Top 100 Baseball Blog

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Richard Lucas Battles Expectations for the New York Mets

Even though the New York Mets recently signed David Wright to a $138 million extension, they still cultivate third base prospects in their minor league system. Richard Lucas is one of those young players that the organization has put in a lot of time and work in recent years to see if they could develop another asset. Despite the effort and being highly drafted, unfortunately it has never quite come together for the youngster.

Lucas was drafted by New York in the fourth round of the 2007 MLB draft out of Wolfson High School in Jacksonville, Florida.

The Mets gave him a $150,000 signing bonus to bypass a scholarship to Florida State University, and immediately assigned him to the minors to start his career.

Lucas started out with mixed results, with fluctuating production that was marred by missing significant time due to injuries. In fact, it wasn’t until 2010 that he finally played in more than 52 games in a single season, when he logged 129 games with St. Lucie in High-A ball.

The right-handed hitter has spent six years in the Mets’ system, unable to rise above High-A. He has a career .251 batting average with 34 home runs and 222 RBI in 459 games. He has also consistently struggled to make contact, whiffing in nearly a third of his at-bats.

Lucas was eligible for the Rule-5 draft this past offseason, but went unclaimed. It’s unclear if he will continue his career with the Mets. Still just 24, he is still young enough if the Mets or another team decides he is worth taking a chance on. Only time will tell what his future holds in baseball.

Richard Lucas Interview:

How did you first become interested in baseball?: I started playing baseball when I was three. When I was four I jumped on a team when I was able to from then on.

Did you have a favorite team or player growing up?: My favorite player when I was growing up was Ken Griffey, Jr. My favorite team was the Phillies when I was growing up.

Did you try to model your game after Griffey?: Oh yeah! I always tried to make my swing look like his because of how smooth it was.

How did you first discover that the Mets were interested in you?: Just through high school with scouts coming out and checking me out, and me talking with them.

Did you do anything special for yourself or your family after you signed?: Aww man, I stuck by my family a lot. Just the needs of the family and everything like that.

How has your experience in the minor leagues been so far for you?: You want to improve every day. The minor leagues are fun; a lot of fun if I play every day.


You can follow me on Facebook by going to or follow me on Twitter @historianandrew

Thursday, February 21, 2013

How Little-Known Bill Mueller Became a Beloved Player for the Boston Red Sox

A little-known player becoming a beloved contributor for the Boston Red Sox is personified by Bill Mueller.

Mueller, a switch-hitting third baseman, is a native of Missouri. He attended Southwest Missouri State and graduated as perhaps their best player of all time, leaving as the school leader in hits, runs and stolen bases among a number of categories. He played both third and shortstop during his tenure and was inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame in 2004.

As a college senior in 1993, Mueller hit .371 with 11 home runs, earning his conference’s Player of the Year Award, and was also named team MVP. His performance led to him being taken in the 15th round by the San Francisco Giants in that year’s draft.

Mueller was a career .306 hitter in the minors but showed very little power. However, he was brought up to the Giants in 1996, and hit .330 in 55 games.

The impressive debut of Mueller was enough to earn him the Giants’ starting third base job in 1997 and he held on to it through the 2000 season, as a solid, but spectacular player.

Mueller was traded to the Chicago Cubs prior to the 2001 season, but was traded back to the Giants towards the end of 2002. By that time he had regressed to a platoon player, who played decent defense, but was mostly a singles hitter at the plate.

Granted free agency, Mueller signed with the Red Sox before the 2003 season; a move that changed his career forever.

Coming into 2003, the Red Sox were at the height of their rivalry with the New York Yankees. They were putting contending teams on the field, but couldn’t break through to the World Series. GM Theo Epstein began bringing in good clubhouse guys like Mueller, Johnny Damon and Kevin Millar in what would prove to be a master stroke.

Mueller had the best season of his career in 2003, winning the AL batting title with a .326 mark, while hitting 19 home runs and driving in 95 runs. Unfortunately, Boston’s season came to an excruciating end in the ALCS when the New York Yankees knocked them out of the playoffs on Aaron Boone’s dramatic walk-off home run against Tim Wakefield.

