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2002 First-Year Player Draft - Player Profile
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Varitek gives Parker the scoop
By Tyler Parker
Special to MLB.com

 PROFILE: TYLER PARKER
school position video
  Georgia Tech   C   56K | 300K
bt ht wt dob class
  R/R   6-3   210   05-13-81   SR
comment
Javy Lopez body type. Athletic, very strong catcher. Easy throws with good carry. Aggressive at plate, flashing bat speed. Drives gaps.
In preparation for the upcoming First-Year Player Draft, current Georgia Tech catcher Tyler Parker interviewed former Georgia Tech catcher Jason Varitek on MLB Radio to get some advice on making it to the Major Leagues.

Jason Varitek: Hi Tyler, how are you doing?

Tyler Parker: Good.

Varitek: Everything going all right?

Parker: Yeah, it's going good. First of all, thanks for doing this. It's an honor to have you answer some of the questions about this.

Varitek: No problem.

Parker: When you came out of college ... with classes and everything, do you think it benefits you more when all you do is catch and play baseball every day?

Varitek: There's so much you'll learn from college that you don't realize right now. One of them is a desire and a will to win, which always isn't there in the minor leagues. The people that you learn from and that you win with, a lot of them have an educated background and that's where it comes from. You'll look back and be like, 'yeah, it was tough.' School is tough, and school is definitely tough there, but you'll look back and be glad you went.

Parker: Do you think it was a harder transition as a catcher or as a hitter from college to the pros?

Varitek: I think it's a combination of both. Each level there is an adjustment stage. There's definitely an adjustment stage of the quality of pitching day in and day out. ... It's just playing and grinding it out. And getting used to what's in front of you and not looking behind you.

2002 First-Year Player Draft
JUNE 4-5 | NEW YORK CITY
Draft order | Rules | FAQ

FULL COVERAGE:
Bullington goes first
Drafttracker
Complete Draft coverage

Parker: You spoke at our banquet, and I remember talking with you there, where you said catching Tim Wakefield was the most humbling experience for you. What do you think was your most proud moment thus far in your career?

Varitek: It would have to be the two no-hitters I caught. That would just be beyond doubt, actually both of them, where they heavily relied on me the entire game. And you had to do their thinking for them. That's the epitome of what we do, to have that under your belt. Especially to do it with a ground ball guy that we just had with Derek Lowe.

Parker: Did you change a lot, mechanics-wise, going from college to the pros? Did it change a lot for you throwing-wise or receiving-wise?

Varitek: Yeah, I've made a lot of changes, both offensively and defensively. Defensively I learned I really collapsed a lot, I had a lot of things that were giving me problems, catching-wise, therefore it affected my footwork. We spent a lot of time with a guy that was with us in Seattle. Once I got my footwork down and really understood it, then things kind of took off for me from there. But hitting-wise, dude, it's a constant battle. It's a constant grind.

Parker: Yeah. I'm sure.

Varitek: [Laughs]

Parker: Well, that's all I've got.

MLB Radio: Well a couple of things. Jason, did you go to the Rookie Career Development program?

Varitek: It was kind of in its initial stages with us, when I was coming up, but we had it twice for short periods of time in the Arizona Fall League...

MLB Radio: I was wondering because whoever drafts Tyler will likely send him there, since each organization will send 2-3 of its prospects there, and it will help him get oriented into professional life and Major League life.

Varitek: Yeah, there's not much they can teach you in college about what can prepare you for pro ball and some of the differences. That will help with some of it. And then depending on what media market you are in, it could be better or it could be worse.

MLB Radio: Jason, after you were drafted you had some strange negotiations. Looking back on it, did it come out the way you had hoped it would?

All-Star ballot Varitek: Yeah, I am here and I am playing. I am healthy again. I am able to do what I want to do. But first and foremost I have an education under my belt because of it all somehow.

MLB Radio: Can you guys give us a sense of how difficult it is to go to school at Georgia Tech and all of the hours you have to take away from the classroom, because you know it's a tough school.

Parker: I think it's a tough school. We're there because ... well, some of us may not have gotten in just on straight academics. It's a tough school for smart people, then they throw us in the middle of it and take away half of the time we get to spend in the classroom and then it makes it that much harder.

Varitek: Yeah, I don't think basket weaving is part of their curriculum. You've got to earn your keep around there.

Parker: Yeah, I know.

Varitek: Just to survive you have to earn your keep. But that's a degree no one can ever take away from you.

MLB Radio: What was yours in, Jason?

Varitek: Mine was in management.

MLB Radio: Any advice to a guy like Tyler on catching the knuckleball?

Varitek: Just hope you don't have to. [Laughter] Hope you're stuck with more conventional pitchers, more than a knuckleballer. I've had all my first big-league experiences with Tim, my first big-league start, my first game in the playoffs. It's just been kind of backwards. You learn how to catch fastball, curveball, slider, change, split and all of a sudden they throw this thing at you when you get to the big leagues. It's pretty humbling.

MLB Radio: Thanks for your time, we appreciate it. We wish you well and hope to talk to you again.

Varitek: Thank you guys. Tyler, good luck. Grind it out, let things happen.

Parker: All right, I will.

Varitek: They'll happen good.

Parker: OK. Thanks.

Varitek: And get back to the [College World] Series!

Parker: All right.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.