His emergence led to the opportunity to play in the Arizona Fall League. On Tuesday afternoon, he made his first appearance for the Surprise Saguaros. The left-hander gave up a two-out double, but he struck out two batters in a scoreless inning.
Recently, Vasquez took some of his time to answer questions, and today we're happy to share that. Feel free to share your thoughts or ask further questions in the comments below.
Let the Q&A begin! Let’s get to know, LHP Andrew Vasquez, including which former Twins-killer was his role model growing up.
Seth Stohs (SS): Growing up in California, who was your favorite team to follow? Who were some of your favorite players?
Andrew Vasquez (AV): As a kid, I was more of a general baseball fan. If I had to pick, I would say the Dodgers. My father had the opportunity of coaching Mike Sweeney (Royals) in high school so we spent many summers going to see his games across the country. Mike was a great role model because he was a grinder on the field and a great person off the field. My favorite pitcher, however, would definitely be Randy Johnson and later Clayton Kershaw.
SS: What were some of the better memories of your high school baseball career? Did you play other sports or were you involved in other activities?
AV: I was selected to our high school all-star game which included schools across the Inland Empire, and I struck out 5 of 6 batters. Other than that, we never really got far in CIF playoffs. I tried out for the basketball team but opted out of playing their fall league. If I could go back, I would definitely play my senior year just for fun.
SS: You were drafted by the Royals out of high school. How difficult was the decision to say no and go to college?
AV: My whole life I had dreamed about playing pro ball, but surprisingly this was an easy decision. My parents were both educators and pushed me to get an education. I wanted to get my degree as a fallback plan if baseball didn't pan out.
SS: What was your college baseball experience like, both at Santa Barbara and at Westmont? What were a couple of your highlights?
AV: I really enjoyed my college experience at both schools. Santa Barbara was an awesome school, where I ended up getting my degree. Baseball was great my first year as I was the Friday starter for most of the year. I had the experience of pitching against teams like Cal State Fullerton and Long Beach State in conference, and teams like Oregon State and UCLA out of conference. I had a rough two years following, which resulted in me finishing out at Westmont College. I learned a lot from this time, and I am very grateful for the opportunity that Westmont gave me. There I was able to get back on track, and given the opportunity to continue my career.
SS: The Twins took you in the 32nd round out of Westmont College. What was your interaction with scouts, and was that approximately where you expected to be taken?
AV: I had talked to a few area scouts and was invited to a few workouts after our college season was over, but I was just hoping to hear my name called. Being a senior from a small school, I wasn't expecting much. I just wanted a chance.
SS: When you did hear your name in the 32nd round, where were you? What your reaction and the reaction of those close to you?
AV: I was at home with my parents. It was honestly a sense of relief. For me it was either get drafted or start my life in the real world so I was very relieved to have that decision made for me. I was excited to see where this new adventure in life would take me.
SS: Were you surprised or excited to see that your college teammate (at both schools) Hector Lujan was drafted by the Twins just a few rounds later? Are you surprised by how he performed in 2017?
AV: I was surprised to hear it, but seeing that we both went to UCSB and Westmont, it was fate that we would be drafted by the same team.
SS: What has the adjustment like for you, from the amateur/college game to the professional game, both on and off the field?
AV: Baseball is a game of adjustments, so the transition hasn't been too crazy. Playing in college gave me a good sense of the work I needed to put in, and I had learned a lot about myself through that time. This has proved to be invaluable for my career. The hardest adjustment is being away from home and playing on the road. In college, you have a weekend series then head back home. It is a much shorter season in college as well. Learning how to keep up with the long season has been an adjustment.
SS: You helped the Kernels to a first-half playoff berth, and then helped the Miracle to earn a playoff spot in the second half. How much fun was it being part of winning teams?
AV: It's always fun to be a part of a winning team. Everyone is much more relaxed and the games are definitely more fun when you win. We came up short this year so it gives you a bit of motivation to get better and come back stronger.
SS: What pitches do you throw, and what would you consider your out pitch?
AV: .I mainly throw fastball/slider, but occasionally I will mix in a change up or a curve ball. My slider is definitely my out pitch, although recently I have been learning how to pitch with my fastball better.
SS: At this stage in your career, what would you say are your biggest strengths?
AV: I think my strength is my slider. Being tall probably helps too.
SS: What are the areas of your game that you would like to spend time working to improve in the offseason and going forward?
AV: I've spent a lot of time working on my fastball and command, so I'll continue that and work on my mental game. Like I said, baseball is about adjustments so I am always trying to become the best I can be.
SS: When did you find out about going to the Arizona Fall League? Are you excited about the opportunity, and what are you hoping to gain from the experience?
AV: I found out about a week after getting home for the offseason. I am very excited about this opportunity to face some of the top minor league talent and future big leaguers. I hope to gain some baseball knowledge and experience.
SS: What are some of the things you enjoy doing away from the game of baseball?
AV: My hobbies include surfing, hiking, cycling, and cooking.
SS: Who are some of the people who have helped you get to this point in your career?
AV: My parents have played a huge role in my life and baseball career, but my mentor/trainer Dave Coggin has helped me become the pitcher I am today. A family friend always said that we are the sum of our experiences, so there are many people who have helped lead me through life. As I mentioned earlier, my journey would not have been possible without Westmont College, and the support from all the coaches there. (Robert Ruiz and Tony Cougoule)
A Huge Thank You to Andrew Vasquez for taking time to answer our questions today at Twins Daily. The southpaw is certainly one to watch in 2018, but even now in the Arizona Fall League.
If you you have any questions, please feel free to ask. I can get back to Andrew and you never know, maybe he’ll answer himself.