This week I interviewed Rangers pitcher Blake Beavan and I would like to thank him for giving up some of his time to do the interview. I met Blake at the Newberg Bound Edition release party in December and have spoken to him a few times since then. Blake is always a very friendly guy and always remembers me.
1. What was it like pitching in Cuba for Team USA?
Blake said that it was a good experience. He was proud to pitch for his country and felt that he was not only representing the USA but also his family and all of the coaches that got him to where he is. Blake mentioned that his parents gave him everything he needed and raised him right. He also said that God is responsible for where he is and has blessed him with ability and health. He said that the experience is something ‘I’ll always keep in my heart and never forget.’
2. What was the best part of your first camp?
‘Pitching against pro ball hitters.’ He really enjoyed facing Jarrod Saltalamacchia so he could see how his stuff sizes up to someone in the big leagues.
3. What was the biggest surprise of your first pro camp?
The work. He was surprised by how much work it takes to be a pro athlete and what it takes to keep his body in shape. There’s lots of running. He also said that it’s real fun to watch to other guys play and see how much talent they have.
4. Can you please describe a typical day in camp?
6:30-7 – Wake up and get ready
8 – get to camp, eat, dress, and talk and hang out with the guys
9 – stretch, break into groups by position, drills, throwing
After that, do conditioning (running). He said he usually runs a mile a day.
Get ready for the game if pitching
5. Is there anything specific you’ve been working on in spring training and if so what is it?
Blake said that he was working on his mound presence and being professional on the mound. He wants to have good body language. He mentioned that he needs to mature faster than most 18-19 year olds. He’s also working on a change-up.
6. What was the key to your success with the Dallas Tigers in 2006 when you went 9-1 with a 1.71 ERA?
He said that a lot of it had to do with the team. The guys around him kept his ERA down. He said that he had good defense behind him and can’t take credit for the wins. ‘The guys really backed me up.’ He also said that staying healthy and throwing strikes was a key. He feels that throwing strikes and keeping the ball low are the keys to baseball.
7. During your freshman year, when you had a 1.76 ERA and 88 strikeouts, but only one win, was it frustrating that your team averaged 5 errors per game?
Blake admitted that it was frustrating but he was only 16 years old playing with 18-19 year olds. They tried to work as a team to get better and they got closer and bonded as a team. He said that we need to remember that high schoolers are still kids learning the game. He learned that when there are errors behind him he has to keep his rhythm and not let it impact his performance.
8. What led to your decision to not sign with the Rangers until late last summer? Do you wish you had signed in time to pitch last season?
Blake has no regrets for signing when he did. He agent was still negotiating. He signed later than people wanted but ‘I’m here and that’s what matters’.
9. What’s the worst injury you’ve ever had to deal with?
He had to think about it but then said it was when he got hit in the ankle in the prospects game last month. He got the next few outs but it swelled up. It wasn’t broken but it was hard to pitch through it and he had to sit out a few days. He had to remind himself that it was just spring training and not get too frustrated.
10. Were you hoping to play for your hometown team or were you indifferent?
‘I was definitely hoping to play for my hometown team. I’ve dreamed about it since I was a kid.’ He said that he wrote his dad a card when he was around 9 telling him that he was going to play for the Rangers and that, thanks to God, it’s happening.
11. Who are the three toughest hitters you’ve faced and why?
- Jarrod Saltalamacchia – he’s a big leaguer, a lefty and he’s strong
- John Mayberry – he’s a challenging hitter, and is big and strong with lots of pop
- ‘The guy that drilled it off my ankle.’ He couldn’t remember his name but said that it was a Bakersfield player.
12. Who are your three favorite teammates since you joined the Rangers organization and why?
- Tommy Hunter – Blake said that Tommy is like a big brother to him. ‘He takes up for me and always has my back.’
- Evan Reed
Blake said that Tommy and Evan are good influences because they don’t go out a lot and don’t drink. They just like to hang out and talk.
He also mentioned Mitch Moreland.
13. What sports did you play growing up and which were you best at?
Blake played football, basketball, and baseball but baseball was his ‘first love’.
14. What was your favorite team growing up and why?
The Texas Rangers. He grew up watching Nolan Ryan, John Wetteland, Dean Palmer, Juan Gonzalez, and Rafael Palmeiro. He was always raised to be a local team fan.
15. What are your hobbies?
‘Lots of golf,’ video games, movies, and eating.
I would like to thank Blake again for doing this interview. I was really impressed with Blake’s answers and how much credit he gives to God for his success.
Results of last week’s poll:
Who do you think is most likely to win the World Series out of my playoff teams?
Cleveland – 30%
Arizona – 23%
Chicago Cubs – 15%
Boston – 7%
Detroit – 7%
LA Angels – 7%
LA Dodgers – 7%
New York Mets – 0%
Come back next week for the next part of the Tom Grieve trade analysis.