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Sunday, October 27, 2013

2013 World Series: Game 4 Thoughts and Observations

Aside from New York Yankees great Babe Ruth being thrown out attempting to steal second base as the final out in the deciding Game 7 of the 1926 World Series (thus giving the St. Louis Cardinals the championship), it’s hard to think of another postseason game with an ending so strange as this year’s Game 3.

The Cardinals walked off last night against the Boston Red Sox thanks to a bizarre defensive interference call in the bottom of the ninth against third baseman Will Middlebrooks. The victory gives the Cards a 2-1 series edge, and only ratchets up the intensity of the remaining games.

Here are some notes and observations in preparation of tonight’s Game 4:

***A lot of fans are still crying foul on last night’s call. There are those (including myself initially) who thought that St. Louis base runner Allen Craig may have committed interference himself or perhaps been outside of the base path. However, now that the dust has settled, it’s obvious that the officiating crew got the call exactly right.

The umpires may have looked less than confident when explaining their reasoning after the game, but they called it to the letter of the law as outlined in the official rule book.

Some, like Boston pitcher Jake Peavy, believe such an important game shouldn’t end on a bang-bang obscure rule violation. However, if you aren’t going to observe the rules from the first pitch of the game until the players are walking off the field at the end, there is no need to ever use them.

***The playing time Boston shortstop Stephen Drew has continued to get despite a mighty slump at the plate has caused many to call for his benching. But where is that same level of concern for catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia?

Salty is not only just six-for-32 with 19 strikeouts this postseason, but his poor throwing has directly led to the Cardinals winning the past two games.

Backup David Ross isn’t much of a hitter himself, but is a solid glove man. With stupid mistakes sinking the Red Sox, it’s time to bench Saltalamacchia, who has been hurting the team more than helping it of late.

***Much has been made of the Cardinals vaunted young bullpen and their ability to shut down the opposition. While they are certainly talented, the Red Sox have scored five runs against them in 9.2 innings this series.

*** Switch-hitting outfielder Daniel Nava should start every remaining game for the Red Sox. A .322 hitter with a .894 OPS in the regular season against right-handed pitching, he is too big of a weapon to keep on the bench against the Cardinals, who have no lefties in their rotation.

***There’s not nearly enough of a backlash against Boston’s Game 4 starter Clay Buchholz for his recent wishy-washy comments to the press. He has repeatedly referred to feeling run-down and being unsure of how effective he can be.

In a recent press conference, he indicated he would be happy if he could replicate his last start, which was a five inning/two-run effort against the Detroit Tigers in the ALCS. That kind of apathy and willingness to settle for mediocrity is not what you want to see from a pitcher who is about to pitch the biggest game of his career.

Buchholz may be tired or hurt but he needs to keep that to himself. All he needs to say is how much he wants to go out and kick butt—then behind the scenes the team will determine if he can and should go.

Pedro Martinez and Curt Schilling gave huge pitching efforts in playoff games in the past couple of decades, despite working with major injuries. They didn’t complain; they just went out and competed.

At this point, I’d be more concerned about Buchholz’s attitude and lack of fire than any physical ailment.

***After stealing 123 bases in just 142 attempts during the regular season, the Red Sox have ceased running in the World Series. Sure, Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina is an all-time great in keeping the running game in check, but he can be had.

Including the playoffs, runners have been successful in five of their last six attempts against the Gold Glove catcher. In addition, the 42 percent of runners he caught during the regular season represented the fourth-lowest mark of his 10-year career.

Running on Molina can be a risky proposition but the Red Sox are pretty darned good on the base paths in their own right. The 86.6 percent success rate they had in stolen bases this season is the best mark a team has ever had since the statistic started being recorded in 1914. Taking a chance or two could really pay off and help Boston even the series.

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Saturday, October 26, 2013

2013 World Series Game 3 Thoughts

Game 3 of the 2013 World Series will be underway shortly, as the Boston Red Sox and St. Louis Cardinals will battle to become the last team standing this season.

So far, each team has taken a game in rather convincing fashion. Even though it has been a thoroughly entertaining series, both teams suffered from errors and poor decisions in their respective losses.

The third game will take place in St. Louis following the first two contests going down in Boston. Tonight will be a clash of right-handers, as veteran Jake Peavy will take the mound for the Red Sox, and young Joe Kelly toes the rubber for the Cards.

