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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Nick Goody: The Pursuit of Mariano Rivera's Legacy With the New York Yankees

The New York Yankees’ propensity for courting and signing high-priced free agents can sometimes obscure their farm system, which has delivered numerous players of great importance to the team over the years. Mariano Rivera, Derek Jeter and the recently departed Robinson Cano are all more recent examples of franchise cornerstones that were also homegrown.

One area the Yankees especially hope start producing in the near future is pitching. Right-hander Nick Goody is a prospect trying to be one of the youngsters who will one day graduate to the Bronx and continue the team’s tradition of self-sufficiency.

After attending high school in Orlando, Goody went on to Manatee-Sarasota Community College. He pitched well enough to be selected by the Yankees in the 22nd round of the 2011 draft but declined to sign and transferred to LSU.

Serving as the team’s closer, Goody had 11 saves and a 2.67 ERA in 2012, posting 45 strikeouts in 33.2 innings while walking just four. It was enough to induce the Yankees to draft him again—this time in the sixth round.

Pitching for three minor league teams that summer, Goody had an impressive combined ERA of 1.12 with seven saves in 23 games. What really stood out were the 40 strikeouts he recorded in 24.2 innings.

Unfortunately, after just two games with Advanced-A Tampa in 2013, Goody had to undergo Tommy John surgery and missed the rest of the season and possibly a good chunk of 2014.

If everything goes as planned, the 22-year-old will eventually regain full health and resume his promising career. With the recent retirement of Rivera, the Yankees are in need of a new long-term replacement to close games. With any luck, Goody could be a potential option down the road.

Last offseason, Goody answered some questions about his career. Check him out and also give him a follow on Twitter. Since he is coming back from such a major setback, he would undoubtedly enjoy as much support as he can get as he works to fulfill his baseball goals and dreams.

Nick Goody Interview:

Who was your favorite player growing up, and why?: My favorite player growing up was Rafael Furcal. I loved the Braves and I was also an infielder and switch hitter. I tried mirroring everything he did.

Talk a little bit about your experience playing at LSU:  Playing for LSU was everything I could have asked for and more. The fans are unbelievable, and the team and staff is in my opinion the best in the country. The atmosphere and competition you get there is second to none and definitely helped prepare me for pro ball. Definitely a blessing

How did it feel knowing that the Yankees thought so much of you that they drafted you twice?: Being drafted once by the best organization in baseball is an honor and a blessing. Being drafted twice by the same team just goes to show what a class act they are. I guess the big man upstairs wanted me to be a Yankee and I'm honored.

What is your favorite meal when you are on a team road trip?: Haha, my favorite meal when on a road trip... It's tough to say when you’re not piecing meals together at a gas station, LOL, but I mean I'm a big sushi guy, so I'd say when I can sushi.

If you could change anything about the 2012 season what would it be?: I honestly wouldn't have changed a thing this past season. Everything happens for a reason, although I'm not satisfied, and know I have a lot to work on to get to where I ultimately want to be.

What pitches do you throw, and which one do you consider your out pitch?: I throw a fastball, slider, and recently have been working on a changeup. If I had to choose my "out pitch," I guess it would have to be my slider.

Have you had a chance yet to pick the brain of Yankees legendary closer Mariano Rivera?: I have not met Mariano Rivera, although he's one guy I'd love to talk to. Every person that talks about him has nothing but great things to say. I'd have to say he's one of my favorite players. He's an all-around good guy on and off the field.

You can check me out on Facebook or follow me on Twitter @historianandrew

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