This week, I interviewed Rangers infielder Travis Metcalf.
1. What were you more proud of, getting the career Kansas home run record, or being ranked the top defensive third baseman in the Big 12 by Baseball America and why?
Top defensive 3rd baseman. I have always prided myself on my defense so when I got the award I really felt satisfied that my hard work paid off.
2. How difficult was the recovery from your knee injury in 2002? Can you describe the recovery process?
Very tough! I was told that it would be a 6 month recovery, and I actually got done in 5 months. However all the rehab and hours strengthening my knee were horrible.
3. Why didn’t you sign with the Twins when they drafted you in 2003?
It was more of a "Didn't feel right" type of thing. My scout with the Twins did a great job; however they never really got back to me in time before school started about how I was going to fit in or the money situation, so I just didn't feel right leaving school at the time.
4. In 2005, when you struggled in April, were you still glad to be in Bakersfield or did you wish you hadn’t skipped Clinton?
No, never. I knew I was ready to be at that level. I was just getting situated with a different swing. I have always been trying to tweak my swing to adjust to the levels of pitching.
5. What went through your mind when you won the Rangers Minor League Player of the Year Award?
It was a CRAZY feeling. I knew I had a good year. However so did Jason Botts that year. So when I got the phone call I was so happy and appreciative that the Rangers selected me.
6. Can you describe the day that you were called up to the majors for the first time last season? That was another Crazy day. That feeling is indescribable. It was something that I waited my whole life for, and when it actually happened I didn't know how to react. I was overwhelmed!
7. What is the biggest adjustment you had to make when you started facing major-league pitchers?
Being more selective. I know I can hit. The biggest adjustment was being selective and trying not to get myself out, instead make the pitcher get me out.
8. Is there anything specific you’ve been working on in the off-season and, if so, what is it?
- Just getting my strength back so i can stay healthy. Also just working with Rudy on my timing in my swing.
9. What do you think has been your best professional game and why?
It was a game against Seattle at home, when I went 4-for-4. I was having a tough time pulling the ball. During that game I got 3 pull hits, and still went opposite field for 1. I felt like I could hit anything.
10. Who are the three toughest pitchers you’ve faced and why?
Eric Bedard, Brad Lidge, K Rod. Same answer. Because they made me look stupid!!
11. Who are your three favorite teammates since you joined the Rangers organization and why?
That’s tough because, since I haven’t spent much time in the major leagues, I'm split between the two. Kevin Mahar, Brandon Boggs, and many guys that I spent time with coming up and in Frisco are really good friends of mine. Marlon Byrd, Frank Cattalanotto, Brandon McCarthy, Kam Loe, and Kinsler have all been huge helps when I got called up.
12. What is the toughest thing about major league life and why?
Just keeping up with it. Getting to the big leagues has been a challenge. However staying there is the toughest part. That's what I'm trying to do now!
13. What was your favorite team growing up and why?
Kansas City Royals. I lived close and they were my favorite team.
14. What sports did you play growing up and which were you best at?
I played football, basketball, and baseball. I would like to think I was best at baseball.
15. What are your hobbies?
I'm a huge movie critic so I love watching movies. Anything outdoors, I love the lake. Also playing with my new puppy, an English bulldog named "Diesel".
I would like to thank Travis for giving so much of his time to do this interview. He agreed to do the interview when I saw him at the Rangers Fan Fest and it was very nice of him to contact me afterwards and follow up.
Also, this week the Rangers acquired OF Michael Hernandez from the Detroit Tigers in exchange for RHP Armando Galarraga.
Michael got drafted three times without signing, and then in 2005, when he needed to be drafted, he didn’t get drafted. Michael got signed by the Tigers before the 2006 baseball season started. That year Michael hit for the cycle twice. Last year in high-A he hit .260 and in double-A e hit .250. Michael could do well, but he doesn’t have that much potential.
Since 2006, Galarraga has gone from the rookie league to the majors in the Rangers organization, only skipping regular-A. Last year in Frisco, he went 9-6 with a 4.02 ERA in 127.2 innings pitched. In Oklahoma City, he went 2-2 with a 4.74 ERA in 24.2 innings and went 0-0 with a 6.23 ERA in 8.2 major league innings pitched. Galarraga still has an option, so I don’t know why we DFA’d him instead of Robinson Tejeda.
Michael has a chance at becoming a good major leaguer, but probably won’t. Galarraga may not do much either, but has a better chance of having a major league impact than Michael. Even though Armando was DFA’d I think they could have gotten more for him and possibly should have DFA’d someone who had no options remaining and was unlikely to make the team out of spring training.
This weekend my dad and I went to Ticketstock at the Plano Centre. It was a lot of fun like always. The highlight was getting an autograph from Nolan Ryan. We got there at 5:15am and waited outside for almost 6 hours for them to hand out autograph tickets. We were numbers 376 and 377 out of 500. I got to meet Nolan for the first time and tell him that I was named after him (my middle name). I also got autographs from CJ Wilson, Tank Johnson, Leon Lett, Philippe Boucher, Marty Turco, and Brenden Morrow. I also got to talk to some of the people who work at the Ticket like Mike Rhyner (who said he reads my blog), Craig Miller, and Gordon Keith.
Results of last week’s poll:
Who do you think will be the Rangers starting catcher in 2010?
Taylor Teagarden – 54%
Jarrod Saltalamacchia – 34%
Gerald Laird – 6%
Other – 4%
Max Ramirez – 2%
Kevin Richardson – 0%
Come back next week for a Spring Training Pitchers Analysis.