St. Louis Cardinals drafted Joey Hage in the 23rd round of the 2007
MLB First-Year Player Draft. A graduate of
organization kept him close to home in his first
professional assignment, going to the Gulf Coast League. Home cooking agreed
with Hage as he hit .393/.452/.714 in seven games. The outfielder was then moved
participating in extended spring training in 2008, Hage appeared in one game in
the Gulf Coast League before returning to
A son of a ballplayer, Joey's father was a New York Yankees farmhand for a couple of seasons in the late seventies.
After his first full season as a professional, Joey took time to discuss growing up with baseball as his main focus.
Dustin Mattison: How do you think your game has progressed from your first season of pro ball?
Hage: I feel that my game has progressed a lot since my first year, not only
physically but mentally, as well. I've learned not only by playing the game but
by watching it when I was not in the game.
DM: What is the biggest strength of your game?
biggest strength is my hitting.
Since I was a kid, I was very fortunate to have a batting cage in my
backyard. My dad and I hit almost everyday. On the days my dad couldn't throw to me,
I either set the machine up or hit off the tee.
DM: What part of your game do you feel that you need to improve upon to keep working your way up the organizational ladder?
need to work on my speed. I get very good jumps on the ball and I can read
pitchers, so I feel if I can improve my overall speed that it will help my game
DM: You played a lot on the showcase circuit while you were in high school. What is life like on that circuit? How did playing against that type of competition help you adjust to playing pro ball?
loved traveling from town to town playing in all the showcases and tournaments.
I owe a lot to them. Playing in the showcases lets you test your skills against
some of the best players in the world. I've noticed that a lot of friends that I
have made from the showcases are now also in pro ball now.
DM: If you weren't playing baseball, what would you be doing?
JH: To tell you the truth, baseball is my
life. I have to be around the game. If I weren't playing, I would either be
teaching or coaching it.
DM: Did you hang out with on your
The thing about our team is that everyone became really good friends. We all
hung out together. We didn't really have too much time to ourselves because we
were always on the field but on our down time we would either relax by the lake
or go to the movies.
DM: How do you like eastern
have lived in
DM: What team did you root for growing up? What did you know about the Cardinals when you were drafted?
a kid I grew up a Yankees fan. My Dad played for them in the seventies and he
DM: Was there a player that you modeled your game after when you were growing up? Is there a current player that you would compare your game to?
JH: I have been told I play like Alfonso Soriano. He is an all-around player and a gamer. He's not the fastest guy out there but he goes and gets the ball. Also, his power developed over time and I feel, as I get older, my power will come, as well.
DM: Who is the toughest pitcher you have had to face?
During spring training I was lucky enough to face three of the best pitchers in
Major League Baseball; Chris Carpenter, Jason Isringhausen, and Mark Mulder.
There is no doubt that they are the toughest guys that I've had to face. I went
4-for-5 against them and my Dad was able to see it, so I will never forget that
DM: What are you doing this off-season?
This off-season I am giving it my all. Next year, I'm going to take my game to a
whole new level. I am training five days a week: lifting, running, and swimming.
I want to come out next year bigger, stronger, and faster. My goal next year is
to make a full season team, so I am going to do all I can to better myself for
DM: If you didn't know it already, but there are thousands of Cardinal minor league fans that follow the organization very closely. What should these fans know about you that they might not already know?
JH: I have dedicated my whole life to baseball; it's what I love to do. But when I'm not playing baseball I enjoy all other sports: fishing, ping pong, racquetball, anything that keeps me moving.
Dustin Mattison can be reached via email at email@example.com.
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