Q&A with Kyle Anson

PinstripesPlus.com sits down with Staten Island's Kyle Anson for a Q&A session to talk about his debut season, his transition over to catcher, what he worked on this past season in Staten Island, and to get his thoughts on which of his Staten Island teammates he believes have the highest upsides.

PinstripesPlus.com: Kyle, talk about the extent of your injury this past season. What was your injury?

Kyle Anson: I tore the top of my calf muscle, right near the bottom of the knee. I got hurt right when I had started swinging the bat the way I wanted too. It was tough watching the guys play because I wanted to be out there and prove myself. But the injury was both good and bad. It was definitely disappointing, but I got to observe the game a little more. I was able to take a step back and learn more than I would have, had I been playing. But it is all healed up now and it feels fine.

PinstripesPlus: So what's the deal with your position switch over to catcher? Is this a permanent move, or is it to help add to your versatility?

Anson: No, the plan is to move me to catcher and to move me there full-time. The Yankees and I both really feel that my best chance [of making it to the Majors] is at catcher. The plan is for me to catch about 100 games or so and to play third base a little to help keep me active. I played a little catcher in high school and a little less in college, but I always knew that if I was going to make to the Majors it would be at catcher. I mean, I'm not the 6'5" Scott Rolen type at third base.

PinstripesPlus: What was it about you that made the Yankees believe you could make the switch over to catcher?

Anson: They liked my good, strong arm. I mean, I'm built like a catcher too, and I fit the mold behind the plate. I'm a switch-hitter too, so that helps. We both just think it is best for my career. Who knows, they may end up switching me back to third some day, but I think I'll be at catcher for good.

PinstripesPlus: Well, does this position switch mean that you'll most likely be in Extended Spring Training and back with Staten Island in 2006, or is the plan to throw you right into the fire with Charleston next season?

Anson: That's exactly what I wanted to talk to them about when we first considered the move. Not being held back was my number one concern. I just didn't want to take a step back. But like I said, thats why I am not going to catch the full season next year. The plan is for me to be in Charleston, that is what we talked about. Of course nothing is 100 percent guaranteed, but that's where I think I'll be catching next year.

PinstripesPlus: What was it like playing in Staten Island this past year?

Anson: It was just a wonderful treat. I can't think of any team that I played on or against that was as good a team as we had in Staten Island. I mean, we were better than everyone at every position. I learned so much from my coaches, more than I thought I was going to learn. The team chemistry couldn't have been any better and we knew we had a good team at the very beginning.

PinstripesPlus: What improvements, if any, did you make to your game during your first year in pro ball?

Anson: Wow, I changed up my swing a whole lot. I really shortened up my swing. I worked with Duce [Staten Island hitting coach Rob Ducey] a lot. My swing is right where I want it to be and he's got me where I want to go. (Laughing) He knows so much about hitting, it makes you want to puke.

PinstripesPlus: Among the positional players on your team, the hitters, which player do you think has the highest upside?

Anson: I can't pick just one. I'd have to say Jonathan Poterson and Brett Gardner. The potential for both of them is through the roof! I mean, their talent is unbelievable. You watch them play out there and you're just jealous about what they can do with a bat and on the field. Poterson might be the most grown up kid I've ever met. I mean, he's 18 or 19, and he's like a grown man. He know exactly what he wants to do. His strength is his biggest asset. He creates so much more power than anybody else and he just has the talent to do it [succeed at the Major League level]. He's just go so much potential. With Gardner, I think sometimes even he doesn't know how fast he really is. He just squares on the ball all the time. He has so much pop too. I mean, he's a short and strong kid. I think he has a really long career ahead of him.

PinstripesPlus: Switching over to the mound, which pitcher on the Staten Island staff do you think has the highest upside?

Anson: Wow, I guess it would have to be Garrett Patterson. I mean, he hits 97 MPH from the left side, enough said! He's got a lot of money to make. I know he doesn't like to come out in relief, but I think he's going to end up being a closer or something like that. He's just such a bulldog on the mound. That's an attribute that all closers have.