Mueller struggled with injuries in 2004, appearing in just 110 games. However, he did hit .283 with 12 home runs and 57 RBI.  The regular season was simply a prelude to a magical post season, which saw the Red Sox win their first World Series title since 1918 in improbable fashion. Mueller was part of the glory, hitting .321 during the postseason, and participating in some of the most memorable moments in October.

With age and injuries catching up to him, Mueller played one more season in Boston before finishing his playing career with 32 games with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2006. In an 11-year major league career, he hit .291 with 85 home runs and 493 RBI. More information about his career statistics is available at

Despite such modest numbers, Mueller will always be remembered fondly for his gritty play and for the role he played in helping bring a World Series trophy to Boston for the first time in decades.

These days, Mueller is still involved in baseball, working as an assistant to Dodgers’ general manage Ned Colletti through last season. He has since become a fulltime scout. He seems to be one of those guys who just has baseball in his blood and will be around the game for the rest of his life—which if true, would be a good thing.

Bill Mueller Questionnaire:

Who was your favorite coach or manager?: My dad.

What was the strangest thing you ever saw as a player?: People jumping on the field and running around.

What was the best prank you ever saw in baseball?: I liked the rookie getting his jersey switched to someone else’s and him sitting on bench during the game, not knowing.

If you could do anything differently about your career, what would that be?: Be more of an RBI guy earlier in my career.


You can follow me on Facebook by going to or follow me on Twitter @historianandrew

Monday, February 18, 2013

Carlos Martinez: Taking His Talents to Hawaii

Picking a college is a stressful exercise for most teenagers. Not only are they trying to find a place that will make them comfortable for the next four years of their lives, but also one that will best prepare them for their future endeavors. These decisions are further complicated by those who play varsity sports; particularly if they have designs to one day play professionally. Carlos Martinez had to make his own such decisions and now hopes he has made the right choices for his academic and baseball careers.

Martinez is an athletic infielder from West Covina, California. He starred at Nogales High School, displaying impressive versatility by playing the infield and outfield at a high level.  He comes from a baseball family, and his Venezuelan heritage provides another strong link to the game. It’s something he has played since he can remember and hopes to stay in the game as long as possible, with playing in the majors being his ultimate goal.

The right-handed hitter ultimately weighed his college options during the recruiting process and decided to sign his letter of intent with the University of Hawaii. He was ranked as high as the 10th-best second base prospect in last year’s MLB drat, but decided college was his best option.

Mike Trapasso, Hawaii’s head baseball coach, has described his new recruit glowingly. “Carlos is a very versatile player. He is very high energy and his offense is above average.” He will soon get a chance to show if his coach was correct in his assessment.

 It appears that the Rainbows will utilize Martinez as a second baseman, when he first suits up for them during the 2013 season, but his ability to play multiple positions opens the possibility that he may contribute all over the field.

If all goes as planned, Martinez will get a great education while sharpening his baseball skills and preparing himself for a shot at playing professional ball. If you can’t get out to see one of Martinez’s games, make sure to give him a follow on Twitter, where he is an active force, providing his followers with many updates about his life and baseball.

Last year, I got an opportunity to ask Martinez a few questions to find out for myself what life as baseball recruit is like.

Carlos Martinez Interview:

Who were your favorite team and player growing up and why?: My favorite team growing up, and still to this point, is the Marlins. I am a Miami fan in everything; Dolphins, Heat, and Marlins. With that being said, my favorite player growing up has been Miguel Cabrera for all the work he has put in to be one of the best hitters in all of baseball. My idol would have to be the big cat Andres Galarraga for overcoming the adversity that he went through in his career.

How would you describe your game?: My game is a lot like the Latin style of baseball. I was born in Venezuela and all my family is from there. So I’d say my game is scrappy. I love getting that uni dirty.

Can you run through what your college recruiting experience was like?: My recruiting process was a very fun experience. I played with a great program called ABD and that helped me really get on the map.

