[INTERVIEW] Get to Know 17th Round Pick Barrett Loseke

On Day 3 of the MLB Draft, we were lucky enough to speak with the Yankees’ Seventeenth Round Pick: Barrett Loseke. Here are the words of one of the newest Yankee prospects, another in the line of college righties the organization values so heavily:

Q: What was your initial reaction to being drafted by a team such as the Yankees?

A: Initially, just in awe. Honestly, just extremely thankful. I don’t think 5 years ago I wouldn’t have expected this, being drafted at all, let alone by the Yankees, a great organization. Just a great team. Talking to the local scouts, the farm system, and how everything is set up, just being put into an organization that prioritizes development. I have also talked to Trevor Stephan, former Arkansas player; who played here last year. He is AA right now, had great things to say about the organization, and all the things I had to look forward to.

Q: How would you describe your work ethic and the assets you would bring to a ball club to make it successful?

A:  I would describe my work ethic as obviously a hard worker. I think anyone who is drafted is a hard worker to even get to that point. Growing up, I was never a big prospect coming out of high school, or anything. Coming into Arkansas, I was not one of the top prospects either. So I think the work ethic like a no lose mentality, an underdog mentality, and just not that many people particularly recognize me. Being undersized, and developing late, so I think my work ethic is more of always having to prove myself.

Q: What would you say your best and worst pitching approach is when you take the mound?

A: Best pitching approach…relaxed but also excited, energetic. I think you have to let the adrenaline fuel you, and not get overwhelmed by the situation, and get too excited and get too overwhelmed. I think I pitch fast, and can relax and see everything that is going on around me, and take in what’s happening. But also, let the situation fuel me.

Worst pitching approach…probably just thinking…. letting the situation dictate me. Not just being myself. Not sticking to the plan and approach I have for myself, and trying to be someone I am not.

Q: Could you give us a little bit of a scouting report on yourself? What do you throw? What kind of velocity? What kind of movement you expect from those pitches?

A: I throw a 2-seam fastball, 90-94, average is 92, tops 96. A curveball that is 74-75. Changeup around 80, and a slider around 83. And I use all of them in different situations. Primarily changeup and curveball to lefties, and then all four pitches to righties. Obviously fastball to lefties too. And then the fastball, I try to stay behind it, and get a bit of a rise and a little onside run.

Q: Who was your favorite player and your biggest influence as a pitcher growing up?

A: My favorite player growing up was Alex Gordon. He’s my second cousin, but we don’t really have a personal relationship. I’m sure he doesn’t even know who I am. The last time I saw him was like 10 years ago, but he is my second cousin regardless, so I followed him growing up.

Now probably my favorite player…I like to watch Rick Porcello. I think he has similar stuff as me, so I enjoy watching him pitch, and seeing how he gets outs.

Biggest influence…well, probably my dad of course. He spent the most time with me, just playing baseball. He played golf growing up, so he never knew the fine mechanics of baseball, but he was always hitting me grounders and fly balls. I didn’t really work on pitching until junior year of high school.

The biggest influence on my pitching career would probably be my high school pitching coach or Coach Wes Johnson here at Arkansas. They are the two people I have worked primarily with most with pitching

Q: How would you describe your progression as a player, moving on through the high school ranks, to college, and now possibly to a professional setting?

A: Progression wise, I was always a good player, but always undersized, especially in high school. Then I realized that I probably wasn’t going to get to a higher level Division I school hitting, just because of the lack of power. So I decided that I could always throw hard, so I started pitching my junior year. But still being undersized, throwing upper 80s, it was tough to get a lot of scholarship offers, and luckily Arkansas gave me the opportunity to play. I definitely wasn’t a top prospect coming into Arkansas, but I developed physically. I think I weighed 149 pounds coming into Arkansas, and now I weigh over 180 pounds. I am still physically maturing. Obviously into professional baseball, I will continue to mature physically, and gain velocity every year. I have gained velocity every year, since I started pitching. Hopefully I continue to gain velocity, and continue to learn how to pitch. This is obviously an on-going process.

Q: In the draft profile that we wrote about you, the person who wrote it highlighted that your motion is a little herky-jerky. What advantages do you get from this motion?

A: I have always had people messing with me, since I started pitching, saying that I throw like a shortstop basically. I think it is just a testament to that I am a high energy pitcher. I think that a quicker motion, and a quicker arm action definitely helps get the fastball on the hitters quicker. If it is myself, and it is effective, I don’t think there is a reason to change it, and slow my motion down. It might have an effect on the hitters. As they step into the box, they have to be ready immediately, because I deliver the ball quickly. Whenever we face the hitters here at Arkansas in the fall, they always tell me it is deceptive, so I figured I would stick with it.

Q: Looking at your college history, you did start some games, mostly your freshman year. Do you see yourself more as a starter or a reliever as a pro?

A: Obviously I hope to be a starter. Wish I could have been a starter at Arkansas more, but am very happy with the situation we are in. We have three great starters right now, and it was just a fit to be in the bullpen here. As a professional, I hope to be a starter, but if starter doesn’t work out, then bullpen has worked out here at Arkansas, and can work out professionally too.