Results tagged ‘ Interview ’
The Rockies’ David Dahl (to MiLB.com colleague Ashley Marshall): “The one that stands out the most was [the Reds'] Robert Stephenson who pitched for [Class A Short-Season] Billings. I only faced him one game, I think he went seven innings. He was honestly like a Double-A pitcher already. It was really cool to see, and it was fun to face. He was throwing like 97 [mph] to 101 with three really good pitches. You never really knew what he was going to throw. If he was behind in the count, he could still throw his dirty curveball or change when you were sitting on the fastball. He was just a really good pitcher. He had everything working that day.”
The Mariners’ Stefen Romero: “Probably [the Astros' Jarred] Cosart. He’s pretty tough. I saw him in the [Arizona] Fall League. He’s just one of those guys who can spot up everything, knows how to command all his pitches really well and keeps you guessing, off balance.”
The White Sox’s Marcus Semien: ”Last year, I had a pretty tough game against [the Nationals', and now Twins'] Alex Meyer from [Class A] Potomac. He’s probably one of the better ones I have seen. [With Meyer's height], I was not able to pick up the ball. One of worst games of the year was against him. He throws hard and has a good slider.”
The Padres’ Jedd Gyorko (to MiLB.com colleague John Parker): ”That’s a hard one — there are a lot of good guys. Maybe Danny Hultzen from the Mariners — he’s a tough lefty with a three-quarters drop-down motion and a great changeup.”
Fifteen MiLB Prospects Answer This Question: What Jersey Number Do You Hope to Wear When You Reach the Majors?
The Royals’ Yordano Ventura: ”Because Pedro [Martinez] was 45, and I want to be the first one after Pedro.”
The Tigers’ Bruce Rondon: “My dad’s favorite number — his dream was to watch me pitch with Detroit wearing number 44. Unfortunately I didn’t get that number, but I have the one right before, number 43. Honestly, he has never told me why [he liked that number]. I always ask him why and he never wants to tell me, but that’s his favorite number. I told him that one day he has to tell me what the number means to him.”
The Rays’ Jake Odorizzi: “My jersey here is that. If I don’t make it out of Spring [Training] or do, I’ll be wearing that. I’ve always had that number growing up. My friends and I just wanted to be in the 20s, and that was the one I settled on. This is the first time I’ve been able to wear it at the Major League level, which I’m excited about.
The Yankees’ Tyler Austin: “I would love to wear it. That is my favorite number. My brother wore 21. I wore 21 growing up, so it was like an always-21 deal. I wore it all throughout high school and travel ball, so I would love to wear 21 if the opportunity presented itself for me to wear that number. Guys usually pick it before I do [on Minor League clubs]. They usually get in there and pick their numbers before I have a chance to get in there.”
The Rockies’ David Dahl (to MiLB.com colleague Ashley Marshall): “I haven’t really thought about it. I’m just trying to get there. When I was a freshman in high school, I got the last pick out of all the numbers; 21 was available, so I used that all the way through high school and then I used it my first year in [Class A Short-Season] Grand Junction, so now I like it a lot.”
Antonio Osuna spent 11 seasons pitching in the Majors, and yet his baseball-reference.com bio says only this:
Antonio Osuna is the uncle of Roberto Osuna, who was considered one of the top international prospects in the summer of 2011, signing for $1.5 million.
…is the nephew of former major leaguer Antonio Osuna. Roberto made his minor league debut at age 15 with the 2011 Mexico City Red Devils. Used on a limited basis, he was 0-1 with a 5.49 ERA, 25 hits, 11 walks and 12 strikeouts in 19 2/3 IP over 13 games for the Red Devils through July 27. Timed in the mid-90s, he was rated as the fourth-best international prospect by Baseball America in the summer of 2011. In late July, Osuna said that he would be signing with the Toronto Blue Jays, who had missed out on 2010′s top Mexican amateur prospect, Luis Heredia. A deal was not finalized until late September, when Toronto and Osuna agreed on a contract worth $1.5 million; only Heredia had gotten a bigger deal as a Mexican amateur. He only got $375,000 of his signing bonus, as the Red Devils got the remainder.
That should put into perspective how much potential the younger Osuna has, and take care of much of the background you need for the following Q&A. Here are a two more facts:
- Osuna excelled as a 17-year-old at Rookie-level Bluefield and Class A Short-Season Vancouver in 2012 (stats here)
- Osuna will be 18 years old for the entirety of the 2013 season
Onto the interview: I caught up with the Spanish-speaking Osuna this morning. Thanks to Bluefield pitching coach Antonio Caceres for interpreting on the call.
