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Monday, November 11, 2013

Danny Bethea: Boston Red Sox Catching Prospect Answers Some Questions

There is fierce competition in the farm system of the Boston Red Sox simply because of the impressive collection of talent the team has amassed in recent seasons. In particular, catcher is a position of great depth, as Ryan Lavarnway, Dan Butler, Jon Denney, Blake Swihart and Christian Vasquez are just a few of the young receivers of note. They aren’t the only ones however, as Danny Bethea has thrown his catcher’s mask into the ring in the hopes he will one day be calling games behind home plate at Fenway Park. 

After graduating from La Costa Canyon High School in California, Bethea enrolled at NAIA Grand Canyon University, where his father Pete had once been an All American. Danny played in 49 games during the 2010 season, hitting .329 with two home runs and 23 RBIs.
The following season, he attended Palomar College and really blossomed as a catcher. Appearing in 25 games, he hit .418 with eight RBIs and threw out an impressive 62.5 percent of base runners.

Joining his third school in as many years, Bethea enrolled at St. Johns as a junior. In two seasons as a member of the Red Storm, he played in a combined 107 games, hitting .270 with four home runs and 58 RBIs. His cumulative college career was enough to get him noticed by the major leagues, and the Red Sox made him their 34th-round selection in the 2013 MLB Draft.

The 23-year-old right-handed hitter endured some struggles during his first professional season. Playing with the Gulf Coast League and the short-season Lowell Spinners, he logged 45 total games, hitting a combined .227 with a home run and 24 RBIs. He was sound defensively but threw out only four of 36 base runners, something he will need to improve upon moving forward. In total, he was able to get his feet wet and find out what he needs to work on as he heads into his first spring training this winter.

Bethea recently answered some questions, so come and get to know the Boston prospect a little better.

Danny Bethea Interview:

Who was your favorite player when you were growing up, and why?: I always enjoyed watching Joe Mauer play because he is an all-around great baseball player. He is a great catcher and runs the defense well. On top of that, he can hit for average and power, which is tough to do as a catcher. He makes the game fun to watch.

What was your back-up plan if you hadn't received an opportunity to have a professional baseball career?: If I didn't get the opportunity to play professional baseball, I wanted to do commercial real estate. I have taken a real interest in commercial real estate because it is my father’s profession and has been in my family since I was born. If for whatever reason my baseball career gets cut short, I still want to practice commercial real estate. I have always been intrigued by it.

How did you first find out that the Red Sox were interested in you?: I first found out the Red Sox were interested in me after a collegiate baseball game when I attended St. Johns University. After we got done playing Seton Hall, the area scout for the Boston Red Sox and I had a short conversation. He expressed that the organization was interested in me.

What was your draft experience like?: My draft experience was a bit of a nail bitter to say the least. Nothing is guaranteed in the draft and weird things happen all the time. I knew I was going to be a senior sign, so I knew my name wouldn't be called (if at all) until the late rounds. My father, my girlfriend (Caddy) and I were on the golf course trying to keep ourselves occupied during the last day of the draft. Needless to say, it was the worst round of golf I have ever played because I was nervous about what was going to happen the whole time.

The rounds got later and later and I grew more nervous. By this time we had just finished golf and headed to the car and I started to realize that professional baseball might not be in the cards. Just as I am loading the golf clubs into the car, my girlfriend pops around the corner and says ‘the Boston Red Sox just drafted you.’ I was relieved and excited at the same time, and it was a special moment; something I will never forget. I am very thankful to the Boston Red Sox for giving me the chance to live my dream.

What do you believe are some of the strongest aspects of the Boston organization?: I think that the Boston Red Sox organization is well rounded and efficient. Some of the strongest aspects of the organization is their player development. They really take the time to make sure all their players are getting the instruction they need to maximize their potential.

Another strong aspect of the organization is the state of the art facilities they have down in spring training. They recently built a new park in Fort Meyers, and it has everything anybody needs to get better, ranging from hitting cages to fields to training room equipment. The Boston Red Sox have a long line of tradition and history in its organization and it is a privilege to be a part of a winning tradition.

What is one part of your game that you hope to improve on the most?: The part of my game I hope to improve the most is throwing to second base. I need to become quicker and shorten my release to have a better chance of throwing runners out. I also have some improvements to do offensively.

What is one rule you would change in baseball?: I wouldn't change any rules of baseball because it sets it apart from other sports and makes it unique.

What things are you looking forward to as your first spring training approaches?: I am looking forward to a lot of things entering my first spring training. I am excited to meet new members of the organization and see friends I have made over my first year. Also, I look forward to working new members of the coaching staff and training staff. 

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