If you could have a one-on-one session with any current major league player to pick their brain, who would that be and why?: I’d love to talk baseball with Dustin Pedroia because we are both little guys in stature but really play with heart. He seems like he goes about his business the right way with the way he prepares and gets ready for a game, day in and day out.

How difficult is it to balance academics and baseball?: Not as bad as people think. The key is just to be organized and prioritize. You can’t get overwhelmed with situations. You need to know when you can do things and when you can’t.

How important is baseball history to you, and how in tune are you with it?:  I really enjoy talking baseball history. It’s fun talking to older people and being able to talk to them about how baseball was back in the day.

How much instruction/advice have you received from professional players and/or coaches?: Well I have two cousins (Maicer and Cesar Izturis) currently in the majors and a lot of friends. Their main advice is to just have fun but work hard. There is always someone trying to take your spot so you have to stay on your game at all times.

What has been your favorite moment from playing baseball?: This past summer I was invited to the Perfect Game national showcase, and I must say it was the coolest baseball activity I have ever done. Playing alongside first-rounders and just the best players in the country really makes you bring the best out in your game.


You can follow me on Facebook by going to or follow me on Twitter @historianandrew

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Random Questions with Former Phillies Catcher Dave Watkins

Many baseball players have the singular goal of doing whatever it takes to reach the major leagues. Even after a lot of work and time, it only pays off for a small percentage. While it didn’t last long, Dave Watkins was one of the lucky few who got to reach baseball’s summit.

Watkins, a catcher and outfielder, was signed by the Detroit Tigers as a 19-year-old free agent in 1963. He only lasted one year in the low minors with Detroit, despite hitting .294 with 18 home runs. Following that season he was taken in the first-year draft by the Philadelphia Phillies, the organization with which he would spend the remainder of his professional baseball career.

Life wasn’t all about baseball for Watkins. In 1967, the Reading Eagle reported that the prospect spent his offseason studying biology at Kentucky Wesleyan.

Watkins was the kind of young player with ability, but no one particular skill that made him stand out from dozens of other prospects. He progressed slowly through the Philadelphia system before finally getting his opportunity.

In 1969 the Phillies’ starting catcher was Mike Ryan, a strong receiver but putrid hitter (.193 career average in 11 seasons). The other veteran catching option was Vic Roznovsky, who with his career .218 batting average, wasn’t a much better hitter. With Watkins having several seasons of the high minors under his belt, he was tapped as the backup.

Unfortunately, Watkins couldn’t do any better offensively for the Phillies. He appeared in 69 games and hit .176 with four home runs and 12 RBI. His first major league hit came on May 3rd, when he singled to center field off future Hall of Famer Steve Carlton.

Another highlight came on August 29th, when Watkins hit a home run off the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Don Sutton, another future Hall of Famer.

The 1969 Phillies finished 63-99 and the following season acquired Tim McCarver to be their starting catcher. Watkins professional career was over and he never played another game again after the one season he was able to enjoy in the major leagues. More information about his career statistics can be found at

I recently had the opportunity to pose a few random questions to the former ballplayer. Despite his short time in the majors, he has his own unique stories and experiences to share.

Dave Watkins Questionnaire:

If you could do anything differently about your playing career, what would that be?: I would have learned how to assess myself better in order to advance faster.

What was the strangest play you ever saw on the baseball diamond?: A triple play on a non-struck ball! You figure it out. (Check out a possible explanation here.)

Who was your favorite coach or manager?: Andy Seminick- managed me in two minor leagues years, and as bullpen coach in 1969 with the Phillies.

Was it difficult to make your meal money stretch?: Not for me. I did not eat at expensive restaurants, and I did not drink alcoholic beverages with meals.


You can follow me on Facebook by going to or follow me on Twitter @historianandrew

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Ryan Tatusko Talks About His Baseball Career

The Washington Nationals are one of the most exciting young teams in baseball, featuring the likes of Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg. They made an early exit from last year’s playoffs, but are resolved to do even better this season, as they have accumulated one of the most stacked rosters in the majors. Although they are deep at most positions, especially pitching, they continue to cultivate a fine crop of prospects who may be able to contribute them at any time if the need should arise. Pitcher Ryan Tatusko is about to enter his seventh professional season and is hoping that he will be among the first players considered in 2013 if the big league team needs any help.

