Exclusive Interview: Cards OF Luke Gorsett

Straight from his winter league assignment in Nicaragua, St. Louis Cardinals minor league outfielder Luke Gorsett fields questions from our Josh Jones in this exclusive interview.

Luke Gorsett, considered by some to be the "old man" in the 2007 Palm Beach Cardinals outfield at 22-years of age, began his university career at Garden Community College, where he played during the 2004 and 2005 seasons. In 2004, the right-handed hitter posted a .314 average with 15 home runs and 50 RBIs. The next season, he posted a .402 average with 24 home runs (which led the NJCAA) and 71 RBIs. Gorsett also received first-team NJCAA All-American honors along with regional and conference Player of the Year honors.

After his 2005 season, Gorsett transferred to the University of Nebraska to continue his baseball career. In 2006, Luke posted a .348 average with 15 home runs, 14 doubles, and 48 RBIs, helping to lead Nebraska into the NCAA playoffs. The 6-foot-1, 195 pounder's season ended early due to back spasms, but he still received first-team All-Big 12 recognition and was also a finalist for the Dick Howser Trophy and Brooks Wallace Award. That same season, the outfielder was named the outstanding player in the Dairy Queen Classic and all-tournament team member.

Luke reached base 52 out of the 56 games in which he played. Gorsett became the first Nebraska player since 1995 to hit for the cycle when he accomplished the feat vs. Notre Dame on March 3, 2006. Cardinals Vice President of Amateur Scouting and Player Development Jeff Luhnow was scouting him that day and came away quite impressed.

In the June, 2006 First-Year Player Draft, the Colorado native was taken by the Cardinals in the seventh round (226th pick overall) and was assigned to start his career with State College of the short-season class-A New York-Penn League. There, he had a slow start, posting a .211 average with two home runs, two doubles and five RBIs in 24 games.

This past year, Luke began with the Swing of the Quad Cities and posted a .286 average with four home runs, 21 doubles, two triples, and 18 RBIs in 77 games. He helped lead Quad Cities to a 40-30 record and soon was called up to Palm Beach. In the Florida State League, Gorsett posted a .310 average with five home runs, 12 doubles, two triples and 33 RBIs while contributing to a 35-35 club record in the second half.

In winter ball, Gorsett is currently hitting .219 with three doubles, two home runs and ten RBIs and seems to be enjoying his time in Nicaragua. Recently, he agreed to respond to a series of 32 questions submitted via email and answered every one. We hope you enjoy the interview.

What do you do when you are not playing baseball?

I enjoy reading the Bible or any other Christian books, playing ping pong, listening to music, and hanging out with my fiance Heather and friends.

What has being a Cornhusker alumnus meant to you?

It means a lot. I know that I represent the school and that a lot of my success has been because of the Nebraska program on and off the field.

Did playing for Nebraska help your transition into the Minor League system?

I think that Nebraska did as good as anybody could do to prepare me for the Minor Leagues.

Do you still keep track of Nebraska sports?

I do; baseball and the football team. Kind of a down year for the football team.

What has been the hardest adjustment to make in the Minors from college/high school?

The hardest adjustment was going from metal bat to wood.

How does it feel to see a former Nebraska teammate like Joba Chamberlain making it to the big leagues? Does it bring you a certain hope, excitement, drive that one day you could do the same thing?

It's kind of surreal when you see a former teammate make it to the big leagues. It makes it seem like you're not that far away.

Do you keep in contact with any of your former teammates from Nebraska?

Yes, I've made some life-long friends from that team. Brandon Buckman, who is in the Cardinals organization, was my roommate at Nebraska and we also went to Garden City Community College together.

Did you get to play in the NCAA baseball tournament?

No, I had an injury at the end of the 2006 season that kept me from playing.

What has been your career highlight on the baseball field? Is it still the game where you hit for the cycle vs. Notre Dame in 2006?