Here are a few things to look out for tonight:

***Kelly doesn’t have swing-and-miss stuff. With 5.7 strikeouts per nine innings this year, he relies more on pitching to contact. His stuff is headlined by a fastball that averaged 94.8 mph this season, but may be a bit flat. He is hittable, as evidenced by his 1.36 WHIP, which is unordinary high given his velocity and 2.69 ERA.

***Converted from relief earlier this year, Kelly still doesn’t have the stamina of a front-of-the-rotation type of starter. He has only exceeded 100 pitches in a game five times this season (with a high of 109), and the last time he did was almost two months ago—September 6th.

Further giving hope that Boston’s lineup can get to him is the .810 OPS he has permitted to batters between pitches 51-75 this year, and the .757 mark he has allowed on pitches 76-100. Waiting him out could really pay off, but would also mean the Cardinals would then dip into their excellent bullpen.

***Boston shortstop Stephen Drew is in the midst of a horrid slump at the plate, having gone just 4-for-42 with 15 strikeouts this postseason. Look for him to finally snap out of it in Game 3. He has played against a lot of strikeout pitchers so far during the playoffs, and should have somewhat easier pitches to hit against Kelly.

***Mike Carp hasn’t gotten enough playing time this postseason. The left-handed hitter has had just six hitless at-bats for the Red Sox. However, the .904 OPS he had during the regular season against right-handers should be enough to get him a few more plate appearances. Instead, manager John Farrell has given Jonny Gomes the lion’s share of at-bats because of gut feelings and perceived luck—whatever that means.

***With Peavy coming off a rough last start where he gave up seven runs in just three innings in the ALCS against the Detroit Tigers, the Red Sox need to do whatever they can to make sure he is comfortable. One thing that might have helped was starting David Ross at catcher instead of Jarrod Saltalamacchia (who is in the starting lineup).

Peavy had a 2.75 ERA in three starts with Ross this year, compared to a 4.64 mark in five starts with Salty. It’s a small sample size but is hard to overlook, especially with the pitcher needing some confidence after getting rocked last time out.

***Right-hander Clay Buchholz is tentatively slated to start Game 4 for Boston despite numerous reports citing fatigue and possible injury. Not knowing what he can give, the Red Sox will need to manage their bullpen very carefully tonight. That includes avoiding guys like Felix Doubront and Ryan Dempster if possible, as they are the most likely candidates to throw multiple innings if Buchholz can’t go or is knocked out early.

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Thursday, October 24, 2013

Boston Red Sox: Prospect Jantzen Witte Trying to Tame the Hot Corner

The Boston Red Sox have a proud tradition of third basemen, with Jimmy Collins, Larry Gardner, Frank Malzone and Wade Boggs are just some of the fine players to have manned the hot corner in Beantown over the years. It’s a tough group to crack, but one that prospect Jantzen Witte hopes he can one day join.

Witte starred for Martin High School in Arlington, Texas, hitting .468 as a senior, earning team-MVP honors.

He accepted a scholarship to play at Texas Christian University (TCU). He was immediately a starter and became one of the most consistent players in school history. During his four years with the Horned Frogs, he appeared in 211 games, hitting .327 with 14 home runs and 138 RBIs. He also scored an impressive 132 runs while playing strong defense. Along the way, he received a long list of awards and recognitions that helped get him on the radar of MLB teams.

The Red Sox picked Witte up in the 24th round of the 2013 draft. He split his first professional season between the Gulf Coast League and short-season Lowell, hitting a combined .168 with 10 RBIs in 33 games. While it may not have been the strong start he hoped for, it was a chance to get his feet wet in preparation for his first full year in 2014.

Having seen Witte interact with fans prior to one of his games, I already had a great sense of admiration for how grounded and accessible he seemed to be. He only confirmed those feelings in the recent interview he gave me regarding his time in baseball. Make sure to read on to find out more, and keep an eye out for him next year as he seeks to advance up the Boston player development ladder.

Jantzen Witte Interview:

Who was your favorite player when you were growing up, and why?: Growing up in Arlington, Texas, I grew up a Rangers fan and loved watching Michael Young play. He always seemed to play hard, and from what I can remember, he always did well in clutch situations. I tried to match his middle-away approach when I was growing up.

