This Interview was originally published on November 9, 2019
Back in 2018, the New York Yankees selected right-handed pitcher Tanner Myatt in the 11th Round of the MLB Draft out of Florence-Darlington Tech in South Carolina. Myatt’s electric fastball stole the show as he has 22 strikeouts in the first 10 outings of his professional career.
This past season, Myatt battled injuries to his elbow and shoulder that caused him to go from the rotation to the bullpen with Low-A Charleston. Despite missing some time and having more walks (45) than strikeouts, the right-hander held opponents to a .157 batting average. He was a 3-3 with a 4.24 ERA and had three saves in 4 chances over the course of 19 games (3 starts)
Last week, I had the opportunity to talk to Tanner about his 2019 season, how he rehabbed from his injuries, the progression of his off-speed pitches, and much more.This interview is an example of the type of content that Pinstriped Prospects Dugout Members receive. Dugout Members get complete access to scouting reports, interviews and more all with limited advertisements on the website. Click here to sign up!
Ricky: How would you evaluate your 2019 season?
Tanner: A lot of ups and downs. I was excited to break with Charleston at the beginning of the year and started pretty good starting. Had some downs with some injuries. I would say it was an excellent experience to get my feet wet in full-season, and it was fun.
Looking forward to cutting back on the injuries, trying to stay healthy and move forward.
R: Can you tell us more about the injuries that you had, and what was the toughest part of the rehab process?
T: When I was starting, we were in Augusta, I went one inning, and my shoulder started hurting bad. I came out of the game, and they sent me back to Tampa to rehab to get checked on by the doctor. The hardest thing is trying to get back to where you were since I missed so much time. It was a slow progression, but I soon got back.
R: What was the one thing that you worked on the most in spring training that you carried into the year?
T: Trying to get ahead with the fastball, compete with my fastball. One thing they emphasized was throwing strikes and getting it over.
R: Any adjustment that you had to make going into your first full season campaign as opposed to short-season?
T: We worked a little bit on developing a routine while I was in Charleston. Baseball wise, it was about the same, but my pre-start routine was a little more advanced in full season than it was in rookie ball.
R: This year, you got to play your home games in South Carolina. What was it like to pitch close to home, and did that help you adjust to the South Atlantic League?
T: It was fun. It was unbelievable. A lot of my former teammates came and watched me play. It had the home field to it since I was so close to home. My parents came out and watched me whenever they could. It wasn’t too far of a drive. It accommodated a lot of my family members. At the end of the day, I still have to do my job, but I would say so. It made me feel a little more comfortable.
R: How do you feel your off-speed pitches developed this season?
T: I feel like they have come a long way. My changeup was much nothing last year. We worked on that in spring training, tried some new grips, and it developed a lot. I played with my curveball a little bit, think we got a better grip I got, how I am throwing, and what shape I am trying to work at.
R: What was the adjustment like for you to move to the bullpen?
T: When I was in the bullpen, it was kind of like a 1-2 inning, get it all out sort of thing. Not opening up all the way. You are trying to guide yourself and trying to last to go longer in the game when you are starting. The hardest thing is finding your comfort zone when you can go that long into the game.
R: Was there one piece of advice that your pitching coach, Gabe Luckert, gave you throughout the season that has stuck with you the most?
T: Everybody has told me that if I get the feel of the strike zone, where you want the ball to go, I can play anywhere. I have to feel for my pitches and get them where I want to go, and I will be fine. Working on my grips and how I want them to shape. Keep working on those and try to better my command a little bit
R: How do you feel that analytics and biometrics have helped your development in pro ball?
T: I didn’t get much into analytics. They usually tell me we can work on this or that. They have all kinds of stats; it is quite advanced.
R: What is your offseason routine like as you get ready for extended spring training? How quickly do you get back into getting ready for the season?
T: Right now, I am still doing physical therapy and working out lower body. I haven’t been cleared to do upper body lifts yet. Getting myself mentally prepared for the season and trying to get healthy to last during the season. We should be fine for spring training. I have another MRI coming up, but as soon as I get cleared, we should be good to go.
*Myatt is recovering from an elbow injury that he had in August 2019.
R: What is the area of your game you want to improve on the most in 2020?
T: There’s a few. Mentally, not worrying about what progressions everyone else is making, Focusing on myself, and how I can help the team win.
R: Being with Charleston this past year, is there a couple of arms that stood out to you watching them every day?
T: Luis Medina, Alexander Vizcaino, Luis Gil, Roansy Contreras. All those guys were electric. They are pretty young guys, and they have a pretty bright future ahead of them if they keep working, It is fun watching them pitch when they take the mound.
R: Favorite non-baseball activity.
T: I enjoy hunting and fishing and hanging out with my family.
R: If you weren’t playing baseball, what would be your career choice?
T: Maybe doing whatever my dad does. My dad is an independent contractor.