It is that game because Jeff Luhnow, the farm director for the Cardinals, was at that game and told me that it caught his eye.

How do they choose who gets to go to winter league play? Did you get a choice to go?

The farm director chooses who he would like to see play winter ball. If he asks, you don't have to go, but it is of your best interest to do whatever the farm director wants of you.

What's the weather like in Nicaragua right now? Do you get to go out and tour any?

It's around 90 degrees every day. We go to the grocery store every now and then and to some restaurants but that's about it.

What are the fans like in Nicaragua? Any they different than in the U.S.?

The fans are crazy. We average eight to ten thousand a game. It reminds me of a Nebraska football game. We have a large band that plays and sings songs throughout the entire game. The energy is unbelievable.

Did you or your family have concerns about you going to Nicaragua?

I started thinking about my fiancé and how we had just been apart for the whole season. She is very supportive and wanted me to go.

Do you enjoy playing in the Nicaraguan League? And would you consider playing in any future fall/winter leagues?

The thing I like about winter ball is instead of working some part-time job, you get to play baseball. I like to play baseball year-round so six months off isn't very appealing to me. I also hate being rusty. This way I never get away from the game for too long.

Have you met Dennis Martinez and if so, what did he say about the country and the baseball played there?

I met Dennis in the States but not down here.

What are you looking at improving on while in the Nicaraguan League?

I would like to hit with more power but I didn't know that the wind was going to blow in every day. The ball parks are huge and the balls are soft and don't carry. So, I'll work on something else like my outfielding. I should get good at hitting breaking balls because that is all they throw down here.

Is it exciting to be a part of the top team currently in the Nicaraguan League?

We should win the League. From what I've seen, we have the best team.

I noticed you are second in the league in RBIs. Do you plan to take the RBI title?

That would be nice!

Are you getting a lot of playing time? Are you the starting right fielder?

I'm actually playing all three positions right now, mainly left field.

Do you still keep track of what is going on in the Majors while you are in the off-season or in winter league play?

Yeah, we watched the World Series and I was sad to see my Rockies fall to the Red Sox.

I read in an interview you did before the season that you are a Rockies fan. Are you still a Rockies fan? How excited were you to see them in the World Series?

It was awesome. Heather and I drove to Denver to watch the one-game playoff with San Diego before I came out here.

Have you met Jeff Luhnow and John Mozeliak? If so, what are they like?

I've met Jeff. He seems very baseball smart and I like how he runs things.

I also read in a past interview that you want to make it to the majors in two years. Do you still stick by that?

We'll see, that sounds like a rookie statement for sure.

How do you feel about the GM shift from Walt Jocketty to John Mozeliak? Does it affect you in any way?

I'm not sure. If Mozeliak likes building his team from his farm system, then it will affect me.

Are you looking forward to getting a call to play to Springfield next year with the amount of space that is about to open on the roster from players being moved up to Memphis?

I would love to start the season in Springfield.

How do you feel about the glut of outfielders in the upper levels of the Cardinals system?

I try not to think about it and just focus on playing well.

How excited were you to be drafted by the Cardinals? Did you at all expect to be drafted higher or lower in the draft?

I really like the way the Cardinals system is run and I was more then happy to go in the seventh round.

What's it like to be able to play with one of your teammates (Brandon Buckman) from Nebraska all the way up through the minor league system?

It's really great to have a close friend on the team and I feel very lucky for that.

What teammates have you enjoyed playing with while coming up in the Minor Leagues or currently in the Nicaraguan League?

Brandon Buckman, Jared Schweitzer, Jim Rapoport, Nate Southard, Allen Craig, Daryl Jones, Christian Reyes, Isa Garcia, Adam Fox with the Rangers and many more.

What is your goal for in 2008?

My goal for 2008 is to hit over 20 home runs.

What player do you think your game is most similar to?

Larry Walker.

Who is or was your favorite player?

Matt Holliday, because he's great and a strong Christian.

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