Q&A with Yankees 9th Round Pick Mikey O'Brien

O'Brien has never been to a big league game

We sat down with Yankees' 9th round pick, Mike O'Brien, for a Draft Day Q&A session. Find out what the right-handed pitcher from Hidden Valley High School says is his greatest attribute on the mound, how he feels being drafted by the Yankees, who he would compare his game to at the big league level, and more.

PinstripesPlus.com: Talk about being drafted by the Yankees. What was going through your mind when you heard your name being selected by them?

Mikey O'Brien: It was kind of weird. It's just a dream come true. Everyone dreams about playing major league baseball, especially for the Yankees, that's just an honor in itself. It just hasn't really hit me yet to be completely honest, not at all. I mean I haven't even graduated from high school yet! I have graduation on Thursday.

PinstripesPlus: Were you surprised it was the Yankees that selected you? Had you had much contact with them before they drafted you, or did them picking you come out of left field?

O'Brien: No I've been talking to the Yankees scout probably since January, that's when he came up to visit me at my house. I had been talking to them and the Braves pretty regularly. I wasn't that surprised it was them that took me.

PinstripesPlus: Do you have any idea what their farm system is like or how you fit into their organization?

O'Brien: I think I'll be playing - if I sign - in the rookie ball down in Tampa. Other than that I guess I'll just work my way up to Staten Island, Charleston, and I'm not sure where their other minor league teams are at.

PinstripesPlus: Give us a little scouting report on yourself. What kind of pitches do you throw? What's your best pitch, your weakest pitch, etc?

O'Brien: I throw a four-seam fastball, a two-seam fastball, a circle-changeup, and a curveball. My fastball has been clocked as high as 97 MPH, but I normally sit around anywhere 92-94 MPH, 95 MPH, somewhere in there. In high school my best pitch was a four-seam fastball but other than it's probably my curveball. [My weakest pitch] is my changeup, just because I didn't really start throwing a changeup up until this past summer when I started using it a lot and it got really good, but there's always room for improvement.

PinstripesPlus: What would you say is your best attribute on the mound?

O'Brien: I've always been told my poise. Just the way I handle myself out there on the mound, I don't get frustrated. I'm not a head-case at all. If some people get hits off of me or if they score some runs, it doesn't really bother me at all. When I get runners on-base, I love holding the running game. I've got a good move to first picking off people. I'm always picking off people in games. People always tell me that because they never really see that from a pitcher.

PinstripesPlus: Who would you compare your stuff to at the Major League level so Yankees' fans can get an idea of what you're like on the mound? And why?

O'Brien: I've been told Josh Beckett and I like to say that too. I don't really have a favorite team in the major leagues. Well now I do, I didn't used to. But I've always loved watching Josh Beckett pitch with the way he competes. He's got a bulldog mentality when he's out there on the mound. I think I can [emulate] him.

PinstripesPlus: What would you say is your best moment in baseball so far and why?

O'Brien: Definitely being drafted by the Yankees. That's always been my dream. When you're little you think about being drafted out of high school and you get to that point where you're like 'oh man, that's never going to happen to me'. I've seen people get drafted out of high school and they're absolute studs. To have that actually happen to me it's like a dream come true.

PinstripesPlus: You said earlier "if you sign" - are you looking to sign pretty quickly and get your professional career started right away, or is it going to come down to money?

O'Brien: Yeah basically because I have a full ride to go to college and pitch [at Winthrop University], but me, my parents, and the rest of my family are going to get together in the next week or so to talk it over and make sure I make the right decision for me, the one that's best going to help me. I would love to get started on my pro career but I want to make sure I'm doing the right thing as well.

PinstripesPlus: If you were to sign, work your way up to the big leagues and found yourself pitching in the new Yankee Stadium - you mentioned poise was your greatest attribute - are we to take that as you wouldn't feel the pressures of pitching in New York?

O'Brien: Well I don't think so but I'm sure I'd get a little nervous pitching in the pinstripes in the bran new Yankee Stadium making my debut. To be honest though, I've never been nervous before a game. In that first situation I might have some jitters, considering I've never been to a major league game before either. I've told people that and they're like 'why don't you make your first major league game the one you pitch in'. That would be amazing.

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