Monday, August 9, 2010

Dillon Howard Q&A

He hasn't even graduated High School yet, but he has a fastball that conastantly hits the mid-90's. Ranked the third best High School prospect of 2011 by PGCrossChecker, his name is thrown around quite a lot when talking about 2011 first round draft picks. The righty is ranked the number one prospect in the entire state of Arkansas.

1. How would you describe Dillion Howard the person? What about Dillion Howard the ballplayer?
[PERSON:] laid back, easy going [PERSON:] intense, passionate

2. You’re expected to go in the early rounds of the 2011 draft. What has the draft proccess been like for you and how have you handled it?
It has been hectic, but I have handled one step at a time and at my own pace

3. Are you planning on going pro out of high school or playing college ball?
I plan on going to college

4. What specific skills do you want to improve most in the future?
command and secondary pitches

Friday, August 6, 2010

Kenny Diekroeger Q&A

A four year letter man in baseball at Menlo High School, Kenny's team won the league title when he was a junior and senior. As a senior, he made prep first-team All American by Baseball America and earned all-state, all county, and league MVP honors. As a senior, he posted a 0.68 earned run average and hit .586 with 17 XBH, 20 RBI, 15 SB, and 21 walks in 18 games before being sidelined by a knee injury. In addition to a stellar baseball career, Kenny earned a varsity letter in basketball and was a national merit finalist and national AP scholar. He was drafted in the second round of the 2009 draft by the Tampa Bay Rays but chose to attend Stanford instead.

1. How would you describe Kenny Diekroeger the person? What about as a baseball player?
Talk to anyone who knows me and I'm pretty sure they'll say I'm someone who likes to put time and effort into whatever it is I'm doing. You'll see the same with me and baseball. I take pride in working hard to get the most out of my talents.

2. What’s it like growing up with a younger brother who loves baseball as much as you, and what would it be like if both of Stanford’s middle infields were Diekroegers next season?
Being able to grow up with someone only one year apart helped both of us become the players we are today. Considering we've played on the same teams since t-ball, I think it'd be really special if we were able to continue playing together at the collegiate level.

3. How did you handle the whole draft process? What contributed to your decision to turn down a pro contract with a bonus of nearly $2 million to play at Stanford?
The whole draft process last year was a surreal experience. I think anyone would agree the magnitude of the decision I was about to make can be extremely overwhelming for an 18 year old. Ultimately I made my decision based on what I thought was best for me as a person, not how much money the Rays were offering me.

4. You have talent in every aspect of the game, but what skills do you want to improve the most by the time you’re done playing for Stanford?
I have work to do in every facet of my game, but I believe I can improve the most at the plate. I worked really hard over the last year on my mental approach and making sure I was satisfied with every at-bat.

5. Not only are you and Danny succeeding, but there’s another Diekroeger – Mikey – who, in 8th grade, is better than you two were in every sport at that age. What do you have to say about him?
You're right, I think it's safe to say he's better than both of us at the same age. What's scary is that he's almost as big as both of us. That being said, I make sure to remind him he still needs to be the hardest worker on his team. It's good that he's already starting to adopt my off-field work habits: sleep, nutrition, and working out. Those were the things that took my game to the next level, and for him to start at such a young age, I can't wait to see how far he gets in a few years.

6. How were you able to excel in athletics while maintaing excellent grades?
Growing up in the Diekroeger household, academics were always the number one priority. I played almost every sport back then, so I learned how to balance the two at a young age. Being able to continue my education at a world class university while also playing in one of the best collegiate baseball conferences is a privilege, to say the least.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Lance McCullers Jr. Q&A

If you recognize the name, it's because he's the son of the former pitcher who shares the same name. This season, as a high school sophmore, he was the starting shortstop, number 3 hitter, and ace pitcher for the Tigers, his high school team. McCullers, despite being 16 years old, throws a 99 MPH fastball and a curveball that hits the mid-80's. Scouts say he hasn't even hit his velocity peak yet. He's projected to go as the number one draft pick in 2012 but has committed to the University of Florida.

