Swing of the Quad Cities Report – Week 17

Our exclusive weekly report on the 2007 edition of the Swing of the Quad Cities of the Single-A Midwest League includes an interview with pitcher Clayton Mortensen.

This week, the Swing of the Quad Cities ended a six-game winning streak that included a four-game sweep of the Burlington Bees (Royals). On Tuesday night, South Bend's (D'Backs) Daniel Perales had the entire pitching staff figured out as he took two round trips, six RBIs, and went 4-for-5 on the evening. The team's current record is 22-15 in the second half, a half-game behind Peoria and Beloit.


My player profile this week focuses on Clayton "Morty" Mortensen. The 6'4" 22-year-old was a supplemental first round choice in the 2007 draft. What I've seen of him so far is very impressive. Morty has good velocity and great control from the mound and has adjusted quickly to this level of baseball. Here are the highlights from a recent conversation with the right-hander.


Jon: First of all, welcome to the Quad Cities! This interview is going to be less about your stats and, hopefully, more of a chance to let the readers get to know you as a person. So, to start off, you are very early in the transition from baseball as a game to baseball as a job. How do you balance the fun with the daily grind of the job?


Morty: Man, I just love to play; there's nothing better! But every day I remember that I have to draw a line between work and fun. I have to get the work done first, then I can play and have fun.


Jon: Among Major League players, who do you try to emulate the most in your playing style?


Morty: I try to throw like Chris Carpenter. He has a great heavy sinker, a good slider, and his change-up is great.


Jon: What's the best part of playing baseball at the Class A level?


Morty: It's FUN! It's better baseball. It's more fun.


Jon: What's the worst thing?


Morty: Well, that 16 inning game last week was brutal. The back to back games are rough, too.


Jon: What are you working most to improve in your game this year?


Morty: My fastball location. I need to keep the pitches to the inside of the plate. I'm getting better, but still working on it.


Jon: What are your hobbies when you're not playing baseball?


Morty: I like video games. And I'm a real movie buff; I get to movies as often as I can. And, so I don't sound like I sit around all the time, I like everything outdoors - hiking, camping, stuff like that.

Jon: If you had to give up playing baseball, what would you choose as a career instead of playing?


Morty: Well, it's still baseball, but if I can't play I want to coach. I can't imagine doing anything that isn't baseball.


Jon: What's your best moment in baseball so far?


Morty: That's easy. The day I was drafted was the best. Nothing compares to being told that you're good enough to play.


Jon: Nobody likes to answer this last question, but I make everyone tell me. When do you plan to play your first game in St. Louis?


Morty: Just as soon as they call!


Jon: Thanks again, Morty. Keep your arm strong!


Hitting this week (who's hot): Antone DeJesus is currently on a 10-game hitting streak; a bench mark for the Swing this summer; proving to be the first true lead-off batter the Swing have had this summer.  Steven Hill has 20 RBI's in the last 10 games.


Missing this week (who's not): Jose Ramirez remains too far below .200. In the last 10 games, he lowered his BA. Shaun Garceau is still one of my favorites, but in his last ten starts he is only 3-5 with an ERA of 4.95. I'm giving him time to continue his development.


On the watch list: Daryl Jones has had a couple of good outings this week. He knocked his third home run of the season on Tuesday night and has hit .259 in the last couple of weeks. Kenny Maiques has extended his save count to 24 on the season. He is just two saves short of taking the all-time QC record.



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