Garrett Whitlock was selected by the Yankees in the 18th round of the 2017 MLB Draft out of UAB. The right-hander made his debut in the Gulf Coast League, and ended the year in Pulaski with a 3.77 ERA. He started this season with the Charleston RiverDogs and is off to a great start so far. Through 27 innings, Whitlock has pitched to a 1.33 ERA with 0.85 WHIP and 10 K/9. He was kind enough to answer a few questions for Pinstripe Alley.
How long have you been playing baseball and have you always been a pitcher?
I guess since I was 9 or 10. No, not necessarily just as a pitcher. I did a little bit of infield and a little bit of outfield when I was younger, but I started focusing on pitching in high school.
What was it like being selected by the Yankees on draft day?
It was awesome. I was actually on the beach, just kinda relaxing. I got the call saying they were going to select me. I was with some family, and it was just really nice. I hung up the phone and got to smile and enjoy the rest of the day.
What pitches do you throw, and which is your best pitch?
I have a sinker, which is pretty much just my fastball, and a changeup. I also have a breaking ball; I don’t really call it either a slider or a curveball, it’s just kind of a breaking ball. Honestly, my best pitch is my fastball.
In college, you worked out of the bullpen and as a starter. The Yankees have almost exclusively used you as a starter. What is your preference?
I don’t really have a preference. I feel like with starting, I try and work quick, so it helps eat up innings and save the bullpen. So I see that as my role.
You’re off to a great start with the RiverDogs so far this year. What has been the key to your success?
Honestly, great defense behind me—our whole team has played really solid behind me. Our pitching coach Justin Pope has been a real key to helping me focus and work on what I need to work on.
From a development standpoint, where do you see yourself in one year? What do you need to work on?
Hopefully still playing with the Yankees. I need to work on sharpening up the breaking ball and making it more consistent.
Okay, last one. We always end our interviews with this question: waffles or pancakes?
Waffles for sure! Especially with Waffle House being in the south, and me being from the south. Waffles all day long.
Thanks to Garrett for taking the time to chat with me. He doesn’t have a Twitter, but keep an eye out for him in our minor league recaps.