Q&A with Kevin Reese

Perhaps the best player that no one seems to pay attention to in the Yankee system is Kevin Reese. The 26 year old outfielder had a monstrous 2004 season, splitting time between AA and AAA. Reese sat down with PinstripesPlus.com for a Q&A session.

PinstripesPlus: What do you think the difference in you was between your performance in 2003 and 2004?

Kevin Reese: Well the biggest difference was being healthy. Hitting is such a rhythm thing that when you are consistently doing it, it becomes easier but it also becomes more and more difficult when you aren't consistently doing it well. Secondly I just went back to hitting the ball. I decided early on that I was going to be aggressive all the time and I think it showed both in my extra base hits, and my lack of walks.

PP: You racked up a ton of doubles in 2004. Have you always hit so many and do you think its possible that those doubles could turn into home runs?

Kevin Reese: It would be nice if a few more of them went over the fence. I never had more than 30 in a season so 50 was a major difference. I would say that about ten of them were hustle doubles that some guys wouldn't get so I think I am most proud of those ones.

PP: Speaking of hustle, whoever speaks of you, the first thing they say is hustle. Is that something that you really focus on or is that just the way you have always played the game?

Kevin Reese: It is definitely something that I have always tried to do. It is something that everyone can do regardless of ability yet some people let it slip away. I think it is always exciting when you make things happen yourself, so I take every opportunity I can to do it.

PP: How good of an outfielder do you consider yourself to be?

Kevin Reese: I would say solid. I don't have the best arm, nor am I the fastest guy around, but I can definitely take care of my area.

PP: Do you believe you could handle playing center field everyday or are you more of a corner outfielder?

Kevin Reese: I think I am better off in center field, but it is definitely nice to be able to play anywhere out there. 

PP: If you became a part of the big club, what would you say that you could offer as far as bunting and doing little things like that off the bench?

Kevin Reese: Bunting is one of my specialties. I think I could also pinch run or play as a defensive replacement. So, off the bench I think I could fit those roles.

PP: If you had the choice, would you rather be a role player for the Yankees or a starter for a team like the Pirates?

Kevin Reese: I'm not trying to dodge it, but I would just love to have a shot. Guys like Chad Curtis and Shane Spencer came up as role players and then became starters and major contributors come playoff time. So, I think, ideally I would love to be that type of guy.

PP: Will you be playing any games in the big league camp this spring?

Kevin Reese: Hopefully. Last year, I only got 2 at bats and I am really looking to get a few more times up to the plate this year.

PP: Regarding the Rule 5 draft, what were your thoughts leading up to that day?

Kevin Reese: I didn't really think much of it, actually. If something would have happened, that would have been great, but I have learned that nothing is certain in this game and you have to just roll with whatever comes your way.

PP: Which one of your teammates in the Yankee System has the most potential to be a star player, in your opinion?

Kevin Reese: Wow that's a tough one. Just seeing what I've seen the last 2 years, I would say Robinson Cano. He seems to get better every day and he makes it all look so easy.

PP: While we're at it, what pitcher impresses you the most?

Kevin Reese: I'd say Chien Ming Wang. I've seen him start a game throwing 90-92 and then pump it up to 97 in the 8th inning. And when it is on, his splitter is unhittable.

PP: Originally being a Padre prospect, were you at all upset to leave that organization?

Kevin Reese: I was a little upset at first, being from San Diego, but I think it has worked out ok. This is a great organization.

PP: Aaron Rifkin made comments in 2004 about the Yankees not promoting players. What are your thoughts on this?

Kevin Reese: I think that you run into tough situations wherever you go. Rifkin had a good year in 2003 and, in a lot of organizations, he probably would have been promoted. But I don't think the Yankees are any different from anywhere else, other than it might be a little tougher to break into the big leagues.

PP: Pretend you are a scout for a moment. How would you scout yourself, Kevin Reese?

Kevin Reese: I would label myself a "player". I don't know where I rank as far as tools and all that, probably not all that high. But, somewhere lost in tools is putting the bat on the ball, catching the ball, and running the bases, and I would say I rate pretty well in those categories.

PP: What type of standards are you setting for yourself this season?

Kevin Reese: I just want to play my best and put some pressure on the Yankees to give me a shot. That's all I can really do.

PP: You are in Tampa right now. Did the Yankees call you in early or did you decide to report early on your own?

Kevin Reese: I decided on my own. I just like to be ready. I figure if I get here a month early, then February is like my spring training, and March is the first month of the season. Then, by opening day I am already in midseason form.

PP: Last and most important, what is one thing you'd like to tell the Yankee fans that they should know about you and expect from you?

Kevin Reese: They should know that I'm a player who is going to give 100% everyday and that I'm a player who is worth the price of admission.

PinstripesPlus.com would like to thank Kevin Reese for his time and efforts in answering these questions. We'll be checking in with Kevin throughout the 2005 season.

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