minorleagueinterviews

In our Stealth Bomber series, we talk to players in the farm system who aren’t yet on the New York radar, but hope one day to be so.

In our latest conversation, we visit with Adam Warren, the Yankees’ 2009 4th round draft pick out of the University of North Carolina. Adam signed quickly and went on to destroy the NY-Penn League, posting a K/BB of 5.00 and an FIP of 2.19 in 50 plus innings. The former Tar Heel, who many viewed at the time as a pure slot pick, could be a quick mover in the Yankee system if he can recapture the magic from last summer.

Gary Wallace: You made some waves in Staten Island last year with your fastball sitting in the low to mid 90s, up a couple ticks from your college days (excluding second semester your senior year). Is there anything specifically you can point to for your increase in velocity? Ritual sacrifice, perhaps?

Adam Warren: Ha-ha… I did not perform any ritual sacrifices, but I did do a lot of praying. I believe that God has blessed me with a certain amount of potential to play this game and I feel that the jump in velocity last year was a matter of me starting to reach that potential. I became very comfortable with my mechanics and I felt like I was in the best shape of my life. In my opinion, these two factors helped me to become a better pitcher and throw a little harder.

GW: On that note, you complement your fastball with a curve, change and slider (correct me if I’m wrong). What speed do your secondary offerings usually come in at? How do you like to attack hitters?

AW: My changeup usually sits in the low-80s, the curveball is usually mid-70s, and my slider is low to mid-80s. I have always believed in attacking hitters with my fastball and use my secondary pitches to keep them guessing. I like to use my two-seam fastball and changeup to get groundouts early in the count, and my curveball and slider to strike out hitters.

GW: What are your biggest strengths and your biggest weakness as a pitcher?

AW: My biggest strength as a pitcher would have to be the command of my pitches. I feel that I can throw all my pitches for strikes in any count. My biggest weakness is not having a consistent put-away pitch. My curveball and slider can be those types of pitches but they need to become more consistent. That has been one of my main focuses this offseason.

GW: What did you think of your immediate domination of professional ball?

AW: Last summer, I had a lot of confidence which I believed was one of the main keys to my success. It was a fun summer and I felt like I got better every outing. I learned a lot about how to pitch at the professional level.

GW: You guys had quite a squad at Staten Island. Was there anyone who impressed you? Any batter in particular you wouldn’t want to face, or fellow pitchers offering you wish you had?

AW: We had a great group of guys in Staten Island last year. There was a lot of talent, but to name a few that impressed me were Jimmy Paredes and Zoilo Almonte. These guys seemed to get clutch hit after clutch hit. One guy I probably wouldn’t want to face would be Neil Medchill just because how far he can hit the ball and the home run numbers he put up last summer.

GW: Given your performance in ’09, there’s some speculation you might skip Charleston and head straight to Tampa. Have the Yankees informed you where you’ll be pitching this coming season?

AW: The Yankees have not told me anything definitive about where I may end up this year. My goal is to start in Tampa, but I will be ready to go wherever they send me.

GW: Anything that surprised you last season?

AW: The one thing that surprised me was the team unity we had in Staten Island last year. In college, my impression of pro ball was that most guys were only concerned with themselves. I learned last summer that I was wrong and that you become good friends with your teammates and there is strong team unity.

GW: Your former UNC teammates Dustin Ackley and Alex White received a lot of buzz last year and both ended up getting drafted in the top ten. Did the attention paid to them ever bother you? Like, “Hey, I’m pretty damn good too…”?

AW: The attention Dustin and Alex received was well deserved, but it didn’t bother me at all. Instead it motivated me to work hard and perform at a high level. I have always been a big believer in taking care of your own business and the recognition will come eventually.

GW: So according to your UNC athletics profile, you modeled your game after Curt Schilling and Josh Beckett. Please tell us that doesn’t include diet regimen. But seriously, those are two very successful, power righties. What have you taken from them beyond “be really good for a long time”?

AW: I picked those two pitchers because I admire the way they go about pitching. They are bulldogs on the mound and they aren’t afraid to attack hitters.

GW: When you’re not pitching, what do you like to do to kill time?

AW: To kill time I like to hang out with my friends and family, play Playstation, or watch movies.

GW: Did you get yourself anything nice with a piece of your bonus?

AW: I didn’t really get myself anything. I did get engaged this offseason, so I bought a diamond ring. That was my only big purchase.

GW: I imagine it might be. Thanks for talking time to talk with us, Adam.

Great stuff from Adam and we hope he continues to show big things. We won’t hold the Schilling and Beckett admiration against you yet. In time, you will learn.