PinstripesPlus: Which one player from your Staten Island team do you think doesn't get the attention he deserves and will wind up being a very good player at the Major League level someday? Who do you think is the biggest "sleeper" prospect from Staten Island?

Anson: That's easy. Brad Canada, definitely. He's a great person overall. He is one of the older guys from our team, but he can really hit and he's learning how to catch more and more everyday. You put a couple of more years in him, he's going to be really good. He's got the size and the tools, especially at catcher. He is one of my favorite people.

PinstripesPlus: You were down in the Instructs this year. Of all the players you saw there, which one player impressed you the most as somebody who is just going to be a star?

Anson: Eric Duncan. He's unbelievable. He is as strong as an ox and as quick as a whip. Duncan reminds me of Jason Giambi, obviously. He's really a nice guy and from what I hear, so is Giambi. I mean, Duncan plays the game hard and he plays the game right. There is a lot to like about him.

PinstripesPlus: Getting back to you, you are a patient hitter. You drew 27 walks in half a year of short-season baseball. How did you learn to draw so many walks?

Anson: Probably from my dad. He taught me to go out there with a plan. I just don't like to swing at bad pitches. The weird thing is, I am a first pitch, fastball guy. I try to swing at strikes, but I have a patient approach. I like to be aggressive, but I won't swing at anything out of the zone.

PinstripesPlus: What specifically were you working on at Instructs to get you ready to play catcher?

Anson: Really, I just learned the whole broad spectrum of catching. I worked with Bill Mosiello and he's really intense. He's like Bobby Knight out there without the curse words. He really knows his stuff. His brain works faster than his mouth sometimes. I'm starting to learn the catcher's position fresh, so he has been molding me into the right type of catcher. I don't have any predetermined bad habits and now I can learn it [catcher] the right way.

