Tag Archives: 2011 MLB Draft

Interview With Tampa Bay Rays 2011 2nd Round Pick Hawaii Closer Pick Lenny Linsky

By: Andrew Martin

After losing a number of key players to free agency, the Tampa Bay Rays went into the 2011 MLB draft with 12 of the first 90 picks. Already possessing a strong farm system, they continued to stockpile a variety of talent. With the 89th overall pick they chose right-handed reliever Lenny Linsky from the University of Hawaii.

Linsky finished his college career with 27 saves, the second most all-time for the Rainbow Warriors. He was most impressive as a junior in 2011, appearing in 27 games, posting a 1.30 ERA, and setting the school’s single season record with 14 saves, while striking out 34 in 34.2 innings.

Using a three quarters arm slot, Linsky features a low to mid-90’s fastball and a plus slider. He signed early and was able to pitch in a total of 16 minor league games this year between short season Hudson Valley and A-level Bowling Green. He was impressive, going 3-0 with a 1.23 ERA and 30 strikeouts in 29.1 innings.

Linsky projects to be a major part of the Rays’ bullpen in the near future. I was recently able to catch up with and find out a little more about the rising prospect.

How did you become interested in baseball?
For my first birthday my Dad told me I got a baseball glove. I guess that was the start. I was able to throw a baseball before I was even able to walk. I got on my knees and would throw the ball to my Dad.

Who was your favorite team and player growing up?
My Dad is from Boston; from Back Bay, so I grew up a Sox fan. I followed them my whole life. Getting drafted by the Rays was kind of cool, getting drafted by another AL East team. I’ll get to play the Sox hopefully at one point.

How did you first find out that Tampa Bay was interested in you?
Early into my junior season, they had a scout out there in Hawaii. He just scouts Hawaii, so he watched me every time I threw. He would be there, and I would get lots of phone calls. They were actually the most interested team, so I was kind of pulling for them to draft me, and they did.

What was draft day like for you?
I just had all of my friends and family over. We were just hanging out and having a little party, a barbeque, and just watching. I found out early on the second day. I woke up early and I got all excited. They didn’t call me; I was just listening to it on mlb.com. It was just a radio broadcast and the guy just said ‘Linsky.’ I was like, ‘Wait!’ And he said, ‘Lenny. Leonardo Linsky.’ I just jumped up and screamed. The whole family opened up a bottle of champagne and started the party. It’s hard to describe. Even to this day, it hasn’t hit me fully yet because your whole life has just accumulated and gone to that one moment.

After you signed with Tampa Bay, did you do anything to treat yourself or your family?
I bought some Dr. Dre Beats headphones, which I had wanted for a while. I got a pair of new Oakley sun glasses. I also took my family out to dinner. I’ve been trying to put all of the money away.

Do you know if the Rays are going to keep you in the bullpen, or do they have another role in mind for you?
I don’t really know. I’ve been doing a lot of roles. I’ve been in late relief, in long relief, and closed. Whatever they want me to do, I’ll do. I was a closer in college.

Interview With Washington Nationals 2011 First Round Pick Pitcher Alex Meyer

By: Andrew Martin

Lately the Washington Nationals have not just been accumulating prospects, they have been stacking them up like cord wood. In the past couple of years they have picked up well known mega prospects in Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper, but they may have gotten their best haul from the 2011 draft, which brought a blend of well regarded hitters and pitchers. Alex Meyer is one of the most highly regarded prospects snatched up by Washington this draft’s haul. Taken with the 23rd pick in the first round, the 6’9 right handed pitcher projects to one day help anchor the top of the Washington starting rotation with Strasburg.

Meyer was originally drafted out of high school by the Boston Red Sox in 2008, but opted to attend the University of Kentucky instead. He was successful throughout his Kentucky Wildcats career. In 2011, his junior year, Meyer went 7-5 with a 2.94 ERA, and an SEC leading 110 strikeouts. Armed with a mid-to-upper 90’s fastball, and a slider and change-up that scouts believe will both be plus pitches, Meyer has the stuff to be a front of the rotation type starter. I recently caught up with Meyer and was able to find out a little more about him and his experiences in baseball. Take a moment to get to know one of baseball’s next top prospects.

