We sat down with Yankees' eleventh round pick, Zach Varce, for a Draft Day Q&A session. Find out…
Q&A with Yankees 30th Round Pick Zach Nuding
Zach Nuding: I'm glad that I got taken, there's not a better team out there than the New York Yankees. It's definitely an honor and privilege.
PinstripesPlus.com: Were you surprised it was the Yankees that selected you? Had you and the Yankees talked much before the draft?
Nuding: I had contact with them before the draft, I really didn't expect them to be a main competitor to take me. I talked to a lot of teams so you don't really know how it will go. I'm just glad they took me. My scout was Mark Batchko, he came and watched me last year and this year and told me he really liked my stuff and how I really developed my stuff. He said I really became a pitcher and [showed] progress from being a thrower to this year being a pitcher. He said regardless if I sign or go to school that to keep my head up, work hard and it will work out for me.
PinstripesPlus.com: Do you have any idea what the Yankees' organization or farm system is like?
Nuding: Not particularly, I think the Yankees have somewhat of a good foundation in there to produce some of the players that they have. They are the New York Yankees, they're going to go about their way as professionals, whether its minor league or pro ball.
PinstripesPlus.com: What type of pitches do you throw and at what speeds? Give us a scouting report please – what are your strengths and what do you need to work on the most?
Nuding: My main pitches are four seam fastball, slider and a split-change. My fastball is my dominant pitch, I use it to get ahead or to blow away people and use it as my foundation. My slider is my breaking-ball pitch, I developed a lot more since last year and can throw it for a strike when I want to and in any count. My split-change I just picked up throughout this year and still developing some. I can throw it for a strike but I still need to work on it some. I just need to get more experience, this is only my third year pitching. Last year I was a reliever and this was my first year to really pitch in a dominant role of a pitching program. With as raw as I basically am, I think I'll be a whole different pitcher in a year or two.
PinstripesPlus.com: Did you have a favorite team growing up or a favorite player?
Nuding: I was a huge Cardinal fan, my family is from up north and it was either the Cubs or the Cardinals. I never fell in love with the Cubs and I've been a Cardinal fan ever since. I'm a big baseball fan, don't have really a favorite player I pretty much just like any guy who gets after it and works hard.
PinstripesPlus.com: 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?
Nuding: Well Mark Batchko said that I have some comparisons in favor with Joba Chamberlain. I like to work off my fastball, I topped out at 97 mph. I've got a presence out there and get after you, sort of a menacing approach out there. Those are hard shoes to fill for sure.
PinstripesPlus.com: What would you say is your best moment in baseball and why?
Nuding: Probably making regionals was really fun. Best overall moment is to look back to how I was in high school and get the opportunity to succeed - how far I've come. Looking to compare myself with others in high school that didn't take advantage of the same opportunities as I did. I put the effort toward it, it's the second year I have been drafted. Just to know that my hard work and effort has paid off.
PinstripesPlus.com: Are you looking to sign quickly and get your professional career started right away?
Nuding: We're looking to negotiate some, I am going to be watched throughout the summer. Whatever negotiations we come up with, if they offer me good enough then yeah I'd love to start my pro career. If I don't impress, I'll be headed off to Texas Tech and hopefully sign and play professionally in the show.
PinstripesPlus.com: Do you think the pressures of pitching in New York might be a problem?
Nuding: That's a milestone of its own, just to be able to be in that atmosphere, it's the pinnacle of baseball. Just to a part of the organization and to be invited to be a part of one of the greatest American sports teams, it would be an accomplishment not many get to do.
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