Q&A with Chase Wright

Charleston Riverdogs' left-handed pitcher Chase Wright sits down with PinstripesPlus.com for a Q&A session to talk about his breakout season in 2005, who he would compare himself to at the Major League level, what pitches he throws, what his goals are for the 2006 season, which of his Riverdogs' teammates impressed him the most, and much more.

PinstripesPlus.com: Talk about your 2005 season. How do you think you did this past year?

Chase Wright: I was pretty happy with it. I was finally healthy for a full year. It started off pretty slowly for me but I finished strong. I think I showed a little more consistency. The first couple of years of A-ball, I'd have a good start and then a bad start, walking too many guys. I still had a lot of walks this past year, but I was able to bounce out of the inning and wound up being pretty successful.

PinstripesPlus: Talk about your repertoire. What kind of pitches do you throw and at what speeds?

Wright: I throw a 2-seam fastball in the 87-91 MPH range, sometimes hitting 93-94 MPH, but that's pretty rare. I throw mostly 2-seamers but every once in a while I'll mix in a 4-seamer. I throw two different curveballs. One is around 70-72 MPH and I throw a harder one around 77-82 MPH. I like to throw me a get me over curveball early in the count. I'll throw the slower one for a first pitch strike and then the harder one with two strikes. I also throw a changeup around 78-82 MPH. When I'm locating my fastball, it is my best pitch. It just depends on the day though. Sometimes the location isn't there with the fastball.

PinstripesPlus: You had such a tremendous turnaround season this past year. What would you say is the area where you improved the most?

Wright: Confidence-wise, this year was a whole lot better than it ever was for me. I mean, even knowing when I had runners on base, I was able to stay positive. I just pitched knowing that I could get the guys out.

PinstripesPlus: Is there a guy that you would compare yourself to so our readers can get an idea of the type of pitcher you are?

Wright: Well, I don't think I am this guy, but I see myself as a left-handed Tim Hudson. He gets after it when he's on the mound, which is like me. He's a bulldog, which actually was my nickname in high school because I go right after batters. In the past, I pitched a little bit of not going after batters, but I did that this year.

PinstripesPlus: What has it been like pitching in the Yankees' organization?

Wright: I love it. I have people asking me all the time if I had a chance to do it all over again, would I, and I always tell people I absolutely would. I look forward every year to putting on a Yankee uniform. And now that I've been pitching better, it is better than ever. This was my first year with Nardi Contreras. I listened to him and I had a pretty successful year. I like his style and I can't wait to get going again.

PinstripesPlus: What are your goals for the 2006 season? Where do you think you'll begin the year?

Wright: I think I've shown all that I can at the lower levels. I would love to get an opportunity to start in AA next year. For me personally, that's my goal. We will see what happens though.

PinstripesPlus: Well you saw one of your Charleston teammates, T.J. Beam, make the successful transition from starting to relieving. Now that you've been in the system for a few years, do you see yourself possibly moving to the pen?

Wright: I could possibly be a reliever. It really doesn't matter to me. If I go to the bullpen, I'll just make the best of it. I just want to pitch in the Major Leagues. I think I could definitely go to the bullpen, but there aren't a lot of left-handed starters. I'm an old man now, or at least it seems like it. If moving to the bullpen gets me up there faster, I'll do it.

PinstripesPlus: Which of your Charleston teammates, among the positional players, do you think has the highest upside?

Wright: Out of the guys that ended the year with us, it would have to be Tim Battle. That kid is just unbelievable. He's got a great arm. He's a real athlete with good upside. He'll pretty much get to any ball hit to him in centerfield.

PinstripesPlus: The Yankees have a few centerfield prospects at the lower levels now and the speculation is, that one of them may have to move to either left field or right field. Do you see Battle moving to either one of those spots?

Wright: (laughing) I'd like to see the guy that would move him from centerfield. He got a little tired later in the year. All of us would tell him that with his speed, he should be like Willie Mays Hayes from the movie Major League. He should bunt more and use his speed. His only weakness was his strikeouts, but he did a pretty good job on breaking balls later in the year.

PinstripesPlus: Among the Charleston pitchers, which one do you think has the highest upside?

Wright: Well Phil Hughes didn't finish with us, so I'm going to choose either Jeff Marquez or Christian Garcia. I guess it would be Marquez. I just think once he fills out and matures, he's going to be a special pitcher. I mean, at the end of the year I saw him hitting 94-95 MPH, so you know he's got some more room to grow.

PinstripesPlus: Among your Charleston teammates, either a positional player or a pitcher, which player do you think is the best "sleeper" prospect? Who do you think doesn't get the attention they deserve but will surprise people with a solid Major League career?

Wright: Evan Tierce and Grant Plumley are the two guys that come to mind, but I'll say Plumley. Plumley is one of the best shortstops I've seen in professional baseball. It seems like, offensively, he rarely strikes out. He's always putting the ball in play. He's special. I would definitely say that.

PinstripesPlus: Now that you've been in the system for a few years, who is the one player you think has the highest ceiling talent-wise?

Wright: Well, I've definitely played with some good players. Eric Duncan and Bronson Sardinha both have huge upsides, but I'll say Duncan. When I played with him, he was just 18 or 19-years old, and he was just raking. I mean, the kid can flat out hit. I'm curious what they [the Yankees] are going to do with him defensively. But I was looking at his stats during the Arizona Fall League and they were pretty good. He can just hit.