1. How would you describe yourself as a person and how would you describe yourself as a baseball player?
Many people unfortunately do not know me as a person, they only see what is on the field. On the field I would say I am an extremely competitive guy and serious during a game. I don’t mess around and only focus on the task that is at hand. In the field I am focused and more low key, I make my plays and am ready for the next pitch. When I hit I am very serious, I don't take any AB off. When I am on the mound I am very competitive, I may even come off as a little aggressive at times but to get the job done is what I am up there to do, its all business. Outside of baseball I am calm, outgoing, playful guy. I love to hang out and play basketball, go in the pool, or see a movie. I am pretty low key and just an overall nice guy. What you see on the field compared to off the field is totally different.

2. How big a part has your dad played in your baseball career?
My dad has been there from day one and especially when it comes to pitching has taught me most of what I know. He has taught me how to deal with the ups and downs of baseball and the mental part of the game that most kids have to learn on their own. When I am on the mound I am a replica of my father. Without him I wouldn’t be where I am today.

3. When did you realize that you had a special talent and that you could go somewhere with baseball?
I have been playing baseball since I can remember, and it has always been a dream and a goal of mine to play baseball as my career. When I was young I always played a few years above my age but when I really understood my full talent within the game of baseball was probably around my 9th grade year. This is when I started to throw really hard and started to play against other top players and found myself at the top of that list.

4. Are you planning on being drafted out of high school or planning to go to college (if so, which colleges are possibilities)?
I have committed to the University of Florida, but as far as the draft goes my mind set is, and will remain, college first but when the draft comes around we will play it by ear and see how it goes.

5. Several sources have ranked you as the number one draft pick in 2012 if you plan on playing baseball out of high school. How has this affected how you play? Has it added pressure or given you more confidence?
To be totally honest I try to pay as little attention as possible to the rankings and hype surrounding me, but I do feel honored to be thought of as a top prospect and hopeful top draft pick one day. As far as the way I play the game or if I add any pressure while playing, I don't. I never let that affect the way I approach the game. Baseball is not a job to me, it is fun and I have a great time playing everyday. My passion and love drives me, not what could be in a few years. I go out there and play lose and have fun. Rankings or not I will always be confident in my ability and the hard work I put in to be the best I can be.

6. You led your high school team in batting and you're one of the top ranked pitching prospects in the country. Do you plan on becoming a pitcher or a position player?
Like I said baseball is not a job yet, I am having fun playing SS, hitting and closing. I am still just a kid having fun on the diamond. When it comes time for a decision, hopefully a team has drafted me and they can decide.

Dwight Smith Q&A

Smith is a highly talked about high school outfielder who's a threat in every aspect of the game. He's projected to be drafted in the early first round of the 2011 draft.

1. How would you describe Dwight Smith the person and how would you describe Dwight Smith the baseball player?
I would describe the person as a laid back and fun person who enjoys every minute of life and the baseball player as a intense and competitive player who plays the game the right way.

2. You're projected to be drafted in the first round next year. Do you plan on signing out of high school or playing college ball (if yes, what colleges are you considering)?
It is great to just have the opportunity just to be in the position because you can't go wrong either way but I would prefer sigining out of high school to get used to playing everyday.

3. How have you handled the hectic scouting proccess? Has it affected your daily life?
I think personally I handled pretty good thus far by not worrying a whole lot about it because you still have to perform. I would say it hasn't affected my daily life too much.

4. When did you realize that you had a special talent and that you could go places with baseball?
I think I realized it around 12 years old when I started to take the game more serious.

Ralston Cash Q&A

Cash will be playing with his cousin, Ethan Martin, another top prospect, in the Dodgers organization after being drafted in the second round by Los Angeles in the 2010 draft. He was the 21st high school pitcher taken in the draft.

1. First off, how would you describe Ralston Cash the person and how would you describe Ralston Cash the baseball player?
Confident, a bulldog, someone who doesn't give in and fear who walks up to the plate. Play for the Lord and he gets all the credit.

