Yankees’ Bryce Warrecker talks about viral wicked sweeper, pitch mix, and goals for 2024 season

MLB: New York Yankees at Atlanta Braves
Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Bryce Warrecker joined the Fireside Yankees podcast following a tweet exchange that was straight to the point. You may not have heard of this tall right-hander, and if you have, he’s started spinning some of the best sliders we’ve seen in the Statcast Era.

With sliders sweeping as much as 24 inches horizontally and standing at 6’8, the 22-year-old out of Cal Poly is an anomaly whose background in basketball and disciplined academic routine has the stuff and makeup to overachieve from his 20th-round slot.

There’s more to the Yankees’ right-hander than just the nasty slider. He was an excellent student both in high school and college and was a two-time Channel League MVP playing basketball at Santa Barbara High School as well. He’s also a dodgeball champion, and in the Cape Cod League, was named the All-Star Game starter and pitched to a 2.08 ERA across 39 innings. Warrecker is a hard worker who prides himself in being excellent in all areas, and his basketball coach in high school said this about him back in 2020:

“While some guys worked as hard as him, no one outworked him…When your best player is your hardest worker, it makes everything a little easier.”

With a unique arsenal of pitches at an overwhelming 6’8, Warrecker talked about his pitch mix, his background in basketball, and some of the plans in store for him in 2024 as he enters his first year with the Yankees.

Bryce Warrecker Talks About the Upcoming Season With the Yankees

MLB: Spring Training-Toronto Blue Jays at New York Yankees
Credit: Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports

I wasn’t shocked to see that you played basketball in high school. You averaged a double-double your senior year, I think you averaged 22 points per game. How many points do you think you could score in an NBA game today?

A: “I’d have a tough time playing above the rim and getting rebounds with those guys, so maybe I can score a couple of layups, but I’m also going to need a sub every couple of minutes, I’m not in that basketball shape anymore”

I’m a Knicks fan, and we’re pretty banged up, so if you want to step in, we could use the size, but focusing back on baseball here, the Yankees are not afraid to tinker with pitchers and their repertoire, whether it’s guys they signed in free agency or recently drafted guys such as yourself. Have you undergone any changes with your repertoire since joining the organization, and can you walk us through your pitch mix?

“Coming in after the draft into Tampa and I came in with what I have now. I think what they’ve done a really good job of in developing me is just taking what I have and making it better. There hasn’t been any drastic changes or a new pitch added. I throw a four-seam fastball, two-seam fastball, sweeper, and change-up, and we’ve just taken that, tinkered with grips, improved each pitch, and then look at what my fastball shapes and off-speed shapes I’m going to want for my personal repertoire. The fastballs gonna be around low-90s right now, maybe a little cut to it, and then the two seams are going to be around the same, low-90s with run. The sweeper will be low-80s and the changeup low-80s to mid-80s as well.”

It’s interesting you mentioned the cut on your fastball because Statcast kind of classified some of your fastballs as cutters…you don’t see a lot of guys with four-seamers that get cut. Speaking of unique pitches, your sweeper went viral, Pitching Ninja posted it, it’s a 26-inch demon slider; did you stumble upon that video on Twitter, did you have somebody send it to you?

“In the morning, sometime around 9 AM, I think Spencer Medick one of my pitching coaches I’ve had for this offseason with the Yankees, he texted me the video of that on Twitter. He was the first one to send that to me and that was pretty cool. Some people put together a couple clips and edits of me when I was playing out in the Cape Cod League and my thought was wow, that would be sweet if these could go on Pitching Ninja…that was cool. A lot of people reaching out, showing their support and love, it’s been fun.”

Not many people can say five pitches into their professional career, not even in the regular season, that they’re already on Pitching Ninja…In the Cape Cod League and at Cal Poly, especially you’re last year, you were a starting pitcher. Are you being built up to start or are you being built up to come out of the bullpen this year?

“Yeah so for this year right now, I’m getting built up as a starter and then we’ll move on from there, however that goes.”

Do you have an idea of where you’ll be starting? Have they [The Yankees] talked to you about that yet?

“Not sure where we’re going to be placed yet, I believe we don’t find out until the last day of Spring Training, we’ll just move on from there once we find out.”

You were teammates with Drew Thorpe in college for a little bit, he was a top prospect in the Yankees organization and ended up being traded for Juan Soto. Did you get to pick his brain at all maybe any adjustments he had to make in his first year at the professional level, or at least just being in the Yankee organization?

“We’ve come close spending two years in college together and then this whole offseason. We were back at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, so we spent a lot of time together there and it’s been cool talking about the whole trade thing, how that went down. I think we’re also similar in that we aren’t going to overpower guys with velocity so there is that similar trait there that’s so different from most of the game now with so many guys throwing 98, 99, 100. I think another big thing between the two of us is he’s going out there knowing that he’s not going to overpower you with his velocity but his stuff’s better and he’s confident in that. I think we’re both just confident when we get on the mound, so that would be probably our biggest similarity and something we can for sure talk about.

This first season of professional baseball, it’s obviously a different animal…It’s a longer season, stuff of that nature, do you have any specific goals for this upcoming season?

“Right now I think the goal is just to stay healthy through Spring Training, get prepared for the year. It’ll be my first time throwing on a five-day schedule as opposed to seven days in college so that’s a little bit new. We’re getting used to that and how we handle the weight room so staying healthy is going to be a big one for the whole season. In terms of me individually as a pitcher, velocity has always been the thing where that’s my overarching goal I’d say if I can learn how to throw harder, increase my velocity, then it’s gonna give me a better chance of hopefully cracking the big leagues.

You mentioned you were in Tampa over the winter or at least after being drafted, and obviously now in Tampa again for Spring Training, is there anybody who stood out that is the funniest teammate you’ve met so far [with the Yankees]?

“I’ve been spending a lot of time with guys next to me in the locker room right now. Bailey Dees and Jack Neely are two of my guys right now. They’re making me laugh and we’re bouncing off of each other. They’re two older guys too so it’s cool to talk to them, hear what they have to say about baseball, and then messing around off the field.”

If you want to watch the interview on YouTube, it’s on the Fireside Yankees channel where you can get all of your Yankees’ podcasting content for free!

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