How did you first get interested in baseball?
I first got interested in baseball at a very young age. My dad is a big baseball fan and so is my mom. When I was growing up, there was always baseball on at my house. Whether it was the Cubs always being on WGN or if I had to watch the Braves every night on TBS, there was always baseball on TV. I honestly don’t think I went a day, even being as young as 5-6 years old, to where I didn’t watch a baseball game or at least ESPN highlights. I really think this was a big influence on my life.

Who was your favorite team and player when you were growing up?
Growing up, my favorite team was the Seattle Mariners until Ken Griffey Jr. got traded. Then, I started to like the Boston Red Sox. My favorite player was Griffey Jr. without a doubt. I feel like he was everyone’s favorite player at that time. He was fun to watch because he was everything that every young kid wanted to be. He played the game the right way and he had fun doing it.

What was the draft process like this year? How did you know that Washington was interested in you?
The draft process was a lot of fun. I feel like if you don’t just sit back and enjoy it then it can really be overwhelming for people. I had fun with it and my parents were really good about it too. They were always there supporting me telling me that it was my decision on what to do. I knew the Nationals were interested in me, but didn’t know how interested they were until I heard my name selected on TV that night. They did a good job of not “bothering” me with phone calls during the season and just let me play. They did things the right way.

What is it like to be part of the “super prospect group” for Washington, with you, Bryce Harper, Anthony Rendon, Matt Purke, etc…?
The group of players that Washington has drafted over the past few years is incredible. To be included with a group of players mentioned above is really humbling for me. It’s an honor to get to play pro ball, but to be able to play with such a good group of guys committed to getting better makes it that much more fun. I’m really excited to get back for the Spring and really get to work again.

What is the best piece of advice or instruction you have gotten as a baseball player?
The best piece of advice that I have gotten in baseball has been this and I believe it to a tee; Baseball is a game of failure. There is so much failure that if you aren’t careful, it can really bring you down. You have to stay positive through the good times and bad. In baseball, a guy can fail 7 times out of 10 and be considered one of the greatest hitters in the game (.300 batting average). Baseball is all about staying calm and positive and the ability to play through the tough times.

What has your experience been like with fans?
It’s been fun. While I was at Auburn (Washington’s Short-A New York Penn League Affiliate) for a short period of time, the fans there were awesome. They were excited for the organization. I didn’t necessarily know what to expect when I got there, but the fans there made us feel welcome and made the experience a fun time.

Indians Draft Pick Francisco Lindor Becomes Youngest Player In Mahoning Valley Scrappers History

At age 17 Cleveland Indians 2011 first round pick Francisco Lindor is getting an early start on his pro career. The former AFLAC All American Game Home Run Derby champion made his professional debut on Sunday going 1-3 and helping turn a pair of double plays. He also became the youngest player ever to take the field for the Indians affiliate Mahoning Valley Scrappers of the Short-A New York Penn League. In the story Lindor talks about weighing the decision whether to turn pro or honor his commitment to Florida State, being happy to be back on the field after a summer off, and moving from Puerto Rico to Florida at age 13 to learn better English and improve his skills as a ballplayer.

Tribe’s top pick makes Scrappers debut — TribToday.com

Cleveland Indians 2nd Round Pick Dillon Howard Donates Part Of His Signing Bonus To Fight Autism

$1.85 Million is a lot of money for a teenager do handle. Rather then go on a spending spree with his signing bonus, Cleveland Indians 2011 second round pick Dillon Howard instead went to his computer and found a charity that helps those with autism. Howard’s younger brother Ben is autistic and Howard wanted to make an impact on those in the city that he hopes one day to pitch in. In the story the Searcy, Arkansas native talks about his decision to donate to the Milestones Autism Organization, the lessons he learned growing up with an autistic sibling, and his excitement for being part of the Indians organization.

