Yankees: An Interview with Minor League Outfielder Devyn Bolasky
Devyn Bolasky is an outfield prospect currently in the New York Yankees organization who has outstanding potential for a late round pick.
Devyn Bolasky was drafted by the New York Yankees in the 31st round of the 2015 draft. He is a scrappy, left-handed outfielder from the University of California with the speed and contact skills to be a capable leadoff hitter.
After being drafted, Bolansky spent 2014 with the Staten Island Yankees, hitting .241/.290/.288 in 186 plate appearances. He followed that up the next season with a .247/.355/.321 batting line with 11 steals in 288 PA for the Low-A Charleston Riverdogs.
In 2016, Bolasky’s numbers continued to trend upwards, even as he continued to face tougher competition. He hit .307/.353/.386 in 186 plate appearances for the High-A Tampa Yankees while playing excellent defense at all three outfield positions.
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Bolasky was recently nice enough to take time out of his busy schedule and conduct an interview with Yanks Go Yard:
Patrick Hennessy: While attending the University of California, how did you feel the coaches there prepared you for the professional level?
Devyn Bolasky: When I attended The University of California Riverside I got to play under head coach Doug Smith. Smith had numerous players drafted throughout his time at Riverside. A lot of those players would come back and we would have some time to pick their brain about the next level.
In college your focus is always on winning games but Smith did a good job balancing us by keeping our minds on training to win games now as well as training us for what professional baseball is like.
Even though I have been gone for 3 years I still spend my offseason training at Riverside with Bryson Leblanc who was my outfield coach at the time. He gets me ready year in and year out for the upcoming season. As a whole I think Riverside does a very good job preparing you for life after college.
Patrick Hennessy: The New York Yankees selected you in the 31st round of the 2014 MLB Draft, what was the feeling like when you found out?
Devyn Bolasky: When I got the call saying that I was just drafted by the New York Yankees I was excited. It was a call that I was hoping to receive ever since I can remember. As the draft got close I thought I had a good chance of being picked by the Yankees but you never know for certain.
It is actually funny that I was picked by the Yankees because I was raised in a family of Red Sox fans. So it took some getting used to seeing my dad in a Yankees hat. Overall I was extremely excited to be given a chance to represent such a historic organization.
Patrick Hennessy: What adjustments do you feel you made to your game as you transitioned from College to the minor leagues?
Devyn Bolasky: As a hitter going from college baseball to professional baseball the biggest difference is using a wood bat. I had used wood in summer leagues before being drafted but it still takes a hitter some time to really get a feel for wooden bats.
Also in professional baseball you see a lot more mid 90’s fastball then you did in college. Pitchers have some better feel for their pitches which is why they are at the next level. I tried to be more disciplined at the plate and stick with my strengths.
Patrick Hennessy: Was there a player you attempted to emulate and look up to as a youngster?
Devyn Bolasky: As a left handed hitter and outfielder growing up I idolized Ken Griffey Jr. The way he would put his body on the line for his team was something I loved. He made baseball look so smooth and easy. In high school another player that I tried to emulate was Jacoby Ellsbury. He always plays the game hard and the right way. Both of those guys played great center fields and were not scared to put their bodies on the line.
Patrick Hennessy: Throughout your time in the minor leagues you have played every outfield position, is there a spot where you feel most comfortable?
Devyn Bolasky: Over my 3 years in pro ball I have gotten used to every outfield position. I would say that I am still the most comfortable in Center Field just because I had played there in high school and college. I am however comfortable in the corner positions as well. It just took some getting used to seeing the ball come off the bats at different angels because in center you are right in front of the hitter. Overall though I have no problem playing where they need me to help the team win games.
Patrick Hennessy: From the numerous amount of games you have played in the minor leagues, has there been an opposing pitcher that has stood out to you the most?
Devyn Bolasky: The toughest pitcher I have faced was probably this past season when playing against the Dunedin Blue Jays. Sean Reid-Foley threw against us maybe three times and every time we had trouble against him. He has a mid 90’s fastball that plays like its 105mph. He also does a good job keeping hitters off his fastball by mixing in off-speed pitches for strikes and sticking to his plan on the mound. So far he has probably been the best pitcher I have faced.
Patrick Hennessy: During your tenure with the Yankees organization, you have spent time in Staten Island, Charleston, Tampa, and Trenton. Have there been any teammates that you think Yankee fans should keep a lookout for?
Devyn Bolasky: Over the years I have had a chance to play with a lot of really good players. Some that stand out to me are Josh Rodgers, James Reeves, Dustin Fowler, Mark Payton, Jake Cave, Gleyber Torres, James Kaprielian, and Jorge Mateo.
One that really stands out to me that people should know more about is Billy Fleming. Fleming is probably the best hitter that I have played with. He seems to always find a way to hit the ball on the barrel every at bat. He knows how to play the game.
Patrick Hennessy: You did not make a single error in the 2016 season, is your defense an aspect of your game that you mainly focus on?
Devyn Bolasky: I take a lot of pride in my defense. I want to be the guy that when a pitcher is asked who they want in the outfield behind them they say my name. When I’m on defense I do my best to make plays for my pitchers who are giving it their all on that mound. whether I’m going good at the plate or not I always try to separate that away from my defense and just focus on making the best plays and decisions I can when out on that field.
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Patrick Hennessy: Have you ever been able to visit Yankee Stadium before?
Devyn Bolasky: I never got to attend old Yankee stadium but when I was playing in Staten Island on one of the off days they took us over to the field for a tour of Yankee stadium. I wish I could have seen the old stadium but the new one is really nice. Everything about the stadium is classy. It was cool to be in the locker room and get a feel for what it would be like to be getting ready for a game in that stadium.
Patrick Hennessy: How do you spend most of your time during the offseason?
Devyn Bolasky: During the offseason if I’m not working or training for the upcoming season I am probably hanging out with my girlfriend and family. The first few weeks after the season I usually just relax and get my body back to normal. I love the gym so I am there every morning Monday through Friday. I enjoy just spending time with my loved ones during the offseason because once season comes around you don’t get to see those people for 6 or 7 months.
Patrick Hennessy: Are there any aspects of your game that you are going to be focusing on improving heading into 2017?
Devyn Bolasky: First I will be focusing on keeping my body healthy in order to stay on the field. I am really focusing this off season on improving my stolen base numbers by working on my first step and explosiveness. I want to be more aggressive in that aspect of my game.
At the plate my focus will be to add some more gap to gap power. I am always putting in my work to improve at the plate because there is always room for improvement.
Patrick Hennessy: Do you have any specific goals in mind as you look forward to next season?
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Devyn Bolasky: I always set goals once spring training comes around. As of right now I haven’t set them yet but I am a big believer in setting goals before the season and just monitoring them as the year goes on. My main goal is to just be in the best shape come spring training and compete for a roster spot.