How did you wind up attending TCU?: I had a few other offers, but in my mind, I wanted to play for the best team possible because I thought I could work my way up and end up playing no matter where I went.
I had not signed with any college even going into the summer before my freshman year of college (which was a little scary). TCU's recruiting coordinator at the time, Todd Whitting, came and watched me play, and ended up bringing me on campus for a visit. I signed with TCU the day of my visit, and I cannot be happier with my decision to hold out for TCU.

How did you first find out that the Red Sox were interested in you?: I had never been drafted before and I was really looking forward to trying to get drafted after my senior year of college. We had scouts at our practices and had meetings with some scouts a couple of times during the year. I don't think I actually ended up meeting with anyone within the Red Sox organization, but after filling out a questionnaire for the Red Sox, I received a phone call from them making sure they had all of my information correctly and to me, that was a sign they were interested in drafting me and I was ecstatic.

What was your draft experience like?: After talking with some guys this past year, I realized my draft experience was a little different than most. I was doing some yard work outside of our house with my dad, and he had set up a little speaker with the draft picks playing. We worked outside all morning and I could tell he was getting a little frustrated that we had not heard my name over the loud speaker yet.

Because I was a senior, I didn't think it made a ton of difference wherever I got drafted, just as long as I got drafted. I walked inside the house to get a glass of water and decided to stop at the computer and look up the draft. When I went to the draft page's Twitter, the first tweet that popped up had my name on it, and I was very confused because I was expecting a phone call before I had been drafted. Shortly after, I started receiving text messages from friends saying congratulations, and that's when it started to hit me that I had actually been drafted by Boston.

What do you believe are some of the strongest aspects of the Boston organization?: When I think of the Red Sox, I think of history and tradition. There are so many great players who played with the Sox back in the day, and still playing now. I also love the fan base that supports the Red Sox. They are arguably the most loyal fans in all of sports, and I think that has shown this year like crazy. Even in Arlington, Texas I see Red Sox hats and gear everywhere.

What is one part of your game that you hope to improve on the most?: Since I am a corner infielder, I hope to improve my power the most. I’ve never hit a lot of home runs and I think with this extended offseason, I can get stronger and ultimately end up with some better power numbers this next season. In college, we were instructed to focus more on the process of hitting more so than the results, and the Red Sox have drilled that in our heads as well. So, ultimately, I want to put together good, positive, at-bats that will help our team. While I continue to focus on that aspect of my offensive production, I believe an increase in my power capabilities will benefit the team and myself.

How would you describe your first professional season?: There’s no doubt in my mind that my first professional season was a little rough. Once I was drafted, I was sent to Florida to play in the Gulf Coast League. I played okay but felt like I really didn’t play like I know I am capable of.

About a month into the season, I was called up to play for the Lowell Spinners, which I was ecstatic about. Once again, I didn’t get off to a hot start offensively, and before I felt like things were starting to turn around for me in the right direction, I was hit in the right hand by a pitch and was sidelined for the rest of the season. Although my first professional season didn’t go as I had hoped, I still gained a lot of experience and I’m looking forward to putting the things I learned this past season to use in this next upcoming season.

What has been your proudest moment of your playing career to date?: There is no doubt in my mind that the proudest moment of my baseball career came in 2010 when we played in the College World Series the last year it was held in Rosenblatt Stadium. The atmosphere around Omaha, Nebraska during the College World Series is unbelievable and I had an absolute blast playing there.

You can check me out on Facebook or follow me on Twitter @historianandrew

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Matty Johnson: The Independent Speedster of the Boston Red Sox

The Boston Red Sox have developed one of the best farm systems in all of baseball. In doing so, they have accumulated a wide array of prospects of varying skills. Outfielder Matty Johnson, at 5’8 and 165 pounds, may be one of the smaller players in the organization but he is not short on talent.

A native of Texas, the switch-hitting outfielder attended Watson Chapel High School in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. Following graduation and a stint at junior college, he went on to attend Bellevue College in Washington, a NAIA school.
In two years at Bellevue, Johnson hit .429 and earned numerous honors for his fielding and overall play. Unfortunately, his body of work came in a small environment, and he went undrafted. That did not stop his baseball career.

In 2010, Johnson signed with the Gateway Grizzlies of the Frontier League. He went on to appear in 47 games that year, hitting .313 with 19 RBI, 43 runs scored and 24 stolen bases. It was enough to get him noticed by the Red Sox, who signed him to a free-agent contract.

