PinstripesPlus: Tell us what is going through your mind right now after being selected by a team like the Yankees?
Del Howell: It's an honor just to be drafted, and to be drafted by an organization like the Yankees, well it's just a terrific honor to be drafted by club with the history that they have.
PinstripesPlus: Were you surprised it was the Yankees that selected you? I mean had you and the Yankees talked much before the draft?
Howell: I'm not surprised to be drafted by the Yankees. They were the only team I worked out for. Other teams were in touch with me but the Yankees pursued me the most. In fact the Yankees toured me around their Tampa facilities the Saturday before the draft. A Yankee area scout and my self talked for a good long while. Afterward I got to watch an Extended Spring Training game with the scout. Overall it was a good experience.
PinstripesPlus: Do you have any idea what the Yankees organization or farm system is like? (where do you think you fit in their system)
Howell: I haven't closely followed the Yankees farm system so I don't know where I would fit in within their system, so that would be up to them.
PinstripesPlus: You were drafted as a pitcher but you are also an excellent hitter, do you see yourself primarily as a pitcher or hitter? Do you ever see yourself pursuing hitting instead of pitching?
Howell: No, I want to be a pitcher. I'd rather pitch then hit no question about that in my mind. When I think about my ultimate goal, and that is to make it to the Major Leagues I don't see myself doing that as a hitter, I see myself making the Major Leagues as a pitcher.
PinstripesPlus: For those that don't know much about you can you throw out some of the most impressive batting statistics you accumulated your senior year for American Christian including your last prep at bat?
Howell: My last at bat of my high school career was in the state championship game and I hit a grand slam in the ninth inning to win it. For the year I hit .522 with 22 home runs and 72 RBI in 37 games.
PinstripesPlus: And what were your stats like as a pitcher? And what remarkable feat did you accomplish this year on the mound.
Howell: I had a 13-1 record with a 0.18 ERA over 76.1 innings and I struck out 167. I held opposing teams scoreless in my final 36 innings of work in high school. And during the state playoffs I threw two perfect games back-to-back.
PinstripesPlus: Didn't you also set a pretty notable Alabama career mark for a prep pitcher?
Howell: I broke the career strikeouts mark formerly held by Ryan Ellison who is now pitching for Troy State, he had I believe it was 518 over his career and I wound up with 541.
PinstripesPlus: Can you talk about your stuff, as a pitcher, if you wouldn't mind? What types of pitches do you throw and at what speeds do you throw them?
Howell: I have a fastball, a curveball, a slider and a changeup. I throw the fastball between 88-90 mph. As far as the curve, slider and change I'm not sure how fast I throw those.
PinstripesPlus: When I spoke with your athletic director he told me that while you were always dominant on the mound this year he believes you became a truly great pitcher? What caused that jump in ability?
Howell: A few things I think. For starters I had more confidence and I had more control. I guess that's due to maturity as a baseball player and physical maturity. I also got a better feel for my pitches and what they can do. For example I worked on my slider and I feel confident about what it will do, that it will go down and saw off hitters.
PinstripesPlus: Do you have a favorite player? Someone you admire or emulate in the game?
Howell: Randy Johnson, he's a left-handed power pitcher and the guy is flat-out amazing. The way he can dominate a game is incredible. When he is on top of his own game its like he's the only one out there.
PinstripesPlus: Are you looking to sign quickly and get your professional career started right away?
Howell: I don't know. The Yankees contacted me and sent me a package in the mail that should get here real soon. They haven't made an offer yet though. Before the Yankees drafted me though I had plans on going to college, I signed with Alabama and at the moment I'm still leaning toward enrolling in the fall. But I'm very serious about baseball and I'd love the opportunity to play professional baseball with an organization like the Yankees but they have to be serious too. I'm serious about playing professionally if they're serious about signing me.
Q&A with 18th Round Pick Del Howell
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