Q&A with Brett Smith

Out of the fresh crop of 2004 pitching draftees, the only one we didn't see was Brett Smith. The righthander out of UC Irvine is considered to be perhaps the most polished college pitcher the Yankees selected. Here's a Q&A with 2nd round pick, Brett Smith.

PinstripesPlus.com: Tell us a little bit about your high school and college playing days.

Brett Smith: I played on the varsity team all four years at Sonora High School in La Habra and we won league my junior and senior years. I played on the Junior National team with the likes of Casey Kotchman and was voted Player of the Year in 2001 before playing for three years at the University of California-Irvine.

PinstripesPlus.com: Were you aware that the Yankees had interest in you prior to the draft?

Smith: Yeah, I was. I really thought it was going to be between the Yankees, Cubs, and Red Sox. The scout out here, Jeff Patterson, played a lot with the high school coaches out here and seemed a little more serious than the other guys when we talked. It was more than your normal chit-chat and more about what I would be doing in the system. Both sides seemed more interested and that we wanted to get things going. The Yankees are just awesome.

PinstripesPlus.com: Who did you root for growing up? Did you have a favorite team?

Smith: Well I was more player oriented than I had a favorite team. I mean, growing up in California, the Angels were always the joke franchise and never really were that good. I really just liked four or five players on different teams and appreciated particular players' play.

PinstripesPlus.com: Can you tell us a little bit about why you signed so late?

Smith: Honestly, it came down to my agent, Scott Boras, and the Yankees on a disagreement about money. He's notorioius for taking his time and I wanted to play. I was afraid that I had given a bad impression to the team and the players, especially not showing up to the Instructional League in as good as shape as I would have liked to. I've lost like 20 lbs. and I can't wait to get out there anc play this year. I am just looking forward to going out there this year and show what I can do.

PinstripesPlus.com: Do you have any idea where you might be starting next season?

Smith: I've heard some rumblings that it may be Tampa. I don't know really. I just want to get going and do what I do. I am looking forward to playing pro ball and I just want to get better. I like the pressure that may come with starting at high-A ball, but I would not be destroyed or anything if I started out in low-A. It would be great, and I wouldn't be upset at all, to start off with Bill Mosiello as my coach. He's from my area and it would be cool to work with somebody that has a commond ground.

PinstripesPlus.com: Can you tell us about the hitch in your delivery that we've heard about?

Smith: The hitch is there because the effort of my delivery comes from my shoulders. It was even more apparent at the Instructs. I was not on top of my mechanics. Nardi taped us as the Instructs, and me, him, Jesse Hoover, and Sean Henn went over our videos and I was like...uggh! I was falling into bad habits, being so rusty. I was throwing my shoulder up in the motional analysis. It was pretty cool watching the video, but usually my delivery is a lot more compact than it was showing on the tape.

PinstripesPlus.com: Can you tell us a little bit about your repertoire? What types of pitches do you throw and at what speeds?

Smith: I throw a fastball around 88-92 MPH. I have a curveball that is in the 78-84 MPH range. I have a slider/cutter that is about 83-88 MPH and my changeup, which is 78-80 MPH, is a pitch that I worked real hard on in college. I have pretty good deception on the motion with my fastball.

PinstripesPlus.com: What are your goals for next season?

Smith: Honestly, I am just looking forward to getting to know each other. I just want to see how we were and get going. I didn't show a good slider when I was out there in Tampa and I am just looking forward to see how my hard work in college pays off.

PinstripesPlus.com: What is the deal with this apparent rivalry between you and Jered Weaver?

Smith: (laughing) Yeah that's kind of funny. I am actually working out with him right now as we speak. We got chummed up in college. It is kind of that unsaid respect we have for each other and we just were always trying to outdo each other. I mean, we're both from Southern California and we were both in the same conference. We just wanted to beat each other. It is really a friendly deal. We were just having fun out there. If I had posted the numbers he did I would have been talking just as much. I liked having somebody to compete with. It kept me on my toes. We used to check out each other's stats and see who was the Big West Pitcher of the Week. That type of thing.

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