Tuesday, February 27, 2007
Spring Training Q&A
with Kyle Waldrop
Good morning everyone! (for a complete list of Q&As done on this site, click here.)
The eighth in our series of Spring Training Q&As is with Twins minor league pitching prospect Kyle Waldrop. The Knoxville, TN, native began the 2006 season back at Beloit, but about midseason he was promoted to Ft. Myers. Combined, he went 9-5 with a 3.77 ERA. If you stuck with this site throughout the offseason, you know that Kyle was the champion of the SethSpeaks NFL "Expert" Picks panel. Right after the new year, Kyle participated in his first Q&A for this site. There is a lot more background information on him there.
The following are his thoughts as 2007 Twins Minor League Spring Training quickly approaches:
SethSpeaks: 2006 was a season of ups and downs for you in Beloit and Ft. Myers. Overall, how do you feel about your 2006 season?
Kyle Waldrop: Overall I was pleased with my season. Like you mentioned it was an up and down year for me, but anytime you can finish the season at a level above where you started, you can't be disappointed. Starting back in Beloit wasn't what I had wanted going into the spring, but I needed to work on some things and hadn't pitched well enough to be moved up at that point.
SethSpeaks: How has your offseason been? Did you jump right into an offseason workout routine, or were you able to get away from baseball for a little while?
Kyle Waldrop: It's been very good for me. After Instructs, I went home and spent my time in Tennessee with my family and friends because it had been a long time since I'd been there. After the new years, I headed down to Ft. Myers to start throwing and getting into the most important lifting phase of the offseason. It's a little to cold in Tennessee in January to get all my throwing in and my conditioning outside. I've taken some breaks here and there just to get away from the game, but I've stayed consistent with my workouts.
SethSpeaks: Here is a very open-ended questions, but... What does Spring Training mean to you?
Kyle Waldrop: To me, Spring Training is a time to get your body back into playing shape. Obviously, you want to come into it in good shape having worked out in the offseason, but it's the time where you start throwing a little more, seeing hitters for the first time, and getting your mind right for the season. It's a very important time for us and we work extremely hard, but we still like to have fun because I haven't seen a lot of my teammates since September.
SethSpeaks: When are you heading to Ft. Myers for spring training and when does it officially start?
Kyle Waldrop: I've been in Ft. Myers since the first week of January. Spring Training officially starts on either the 8th or 9th of March for the Minor Leaguers. I'm ready to get going.
SethSpeaks: Do you feel physically and mentally ready for the upcoming season?
Kyle Waldrop: I feel like I'm right where I need to be both physically and mentally for this year. As I mentioned earlier, about 2 weeks into Spring Training is when I want my body to feel completely ready for the season, but I'm right on schedule.
SethSpeaks: Heading into camp, what are your hopes and expectations for it and where you will start the '07 campaign?
Kyle Waldrop: I will most likely start the season back in Ft. Myers. As I've heard from most of the coaches and players, the jump to AA is the biggest while climbing the ladder to the majors. So, the organization likes to make sure you're ready for the jump before they send you up to AA. Obviously I'd love to start in AA, but we have a lot of very good pitchers up there right now and there just isn't room for everybody.
SethSpeaks: Have you set any goals for yourself for the 2007 season?
Kyle Waldrop: My main goal for the 2007 season is to end the year in New Britain. To do that I've got to achieve some of my smaller, but very important, goals such as being more consistent with my offspeed, be more consistent with my arm slot, and gain a little velocity. I think that with the work I've put in down here in Florida that I'm getting better in all those areas, so I hope and think it's going to carry over into the season.
SethSpeaks: And finally... I read somewhere that your work ethics and personality are comparable to Peyton Manning. What do you think of that?
Kyle Waldrop: Haha I know that Jay Rainville and some of the other Patriot lovers in the organization would love this question. (They just can't get it through their minds that Peyton is a better QB than Brady...) Anyways, being from Tennessee he's definitely someone that everyone looks up to for how hard he works and carries it over into his play. He's and extremely hard worker not only physically, but his mental preparation before games is unbelievable. I guess you could say that we have similar personalities because of how we like to prepare for games, but I don't think I'm the type of person you'd want in commercials like him.
Thank you very much to Kyle for taking some of his time at the beginning of Spring Training. Obviously we want to wish him the best of luck, health and success in 2007! As we have in the past, I will try to keep finding articles and updates on Waldrop throughout the year.
Today, we will find out if Tony Oliva will be part of the 2007 Hall of Fame Induction. The Veteran's Committee vote will be announced today. As much as I would be thrilled if Oliva did make it, I am not holding my breath. As great as he was, it is definitely not a no-brainer that he had a Hall of Fame career. If you look at that 2005 vote, Ron Santo and Gil Hodges each got 65% of the vote. Oliva came in 3rd with 56% of the vote. I guess I have never been under the impression that Oliva was a Hall of Fame player. A great, no doubt, but just not a Hall of Famer. Likewise, Jim Kaat was very good, and his career lasted forever. His numbers for his career are quite good. But is he a Hall of Famer? I don't think so. In reading his book, he doesn't seem to think so either. Again, if Kaat or Oliva make it, I will be thrilled!
Yesterday it came out that Sidney Ponson could not pitch for the Twins in a game until he attains his work visa from Aruba. This makes little sense. When Ramon Ortiz couldn't get his visa from the Dominican Republic, he couldn't travel to the States either. In either case, it's hard to understand why this wouldn't already have been taken care of long ago. It happens every year and I don't understand why.
A pre-emptive congratulations to Dennys Reyes who left the team to be with his wife who is giving birth to their child in Mexico.
In the offseason, Lew Ford has surgery on his left knee. He is now having his right knee examined as he is feeling some pain. As was the case with Jason Kubel, he likely overcompensated and ended up hurting the other knee.
Here is a good article from the Fargo Forum on Darin Erstad and his competition (Brian Anderson/Scott Podsednik) with the White Sox. They forgot to mention Josh Fields and the chance that he could play some LF. A great quote from Erstad is, "I only know one way to play, and Iíve always said when I canít play that way, Iím done. Iím not going to go out there and disrespect the game. ... Thereíve obviously been injury problems, but I still feel like I can do it."
I have a feeling that Chris Coste is really hoping that he can become Cole Hamels' full time catcher!!!
Our sympathies to Rochester Red Wings manager Stan Cliburn, and his brother, pitching coach Stu Cliburn, on the recent death of their father Gene.
One of the Twins prospects that I have been high on the last three years is Luis Maza. He had a really tough year in Rochester in 2006. He just recently signed a deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
IF you have any ideas for topics, any questions for me, or comments, please e-mail me. So, be sure to check back from time to time.. Please leave Comments or follow-up questions that I can take back to Kyle for response. Thank you, and enjoy your day and your weekend!!|
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