Tatusko, a slender right-hander, was originally drafted by the Texas Rangers in the 18th round of the 2007 draft out of Indiana State University.

He began his career as a starter, and made slow progress until 2010, when he went 9-2 with a 2.97 ERA in 24 games (13 starts) at Double-A. By that time his prospect star had risen to the point that he was part of the trade that sent him and fellow pitching prospect Tanner Roark to Washington in exchange for veteran infielder Cristian Guzman.

Since the trade, Tatusko has transitioned to a reliever and spot starter. His arsenal includes a low-90s fastball with a lot of movement, a curve and changeup.

He reached Triple-A in 2011, but spent all of last season in Double-A, going 4-5 with a 3.50 ERA in 27 games (eight starts). He has averaged 7.0 strikeouts per nine innings throughout his career. One of his best attributes may be his ability to keep the ball in the park, as he has allowed just 33 home runs in 604.1 professional innings.

There is no doubt that Tatusko is ready to take the next step and try his hand at pitching in the majors. All he needs now is an opportunity, which he hopes comes as soon as this season.

Ryan Tatusko Interview:

Who were your favorite team and player growing up and why?: I really didn’t have a favorite team, but as I kid I idolized Nolan Ryan. It just seemed to me that he always had total control of the game from start to finish. I was always amazed that he could pitch like the way he did into his 40s. I also loved Nolan because he was not a command pitcher; he came at you with everything he had, and if he walked you, so be it, but he would just attack the next guy. Not many people know that Nolan is also the all-time walks leader, and he has it by a considerable margin, so I loved watching him because he worked out of jams and always seemed to come out unscathed. He was just an electrifying pitcher to watch.

Can you run through what your draft experience was like?: The draft experience was a realization of a dream. I kind of had a notion that I was going to be taken, but I didn’t quite know when. I was actually watching the computer screen and listening to it with my mom. My dad was working, so when my name got called in the 18th round, I called him immediately; it was a very intimate experience. I am very fortunate to be blessed with this experience, and I hope I can continue to play for many more years to come.

Can you describe what it was like being part of the Cristian Guzman trade in 2010 and what kind of assistance did you get in getting resettled?: I honestly didn’t know what to think when I first heard it. I mean obviously I was doing something right to catch the attention of a team and they wanted me. Knowing a team chose me from all the other minor leaguers that the Rangers had was an incredible feeling. I loved my time with the Rangers and I made a lot of friends, but I absolutely love the Nationals organization.

The biggest transition was from AL to NL because now there is no DH, so a lot more pitching changes are being made and it’s a different baseball game. Being in the bullpen, it gives me more opportunities to pitch, so I always have to remain ready because there are so many different situations that can be thrown your way.

The Nationals made the transition very smooth. When Tanner Roark and I first arrived the Double-A Harrisburg team made us feel extremely comfortable and two guys let us move in with them right away, so that helped out a lot! As soon as Roark and I got to Harrisburg we weren’t treated any differently, we were thrown in the mix and expected to perform just like we had been all year, which I really liked. The transition was about as smooth as it could have gone!

Can you talk a little bit about any differences in organizational approach between Washington and Texas when it comes to instructing their minor league pitchers?: I think all organizations are the same when it comes to approaching their pitchers. If things are working, then don’t fix it! When you get to the professional level, people got there and are doing things pretty much correctly or else they wouldn’t have gotten there. The organizational pitching coaches and rovers will make suggestions to you, but ultimately it is your career and it is up too you to make the adjustment or not. They are all just trying to help you advance, but it’s up to the individual player to be able to mold it to what they are doing or to accept it or not.

