford University 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: How do you feel after being selected from a team like the Yankees? What is going through your mind?

Kyle Zurak: They are the greatest franchise of any sports team in the world so it’s a dream come true to be taken by one of the greatest teams of all time.

PinstripesPlus.com: Were you surprised that the Yankees picked you? Or did you talk to them beforehand?

Zurak: No, I had been talking to Stewart Smothers, who is the area scout in Virginia, and I knew he really liked me and that the Yankees really liked me so it wasn’t really a surprise, but it was definitely super exciting when he gave me a call and told me my name was about to be coming up here.

PinstripesPlus.com: What type of pitches do you throw and at what speeds?

Zurak: I’m anywhere from 92 to 95 for my fastball and then I’m anywhere from 85 to 87 with my slider. For my curveball I’m anywhere from 80 to 82, and then my changeup is about 78 to 80.

PinstripesPus.com: Do you understand what the Yankees system or farm system is like?

Zurak: I know it’s one of the best in baseball and that the organization is almost at another level compared to others. I know it’s loaded with talent and that it will be a challenge to move up, but I’m looking forward to the challenge and moving up.

PinstripesPlus.com: When growing up did you have a favorite team? What about player?

Zurak: The Yankees are definitely one of my favorite teams because I am from Buffalo, New York. We get the YES Network at home so I would always watch the games and learn a lot from listening to them.  I didn’t really have a favorite player growing up, I just had a bunch on all different teams. I really enjoyed the game at a young age.

PinstripesPlus.com: How old were you when you started playing? Who influenced you?

Zurak: I was about 4 or 5 years old and it was my brother. He needed someone to play catcher with so he taught me because he was older than me.  So he taught me how to throw. He taught me how to throw my curveball when I was about 13 years old.

PinstripesPlus.com: If you had to pick a Major League Player to compare yourself to, who would you be like most on the mound? Why?

Zurak: I think Mark Melancon because we both have the same arm slot and we throw the same kind of pitches. He is a bulldog on the mound, he doesn’t take anything from anyone and attacks the batter each pitch, and I try to do the same kind of thing, as he does. To just stay focused and battle my butt off.

PinstripesPlus.com: What would you say was the best moment in baseball you’ve had so far?

Zurak: Besides being drafted, I would say this past year I pitched the big South Conference Championship and I threw a complete game—9 innings and 9 strikeouts. We won the conference and then I got conference MVP of the tournament.

PinstripesPlus.com: Are you looking to sign quickly and get your professional career started right away?

Zurak: I actually signed [Thursday]. So, it’s a very exciting day.

PinstripesPlus.com: Do you think the pressures of pitching in New York might be a problem?

Zurak: No. I feel like I thrive in pressure situations. I have my whole career, especially this year being the closer and having as many saves as I did, I think that the pressure makes me a better player.


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