On Day 3 of the MLB Draft, we were lucky enough to speak with the Yankees’ 23rd Round Pick: Justin Wilson. 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 selected in the draft by a team like the Yankees?
A: It was awesome. The feeling was unbelievable. An organization like the Yankees is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I was just with a bunch of friends, and it was an amazing experience.
Q: How would you describe your work ethic and the assets you possess to help a ballclub be successful?
A: Just a hard-worker that loves baseball. Just attacking the game every day. Just ready to work and get on the mound.
Q: What would you say your best and worst pitching approach is when you take the mound?
A: I would say just attacking hitters with the fastball. Going right at them. The negative, it is probably me just trying to nibble, and not attack the hitter, with my fastball.
Q: Could you give us a little bit of a scouting report on yourself? What pitches do you throw? What are the velocities? What kind of movement do you expect from those pitches?
A: Mainly, I throw a 2-seam fastball, in the mid-90s. I throw a spike curveball, around 82-83, and also throw a changeup that is around 82-85.
Q: Who was your favorite player growing up, and who is your biggest influence as a pitcher?
A: I’d say Chipper Jones. I always loved how he played the game; respect everybody else, play the game the right way.
I would say my dad. He coached me all the way up through middle school. Just how he helped me through baseball, and taught me how to do things the right way.
Q: Who would you compare yourself to who is currently in the big leagues?
A: I would say Marcus Stroman because of the passion he has for the game, and how he uses that energy to get hitters out. His motivation to get better; his work ethic.
Q: How would you describe your progression as a player, moving through the high school ranks, to your time in college, and now possibly in a professional setting?
A: In high school, I never really pitched. I was a catcher. I committed to mid-major Lipscomb as a catcher but decided to go to Junior College. I started pitching in Junior College, and that’s when Vanderbilt saw me. I got to Vanderbilt, and pitching was relatively new for me. I am getting used to pitching, and think that college has helped me a lot.
Q: After getting injured in 2016, how has your recovery been going? Do you have a timetable for your return to full strength?
A: The timetable has been good. Recovery went well. Vanderbilt is a great place. Great resources being here. I would say probably in a month or two, being back at full strength, recovering and ready to go.
Q: Given the time it takes to rehab from Tommy John surgery, what are your expectations for next season?
A: I feel good right now. Threw in some games this year. Felt great, so hopefully good to go 100%.
Q: Looking at your college history, the appearances you had were in relief. Do you see yourself as a starter or a reliever as a pro?
A: I would say a reliever, coming out of the bullpen and just attacking hitters one time through a lineup. Let my stuff work that way.
Q: As you attended a Community College before enrolling at Vanderbilt. Do you think being a college transfer helps you in a pro career?
A: I do. Coming from the Junior College level, this level really showed me the differences in baseball, and how you can play anywhere and be good. In Junior College, you are kind of on your own. You kind of have to work yourself through that, which is similar to pro ball. You don’t have much help to get you somewhere, and you have to do everything on your own.