Three years have passed since Johnson joined the Boston organization. He has reached as high as Triple-A Pawtucket, where he played one game this season. All told, he has appeared in 202 games in his minor league career, hitting .269 with a home run, 59 RBI and 47 stolen bases.

He doesn’t have a lot of power, but is incredibly speedy, gets on base and plays terrific defense. Those are all traits that are highly coveted by teams. If the 25-year-old continues his solid play, he has a great chance of one day playing in Boston.

Johnson answered some questions recently about his career. In addition to following his exploits on the field, make sure to keep up with him on Twitter @GoldGloveMJ.

Matty Johnson Interview:

Who was your favorite player when you were growing up, and why?
: My favorite player growing up was Ken Griffey Jr. I admired the way he played defense and always sold out to make a play, so I would always try to play defense like him growing up.

How did you wind up attending NAIA school Bellevue?: After two good years at my Juco Crowder College, I had some D-1 offers but the academic part wasn't there for me so I had to play summer ball and hope I got seen by someone. Luckily I had a good game when Bellevue was watching one day.

How disappointed were you to not get drafted or latch on with an MLB organization in 2010?: I was pretty disappointed after having a good season but not being able to play in the playoffs because we had to forfeit due someone playing ineligible. That limited my chances of being seen, which is why I went to the independent leagues.

What was your experience in independent ball like?: Playing independent was a great experience because it was pro ball and prepared me for affiliated ball. I played in the Frontier League, which was a great league all around. It had great crowds and nice stadiums, which made it exciting to play every day. Most guys had already played affiliated ball at the upper levels so it wasn't too hard to make the transition from Indy ball to affiliated.

How did you first find out that the Red Sox were interested in you?: I had never talked to the Red Sox before, not even in college. After the season, I heard I was being named top independent league prospect, then three weeks after the season my indy ball coach called me and said the Red Sox were interested and should be calling me in the next few minutes, and they did. So it was kind of out of the blue.

What was your reaction of friends and family when you signed with the Red Sox?: All of my friends were pretty excited and felt like it was well-deserved. My family really couldn't believe it because we had grown up watching the Red Sox and Yankees games in the playoffs, and it was just exciting having an opportunity to play pro ball, especially with a known franchise like the Red Sox. The Red Sox were my little brother’s favorite team growing up, so I'm pretty sure he was the most excited one out all of us.

What do you consider to be the best aspect of your game, and which could use the most work?: I think the best aspect of my game is my speed because I can cause a lot of havoc on the bases and even on defense taking away hits and stopping runners from getting extra bases.

I think the part of my game I can work on most is stealing bases. Most people say I should work on getting more power, but I think if I can get on base and steal bases at will and just dominate the base paths then I think I can be deadly without hitting a home run or the double and stuff like that. It never really occurred to me how deadly fast base running could be until I actually played against one.

What has been your proudest moment of your professional career to date?: My proudest moment of my professional career so far has to be this year winning the Carolina League title because it was fun to play with a group of guys that all worked together and wanted the same goal while having fun at the same time. I think playing on a team like that really just elevates everyone's individual talents.

You can check me out on Facebook or follow me on Twitter @historianandrew

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Kyle Martin: Versatile Pitching Prospect Making a Name for Himself with the Boston Red Sox

These days, the Boston Red Sox seem to collect pitching prospects like someone from high society might accumulate bottles of fine Chardonnay.  With enough impressive young hurlers to conceivably fill several pitching staffs of the future, competition is tight in the Boston system. One of the young arms working hard to earn his chance is Kyle Martin.
The lanky right-hander joined the Red Sox earlier this year as a ninth-round draft choice out of Texas A&M University (where he sported a truly outstanding mustache). He was drafted by the Chicago White Sox last year, but elected to return to school to complete his senior season.

Interestingly, Martin’s coach at St. Michael’s Catholic Academy (high school) was former Red Sox pitcher Calvin Schiraldi. He helped the youngster earn a college scholarship at a major program.

Martin began his Aggie career as a reliever, with a deceptive side-arm delivery. He switched to starting during his senior year (switching to a more traditional overhand delivery), and took well to the conversion.

