Q&A with Grant Plumley

The Yankees selected Grant Plumley in the 9th round of the 2004 draft. Plumley is known for his mastery of playing little ball and outstanding defense at shortstop. Plumley sat down with us for a chat session about his 2004 season, his upcoming 2005 season and beyond. <b>(Free Preview of Premium Content)</b>

PinstripesPlus: Where do you see yourself playing to start the 2005 season?

Grant Plumley: Really, right now, I'm not too sure where I'll be going but I've heard whispers about both Charleston and Tampa. I guess it will be wherever they have a need for me the most. I don't think I had the 2004 season I was capable of but I have a chance to make up for it 2005. Hopefully, I'll be able to make a significant move up the ladder. I'll just go into spring training and work as hard as I can try to push my way onto a higher level roster.

PP: Your manager, Tommy John said he loved the way you played little ball. Do you take pride in that type of play?

Plumley: Oh yeah, certainly. That is the type of player I am and always have been. I don't think I'd trade my style of play for another one. But, I think that comes from my days at Oral Roberts. The program really stressed little ball and I really learned a lot there. We played little ball a lot there. I like the idea of moving runners and doing the little things to help a team win games.

PP: What kind of expectations did you have heading into the 2004 draft?

Plumley: To be honest, I wasn't sure really what to expect overall. But, my coach at Oral Roberts was talking to me one day and he thought I would probably going anywhere from round 6 to round 10. I guess he turned out to be right on the money. But, honestly, I didn't really care where I was drafted. I just wanted to get into the minors and start moving up and playing well. I knew I'd be drafted so that was all that was important to me.

PP: Did the Yankees express any interest in you prior to the draft?

Plumley: Actually, I was contacted by almost 20 MLB organizations and the Yankees weren't one of them. So, I went into draft day expecting to be picked by one of a group of about 20 teams. But, I was really surprised when the Yankees came and picked me. I was thrilled but also very surprised. But, it really didn't make much of a difference where I went. I just wanted to get in there and play. But, I do know that with the Yankees I am going to have to work extra hard to meet my goal, getting to the Major Leagues.

PP: What kind of improvements do you plan to make in 2005?

Plumley: I always want to improve everything. I can never settle for anything. Over the offseason I've been working on getting stronger and I hope to hit for some more power in 2005. I'm not a power hitter but I'd like to hold my own in that department. Also, I'm not happy with how I fielded the ball in Staten Island this year. I am a way better fielder than I showed. That's the best part of my game and I just had a rough time of it. But, I really wore down towards the end of last season. I think I'm much more prepared for a long season in 2005. I expect much bigger things out of myself.

PP: What pitchers in Staten Island were you most impressed with in 2004?

Plumley: Overall, we didn't have a good season but our pitching was tremendous. A guy that looked great to me was Jeff Marquez. He has really awesome movement and he looks like an ace type pitcher to me. He has a heavy sinker with an incredible changeup. Jesse Hoover also has an amazing arm but I don't think he has the total package like Marquez has. But, they are both incredible young pitchers. It wouldn't be fun to face either of them, to be honest.

PP: What positional player impressed you the most?

Plumley: Marcos Vechionacci, without a doubt. That kid is simply amazing. He can really play the game, When I heard how young he was, I literally didn't believe it. He is probably the most advanced and mature hitter that I've seen since I turned pro. It amazes me that he is still a teenager and he's that good already. It is just amazing. He is a balanced hitter with patience, power and he hits for contact. You expect that out of an older guy but for him to be doing what he's done at his age, it is unreal.

PP: As a shortstop yourself, do you think Vechionacci has what it takes to be a shortstop?

Plumley: I'll say this, that kid has what it takes to do whatever he wants in this game. I have no doubt that he can play shortstop. I heard he'll probably play there in Charleston next season. He is a really polished fielder and he has a good glove. And, he definitely throws well enough to play short. He's also an excellent third baseman but he can play shortstop easily.

PP: What MLB player would you best compare yourself to?

Plumley: A lot of people have said that I'm just like Mike Bordick. I haven't followed Bordick's career that much but from what I know about him, I think that seems like a pretty good comparison.

PP: If you were a scout, what would you say about yourself?

Plumley: That's tough. But, I think I'd say that I'm not a really flashy player but I'm a guy that finds a way to get the job done. I do the little things that win ballgames and I play the game hard no matter what the situation may be. I'm all about doing what is best for the team. I think I have a pretty good work ethic and I'm always trying to get better. And, when I'm right, I think I am pretty outstanding fielder.

PP: How difficult of an adjustment was it for you to use a wooden bat?

Plumley: Well, that was definitely a big adjustment because they just don't have the op that an aluminum bat does. But, I think I've made the adjustment. I played with one a couple summers ago so it wasn't a shock when I got to Staten Island. But, probably the bigger adjustment was the pitchers. In college, you just don't have that kind of consistent pitching thrown at you everyday. Everyday in Staten island, we would get someone who threw at least near 90 MPH. In college, we only saw that maybe once a week. So, just facing better pitching was one of the bigger adjustments for me.

PP: What are your goals for the 2005 season?

Plumley: I just want to get consistent at bats. If I get those at bats, I think that is going to be what puts me over the top as a prospect. If I play everyday this year, I think I can show that I'm a very good player. But, I am going to have to work hard in spring training to earn a starting job.

PP: What are you long term goals for your baseball career?

Plumley: My main goal is just to get to the big show. That is all I really want to do. I'll figure out the rest when I get there. But, I know just getting there is going to take everything that I can give. One thing is for sure is that I just don't want to be one of those guys that ends up in the minors for like 10 years. I don't want to end up like that. So, I am going to try and get there as quickly as I possibly can.

PP: How much did the Staten Island coaching staff benefit you in your first professional season?

Plumley: Oh, they were great. Kevin Higgins was great and he helped everyone out a lot with their hitting. We needed it this year with how much we struggled. Also, Tommy John was just awesome. He helped keep everyone loose and mellow. When we were struggling, he always knew how to get our spirits up. I think he really has a gift for that. He was a great manager. We had a lot of fun. But, really, our whole staff was a great. They all took a great interest in making us better.

PP: If it turns out that Marcos Vechionacci is the Charleston shortstop in 2005, would you be willing to give way and play third or second base?

Plumley: Definitely. Honestly, I don't care where I play as long as it will help me move up through the organization in the quickest route possible. Marcos is a great player and I'd gladly move to second or third. I played a lot of third base in high school so it won't be all new. But, I am expecting to be playing some new positions this year but I'm up for the challenge.

PinstripesPlus.com would like to thank Grant Plumley for his time and efforts in answering these questions.

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