I’d like to make this a daily thing — or at least an almost daily thing — using a quick question and answer session to get to know some of the new guys in camp. We’ll start with David Winfree.
Winfree signed as a minor league free agent and is likely to open the season in Shelley Duncan’s role as a corner outfielder and middle-of-the-order run producer for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He is 24 years old and hit 14 home runs last year in his first Triple-A season. He also hit 31 doubles, seventh most in the International League.
Could you tell me a little bit about your background?
Winfree: I’m from Virginia Beach, Virgina. I was drafted in 2003 by the Minnesota Twins and was with them for six years. Good years. Then was a free agent this year and decided to come here.
You’re pretty young for a guy who has already reached free agency. How was the free agent experience?
Winfree: It was a nice place to be. I signed when I was 17, and most guys that are free agents are older guys, so it was definitely a good position to be in. If you had good year and you were a young guy, there were some opportunities out there and this is the one that I felt was the best. And obviously, it’s an honor and a privilege to play for the Yankees, the best organization that there is in baseball.
Did you see some outfield opportunities with the Yankees?
Winfree: Yeah. I had played against the Yankees moving up and I knew Colin (Curtis) was basically the only (outfielder) they had that I knew was in Scranton. I don’t think they have a lot of right-handed power guys, and that’s what they told me, and it was just an opportunity that I felt was a good situation for me. I’m just looking for somewhere to get to the next level.
It looks like power is your game. Is that a fair assessment?
Winfree: Yeah. Last year I had a decent year, but I would say I need to work on some things. I need to walk more, and the year before last I walked a good amount. Last year, I was just a little over aggressive in the first couple of months. But power is my game, and that’s something I need to learn, and that’s what I’m going to bring to the table and will get me to where I need to be. I’m looking forward to this year, and just putting together a year when I know I have a lot to improve on. Last year, I know personally I had a good year, but I’m just scratching the surface of what I could have had last year, and I’m just trying to improve every day.
What sort of things are you working on right now?
Winfree: Just consistency. I think, at this point, if you’re at the level that we’re at, you have the physical talent. It’s just now: consistency, the mental side, approach. I was actually out there working with Butch Wynegar, just talking to him about some things. These guys here, every day, no matter how the day ends up, they never waiver. They know what they need to do to get prepared and how their approach works and that’s why they’re here. They’re the best in the game.