During his college career he posted a combined 11-12 record with a 4.33 ERA. His versatility is reminiscent of former Boston pitcher Justin Masterson, who has experienced success in the majors pitching both out of the bullpen and a rotation, and also sports a side-armed delivery.

After signing his first professional contract, Martin joined the short-season Lowell Spinners. He pitched extremely well and earned a promotion to Single-A Greenville shortly thereafter. For the year, he combined for a 4-2 record, 1.25 ERA and three saves in 19 relief appearances. He struck out 30 batters in 36 innings while permitting just 19 hits.

Martin will be 23 at the start of the 2014 season. With a successful first season under his belt, he has made quite a good initial impression. It remains to be seen if he will wind up as a starter or reliever but for now he is doing what he is asked and hoping to rise up the ranks of Boston’s pitching prospects.

Kyle Martin Interview:

Who was your favorite player when you were growing up, and why?: As a young baseball fan, I had a ton of favorite players. Derek Jeter was a big one; pretty much the entire 90s Braves’ pitching staff, but I really enjoyed watching Randy Johnson take the mound. I was intrigued by his height, as I was told by doctors, relatives and parents that I would be tall. I also learned to enjoy his attack and velocity. He was one of the most feared pitchers, and I liked that thought.

How did you wind up attending Texas A&M?: Both of my parents attended A&M as well as other relatives, so as many Aggies can attest you are born into the Aggie family and brainwashed growing up. When I went on a recruiting trip there, I fell in love with it even more. The coaching staff at A&M, headed up with Rob Childress, does a great job at that program getting players ready for professional baseball like Alex Wilson (Red Sox), Brooks Raley (Cubs), and Michael Wacha (Cardinals) to name a few.

Can you describe what your draft experience was like?: Draft experience was very intense and nerve-racking. I was at home with my family and girlfriend sitting around the computer, waiting for that call! After the call from the Red Sox and my agent, I felt tremendously relieved and got to celebrate with my close family and friends.

How did you first find out that the Red Sox were interested in you?: I never really knew what teams specifically were interested in me until a few months before the draft. I found out the Red Sox were interested in me in the 6-10 round range a few days before the draft.

Can you describe what you throw for pitches?: I throw all two-seam fastballs that have sink to them, a changeup, a slider and a curveball.

What was the most difficult part about the life of a professional player to get used to besides the travel?: I would say the most difficult adjustment in pro ball other than the travel is the alone time. In college with classes, practice, games, weekends it is easy to go through an entire week without spending time other than sleeping without something to do. In pro ball, we are either at the field or back in the hotels or apartments without a car. We get to know each other very well as hanging out with teammates is ultimately the most fun we have.

You used to throw side-armed. Can you explain why you changed back to an over-the-top delivery?: At Texas A&M, I had a choice to help my team as a set up guy in the bullpen if I changed my arm slot to sidearm as a sophomore. I stuck with that slot until I changed back over to the over-the-top delivery my senior year of college. The change was for many reasons mainly being to become more projectable to scouts for professional baseball. The change is still ongoing as I continue to perfect my delivery and work on consistently repeating it.

You started the 2013 season with Lowell, but were eventually promoted to Greenville. Can you please talk a little bit about how you found out about your promotion and what that feeling was like?: I got the promotion call immediately following the (Jake) Peavy deal. A couple players in Greenville had just gotten traded and I was lucky enough to be called up to fill those spots. It was a quick transition from getting the call at 2:30 a.m. to being on a flight at 7:30 a.m. I consider myself very blessed to have gotten the opportunity to play in front of both crowds, and hope to continue to receive those opportunities.

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Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Boston Red Sox: Teddy Stankiewicz is Great Addition to Team's Stocked Farm System

Through effective drafting and the stockpiling of prospects, the Boston Red Sox currently have one of the best and deepest farm systems in all baseball. The team has found value at all levels of the draft and international signings, with right-handed pitcher Teddy Stankiewicz being one of the most recent prized additions to the organization.

Stankiewicz almost didn’t make it to Boston. He was drafted by the New York Mets in the second round in 2012 out of Forth Worth Christian High School in Texas, but elected not to sign in order to attend Seminole State Junior College in Oklahoma.

During his one year of college ball, Stankiewicz dominated. Although he had just a 4-5 record in 11 games (nine starts), he had a sparkling 2.52 ERA and struck out 70 batters in 60.2 innings.

