Patrick Leyland was drafted in the eighth round last year by the Detroit Tigers, the 19-year-old from Pittsburgh, Pennslyvania, is out to prove that he belongs in the Tigers organization. Growing up as Jim Leyland's son and meeting some of the greatest ballplayers in the world certainly gives him the right tools to succeed.
BYB: You were drafted in the eighth round of the 2010 draft by the Detroit Tigers. Where were you and what were you doing when you found out?
Patrick Leyland: I was doing the same thing I’m sure a lot of other players were doing, just sitting in my house with my mom listening to the names being announced on mlb.com.
BYB: Where was your dad when you found out you were drafted?
Patrick Leyland: He was in Chicago playing the White Sox.
BYB: You had a scholarship from University of Maryland but turned it down and instead signed with the Tigers. What made you make this decision? Did anyone help you in the decision-making?
Patrick Leyland: I had a great opportunity in front of me at Maryland and I am grateful to Erik Bakich and that new staff there for how well they treated my family and me throughout the whole process but when I was taken in the eight round by the tigers and given the chance to go play professionally like I have always wanted to, it was just too great of an opportunity to pass up.
BYB: You were born in Pittsburgh, PA and were born with your father managing the Pittsburgh Pirates. Does this make you a Pittsburgh Pirate fan? If not, what major league team did you love growing up?
Patrick Leyland: I was always a fan of whatever team he was with at the time. I have a huge soft spot for Pittsburgh and the Pirates. I still live in Pittsburgh and I workout in the off-season with Frank Velasquez, the Pirates strength coach so there are some ties left with the Pirates and I will always be pulling for them.
BYB: What was it like growing up with Jim Leyland as your father?
Patrick Leyland: I could not have had a better upbringing. He has been an incredible dad even though he couldn’t be at home all the time. Him and my mom Katie have provided my sister Kellie and I with so many opportunities and support. I wouldn’t trade my set of parents or lifestyle I grew up in for anything.
BYB: You were already attending Spring Training with your dad every year but how is it to have your father as your Spring Training manager?
Patrick Leyland: I’m not sure yet. I am sure we will both enjoy it but we both have our own jobs to do. He has to get his team ready and I have to get ready for a season at whatever minor league level it turns out to be. I am excited to be in Major League camp for a brief amount of time regardless of who the manager is.
BYB: If you weren’t playing baseball, what would you be doing with your life?
Patrick Leyland: If I weren’t playing baseball right now I would be attending a traditional college somewhere possibly playing golf. I have always loved golf and if I hadn’t chosen baseball for my career I would have probably pursued something in the golfing industry. I would love to run a golf course possibly when my baseball career is over.
BYB: What have you been doing this off-season? Anything you’ve been working on to improve for this season?
Patrick Leyland: I have been attending college online starting to work towards my degree. I have been getting ready for the season and trying to get in the best shape I can for spring training. At the professional level you need to work on everything to get better so I’ve tried to improve in all areas of the game.
BYB: What are you studying for in college? What degree are you pursuing?
Patrick Leyland: I just started my general courses but I'm pursuing a business degree in management.
BYB: Do you have any pre-game rituals or meals?
Patrick Leyland: No, no rituals really. I try to eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich if the stuff is around. If not I just eat after the game.
BYB: You grew up in the world of baseball and got to see a lot more things then an average kid would see. Who was the greatest baseball player or person you ever got to meet?
Patrick Leyland: That is such a tough question. Being around my dad’s teams growing up has given me the opportunity to meet so many interesting people and great players. I have always appreciated what his coaching staffs have done to help me and a lot of the players hes had have been so generous in talking with me and giving me tips here and there. Meeting new players is always interesting. I have gotten to be in a couple All Star game clubhouses which has been such a cool experience seeing so many great players all in one room. In 2008, I got to talk to Joe Mauer for a little in the outfield during batting practice, which was great to be able to ask him some questions and see how he prepares. If I had to pick one person that I was most fond of meeting and spending some time with it would be Tony LaRussa. I have been fortunate enough to talk with him a lot when my dad was with the cardinals and seeing what he puts into everyday and every game was truly amazing. His preparation is so well thought out and meticulous. I tried to gain as much knowledge from him as I could. He is one of the brightest people I have met not only in baseball but in any profession.
Thanks to Patrick Leyland for taking some time to answer some questions!