2. You were drafted in the second round of the 2010 draft by the Dodgers. Were you expecting that? What other teams were involved and what was the scouting process like?
A. No, not at all. I thought I was going in the 3rd round but the Lord made miracles happen. I asked him to give me a sign to go play college ball or pro ball. He made it pretty obvious.
B. The process at first was hectic and stressful. But, then I told myself to not worry and just go out there and play the game and let whatever happens happen.

3. Why did you decide to go pro out of high school instead of college?
I prayed about the decision and like I said, he made it evident.

4. You lived down the street from your cousin, Ethan Martin, who is also a top prospect in the Dodgers system. What was it like growing up with a family member who shared the talent and love of baseball?
It was a blessing. Anything I had questions about, Ethans family could help me out. Our paths were almost exact. Except for a few things..But mostly exactly the same. It was awesome.

5. What are you goals for your baseball career? What specific skills are you trying to improve most the upcoming year?
One goal is like everyone elses. Make it to the Bigs. But, I have a different one that not many people probably have. That goal is to have the blessing to be given a stage to spread the word of God. I am trying to improve one thing at a time, but the first thing is fastball location.

6. What is your proudest accomplishment in baseball? What about non-baseball related?
My proudest accomplishment in baseball would be overcoming all the negative talk from bloggers and writers and getting drafted. I didn't have to get mad and retaliate in the worst way. I just let God take care of me and let him take care of them. My biggest non-baseball related accomplishment was when I dedicated to the Lord 12-22-09*. My life has never been the same

7. Last question. Which figures have helped you become both a better player and a better person?
Player wise, all my coaches in the past. Every one of them gave me a skill that has added up and gotten me to where I am today. Being a better person would be from the way I was raised by my parents and also cracking open the bible and reading the word to see what it has to say.

* From "Over the past winter -- Cash remembers the day exactly, Dec. 22 -- he listened to a man from North Carolina give his testimony, and that is the moment he said he took a deeper belief in God." at

Monday, July 26, 2010

Daniel Norris Q&A

Although 2011 is said to be one of the most talent-packed drafts baseball has seen, Daniel Norris, despite only being a High School senior, has been projected to be one of the top overall draft picks. He recently took some time out of his busy schedule to answer a few questions.

1. How would you describe Daniel Norris as a person and as a baseball player?

If I had to describe myself as a person, I would start with saying Daniel Norris is a person that lives for God and places him as a number one priority in his life. As a player I would say I play as hard as I can to give all the glory to the risen king.

2. When did you realize your talent could become a career?

I realized my talent that God had given me could be a career when I was old enough to comprehend the passion I had for the game of baseball. Realizing that gave me all the detemination in the world to achieve a life long goal.

3. Although 2011 is said to be one of the most talent-packed drafts ever, you were projected as the 5th overall pick. Are you planning on playing college ball or going pro out of high school, and what teams are interested?

These projections come out and they are nice to look at, but I understand that many things can change in the course of a year. With that being said, I don't know what my future holds for me. Either option may present itself to me and either option could be my choice. It's 50-50

4. You've been labeled a "can't miss prospect" for several years now. When did you first start getting recognized by professional teams, and how has all the attention affected how you play?

I would have to say around my freshman year. And it hasnt.. i dont consider all of this stuff a part of my game. my game is waking up everyday and putting my glove on while im still in bed and making sure the leather is not fraying or wearing out. my game is playing because i love it and cherishing everyday i have left to step between the lines. because god willing any game could be my last.. i will never let media aspects be a part of my game.

5. What's your proudest accomplishment as a ballplayer? What about as a person?

My proudest accomplishment as a player would probably be leading my teams to victories. My proudest as a person would be accepting Christ into my life and using every bit of my ability to instil his love into my peers.

6. Last question. What are your goals for the upcoming year, and what are your long-time goals?

My goals for this year are like any other year - become a better person and a better baseball player and to contiue to work hard everyday. Long-term goals are to become a major league baseball player and to continue to give all the glory to god.