Q&A with Yanks 23rd Rnd Pick Vincent Jackson

Jackson has a commitment to Tennessee

The New York Yankees selected outfielder Vincent Jackson in the 23rd round out of Luella High School in Locust Grove, Ga. The 6-foot-4 power hitter sat down with us for a Q&A session to talk about his strength as a hitter, his physical build, whether or not he plans to sign, plus a whole lot more.

PinstripesPlus.com: Tell us what it feels like to be selected by the New York Yankees?

Vincent Jackson: It's an honor to get drafted by anybody, just for the Yankees to reach out and draft me that's a great honor in my book.

PinstripesPlus.com: Were you expecting to be drafted by the Yankees or were you surprised when they selected you?

Jackson: I wasn't surprised because the Yankees are one of the top teams that were considering me and looking at me so I really wasn't surprised.

PinstripesPlus.com: What are your strengths and your weaknesses?

Jackson: My strengths are my overall tools, my ability to hit and my ability to use all my tools like working on my running game, especially a lot as an outfielder and my arm because I also pitched during high school. So my tools are basically my strength. My weaknesses probably are my weight, my overall strength. I have a long way to go. Scouts say I am projectable. My dad and I saw players at college and saw how big and mature they are. That is probably the main thing they have on me because I can hit and I know in a couple of years [my body] that will change.

PinstripesPlus.com: Have you been working with anyone to increase your strength?

Jackson: I am working out but over time it will be a maturity thing, but I am also working out to get strength as of right now. I know in a couple of years down the line, that I haven't grown into my body yet and I get more strength into my body and go from there.

PinstripesPlus.com: Who would you compare your game to at the Major League level so the Yankees' fans have an idea of what your game is like?

Jackson: I really like Jason Heyward and Dominic Brown and they say a lot I have been compared to Dominic Brown, and really have been following him for the past couple of years especially in high school because he also went to high school in Atlanta. He basically had the same build I did, real tall, real skinny and real long and to see where he is at now, top minor league prospect in the Phillies. He is real skinny but he has real strength, he is hitting 400 plus [foot] home runs. He is still growing into his body and has that strength to back it up.

PinstripesPlus.com: What was your favorite team and who was your favorite player growing up?

Jackson: I really didn't have a favorite team but of course we followed the Braves a lot because they were the hometown team. But we really got hooked on the Braves when Jason Heyward [came] because he is from my hometown of Henry County and he went to high school five minutes from where I stayed. So once when he got onto the Braves we really became Braves fan. Besides Heyward my favorite players are Ken Griffey Jr. and Ryan Howard.

PinstripesPlus.com: What would you say is your best moment in baseball and why?

Jackson: My last high school at-bat, that's my best moment. In the playoffs I hit probably the furthest home run I have ever hit, 400 plus [feet], so that's the best moment in my career baseball-wise.

PinstripesPlus.com: How has the high school talent in Georgia helped with your baseball career?

Jackson: Tremendously because a lot of players play summer ball and way different summer ball, and when they come back to high school they don't see the same talent at all, the pitchers are a lot slower. Especially on my team, we were nationally ranked for a long time and top ranked in Georgia and we always saw the best players and best pitchers, and seeing the best pitchers they especially come after you. Most of our games we always saw a top pitcher and every now and then we saw a real good pitcher, like a top D1 prospect.

PinstripesPlus.com: What are your immediate plans now that you have been drafted by the Yankees? Is it your intention to sign or to go the University of Tennessee?

Jackson: We kind of have made our decision already and let the process go. The Yankees kind of knew where we were at too. I am playing summer ball, so they are going to follow me there and stay with me throughout the whole thing but we know what we are going to do and they have known once they drafted me, but they wanted to give me the chance and all baseball is, is a game of chance.

PinstripesPlus.com: Are the coaches at Tennessee planning on putting you in the outfield?

Jackson: I am going to Tennessee as an outfielder and a pitcher so I'm going to be able to do both.

PinstripesPlus.com: Where do you see yourself projected in the next few years?

Jackson: Here's the thing - out of high school I knew I was going to be an outfielder. All the scouts will tell you that if I were to go to college then nobody would know because my fastball is up there and as a projected left-handed pitcher in three years from now, but who knows what will happen. I could come out as an outfielder or a pitcher, so that's what I really like about Tennessee, they gave me the opportunity to do that, but all the scouts they even said as of right now we like you as a hitter but who knows at Tennessee. At every game I did pitch they had the radar gun out [fastball hits 90] and who knows in three years.

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