The Yankees selected RHP, Greg Weissert, in the 18th round of the 2016 MLB Draft. Weissert grew up in Bay Shore, NY and attended Fordham college. He started off as a reliever at Fordham, but eventually made the transition to starter over the course of his three years there. He led the Atlantic-10 in K/9 in 2015 with a 10.40 K/9 and finished with a career 9.73 K/9. He also pitched in the Northwoods League in Canada in the summer of 2015 where he posted a sparkling 1.74 ERA and a 10.03 K/9 in 46.2 IP. The Yankees hope that Weissert can continue to strikeout batters at a high-rate once he signs and enters their system.
Q: How did you find out that the Yankees selected you in the 18th round?
A: “So, I was having a catch with my brother outside. Trying to pass the time because it was a real stressful two days. I was refreshing the Twitter feed and saw my name pop up and then I received a phone call like thirty-seconds later. And my parents were listening live inside. My dad started screaming and ran outside.”
Q: Who did you speak to?
A: “To be honest, I do not even because I was in shock at the moment. I was kind of out of it.”
Q: Do you remember what they said to you?
A: “It was something along the lines of “Hey Greg, we just took you in the 18th round. We will give you another call soon to tell you where to go.”
Q: What was it like growing up in New York and playing college baseball in the Bronx and being drafted by the Yankees? Did it make the experience more special to you?
A: “Yes, 100%. I went to games with my friends during the school year. Probably 5-6 games. I always thought about what it would be like to play here. What if I was on the field right now with all these people watching. When I heard it, it was surreal. I may get to experience that. Crazy stuff.”
Q: Did you grow up a Yankee fan?
A: “I grew up a Met fan, but than in 2008 I became a Brewers fan. The Mets were choking right before the playoffs, and me being the young kid I was, I started front-running and that was the year the Brewers made the playoffs with CC Sabathia and Ryan Braun. I have Brewers stuff all over my room. I’ll have to change that.”
Q: Can you give a brief scouting report on yourself, as a ballplayer?
A: “I definitely see myself as a starter, but obviously I will do whatever I am asked to. But I am a guy who works off location and I have a good slider to get people out with and strike people out. I am also working on my changeup, which is going to be the biggest step I am going to need to take to get to the next level. I also have a pretty tight curveball I can flip in for strikes whenever I need to.”
Q: You started out as a reliever at Fordham. How did the transition from reliever to starter come about?
A: “Well, my Freshman year, I started off as the closer. I had two saves one weekend and two more saves the next two weekends. And I relieved that whole year. I struggled that season, but I stayed a reliever the entire year. Then the next year after that I was in the bullpen for the beginning of the year and some of our pitchers were struggling so they put me in the starter role. I did really well in that role and felt more comfortable. This past year I had a really good summer and me returning and having the success starting last year helped give me a spot this year in the starting rotation.”
Q: You lead the Atlantic-10 in K/9 in 2015, do you consider yourself a strikeout pitcher?
A: “Yeah, I definitely do. I work off of my fastball, but my slider is a harder slider (82-83 MPH), and it looks like a fastball and then just drops off. So, I use that mostly as my out pitch. So, with my breaking balls, I definitely consider myself to be a strikeout pitcher.”
Q: What is the coolest thing that has happened to you since being drafted by the Yankees? Any interesting stories? Has anyone unexpected reached out to you?
A: “Well, something funny is that my dad is the biggest Mets fan that you can possibly think of. And one of our good family friends, that I played baseball with, is a huge Yankee fan. So, he had a really great time over here and he bought a Yankee hat for my dad and my dad was beside himself because he did not want to put the Yankee hat on, but now he has to. He gets chest pain from putting the Yankees hat on.”
Q: Do you expect to sign soon or do you think it will be a prolonged process.
A: “No, I expect to sign right away.”
Q: Have the Yankee contacted you again?
A: “Yes, I have been in contact with a couple guys. I am flying down to Tampa tomorrow. I do not really know much, but all I know is that I need to sign and get a physical.”
Q: When you grew up who was your favorite player? Who do you model your game after?
A: “Well, Ryan Braun was my favorite player for a long time, when I used to hit in high school. But I would say that I love the way Zack Greinke pitches. Just because I consider myself to have similar stuff to him. He is not really overpowering with his fastball, but he mixes really well and his curveball is really good.
Q: If you could pick one Yankee you would like to play with, who would it be?
A: That is a tough question. I would definitely like to play with Chapman or one of the bullpen guys. It would be awesome to play with. Especially as a starting pitcher, having those three guys behind you, it must be nice.”
Q: Who has been the biggest influence on you in terms of your baseball career?
A: “I would definitely say my dad. He never ever forced baseball on us, but me and my brother always had a love for the game. I think my dad did an awesome time not trying to push us. But he was always there to take us hitting or catch a bullpen whenever we wanted.”
Q: So, your brother plays baseball, too?
A: “Yeah, my brother is actually going to Fordham next year to play baseball. He is a pitcher, also.”
Q: When did you know that baseball was something that you could pursue professionally?
A: “I think last summer, I played in the Northwoods League last summer up in Canada. I had an amazing time and the best summer of my life (probably behind this summer coming up, though). It was the first time I got to play in front of thousands of people. I made the All-Star team and the MLB Dream Showcase they hold there and got a bunch of looks. I think that was a surreal moment for me and the moment I really focused up and realized it could be a real thing.”
Q: You mentioned you are working on your changeup, but how do you plan on having better control and limiting the walks?
A: “Yeah, I mean it is though because you do not have a lot of resources in college compared to the amount you are going to have at the next level. I am good at getting ahead, but I think I nitpick too much. I was always trying to hit this perfect spot that was maybe off the plate and end up falling behind and walking a guy when I had him 1-2 or 0-2. So, I think the biggest part of it is not throwing too many waste pitches. If I am attacking guys with two strikes that should cut down the walks drastically.”
Q: Do you follow other professional sports?
A: “Yeah, I am actually a [Milwaukee] Bucks fan and a [San Diego] Chargers fan.”