We sat down with Yankees' eighth round pick, Taylor Grote, for a Draft Day Q&A session. A two-sport…
Grote Easing Into The Pros
"I got to see some live pitching in some simulated games on the side field and that really helped me prepare because I didn't see any live pitching in three months [before that]. I was just looking to hit the ball hard somewhere as usual."
Not only did he draw a walk in his first plate appearance, but he also worked the count full in his second at-bat before grounding out to second base, displaying uncanny patience for a high school player making his professional debut.
"I don't know if it's my signature trait," he said of his patience at the plate, "but I like to lay off bad pitches. I'm not one that is normally hacking at pitches that are out of the zone."
"I like to work the count, but when you get a good pitch to hit, you can't miss it like I did [in his second professional at-bat]. That's one thing where I need to come around and seeing some more live pitching will help."
As Grote and his fellow draft-mates ease their way into the professional game, he believes he can show the organization that he can be a complete offensive player in due time.
"I like to hit for average but I also have some power," he said of his game. "I'd like to work on spraying the ball more the other way, but I think I can hit for high averages and some decent power numbers."
Unlikely to see much action in the remaining GCL Yankee playoff games, he and the other recent signings have been working out together on the side fields in preparation for next month's Instructional League.
"That'd be great," he said if they went through the organization as a group. "That's what they said when I first got in, all these high school kids coming in at the same time and working our way up together because we're all the same age. It will take a lot of work for all of us to do it at the same time, but that would be great."
While there are a few things he would like to work on, including hitting the ball to the opposite field more, Grote says it's his defensive game that might need the bigger adjustment right now.
"You could always improve on anything, that's what I want to do," he admitted. "The main thing I want to work on is my outfield footwork because it's a lot different playing outfield out here than it is in high school."
"The fields are bigger, there's more ground to cover. That'll be one thing I have to work hard for. At the plate, just keep my hands inside and spray the ball to all fields, not be so dead-pull."
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