Pinstripes Plus Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nPinstripesPlus.com: Talk about your 2005 season. How do you think you did this past year?
\r\n
\r\nChase Wright: I was pretty happy with it. I was finally healthy for a full year. It started off pretty slowly for me but I finished strong. I think I showed a little more consistency. The first couple of years of A-ball, I'd have a good start and then a bad start, walking too many guys. I still had a lot of walks this past year, but I was able to bounce out of the inning and wound up being pretty successful.
\r\n
\r\nPinstripesPlus: Talk about your repertoire. What kind of pitches do you throw and at what speeds?
\r\n
\r\nWright: I throw a 2-seam fastball in the 87-91 MPH range, sometimes hitting 93-94 MPH, but that's pretty rare. I throw mostly 2-seamers but every once in a while I'll mix in a 4-seamer. I throw two different curveballs. One is around 70-72 MPH and I throw a harder one around 77-82 MPH. I like to throw me a get me over curveball early in the count. I'll throw the slower one for a first pitch strike and then the harder one with two strikes. I also throw a changeup around 78-82 MPH. When I'm locating my fastball, it is my best pitch. It just depends on the day though. Sometimes the location isn't there with the fastball.
\r\n
\r\nPinstripesPlus: You had such a tremendous turnaround season this past year. What would you say is the area where you improved the most?
\r\n
\r\nWright: Confidence-wise, this year was a whole lot better than it ever was for me. I mean, even knowing when I had runners on base, I was able to stay positive. I just pitched knowing that I could get the guys out.
\r\n
\r\nPinstripesPlus: Is there a guy that you would compare yourself to so our readers can get an idea of the type of pitcher you are?
\r\n
\r\nWright: Well, I don't think I am this guy, but I see myself as a left-handed Tim Hudson. He gets after it when he's on the mound, which is like me. He's a bulldog, which actually was my nickname in high school because I go right after batters. In the past, I pitched a little bit of not going after batters, but I did that this year.
\r\n
\r\nPinstripesPlus: What has it been like pitching in the Yankees' organization?
\r\n
\r\nWright: I love it. I have people asking me all the time if I had a chance to do it all over again, would I, and I always tell people I absolutely would. I look forward every year to putting on a Yankee uniform. And now that I've been pitching better, it is better than ever. This was my first year with Nardi Contreras. I listened to him and I had a pretty successful year. I like his style and I can't wait to get going again.
\r\n
\r\nPinstripesPlus: What are your goals for the 2006 season? Where do you think you'll begin the year?
\r\n
\r\nWright: I think I've shown all that I can at the lower levels. I would love to get an opportunity to start in AA next year. For me personally, that's my goal. We will see what happens though.
\r\n
\r\nPinstripesPlus: Well you saw one of your Charleston teammates, T.J. Beam, make the successful transition from starting to relieving. Now that you've been in the system for a few years, do you see yourself possibly moving to the pen?
\r\n
\r\nWright: I could possibly be a reliever. It really doesn't matter to me. If I go to the bullpen, I'll just make the best of it. I just want to pitch in the Major Leagues. I think I could definitely go to the bullpen, but there aren't a lot of left-handed starters. I'm an old man now, or at least it seems like it. If moving to the bullpen gets me up there faster, I'll do it.
\r\n
\r\nPinstripesPlus: Which of your Charleston teammates, among the positional players, do you think has the highest upside?
\r\n
\r\nWright: Out of the guys that ended the year with us, it would have to be Tim Battle. That kid is just unbelievable. He's got a great arm. He's a real athlete with good upside. He'll pretty much get to any ball hit to him in centerfield.
\r\n
\r\nPinstripesPlus: The Yankees have a few centerfield prospects at the lower levels now and the speculation is, that one of them may have to move to either left field or right field. Do you see Battle moving to either one of those spots?
\r\n
\r\nWright: (laughing) I'd like to see the guy that would move him from centerfield. He got a little tired later in the year. All of us would tell him that with his speed, he should be like Willie Mays Hayes from the movie Major League. He should bunt more and use his speed. His only weakness was his strikeouts, but he did a pretty good job on breaking balls later in the year.
\r\n
\r\nPinstripesPlus: Among the Charleston pitchers, which one do you think has the highest upside?
\r\n
\r\nWright: Well Phil Hughes didn't finish with us, so I'm going to choose either Jeff Marquez or Christian Garcia. I guess it would be Marquez. I just think once he fills out and matures, he's going to be a special pitcher. I mean, at the end of the year I saw him hitting 94-95 MPH, so you know he's got some more room to grow.
\r\n
\r\nPinstripesPlus: Among your Charleston teammates, either a positional player or a pitcher, which player do you think is the best \"sleeper\" prospect? Who do you think doesn't get the attention they deserve but will surprise people with a solid Major League career?
\r\n
\r\nWright: Evan Tierce and Grant Plumley are the two guys that come to mind, but I'll say Plumley. Plumley is one of the best shortstops I've seen in professional baseball. It seems like, offensively, he rarely strikes out. He's always putting the ball in play. He's special. I would definitely say that.
\r\n
\r\nPinstripesPlus: Now that you've been in the system for a few years, who is the one player you think has the highest ceiling talent-wise?
\r\n
\r\nWright: Well, I've definitely played with some good players. Eric Duncan and Bronson Sardinha both have huge upsides, but I'll say Duncan. When I played with him, he was just 18 or 19-years old, and he was just raking. I mean, the kid can flat out hit. I'm curious what they [the Yankees] are going to do with him defensively. But I was looking at his stats during the Arizona Fall League and they were pretty good. He can just hit.
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