Boston’s amateur scouting director Amiel Sawdaye told WEEI’s Alex Speier why the team was so thrilled with bringing the 19-year-old Stankiewicz aboard:
“He’s a big, physical pitcher. He’s got, probably for me, one of the best deliveries in the draft. His arm works really well. He throws three pitches, and he really commands his fastball. I think one of the interesting things about Teddy is he’s 19 years old as a junior college pitcher but you can kind of almost consider him pitching like a college junior. We felt like if this kid were at an SEC school like Arkansas where he was slated to go last year, there’s a chance this kid would be pitching like a college junior. He attacks the strike zone. His changeup has really improved from last year to this year, breaking ball has gotten better. We’ve kind of seen a little bit of the improvements from year to year and his fastball was up to 96 this year and really consistently sitting in the low 90s. I think he’s a guy we really felt comfortable with. We trusted, had really good mound demeanor and a guy that was going to go out and throw a lot of strikes and compete at the lower levels right away.”
After signing, Stankiewicz was eased into his first professional season because of the full load he had already shouldered at school. He made nine appearances for the short-season Lowell Spinners, posting a 2.29 ERA without recording a decision. He struck out 15 batters in 19.2 innings, while permitting just two walks and 17 hits.

The Red Sox are already loaded with prospects, but Stankiewicz has the potential to be one of the best. He will get a full year under his belt in 2014, and because of his advanced skill and pitch arsenal, could advance quickly.

Shortly after joining Lowell, Stankiewicz took a few moments to chat about his draft experience and baseball career. He is definitely a young player to monitor closely as the Red Sox continue to cultivate their impressive farm system.

Teddy Stankiewicz Interview:

How did you first become interested in baseball?: When I was about five-years old my dad just put a ball in my hand; like a little rubber ball; and just started throwing it around. I couldn’t stop picking up and throwing a baseball, or any ball in particular. He just kind of led me to the right path. I think he did a good job so far.

Were you always a pitcher when you were growing up?: [I played] all over the place. I played every position when I was younger. Mainly in high school, I played mostly first or third and was a decent hitter, but mainly I was still a pitcher. One year I had in college this past year, I was a straight pitcher and played no other position.

Is there any pitcher you model yourself after?: I’d like to say Justin Verlander. I have mechanics that I feel are somewhat like his. He’s just incredible, and a good guy I think to model after.

What do you currently throw for pitches?: I have a fastball, curveball, slider, changeup. I am working and developing to throw my curveball better. My changeup is average and the slider is I believe at least average. My curveball could do really, really well. Hopefully can keep my fastball consistent and not have a lot of dropping up and down.

Do you consider your fastball your best pitch?: Yes, it’s my best pitch. It usually sits around 92. We’ll see what happens.

You were drafted by the New York Mets as the 75th overall pick in 2012. What went into your decision to go to school versus not signing with them?: I told everyone I wanted slot. It didn’t happen, but that’s okay because it just wasn’t meant to be I guess. Instead of going to a three-year college, I decided to go to a one-year to get better. I hoped to get better in that one year enough to move up more in this (2013) draft, which I was able to do (Boston took him in the second round, with the 45th overall pick), luckily. I learned to work harder and school and stuff, so it actually made me a lot more mature. I really appreciate that I got to go to college for one year.

What was your draft experience like this year? How did you find out you had been drafted?: I was just waiting to get drafted, but I didn’t know exactly it was going to be the Boston Red Sox. I had an idea, but I was in a mix. I got picked and that was very exciting.

Were you huddled around the computer or TV waiting to get drafted?: Oh, TV definitely. We had a lot of my family there with me, and everyone was crying and screaming. It was just excitement through everybody. It was just an awesome feeling.

Did you get a chance to celebrate before heading off to start your pro career?: We did a little celebration, but we’re waiting for a little bit of time for whenever I’m back and situated, and then we’ll have a party or something.

Did you get to visit Boston when you signed?: Yes, I did. I went there for the first day. I got to walk around Boston a little bit and see a little of the area. The next day I had my physical day. After that I got to Lowell.

Did you get to meet any of the players or coaches in Boston?: Not really. I met one or two players, but I don’t remember exactly who. It was really cool though. I got to see the clubhouse; got to see Fenway; got to see the training room. Never had been to Fenway before or Boston before, so it was a huge experience.

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