What pitches do you throw, and which one is your strongest and which one needs the most work?: I think my strongest pitch is my fastball. I am very blessed with a natural four-seam that sinks and cuts depending on the corner of the plate I am throwing it to. A lot of the times I will let it go down the middle of the plate and just let it do what it does, and it works for me. I would say my weakest pitch is my changeup; it just seems to have a mind of its own. Some days it’s working for me and I have all the confidence in the world in it, but then other days it’s flat as can be and it gets me in jams.
What is the anticipation like, being so close to the major leagues now, but not having gotten the call-up yet?: You definitely feel it, and obviously every kid growing up wants just one shot at the major leagues, and I am no different. It’s hard not to think about being so close, but if you get caught up in being that close then it can consume you, and if you don’t go out on the mound and get people out then you can very easily be not as close (haha). Sometimes you get caught up in thinking what if, but for the most part you have to just do what you’ve always done and pray for the best outcome.
Can you talk a little bit about your frame of mind when you were playing in Venezuela last offseason when Wilson Ramos was kidnapped?: To be honest, I never felt insecure. The Margarita Bravos did a first class job taking care of myself, my girlfriend, and my other American teammates. We always had bodyguards around us if the team even had a second thought about where we were going to eat or if the crowd might get too hostile. I never really saw them have to go into action, but there were times where we weren’t allowed to go down certain streets or leave a certain hotel after nightfall just for security purposes. I absolutely loved playing down there and I would go back in a heartbeat if a team asked me to come play again next year.
Is it being difficult trying to make your mark in an organization with such high profile prospects (Strasburg, Harper, etc...) in recent years?: The Strasburgs and Harpers don’t come around very often. Those are one of kind baseball players, but for every one of them there are 1,000 people just like me struggling to make it. Watching guys like Harper and Strasburg do what they do best, you can see why they have the distinction of being in a class of their own; they are really just that good! But I think having high-profile guys like that does nothing but good things for the Nationals and the organization as a whole. The Nationals aren’t in the highest profile market like Chicago, Boston or New York, so any time there can be some limelight on our organization for whatever reason I think it can do nothing but benefit everybody.


You can follow me on Facebook by going to or follow me on Twitter @historianandrew

Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Sam Crane Redemption

Many people assume that professional baseball players lead charmed lives because of the privilege they experienced of playing a game for a living. Unfortunately that is often far from the truth and many tragedies have been experienced and even caused by the hand of former players. One of the worst cases was Sam “Red” Crane, who committed an atrocious act of violence, served a lengthy prison sentence, but was able to find redemption through repentance, baseball and his former manager, Hall of Famer Connie Mack, who never gave up on him.

Crane was a slender right-handed infielder from Pennsylvania known for a thatch of red hair, who signed with his home-team Philadelphia Athletics in 1914 as a 19-year-old. Over the next few seasons he got into a total of 12 games with Philadelphia, spending the majority of that time in the minors. Although Mack was fond of him, he wasn’t consistent enough to earn a regular spot. He was an excellent fielder at shortstop, but even in the midst of the dead ball era was considered a subpar hitter.

The Syracuse Herald said of Crane, “He is one of the cleverest infielders… and if he was a good clouter he

Mack had a putrid team in Philadelphia in 1916, posting a pathetic 36-117 record, but had a solid middle infield led by Nap Lajoie and Whitey Witt. As a result, Crane was seen as expendable and sold to the Washington Senators. He didn’t stick there either and ended up playing sporadically with them, the Cincinnati Reds and Brooklyn Dodgers, accumulating 174 major league games over the course of seven years. During that time he hit just .208 with no home runs and 30 RBI. Although he last appeared in the majors in 1922, he kept playing in the minors through 1927 before deciding to retire in order to pursue a romantic relationship.

Crane had married Thelma Peterson, but it was a rocky relationship that ended in divorce in 1928, as the when he met someone new. Her name was Della Lyter, and she was a clerk with the Pennsylvania highway department, and also a recent divorcee. The attraction was so strong for Crane that he rejected a contract offer from the Buffalo Bison of the International League in order to pursue Lyter, effectively ending his professional baseball career.

Crane and Lyter’s affair didn’t last, which was something that he couldn’t accept.

