Carson Kelly and Luke Weaver were the headlines pieces that came to Arizona, but they weren’t the only two players coming back to Arizona in the Paul Goldschmidt trade. The team also added infielder prospect Andy Young, who’s coming off a successful 2018 campaign in High A, AA, and the Arizona Fall League. Young is from West Fargo, ND and played his high school ball there before starting his collegiate career at Neosho County Junior College for his freshman and sophomore years before transferring to Indiana State University, where he starred as a third baseman before getting drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 37th round of the 2016 Draft. Two years later, he’s worked his way onto the cusp of reaching the majors and will be ranked 8th on my 2019 Preseason Prospect List.
The topics covered in the interview include his personal draft experience, playing in the minor leagues so far, the Arizona Fall League, and getting invited to big league camp this Spring.
Michael McDermott: Can you describe your personal experience of getting drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals?
Andy Young: I was out, just at the lake it was a summer day. I really didn’t have my phone on me we were out on the water then I got a call later from my dad saying “Hey you’ve been drafted” and then St. Louis called, so it was almost more wasn’t necessarily a surprise but I was a little bit surprised. Obviously after that it was just a surreal feeling.
MM: Being a former 37th round pick, do you play with a chip on your shoulder to prove the people who doubted you wrong?
AY: I don’t think the round has to do with it, but I do play with a chip on my shoulder. I think a lot of the players do regardless of round, money, or any of that because in general in the minor league system once you start playing you see all these teams and all these levels that you go through that you realize that there will always be someone ahead of you and someone coming you every year. So if you don’t play with a chip on your shoulder regardless of round that you’re taken in that you can become complacent, so I definitely view a lot of the guys in the minors and the majors also do.
MM: What were the major points the Cardinals organization stressed in your development as a hitter?
AY: There is not one single team that I would say helped me a ton, there’s just a ton of reasons. All the coaches, the coordinators, everyone that is into it I was there for. I played rookie and short season A (low A), High A, AA, and all these levels, they all have tremendous staffs and coordinators that go along with that, they all have different ideas and different ways of teaching and you can just pick and choose all these different ideas and choose the ones that work for you so it’s definitely a team effort on the coordinators and coaching staffs on how to develop a swing and a player like that.
MM: How much preparation goes into the course of a single baseball game?
AY: Quite a bit, I think everyone tries to find a routine throughout the year that works for them. You tweak with that also, you play with things and you’d see me in the weight room before I hit the cage, all the stretching, and everything that goes into it. Maybe a little lift before getting in the cage just to get the body loose, and once you’re in the cage what everyone thinks about a routine being the drills, the tee work, whatever drills that an individual likes to do to get them ready and then only after you do your cage work do you go out on the field and gets them warm. So there’s a lot of things that go into it and I don’t know the average person realizes when they’re even watching someone hit in a game all the preparation that went into that game, but I think that’s kind of what you have to do to feel prepared and feel comfortable within your routine and within getting ready for the game.
MM: What is your general approach when you step into the box?
AY: I try not to give up the fastball timing, I think the most important thing is in hitting is being on time. You can have the best swing in the world but if can’t be on time you’re going to struggle, so I concentrate on being on time to the fastball and trying to adjust to other pitches but I also try to have a pretty good idea about what the pitcher’s going to try to do to me before I get into the box. Now baseball’s a game that’s so analytical that I can look at charts and sheets and see what he’s likely going to do in certain situations: if that’s a man on 3rd and less than 2 outs, what he’s going to throw me, what he normally going to start off with or it’s his put-away pitch, what he’s going to strike you out with and what is the velocity, spin rate, what is the action on his fastball, it’s all different things that go into it. So before you step in the box, you have to have a very detailed plan of how you’re going to attack this pitcher because he’s going to have a detailed plan on how he’s going to attack you. So a lot of preparation is done way before you step in the box but then obviously when you’re in the box it’s just competing, you have that stuff in the back of your head but you have to time it up, do whatever it is you like to mentally think about to then hit the ball, all that preparation can’t help you if you’re not willing to compete in the box.
MM: What’s the challenge of playing multiple positions on the infield? Do you have a favorite position?
AY: I think they’re all a little bit different. Challenge wise, I don’t playing all of them really makes it challenging than not, but you just have to be able to be ready to play all those different positions. So I’d say the challenge isn’t playing the position itself, the challenge is just going out and getting reps at every position and being ready no matter where they’re going to call your number that day, you have to be ready to play in that spot.
MM: I believe this year will be your first invite to Big League camp, are you going to treat that as a big learning opportunity?
AY: Yeah, I don’t know really what their plan is for it. I think that everyone going into big league camp I think that you have to look at it as an opportunity to go in and make a good impression and make your mark known. I don’t think that the organization or really anyone has a certain idea of it being a learning opportunity, it could be, but I think you go in and just think I want to leave a good impression and whatever that leaves me at the end of it, that’s kind of how I look at that.
MM: Star Wars or Star Trek?
AY: Star Wars
MM: Seeds or Bubble Gum?
AY: Both, but I always playing with bubblegum so I’d say bubblegum more than seeds.
MM: Favorite Baseball Movie of All Time?
AY: That’s a tough one, but I’ll probably go with Major League for that one, the first Major League.
MM: Favorite Hometown Restaurant?
AY: Grand Junction in West Fargo. If anyone is in West Fargo, they have to check it out.
MM: Favorite off the field hobby during or after the regular season?
AY: Hunting. I love coming home, I love hunting white-tailed deer, mule deer, pheasants, ducks, it’s a family hobby we’ve had for a long time so I love after a long season and coming home to North Dakota, going out in the wilderness and chasing some animals.
MM: How was the experience of playing in the Arizona Fall League last season and performing very well in that type of environment?
AY: It was a blast to see the facilities because the Cardinals obviously are in Florida and so to come over to Arizona and see all the Spring Training facilities that obviously now I get to work every day in Arizona. The facilities are just awesome, one of the nicest facilities I’ve ever seen if not the nicest in all of Major League Baseball and you can travel around and see the Cubs, the Padres, the Mariners, all these systems. In Surprise the Rangers and the Royals facility, that was the coolest part, just seeing the different side of baseball. It’s a lot different than Florida.
Special shoutouts to Paul Kuo of the Ballengee Group and for setting up the interview, Andy Young for taking the time to be interviewed, and Jim for giving the opportunity for me to conduct the interview
Follow Dbacks Infielder Prospect Andy Young on Twitter @Andyjyoung15