Pinstripes Plus Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nPinstripesPlus.com: Kyle, talk about the extent of your injury this past season. What was your injury?
\r\n
\r\nKyle Anson: I tore the top of my calf muscle, right near the bottom of the knee. I got hurt right when I had started swinging the bat the way I wanted too. It was tough watching the guys play because I wanted to be out there and prove myself. But the injury was both good and bad. It was definitely disappointing, but I got to observe the game a little more. I was able to take a step back and learn more than I would have, had I been playing. But it is all healed up now and it feels fine.
\r\n
\r\nPinstripesPlus: So what's the deal with your position switch over to catcher? Is this a permanent move, or is it to help add to your versatility?
\r\n
\r\nAnson: No, the plan is to move me to catcher and to move me there full-time. The Yankees and I both really feel that my best chance [of making it to the Majors] is at catcher. The plan is for me to catch about 100 games or so and to play third base a little to help keep me active. I played a little catcher in high school and a little less in college, but I always knew that if I was going to make to the Majors it would be at catcher. I mean, I'm not the 6'5\" Scott Rolen type at third base.
\r\n
\r\nPinstripesPlus: What was it about you that made the Yankees believe you could make the switch over to catcher?
\r\n
\r\nAnson: They liked my good, strong arm. I mean, I'm built like a catcher too, and I fit the mold behind the plate. I'm a switch-hitter too, so that helps. We both just think it is best for my career. Who knows, they may end up switching me back to third some day, but I think I'll be at catcher for good.
\r\n
\r\nPinstripesPlus: Well, does this position switch mean that you'll most likely be in Extended Spring Training and back with Staten Island in 2006, or is the plan to throw you right into the fire with Charleston next season?
\r\n
\r\nAnson: That's exactly what I wanted to talk to them about when we first considered the move. Not being held back was my number one concern. I just didn't want to take a step back. But like I said, thats why I am not going to catch the full season next year. The plan is for me to be in Charleston, that is what we talked about. Of course nothing is 100 percent guaranteed, but that's where I think I'll be catching next year.
\r\n
\r\nPinstripesPlus: What was it like playing in Staten Island this past year?
\r\n
\r\nAnson: It was just a wonderful treat. I can't think of any team that I played on or against that was as good a team as we had in Staten Island. I mean, we were better than everyone at every position. I learned so much from my coaches, more than I thought I was going to learn. The team chemistry couldn't have been any better and we knew we had a good team at the very beginning.
\r\n
\r\nPinstripesPlus: What improvements, if any, did you make to your game during your first year in pro ball?
\r\n
\r\nAnson: Wow, I changed up my swing a whole lot. I really shortened up my swing. I worked with Duce [Staten Island hitting coach Rob Ducey] a lot. My swing is right where I want it to be and he's got me where I want to go. (Laughing) He knows so much about hitting, it makes you want to puke.
\r\n
\r\nPinstripesPlus: Among the positional players on your team, the hitters, which player do you think has the highest upside?
\r\n
\r\nAnson: I can't pick just one. I'd have to say Jonathan Poterson and Brett Gardner. The potential for both of them is through the roof! I mean, their talent is unbelievable. You watch them play out there and you're just jealous about what they can do with a bat and on the field. Poterson might be the most grown up kid I've ever met. I mean, he's 18 or 19, and he's like a grown man. He know exactly what he wants to do. His strength is his biggest asset. He creates so much more power than anybody else and he just has the talent to do it [succeed at the Major League level]. He's just go so much potential. With Gardner, I think sometimes even he doesn't know how fast he really is. He just squares on the ball all the time. He has so much pop too. I mean, he's a short and strong kid. I think he has a really long career ahead of him.
\r\n
\r\nPinstripesPlus: Switching over to the mound, which pitcher on the Staten Island staff do you think has the highest upside?
\r\n
\r\nAnson: Wow, I guess it would have to be Garrett Patterson. I mean, he hits 97 MPH from the left side, enough said! He's got a lot of money to make. I know he doesn't like to come out in relief, but I think he's going to end up being a closer or something like that. He's just such a bulldog on the mound. That's an attribute that all closers have.
\r\n
\r\nPinstripesPlus: Which one player from your Staten Island team do you think doesn't get the attention he deserves and will wind up being a very good player at the Major League level someday? Who do you think is the biggest \"sleeper\" prospect from Staten Island?
\r\n
\r\nAnson: That's easy. Brad Canada, definitely. He's a great person overall. He is one of the older guys from our team, but he can really hit and he's learning how to catch more and more everyday. You put a couple of more years in him, he's going to be really good. He's got the size and the tools, especially at catcher. He is one of my favorite people.
\r\n
\r\nPinstripesPlus: You were down in the Instructs this year. Of all the players you saw there, which one player impressed you the most as somebody who is just going to be a star?
\r\n
\r\nAnson: Eric Duncan. He's unbelievable. He is as strong as an ox and as quick as a whip. Duncan reminds me of Jason Giambi, obviously. He's really a nice guy and from what I hear, so is Giambi. I mean, Duncan plays the game hard and he plays the game right. There is a lot to like about him.
\r\n
\r\nPinstripesPlus: Getting back to you, you are a patient hitter. You drew 27 walks in half a year of short-season baseball. How did you learn to draw so many walks?
\r\n
\r\nAnson: Probably from my dad. He taught me to go out there with a plan. I just don't like to swing at bad pitches. The weird thing is, I am a first pitch, fastball guy. I try to swing at strikes, but I have a patient approach. I like to be aggressive, but I won't swing at anything out of the zone.
\r\n
\r\nPinstripesPlus: What specifically were you working on at Instructs to get you ready to play catcher?
\r\n
\r\nAnson: Really, I just learned the whole broad spectrum of catching. I worked with Bill Mosiello and he's really intense. He's like Bobby Knight out there without the curse words. He really knows his stuff. His brain works faster than his mouth sometimes. I'm starting to learn the catcher's position fresh, so he has been molding me into the right type of catcher. I don't have any predetermined bad habits and now I can learn it [catcher] the right way.
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