On August 3, 1929, Crane, who was extremely drunk, encountered Lyter, who was in the company of John D. Oren, a bricklayer and her new boyfriend, at a bar at the Bria Hotel in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. A confrontation ensued and Crane followed the pair into side room, where he pulled out a gun.

As Oren and Lyter sat at a table, Crane began firing at the helpless pair. He let off five shots, hitting each victim twice. Oren had been playing a ukulele earlier in the evening and tried using it to defend himself, stumbling forward and striking Crane twice before collapsing with two bullets in his abdomen. He died just hours after the shooting, while Lyter lingered for several days before succumbing to her injuries.

Crane fled the hotel after the shooting, bleeding from his head because of the wound from the ukulele. He walked into a police station at 3 a.m. the next morning, telling officers, “I’m told I shot somebody.”He was questioned, arrested and sent to the hospital for treatment and then returned to jail to await trial.

The prosecution sought a first-degree murder verdict and death penalty in the death of Lyter, believing that jurors would be more sympathetic because she was a woman.
At the trial, Crane claimed no memory of the shooting because he was so drunk. His lawyer argued Crane had been drinking almost non-stop in the week leading up to the shooting, because of being so distraught over having broken up with Lyter.

Crane testified he came to the realization that Lyter was with him for money, referring to himself as “a sort of installment plan lover.” He had bought her a diamond ring, furniture, causing him to later lament, “I even mortgaged my mother’s home to buy things for Della.”

On September 25, 1929, Crane was convicted on two counts of second-degree murder and was sentenced to a total of 18-36 years at Graterford Prison in Pennsylvania, approximately 50 miles outside of Philadelphia.

Upon the start of his sentence, he went into a deep depression, upset over his actions and what he faced as a consequence. Mack and other baseball figures visited him, but could do little to cheer his spirits.

Mack was so concerned over Crane’s mental state that he took measures to support his former player and make his condition known to prison officials. He was also a vocal advocate for his parole, telling the parole board in 1935, “I’m afraid that if something is not done soon for this boy, it will be too late. He is on the verge of a mental breakdown.” He reiterated this stance the following year, pleading, “Gentlemen, please give this man his liberty before it is too late. He is at the point where he is losing hope. He is determined to make good. Give him that chance, please, before he is beyond redemption.”In fact, every time Crane came up for parole, Mack was there in support, even promising to act as benefactor if only they would agree to his release.

Eventually, Crane began to accept his situation and decided to make the most of it. He played shortstop and outfield on the prison team, but they banned baseball in 1934 following an inmate riot. He also worked as a clerk and drove the prison fire truck, trying to find as many ways as possible to be positive and productive. During this time he kept applying for a pardon, but was repeatedly turned down. Attorney R.D. Hospers, who opposed a 1941 petition, said of Crane, “Red Crane has a debt to be paid to society. He is paying it admirably, but it has not yet been paid.”
In 1944, the tide started to turn for Crane. The Graterford warden, Elmer Leithiser said, “He has learned his lesson and I honestly believe he could be a useful member of society again if given a chance.”

Crane’s final appeal for a pardon came with significant support, not only from Leithiser, but also the prison’s board of trustees, his trial judge, the Dauphin County District Attorney and of course his old skipper, Connie Mack.

Crane was granted parole on September 5, 1944. Upon his release he told reporters, “Uppermost in my thoughts at this time is to thank everybody who has helped me in this struggle. I’d like to get some new clothes, see my mother in Harrisburg, and go fishing.” After 15 years in prison he emerged a middle-aged man having officially paid a debt to society for his horrible act.

Mack made good on his promise to aid Crane, promptly offering him a job working at Shibe Park as part of the maintenance crew. But with World War II in full swing, Crane was able to find more lucrative work in a war plant and turned down the offer. He lived simply and quietly in the Philadelphia area for the next decade before passing away at the age of 61 on November 12, 1955 after a bout with cancer.

Because of his egregious mistake, Crane paid a big price and nearly lost his way. However, he was able to persevere, in large part because of the support he received from his former manager, who loved him as a person but couldn’t find a spot for him on his team.