Indians’ Howard donates to honor autistic brother Charlotte Observer

Jackie Bradley Jr Discusses Signing With The Red Sox Rather Than Chase A Third College World Series Championship

One of the many 2011 draft signing deadline deals that came down to the wire on Monday night was that of Jackie Bradley Jr. The centerfielder was the 40th overall pick of the Red Sox out of the University of South Carolina. Bradley had to chose between the $1.1 Million signing bonus the Red Sox had on the table or a return to the Gamecocks where he and his teammates would be chasing their third consecutive College World Series championship in 2012. In the end Bradley chose baseball and signed within the final 15 minutes before the deadline. In the story Bradley talks about his decision making prospect, tipping the scale with a visit to Boston, winning a second consecutive national championship, missing college life, and looking forward to what the future holds.

New Red Sox Jackie Bradley ‘ready for the adventure’ of pro ball — WEEI.com

Bubba Starling Talks About His Decision To Sign With The Royals Instead Of Playing Football At Nebraska

One of the biggest what if’s of the 2011 MLB Draft Signing Deadline on Monday was whether or not Kansas City Royals first rounder Bubba Starling would sign with KC for millions of dollars or decide to turn down their riches and go play quarterback for the Nebraska Cornhuskers. In the end baseball won out and Starling signed moments before the midnight deadline. In the story Starling talks about his decision making process, his anxiousness to begin working with the Royals minor league staff, and his relief that the entire process is over.

Starling joyful to be a Royal — SportsIllustrated.com

Tampa Bay Rays First Round Pick Mikie Mahtook Talks About Going Down To The Wire In His Decision To Sign

Former LSU outfielder Mikie Mahtook who was the 31st overall pick of the 2011 draft by the Tampa Bay Rays was one of a number of first round picks who took their decision down to the final five minutes before the signing deadline. Mahtook eventually agreed on a $1.15 Million signing bonus. On Wednesday, Mahtook talked about just how difficult the decision to sign was for him, always being a LSU Tiger, making his father, who passed when he was just four years old, proud, and how his mother helped him become the player and person he is today.

Mahtook: “I will always, forever be a Tiger” — WAFB.com

Chicago Cubs Sign Wayne Gretzky’s Son & 7th Round Pick Trevor Gretzky

The Chicago Cubs have come to terms with Trevor Gretzky, their seventh round pick in the 2011 draft. Gretzky is the son of NHL Hall of Famer Wayne Gretzky. The younger Gretzky is a 6’4″ first baseman who hit nearly .400 in his senior season at Oaks Christian High School. He was a San Diego State commit.

Washington Nationals Hope Anthony Rendon Can Carry His Hitting Prowess To Professional Baseball

Great read by the Washington Post’s Adam Kilgore, who is a must follow on twitter @AdamKilgoreWP, about Washington Nationals 2011 first round pick Anthony Rendon. In the story Rendon’s high school and college coaches talk about his hitting prowess and Washington Nationals brass talk about why those tools gave the Nats confidence in picking Rendon despite some injury concerns.

Nationals top draft pick Anthony Rendon stands wrists and shoulders above his peers — Washington Post

Journalist Braves Hail & Floods In Wyoming To Track Down A Story On Mets First Round Pick Brandon Nimmo

New Jersey Star Ledger writer Andy McCullough documents on film his trip to Wyoming to do a story on 2011 Mets 1st Round pick Brandon Nimmo. The first half of the video shows the crazy weather that McCullough ran into. The second half is a sit down with Nimmo who talks about overcoming the odds to be drafted without having played high school ball (they don’t have high school baseball in Wyoming), and the huge reception he has received from Mets fans. The video link is on the right column of the story.

Mets draft pick Brandon Nimmo talks about the five tools — NJ.com