Max Watt: The Boston Red Sox’s Power Pitching Prospect
Scouting is an integral part of professional baseball. Teams employ and send out hundreds of employees tasked with finding the next great players. Although they monitor first-round draft talent, their bread and butter is trying to decipher the future of players who may not have quite as much polish. As a result, some come to believe so much in who they are evaluating that they continue scouting—for years if necessary— until they are able to bring them into the fold. Such is the case with the Boston Red Sox and pitcher Max Watt.
Watt, a solid 6’8” right-hander, grew up in New York. After graduating high school, he enrolled at Hillborough Community College in Tampa Florida. There he initially drew the attention of the Red Sox, getting selected in the 37th round of the 2013 draft. However, he did not sign and elected to attend Lynn University in Boca Raton, where he enjoyed a standout career.
His calling card is a big fastball, which can reach the upper 90s. With baseball in an era valuing high-end velocity, he is the type of young pitcher that is worth developing. Accordingly, Boston continued to monitor his progress and re-drafted him in 2015—this time in the 22nd round.
The 21-year-old Watt received his professional baseball indoctrination in a very small dose. After signing, he made two relief appearances with the team’s Gulf Coast League affiliate, striking out three in two innings without allowing a hit or walk.
It remains to be seen whether Watt’s future lies is as a starter or in the bullpen but someone with his tool set is capable of either. As he continues his baseball journey, keep up with him on Twitter, and continue reading to find out more about this exciting young pitcher.
Max Watt Interview
Who was your favorite team and player when you were growing up, and why?: Growing up in Long Island, New York I was a Yankee fan. Derek Jeter was always my favorite because of the things I learned from him about how to handle yourself on and off the field in a professional way. He also showed how to be a leader as well. But my all-time favorites would be Nolan Ryan, Bob Gibson and Tom Seaver because I loved that era of baseball, how those guys wanted the ball every start and how dominant they were with their fastball, knowing how to use it and where to put it. None of those guys were scared to throw inside.
Please talk a little bit about what life is like for a student athlete, drawing on your experiences at Lynn University.: The life of being a student athlete is interesting. You learn how important time management is. You have class 8:00 to 1:00, then practice from 2:30 to 6:00. Then study hall at night. You have to figure out when you can work out, maintain good eating habits and get your work done. But at Lynn the school is extremely helpful with student athletes, offering tutors, academic advisors who can help schedule your classes so you know you can get all of your classes set without missing practice and other sporting events. All that stems from the type of people that work there and how much they care about their student athletes. Coach Garbalosa always preached how important your degree was, and how you needed to work just as hard with academics as baseball.
If you did not start a career as a professional ballplayer, what field do you think you would have entered?: If I was not playing baseball I would most likely be studying to become a history teacher or possibly something in the marketing research field. I love history. Also, being a teacher would allow me to coach high school baseball as well.
How did you first find out that the Red Sox were interested in you, and what was your draft experience like?: Well it started my freshman year at Hillsborough Community College where I was drafted by the Red Sox in the 37th round, but I went back to school. This year at Lynn University, I talked to Tom Kotchman, and Willie Romay after a couple of my starts and maintained contact with them up to draft day. Both guys were extremely helpful with the draft process. The draft process was very interesting and extremely stressful because you’re told a lot of different things but you have to take everything with a grain of salt. Patience is key on draft day, but finally when you hear your name and get the call it’s the greatest feeling in the world.
What has been your favorite moment thus far from your professional career?: My favorite moments I would say was when I walked into the locker room for the first time and saw Watt with a Red Sox logo next to it on the locker. The other moment was when I made my first appearance, finally putting the jersey on and starting the journey to chase my dream.
What pitches do you throw and which do you believe needs the most work?: I throw a four-seam and two-seam fastball along with a slider and changeup. Every pitch you throw can always be worked on, but for me I want to be able to have the control to throw my changeup and slider in any count or situation.
Who is one hitter from any time in baseball history that you would like to face, and how would you approach the at-bat?: I would want to face Manny Ramirez, but not when he was on the Sox; the 1999 Manny Ramirez with the Indians where he put up ridiculous numbers that year. I would go with two-seamers up and in and then soft stuff low and away.
What are your goals for 2016?: My goals are first to stay healthy and make sure to find a way to get better every day. I want to be able to throw any pitch in any situation, throw first-pitch strikes, and to help whatever club I’ll be assigned with to win a championship.