Q&A with Evan Tierce

GCL Yankees centerfielder Evan Tierce sits down with PinstripesPlus.com for a Q&A session to talk about his time in college, what it was like being drafted by the Yankees last year, what his impressions were of his fellow Yankee farmhands in the Gulf Coast League and Staten Island, and much more!

PinstripesPlus: Evan, tell us a little bit about your time at Texas State University?

Evan Tierce: Really I credit my success in college to my first year. As a freshman I had to compete with four seniors for playing time in the outfield. I went into that year not knowing that I shouldn't expect a lot of playing time. In fact, they had redshirted me and I wasn't happy about that at all. An injury allowed me to get playing time and I wound up leading in average, hitting something like .404. I was able to get the exposure early on and moved to centerfield my junior and senior years. I had played mostly first base and pitched in high school but came into my own in centerfield in college. I was good enough to be at school for four years. (laughing) It's kind of a dubious honor to be good enough to play all four years but not be drafted as a junior.

PinstripesPlus: Take us back to your senior year and then draft day. Did the Yankees show interest prior to the draft? What was it like when they drafted you?

Tierce: Throughout my senior season I talked to almost every club and there was about 15 clubs that showed some good interest in me. But the funny thing was the Yankees were one of the few teams that never showed any interest. I never spoke with them prior to the draft. So when I was following the draft on the Internet radio and I heard the Yankees selection coming up, I kind of fazed out since I wasn't expecting them to draft me. I was really shocked when I heard them selecting me. I was just really happy it (being drafted) happened on the first day. I was drafted on a Monday, tied up some loose ends, and I was in Tampa by Thursday. It all happened so quickly. It really didn't sink in that it was the Yankees that drafted me until I was in the clubhouse in Tampa and saw the 5' logo on the wall. Actually, it still doesn't sink in sometimes that I am a Yankee.

PinstripesPlus: Tell us how your first year went as a professional.

Tierce: Actually I was not comfortable in the outfield, for the first time in my life, when I first got to Tampa. Then I was sent to Staten Island and I never really got comfortable there either. I was leading off and I had never really done that before, maybe like 50 at-bats my whole life in that role. There was just something about my time in Staten Island that was different. When I got back to Tampa (with the GCL Yankees), there was a different mindset. It was more regimented and that was more my speed. I really enjoyed Torre Tyson at the Gulf Coast and he was pretty understanding. I don't know, something just clicked when I got back down there. It was the first season where I never had a low point. I am not sure if it was a physical thing or a mental thing, but it was the most consistent I have ever played. I am a big fan of the regiment and the Gulf Coast League allowed that. I was extremely happy in the GCL and it was good for my first year, but I am ready to move on.

PinstripesPlus: Where do you think you'll be playing next season?

Tierce: Personally? I think I'm too mature a player to be playing anywhere but the long season leagues next year. It's a little frustrating not having your own fate in your hands. I am shooting for Charleston and I think that's where I'll wind up playing.

PinstripesPlus: Which of your fellow GCL teammates were you most impressed with last year?

Tierce: I'd have to say Jonathan Poterson has the best all around tools and Mario Holmann has the best all around game. Holmann is like a little Derek Jeter out there. He has tremendous speed, great instincts, and a great glove. He's one of the most fluid players I've ever seen defensively. I'd say his instincts though are one of his best assets.

PinstripesPlus: Can you give us a little scouting report on Poterson?

Tierce: He's got a ton of pop from both sides of the plate. If he learns to put the ball on the bat more his upside is ridiculous. He has good speed for a guy his size and he is very teachable. The thing that impressed me the most about him was his clutch performance. He always came through in the big situations and was not fazed at all when the pressure was its highest. He kind of reminds me of Albert Pujols. They both have the same short follow through in their swings.

PinstripesPlus: I'm kind of surprised you didn't mention Marco Vechionacci as one of the players you were impressed with.

Tierce: Oh wow, I totally forgot about him. That really says something about the way he plays. He's very smooth and was just so consistent at the plate. With his attitude, you would never know he was so young. He's not a big strikeout guy at all and has a great arm. He's totally comfortable at shortstop or third base. I would want him at third base with his reach and his arm. He kind of resembles Alex Rodriguez in that regard.

PinstripesPlus: What are your thoughts on Christian Garcia?

Tierce: That guy has a ridiculous build for a pitcher. He has a great live arm and once he matures a little he'll really take off. He's "Nuke LaLouche" for sure (laughing. I don't want to face him either. His stuff is just dirty. His breaking ball is his best asset and it is close to unhittable at that level.

PinstripesPlus: Of the relievers that were on the GCL staff last year, were there any that stuck out in your mind as potential closers?

Tierce: When Jose Tadeo is on, he can be. He needs more of a bulldog mentality on the mound but he has the look of a closer because of his cutter. Dane De la Rosa has the mentality of a closer but does not have the stuff Tadeo has. I'd want De la Rosa's approach and Tadeo's stuff as my closer.

PinstripesPlus: Is there anything you can tell us about Phil Hughes? I know he didn't pitch much down there.

Tierce: He throws like an college upperclass senior with the way he uses his stuff. He really knows how to pitch and he's just so young. He's pretty effortless on the mound and balls were just bearing down on batters in the limited time he pitched for us.

PinstripesPlus: You saw a little action in the NY-Penn League at Staten Island. Which one positional player stood out in your mind as somebody we should keep an eye on?

Tierce: I'd have to say Grant Plumley. It's the way he plays that I like. I know he had a bad year defensively but that's not his normal game. He too took a long time to get comfortable there (Staten Island) and I know he's got what it takes to be a consistent guy at the plate and a great fielder. I also like Ben Jones a lot. He has a pro swing for sure.

PinstripesPlus: Which pitcher from the Staten Island staff impressed you the most?

Tierce: I really liked Jesse Hoover a lot. He and Jason Jones pitched well when I was there. I just love watching Hoover throw. He just has a ridiculous fastball. There's also just something about his motion that makes it look like he's coming right after you at the plate. He's going to be really good.

We'd like to thank Evan Tierce for taking the time to answer our questions. Be sure to check back with PinstripesPlus.com as we'll be checking in with Evan Tierce throughout the 2005 season.

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