In the seventh round of the 2011 MLB Amateur Draft, the Yankees took a high school first baseman by the name of Austin ‘Bubba’ Jones. Jones grew up in Seattle, Washington and was regarded as one of the best bats out of the Northwest in this year’s draft class. Bubba just signed recently and is currently playing for the GCL Yankees. He was able to take a little bit of time out of his busy schedule to answer a few questions.
Matt Filippi: First of all, I have to ask, how did you get the nickname ‘Bubba?’
Austin Jones: Well I first got the nickname bubba when I was born. My dad said at that time I was a little ball of fat, so he called me bubba! And the nickname has stuck with me in the baseball world so far.
MF: How has the transition been from school and being home with family to being on the road and playing almost every day?
AJ: The transition was pretty quick and easy, and I’m loving it! Leaving home was sad, but its only for a month this trip, so I can slowly ease into the life. But on the field the transition between the games and level of play is taking more time, but hey, it’s baseball and I love it. I’m very blessed!
MF: How did it feel to be drafted by the Yankees with all of the tradition and pride that comes with it?
AJ: It was/is a huge honor to be drafted by such an outstanding organization. Easily the best on and off the field, and the Yankees do everything right. I’m extremely Blessed.
MF: What baseball player did you look up to as a kid and who do you try to model your swing and your game after?
AJ: Growing up as a kid in Seattle, I loved to watch the Mariners. Especially Edgar Martinez. He was a great hitter with power to all fields and had a smooth flawless swing. I would watch the tv and model his swing as a kid!
MF: What’s your approach at the plate?
AJ: I try to hunt for fastballs, and make the pitcher throw my pitch… Obviously. But mechanics wise, I always want to stay inside the ball and smash line drives. I also hit the ball with power wherever it’s pitched.
MF: You did a little catching in high school. Is that something you would consider doing as a pro?
AJ: Catching yes! It was fun being the leader on the diamond, and right now I’m a first baseman. And I will play anywhere the organization wants me to play, I just want to get on the field in any way!
MF: This is the off topic question. If you could have four tickets to any music concert, you have to take one family member, one teammate, one male celebrity, and one female celebrity, what concert do you go to and who do you take?
AJ: Okay, I would get tickets to a Zach brown band concert. I would bring my brother Owen, he loves them. I would bring my career long teammate Derek Callahan. For a male celebrity I would bring Josh Hamilton, and for a female I would bring Olivia Wilde.
I’d like to thank Austin for giving us some of his time and wish him luck the best of luck.
In the 32nd round of the 2010 MLB Amateur Draft last June, the Yankees selected a left-handed pitcher by the name of Kramer Sneed out of Barton College. Sneed is now on the High-A Tampa Yankees as a starter/reliever. He was able to take a little bit of time out of his busy schedule to answer a few questions.
Matt Filippi- What was it like being drafted by the Yankees with all of the tradition and pride that comes with it?
Kramer Sneed- Being drafted is an amazing feat in and of itself but to be drafted by the team with the most history and prestige is on another level. I felt and still feel honored to have a chance to play for the most storied franchise in Major league history.
MF- What is your philosophy when you get on the mound? What do you think you need to do in order to be successful?
KS- Each time I step on the rubber I tell myself, “Dig.” A simple three letter word that helps me lock in and focus on the task at hand. “Digging” in my head means to fight and work to execute each pitch as well as I can. I feel that if I do this I am giving myself a great chacne to be successful.
MF- Is there a pitcher in the Majors now that you try to model yourself after?
KS- Honestly, I try to model myself after Jon Lester, hopefully that doesn’t offend any Yankee fans, but his mentality is so unshakeable each time he pitches, I hope I can be that good one day. I try to model after his bulldog mentality especially.
MF- You were drafted just last year and you are already in High-A. What has contributed to your quick rise through the organization?
KS- I think left-handers in general move a little quicker simply because there are fewer of us in the organization. But also I feel my versatility to be able to start or relieve helped me move quickly.
MF- Which teammate(s) has/have really impressed you in the year or so that you’ve been in the organization?
KS- Nik Turley’s improvement from last year to this year has really impressed me. I feel like he has gone from a good pitcher to a dominant one in less than a year, and he is doing it against better hitters this year.
MF- Who has been the most difficult hitter you have faced this season?
KS- Bryce Brentz is the most difficult hitter I’ve faced this year. He has great plate coverage and not many holes in his swing.
MF- If there is one thing you need to improve upon going forward to make you a better pitcher and bring you to the next level, what would that be?
KS- I feel like I need to eliminate the big mistakes on the mound that I’ve had the tendency to give up. Home runs have really hurt me this year and I feel like if I can stop giving them up I will really turn the corner on my potential as a pitcher in this organization.
MF- You have spent time starting games and spent time in relief. Which do you prefer and why?
KS- I like starting because I feel like it is my game to lose from pitch number one. However, if I’m coming out of the bullpen, there are more variables to how much I can affect the outcome of the game. So, I guess I like starting a little more than relieving but feel I can, and have been effective In both roles.
MF- This is the off topic question. If you could have four tickets to any music concert, you have to take one family member, one teammate, one male celebrity, and one female celebrity, what concert do you go to and who do you take?
KS- Wow what a question…the concert I would choose to go to would have to be a Kesha concert because I could dance all night with my date Carrie Underwood while my little brother Logan and Adam Sandler keep the adoring fans entertained with their comedy act all night.
I’d like to thank Kramer for giving us some of his time and wish him luck the best of luck.