Osuna on how Spring Training is going: “Everything is going well, just working hard to get ready for the season.”
On what he’s working on right now: “The first thing is getting in good shape and working on all the things I need to work on to become a better pitcher. I am 218 pounds now. I used to be 230-something. I feel much better. I think I’m in better shape than I was last year.
On his interactions with Major Leaguers like Jose Reyes and coaches: “It’s great to see those guys work out and throw here. I’m just focusing on myself so that I’m ready for the opportunity to go to the big leagues one day. Dane Johnson and Antonio [Caceres] have helped me make the transition to pro baseball last year and the kind of the success I had last year.”
On what he is working on now with Johnson and Caceres: “I’m just sharpening my pitches. I’m trying to make sure my I’m repeating my mechanics because I’ll be pitching at a higher level this year.”
MiLB.com will publish the seventh part of my nine-part series on top-ranked prospects who are also top-rated defenders by next week. The piece focuses on the Cardinals’ Oscar Taveras (bio, stats here), the No. 3 prospect in all of baseball. In terms of interview extras — answers that didn’t make it into the story but are significant nonetheless — see below. Enjoy.
Taveras on playing center field in Spring Training (via MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch): “It has helped a lot, me being able to move and read balls in center field. But I don’t know where I’m going to be. Wherever there is an opportunity, I’ll take it… I’ve just played all three outfield positions and I’m comfortable wherever the manager puts me.”
Taveras on the big league camp experience (via Langosch): “I’ve learned a lot from the veterans, especially defensively. I’m happy to be here and learn from those guys. Jon Jay has helped me a lot, especially on where to position myself for some hitters. I feel more confident out there now. I look up to Jay. I like how he’s aggressive out there on balls.”
Outfield teammate Chris Swauger on whether Taveras knows how good he is: “He doesn’t listen to it. He just goes out and plays the game. It’s not as if he is over-thinking stuff or feels the pressure to perform. All he’s really worried about is the game. He doesn’t pay attention to what people are saying about him. I think all Oscar wants to do when he wakes up in the morning is go play baseball. When you play the game like that, everything outside is just noise.”
Swauger on what position Taveras plays long-term: “I think he can play center field, but he has no problem transitioning. To me personally, I think center field is the easiest outfield position to play because you’re straight on. I think he has the speed, range and instincts to play center field, but playing in the corners, not having that priority on fly balls and not having the view, if you want to throw him in right, he has one of the best arms I have ever seen. His routes are good enough for center field and his arm is good enough for right field.”
Double-A Springfield manager Mike Shildt on Taveras’ position long-term: “The good news is he has shown himself to be serviceable in center field.”
Shildt on Taveras’ overall progress: “I look out and see him being more consistent with his work habits, his focus. He has a real sense of purpose now. He has started to take ownership of his defense.
The timing was cruel. Twenty-four hours after 12th-ranked Mariners prospect Stefen Romero (@stefonson) recorded a seven-RBI effort in a Major League Spring Training game last Thursday, he strained his oblique while swinging and missing.
I caught up with Romero (bio, stats here) on Wednesday to check on his status and discuss, among other topics, his mental approach to his first big league camp and baseball at large.
On his injury: “It feels way better since it happened Friday. The strides I have made just resting it, and I’m feeling healthier. I don’t feel it doing everyday activities like walking. If you look at me, you wouldn’t think I was injured.”
On whether he looked back on his 2012 season, in which he batted .352 and hit 23 home runs between Class A Advanced High Desert and Double-A Jackson: “The only time I got to really marvel at it was when I got home [because] family members would just reminisce about the season, tell me how great of a season I had. And that’s when it hit me.”
On whether he surprised himself last year: “I just wanted to go in and be as consistent as possible. I knew I was going to fail at times. I knew I was going to have up-and-down days, up-and-down weeks even, and I just wanted to limit the downs as much as I could and just stay positive throughout. Thankfully, I did that last season and, hopefully, it transitions into the season.”
On what he used the offseason for: “It was more of the same, a combination of rest and taking that time to focus on my goals and what I wanted to accomplish coming into this season. Last offseason, I read quite a lot of mental books [to] get my mental game up because you always hear the same thing [from coaches] in Spring Training: ‘It’s 90 percent mental, the game.’ So I took that to heart and really improved my mental game because that’s something I should be practicing as well. I re-read the same books: The Way of The Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman and Training Camp by Jon Gordon, a couple other books here or there.”
