Nardi Contreras, the Yankees Minor League Pitching Coordinator, sits down with PinstripesPlus.com…
Q&A with 8th Round Pick Sam Elam
Sam Elam: I feel very, very honored to be selected by a club with such tradition and legacy like the Yankees. I grew up loving them and caught so much grief as a Yankees fan when I was younger.
PinstripesPlus.com: So you grew up as a Yankees fan?
Elam: Yeah I did. The first game I went to was Rangers vs. Yankees and I've loved both teams since. I was pretty young then.
PinstripesPlus.com: Were you surprised to be selected by the Yankees? Had you had any ongoing conversations with the team prior to the draft?
Elam: My advisor had told me the day before to be on the lookout for the Yankees taking me, and that they had some strong interest in taking me so I had some knowledge of it.
PinstripesPlus.com: Are you familiar with the Yankees farm system at all?
Elam: I have some former teammates in Charleston so I know the cities, but that's about it.
PinstripesPlus.com: Who are the players you know from the RiverDogs?
Elam: David Phelps and Dan Kapala.
PinstripesPlus.com: Can you give readers an idea of your pitches and what speeds you throw at?
Elam: I'm a fastball, changeup, curveball guy. My fastball is in the low 90's and in relief I'll throw a little bit harder. In the Big East Tournament I hit 96. Most times I'll sit at about 90-92. I have a curveball that's more like a slurve than a curveball, and my changeup.
PinstripesPlus.com: Did you have a favorite player growing up?
Elam: I absolutely love Mariano Rivera.
PinstripesPlus.com: Do you have anyone on the Major League level you would compare yourself to so that Yankees' fans can get an idea of what you're like on the mound?
Elam: I don't want to be as arrogant as to compare myself to a big league player yet. But I would like to think of a big, hard throwing lefty like CC Sabathia.
PinstripesPlus.com: What would you say is your most memorable moment in your career?
Elam: I threw a one-hitter against Purdue and that was a lot of fun. It's either between that or this year when we played South Florida, we were down 6-0 and I came in and pitched 4.2 scoreless innings and we ended up winning 7-6.
PinstripesPlus.com: Do you remember what happened on the one-hitter?
Elam: I made a good pitch that was a curveball low on a 1-2 count. The guy went down and hit it over second base in the 8th inning.
PinstripesPlus.com: Are you looking to sign quickly and get your professional career started right away?
Elam: I'm definitely looking to sign quickly, get under the coaches and get going as quickly as possible.
PinstripesPlus.com: Do you think the pressures of pitching in New York might be a problem?
Elam: Not really. Obviously I have limited exposure to it at this point, but I like pressure and I like performing at the highest level, when everyone's eyes are on you, that's when I want the ball. I think in that sense, it's the greatest team in the world to play for just because everyone cares so much and the media and fans are so involved.
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