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Thursday, September 2, 2010

StreetJL Interviews Jordan Lyles- Part I

Farmstros Five honoree StreetJL has filed Part I of his interview with Jordan Lyles:

Jordan Lyles was drafted by the Astros with the 38th overall pick (first supplemental round) of the 2008 draft. He was the second pick made under Bobby Heck and Ed Wade as members of the Astros front office. Widely considered to be an overdraft at the time, Lyles has done nothing but make folks eat their words since.

Lyles began his pro career playing rookie ball with Greeneville in the Appalachian League and was promoted to Short Season-A ball with the Tri-City ValleyCats of the New York-Penn League at the end of the season. He played his first full season of professional ball in Low-A as a member of the Lexington Legends in the South Atlantic League. In his second full season of professional ball, Lyles skipped High-A ball and began the season in the Texas League with the Corpus Christi Hooks. He was 19, and one of the youngest players in the league. Despite his age and quick progression through the minor leagues, Lyles was dominant in Double-A (as he had been in Lexington the year prior). As a result, he earned a promotion to the Triple-A Round Rock Express of the Pacific Coast League. Think about this for a moment: less than a year ago, Lyles was an 18 year old pitching in Low-A ball now he is pitching in Triple-A. In a word: ‘amazing.’

I was impressed with Jordan Lyles in his interview. It reminded me a lot of the way he operates on the mound: composed and workmanlike. Lest you misunderstand, both are good things. I spent north of ten minutes speaking with Lyles, and have broken his interview up into two parts. Today post is includes general information about Lyles. Friday’s post will speak more to his pitching, and will include comments from pitching coach Burt Hooton. And with that, I bring you part one of my interview with Jordan Lyles from August 19, 2010.

Q: Not may people have had the chance to experience what you have so far at still a young age. Can you tell the people out there how you deal with success and failure as a minor league player?

Lyles: I grew up playing baseball [and other sports] year around…, so competing always came easy to me. It’s what I love to do. [I grew up with four brothers] and was always competing with them, so I had my success and failures... I’ve had a pretty good opportunity to come through the system with the Astros pretty quickly. I’m very grateful for the opportunities that Ricky Bennett and Ed Wade have given me so far and am going to try to make the best of it.

Q: You bring up a good point there. The Astros have been proactive about promoting young players like you and Shuck through the system… That has to be exciting for a minor league player knowing that you can get through the system as quickly as you have. Do you agree?

Lyles: Yeah, exactly. I think another good, positive thing that comes out of that is other guys getting into the organization a little bit after us they look and me and Shuck and see that these guys did it, so it kind of makes them prepare, try to work harder, and try to follow in our footsteps and move up as quickly as they can.

Q: [It] has been real exciting for Astros fans, especially those of us that follow the minors, to see that in an organization, and to see that from you. I mean, you are 19 years old, pitching in Triple-A, it has to be exciting.

Lyles: Yeah, it’s pretty exciting. The ballparks and the travel is a little bit different. The guys are older. It’s the next step to the big leagues. You find a lot of great talent here. A lot of guys have seen time in the big leagues. It’s a little bit tougher than Double-A, but we’re holding our own and hopefully we can continue to be a little bit better, more consistent, and try to get to the big leagues.

Q: A little over two years ago you were [graduating high school] and signing a contract on the same day. Did you ever in your wildest dreams envision being in Triple-A two years later?

Lyles: No, it’s pretty mind blowing to be [in Triple-A after being] drafted, out of high school…, two years ago. I remember talking to my agent the other day [and commenting that] I was in a Low-A clubhouse [last year] watching the Little League World Series, and I saw it on TV in Round Rock the other night. I thought that was pretty cool, going from Low-A to Triple-A in just the matter of a year.

Q: [S]peaking of ‘World Series,’ the College World series recently saw your old commit [the South Carolina Gamecocks win it all]. Did you have a chance to watch it at all?

Lyles: I was in Midland, Texas for the [Double-A] All-Star game, me and a guy that works for my agent, we were hanging in the hotel watching the game. We’re very proud of the guys. I know a couple of the guys - we work out and stuff like that together - I grew up playing against them, playing high school ball. Just a great point for our state, something we can be proud of [as they] continue to play some good ball there in South Carolina.

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