Adam Veres: Playing for his Favorite Team

Batavia's Adam Veres talks with Dustin Mattison before the start of the Muckdogs' playoff series with the Lowell Spinners. On Wednesday night, the right-hander pitched his club into the New York-Penn League finals.

St. Petersburg Community College's Adam Veres was selected in the 49th round of the 2008 MLB First-Year Player Draft by the St. Louis Cardinals.  A veteran of the showcase circuit, seldom does a player with such talent and visibility end up signing when selected that far into the draft.  But the Cardinals quickly inked the right-hander to a contract and assigned him to the Appalachian League.


At Johnson City this season, Veres posted a 2-2 record with a 2.38 ERA.  In 22.2 innings, he struck out 32 while walking seven. 


It was then on to Batavia to pitch in the New York– Penn League. Up until Wednesday night, his stay in upper New York was highlighted by six shutout innings on September 5 in a must-win game for the Muckdogs. 


In the deciding game of the first round of the New York-Penn League playoffs Wednesday evening, the 20-year-old pitched the best game of his short professional career.  Matching up against a highly-paid and highly-talented Lowell team, he spun seven innings of one run baseball while striking out seven.  With the win, Veres and his Batavia teammates advance to the NY-Penn League finals.


I caught up with Veres before the start of the series and he was kind enough to talk about his first year in professional baseball as well as his favorite team growing up. 



Dustin Mattison:  Tell me about your first season as a professional.  Has it been what you expected?

Adam Veres: My first professional season has been absolutely what I expected, and even more. This is without a doubt the most exciting part of my life so far. I feel that there are a number of people within the organization that I have to prove myself to, because of where I went in the draft, and I feel that so far I have held my own in my first season. It is very exciting and I think that signing with the Cardinals was the best decision that I could have made.


DM: Tell me about your repertoire. 


AV: I throw a two- and four-seam fastball, a curveball, a slider, and a changeup.


DM: What has been the biggest adjustment that you have faced since turning professional?

AV: I would have to say that the biggest adjustment that I have had to make since turning pro would be just getting used to playing every day. It is a big change from college. Once you get past the first couple of weeks it gets to the point that you don't even think about it.


DM: How exciting has this drive to the playoffs been? 

AV: The drive to the playoffs has been nothing short of a full-time adrenaline rush. Not only because we made the playoffs, but the fact that the race was so close. The standings were changing day to day. I think that the other thing that makes it so exciting is that the team in our division that we were fighting against is the Jamestown Jammers. They are the NY-Penn affiliate of the Florida Marlins. Anyone who knows about the spring training complex in Jupiter knows that the Cardinals and Marlins share the facility. It's almost like a cross-town rivalry. (Author's note: The team the Muckdogs will face in the finals starting Friday is these same Jamestown Jammers.)


DM: Tell me about draft day 2008. Did you think the Cardinals would be the team and what other teams had been in contact with you?

AV: Draft day was tough for me. I thought that I was going to get picked up a lot earlier, but I understand that people always think that. I thought that I had the best chance with the Cardinals. I went to the pre-draft workout in Jupiter and I thought that I had done a decent job. The only other teams that contacted me were the Chicago Cubs, the Milwaukee Brewers, and the Toronto Blue Jays.

DM: What team did you root for growing up? What did you know about the Cardinals before they drafted you?

AV: Probably the biggest coincidence of being drafted by the Cardinals is that their spring training facility is literally less than 10 minutes from my house. I was always a big Cardinals' fan as well as Marlins' fan. I remember watching the home run race between McGwire and Sosa. At spring training the next year, March 20th was declared Mark McGwire Day. I was actually at the game when they declared it. I can't believe that I have a chance to play in my hometown (as a member of the Palm Beach Cardinals), although, I would prefer St. Louis, if you know what I mean.


DM: Have the Cardinals given you any indication in which role, starter or reliever, they see you taking in the future? Do you have a preference?

AV:  I think that the Cardinals like me in a starting role. I have been a starter ever since high school. As far as a preference, I would have to say that I would like to remain in a starting role, however if something did change and there was a need for me to come out of the pen then I certainly wouldn't complain. I'm just going to try and be successful as a starter because that is what I am used to and that is what I like to do.


DM: You played a lot on the showcase circuit while you were in high school.   Has that high level of competition helped you in your transition to the pros?

AV:  I think that when you are in that high level of competition, it teaches you to be a stronger competitor. When you are playing against top talent, it makes you play up to that level. For me, I feel that in situations where there is intense competition, you can do one of two things. You can get beat or you can use the pressure to your advantage and come out on top. I think that playing in such good competition has helped more than I can even say. There is no better feeling than to know you have a chance to beat the best, and then if you win the battle, it is even better.


DM: What do you like to do when you are not playing baseball?

AV:  When I am not playing baseball there are tons of things I like to do. First of all, I have to be around other people. If I am by myself for too long I start to lose it. I like to go golfing whenever I can. Living in Florida you don't have to go very far to find a nice course. I also like fishing. One of my good friends that I played ball with in high school is big into fishing. Their family actually owns a marina in Palm Beach. It is hard to sum up all the things that I like to do in my free time. I guess that I like to do just about anything.


DM: What are your plans for the off-season?

AV: In the off-season I am planning to get a personal training certification so I can get a job in that field. As far as training goes, I am going to follow the off-season program that the Cardinals issue and do the best job I can to get better for the next season. As long as I can get better every year I figure that I'll be in good shape.

DM: What should Cardinal fans know about you that they probably don't already know?

AV:  If there is one thing that the fans probably don't know about me it is that I am an avid guitar player. I love music and if I had to be something other than a big league ball player, I would have to be a rock star. That is, if I had to choose something else.


I thank Adam for taking time out his busy schedule and congratulate him on his fantastic start against Lowell. 



Dustin Mattison can be reached via email at


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