Q&A with Lin Garrett

During a rain delay at a Tampa Yankee game Lin Garrett, the New York Yankee scouting director, was gracious enough to handle a few questions from Pinstripes Plus. Why the Yankees go after the big hitters? Why the Yankees have changed their approach to drafting pitchers? Who Lin was happy about being drafted by another team? And who he thinks could be the "sleeper" of the 2004 draft for the Yankees?

PinstripesPlus: The Yankees have a reputation for drafting big boys with big bats. Is that still true?

Garrett: I don't feel that is necessarily so. We are looking for hitability. For youngsters who have projectible bodies. Guys who can grow into major league hitters with power. Nick Johnson is a case in point, he was a tall skinny teenager who we felt will develop power, and he did. And as long as we have that short rightfield porch in Yankee Stadium, we always look for lefty power guys.

PinstripesPlus: The Yankees don't seem to stress speed in drafting a youngster. Is that true?

Garrett: We are looking for speed up the middle at second base, shortstop, and centerfield. Also in the corner outfield positions. But speed is only piece of the puzzle for us. There's power and defense. We are looking for defense in all corner positions. Althoughif they offer two of three, power and speed, we will overlook his defensive liabilities. Perhaps if we were a National League team we would take a different approach.

PinstripesPlus: Most of the Yankee top pitching prospects have come down with arm injuries. Have the Yankees changed their approach in drafting pitchers?

Garrett: We have. We are trying to do a better job at pinpointing potential problem areas, identify poor mechanics, find out more about their background. Injuries are down. And if you look at all our pitchers, including the ones we traded away, we will have the same amount of injuries as any other organization. We do realize with the depletion of our pitching corps, through trade and injury, pitching was the area we wanted to work on in the 2004 draft. Six of our first seven picks, and two of our three first round picks, were pitchers.

PinstripesPlus: With success comes drafting way back in the 1st round, and, if they signed other team's free-agents, not until the supplemental, or 2nd round. Is it tough to watch youngsters you are interested in get taken by teams drafting ahead of you?

Garrett: This year (with 3 draft picks before the 2nd round) I was a kid in a candy store. We were real happy that the Angels took Jared Weaver clearing the way for us to select Philip Hughes (RHP from Foothills HS , Santa Ana, CA). We are very happy to get him. And though we were concentrating on pitching this year, we decided to go for a young projectible hitter in Jon Poterson (Chandler (Az) HS) in the supplemental round figuring the other pitchers we wanted would still be on the board. They were (Jeff Marquez - RHP - Sacramento CC and Brett Smith - RHP - UC Irvine Poterson in the 2nd round). Poterson is a special hitter who has a lot of room to grow as he played mostly against poor competition. He's a catcher but won't go behind the plate until the mini-camps in the fall. In the Gulf Coast League he'll DH and play some LF.

PinstripesPlus: Who do you feel is the sleeper in the draft?

Garrett: Jesse Hoover (RHP from Indiana Tech) in the 5th round pick and Nate Phillips (SS Grace Prep Academy - Roanoke, TX) in the 6th round. Hoover came from a small college and we didn't really know what to expect from him. He has been so impressive in the Staten Island bullpen we are seriously thinking of moving him into the rotation.

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