On how the books help him in baseball: “Training Camp talks about what you can do to strive to become great, to become better everyday no matter if you’re [only] improving. .001 percent, you’re still improving constantly over years, over months, over days. All that adds up. That’s what I try to stay consistent to, trying to get better every single day, whatever helps me get better, whatever gives me that slight advantage over the competition. It pushes me forward.”
Rays’ Right-hander Jake Odorizzi — MLB.com’s No. 45 Prospect — Answers Six Questions about Fielding His Position
MiLB.com will publish the sixth part of my nine-part series on top-ranked prospects who are also top-rated defenders this morning (link here). The piece focuses, in part, on the Rays’ Jake Odorizzi (bio, stats here), the No. 45 prospect in all of baseball. In terms of interview extras — answers that didn’t make it into the story but are significant nonetheless — see below. Enjoy.
- On evaluating his fielding: ”I view it as one of my strong points. I grew up playing shortstop, so I have a lot of experience with ground balls, fielding when I didn’t pitch, so I think it came naturally to me when I transitioned to pitching — the fielding carried over. I take pride in it. It’s one of my strong points, and one of the advantages to me.”
- On his thought process on the mound: “I always want to be a in a good position to field when I release the ball. Most people are not completely square [to home plate] when they finish, but I have to be ready and expect the ball to come back to me. You just have to be comfortable and not freak out when the ball is hit back to you and step make a throw. Keep it as simple as possible. If I can make a play on it, I’ll make a play on it. If not, I’ll let my infielders take it.”
- On adjustments he’s made to his fielding since turning pro: “I’ve done the same thing that I did before. Most of it is just reaction. There are some balls that I can get to that other people can’t get to on the mound, but I have to remember that I have four infielders on the mound who know what they’re doing, too. I don’t want to overstretch myself.”
- On improving his fielding during spring camp: “We do fielding stuff daily. Trying to get into the swing of things. Once the season starts, we don’t really work on it as much, so Spring is really the time to hammer on it.”
- On the hardest fielding play a pitcher has to make: “It’s the bunt play. A good bunt is very hard to defend, especially if it’s a guy with some speed. There’s no room for error on good bunts. You just have to be control, so you’re not throwing it into left field or right field. You have to be perfect with it.”
- On pitchers he watched for good examples of fielding: “Greg Maddux was one of the best.”
Odorizzi’s pitching coach at Triple-A Omaha, Doug Henry, who is now the Royals’ bullpen coach, on the hardest fielding play a pitcher has to make: “The hardest ones are the bunt plays because you have to get off the mound, and that’s where the agility comes into play and the athleticism. The ground balls back at you is reaction. He does have good, quick hands so he reacts pretty quick.”
On Odorizzi’s talent: “”I wish he would have been around to help us [the Royals] out a little more because he is a special athlete.”
MiLB.com will publish my Q&A with Andrew Heaney this week or next. In the interim, the No. 5 Marlins prospect — and baseball’s 81st-ranked farmhand (bio, stats here) — shared four throughts (below) that didn’t make it into the story. Enjoy.
On his first Major League camp, before being sent down to rehab his lat strain: “It was really good. The coaches were really good to me. The guys were really good to me. Got to go play golf, get to know them on a more personal level and soak up some knowledge. Obviously, I wish I could stay a little longer. In baseball, injuries happen. I just have to work through it.”
On who among the Marlins he spent time learning from: “I got to know some of the guys I met last year who were in their first Major League camp [Jake Marisnick among them]. I got to know [fellow starter and former top Tigers prospect Jacob] Turner pretty well. I appreciated the guys understanding that not only was this my first big league camp, but my first camp ever.”
On his goals for 2013: “I haven’t really thought about it. I’m just focused on finishing Spring Training, seeing [what team] I break with, depending if I have stay back in extended. Once the season starts, I’ll set some goals.”
On his preferred jersey number in the Majors: “I wore No. 5 in high school, and when I got to Oklahoma State we had a senior that was leaving, and they were like, ‘Yeah, you’ll get No. 5 when he leaves. And then one of the guys that was older than me was like, ‘No, I’m getting No. 5. I’ve been waiting for it.’ So I changed to 8, and since then I haven’t had a specific number, so honestly should I get [to the Majors] whatever number got me there, I will be sentimental to that number or try to get 5 or 8, but it really doesn’t matter. I don’t have any tattoos with my number or a chain with my number.