You can follow me on Facebook by going to or follow me on Twitter @historianandrew

Monday, February 4, 2013

Texas Rangers Pitching Prospect Jimmy Reyes Will Find Making the Majors a Relief

Earlier this year Baseball America named the Texas Rangers as having the best minor league system in baseball. Their impressive ranking comes in part because of the prospect depth they have across various positions, particularly pitching. Reliever Jimmy Reyes is one of the of those pitchers, and if he continues performing the way he has during his first few seasons, he could be in Arlington before long.

Reyes, a southpaw, was taken out of Elon University in the seventh round of the 2010 MLB Draft. He may have gone even higher, but at 5’10”, he lacks the height traditionally associated with pitching success. Now three years into his professional career, he has shown that the only thing that matters is talent, and he has plenty of that.

Reyes has been nothing short of spectacular thus far in his career. He has appeared in a total of 92 games in relief, going 14-5 with a 2.36 ERA and seven saves. He is a strikeout pitcher, as evidenced by his 157 punchouts in 144.2 innings. He even helped close out a combined no-hitter this past season. More information about his career statistics is available at:

Having reached High-A in 2012, Reyes is in a good position to start this coming season in Double-A. If he continues to pitch well there’s a good chance the soon-to-be 24-year-old could be in the majors before the end of this season.

I was able to interview Reyes this past offseason and found him to be both intelligent and engaging. It’s impossible not to root for such a player to achieve his dreams of playing in the major leagues!

Jimmy Reyes Interview:

Who were your favorite team and player growing up and why?: My favorite team growing up was the Marlins.  I was never really an avid fan, but they were the hometown team so I felt obligated.  My favorite player growing up was Roger Clemens.  Obviously when I was younger I had no idea what he was doing off the field, but I loved the way he attacked hitters and played with intensity and fire.

What pitches do you have in your arsenal, and which one do you think you need to improve the most?: I throw a four-seam fastball, sinker, slider, and changeup.  I think all of my pitches have room for improvement, so it’s tough to say I should just concentrate on one. I'm a perfectionist, so if they aren't perfected then you can bet I'm working on them.

Can you run through what your 2010 draft experience was like?: Leading up to the draft I was both nervous and excited.  I was extremely excited that I had got drafted and that I was one step closer to my dream, but I was sure glad it was over.  Patience is not something I possess very much of, so as the draft unfolded I just wanted my name to be called and get ready to take the next step.

How noticeable is the difference in talent as you progress through the minors?: Each level you move up, both hitters and pitchers tend to make less mistakes.  There are extremely talented players at each level, but a majority of the players who continue to move up do a better job of making adjustments and master their craft.

Run me through what you eat during a typical day during the season?: My usual day during the season starts with oatmeal with dried fruit and a banana for breakfast. When I get to the field I will probably make myself a sandwich for lunch.  I have to get pretty creative because I have one just about every day. After batting practice, the clubbie will put out a spread that usually consists of rice and either chicken or meatballs.  If I worked out that day, a few teammates and myself will take turns whipping up a protein concoction with different fruits (again you have to get creative).  Dinner is usually provided by the clubbie, and can be anything from pizza to chicken and mashed potatoes.

How much competition exists between players on the same team; knowing that there are only a certain number of openings to advance to at any given time?: The teams I have been a part of probably aren't the norm but we are actually pretty supportive of one another.  Every player knows that ultimately if you do your job and perform well you will continue to advance.

Have you had any interactions with or advice from Nolan Ryan?: Unfortunately I haven't had a chance to meet Nolan Ryan yet.  He may have seen me throw in the bullpen during spring training, but other than that, no.

After you signed your first contract, did you do anything to treat yourself or celebrate with friends and family?: After I signed my contract and received my bonus money, I decided to treat myself to a fidelity account! Not as exciting as a car or lavish celebration, but I think I will save all of that when I reach my ultimate goal of making it to the major leagues.  I did go out to a nice dinner with my family and a few close friends, but other than that it was pretty low key.


You can follow me on Facebook by going to or follow me on Twitter @historianandrew