Selected in the third round of the 2018 draft, Ryder Green is currently ranked as the Yankees’ 30th best prospect by MLB Pipeline. Green recently took the time to speak with Pinstripe Alley on a variety of topics that will be published in two parts. Here is part one:
Dan Kelly - There have been numerous stories about prospects playing a lot of summer ball on the showcase circuits. For a prospect like you, what were your summers like coming up through high school?
Ryder Green – It’s a lot. For me, I lived in Knoxville, and still do; I played for Team Elite Baseball. I played with Brad Bouras and the coaches over there. I would pretty much live in a hotel for four months—since I was 15-years old until I graduated. I was essentially living in Georgia. Sometimes we would just bite the bullet and drive back and forth every day from Knoxville to Lakepoint (GA), or Kennesaw (GA), which was fine. So that was me for three years, driving back and forth to Atlanta. I loved it, it was fun.
DK - This summer’s been so dramatically different and it sounds like you haven’t had a real summer off since probably your freshman year in high school. What is one thing you did this summer that you really haven’t done before?
RG – Obviously I’ve been working out, hitting, staying in shape. Just the opportunity to be with my family for this amount of time has been a blessing I think. It’s really nice to be home, and I really hope that I won’t have this chance for a really long time. So just to take a step back and get to enjoy it, because for about four months you couldn’t get out, so you were stuck with who you were with, and it’s really been fun, it’s been nice.
DK - You have a great perspective on that. Following high school you were headed to Vanderbilt, which is the college powerhouse, and they won the last national championship that was played. You would have been there for that if you had gone there. What did you see in that program that made it appealing over other schools?
RG - I think proximity to home, for sure; it is about an hour and a half to two hours from home. Coach Tim Corbin and I loved everyone on that staff, Coach Baxter (Assistant Coach), Coach Brown (Associate Head Coach/ Pitching Coach), because there was a chance I might have pitched there as well. The facilities, and if anything had happened medically, the hospitals. I really don’t think there is a better setup in college baseball that I’ve seen, and it shows. I think it is because of the leadership there with Coach Corbin and they are successful and produce high round picks all the time.
DK - They definitely do. In 2019, you played in the Appalachian League, which also had a proximity to home. Was that an unexpected benefit after choosing to go to professional ball you probably did not expect to see a lot of friends and family at at the games for a while. Did you get a lot of that while you were playing with Pulaski last season?
RG – Yeah I did, it was nice. I can’t lie I was nervous at first... because I played in the GCL (Gulf Coast League) after being drafted, so it was a little harder for the family to come and watch. So when the family first shows up, honestly you are a little nervous because it’s the first time you’ve played in front of the family in two years, but it was awesome. I loved that they got to come watch me play. It’s always nice to have familiar faces in the stands for sure.
And just to speak on it, I loved Pulaski the town. I don’t know if you’ve ever been there for a game, but they basically sell out every night. It’s impressive, they love the team and they love the guys. and it was a great atmosphere to play in all summer long.
DK - I did read they had set an attendance record in 2019. It wasn’t just for Pulaski was for the whole League, so that was pretty impressive. I don’t know if you have you followed the news that they are transitioning from an affiliated team to a college wood-bat league, which kind of seems sad coming off that kind of attendance and community support.
RG – Definitely.
DK - That 2019 Pulaski team had the highest winning percentage of any Yankees affiliate that year. Was there one moment when you guys realized things are rolling and this is a pretty good squad here?
RG - We had a few guys go down early, Anthony Garcia went down. Once that draft class came in there is just a great mesh of guys there. I think we won eight straight right off the bat, then lost a game and won like seven more in a row. Then we kind of looked at each other and realized “this team is pretty good.” We had Scott Seabol as our hitting coach, and Lou Dorante as the coach and Casa (Pitching coach Gerardo Casadiego). We had a great staff there too, so that really helped. With all the young guys, even the college guys were just 21 or 22, we were a young group, and they just kind of guided us through. Winning is important, I don’t care, it makes the game fun, when you win a lot of games like that you are going to have a good time and everyone is going to play better.
DK - Looking at the mix of that roster there are quite a few players from Latin America, and you probably have seen this in the GCL as well. What steps did you take or do the Yankees put in place to facilitate integrating cultures, breaking down the language barriers, and creating team cohesion?
RG - With the Yankees, we have Spanish classes and Latin players have English classes. For the most part it is cool to see like Antonio Cabello and Roberto Chirinos, (Madison) Santos anyway, they are good dudes. What you see is that we try to teach each other, we will ask each other questions and stuff. The culture is just fun because you are learning and you have true friendships with these guys from different countries. The Yankees do a fantastic job making the culture where you can just learn from each other so it is fun.
We’ll have more of this interview with Ryder Green tomorrow. Please check back as he discusses adjusting to professional baseball, what they Yankees’ are emphasizing behind the scenes and what it is like watching the playoffs as a member of the organization.