Cardinals Prospect Interview: Devin Goodwin

Continuing our 2009 draft interview series, Senior Minor League Writer Dustin Mattison talks with second baseman Devin Goodwin of the Batavia Muckdogs.

One of the St. Louis Cardinals draft strategies in recent years has been to take middle of the diamond players with the thought that the player can always be moved down the defensive spectrum. Plus, more often than not, those shortstops and center fielders are the most athletic players on the field.

The Cardinals continued that trend in the 33rd round of last month's draft when the team chose Devin Goodwin out of Delta State University. A superb athlete, Goodwin started his career on a football scholarship and would walk-on to his school's baseball team. He might have started his college career as a quarterback but he finished as one of the most prolific hitters in the history of Delta State baseball.

Recently, Goodwin was kind enough to take time out of his schedule to answer some questions. He discusses his transition from short to second as well as the uneasiness of waiting for your name to be called on draft day.

Dustin Mattison: What has been your impression of pro ball so far?

Devin Goodwin: The speed of the game is much faster. For me the biggest adjustment has been velocity. In college, I didn't see a lot of low nineties (fastballs) or anything like that. There is an adjustment period for that. At first, I was missing the barrel; my timing was off for a while. I think that I have gotten fewer hits lately but I have been hitting the barrel more.

DM: How do you feel you have handled the transition to second base?

DG: There were some things that I really didn't know how to do but DJ (Batavia manager Mark DeJohn) knows. But, he knows so much he makes you feel like you don't know anything. He has helped me out a lot. I think I am a pretty quick learner. I still have a little trouble every now and then but for the most part I don't think it is going to be too difficult. The throw is backwards but it is shorter.

DM: Your double play partner has been Ryan Jackson. What has it been like to play with a player of Jackson's defensive pedigree?

DG: It has been good. He is really good defensively. It is fun to watch the plays he can make. He makes it look so easy. I don't think things could be any better in our play together.

DM: Take me through draft day. Were expecting the Cardinals to be the team? What other teams were in the mix?

DG: Actually, I was expecting it to be the Mets. I had been told that the Mets were going to draft me on day two but they didn't. After day two, I was told they were going to draft me on day three. I hadn't talked to the Cardinals since about a month before the draft.

I was sitting at the computer waiting for the Mets slot to come up and I heard my named called. Matt Blood, the scout, called and asked me if I was surprised and I told him that I definitely was.

DM: I was surprised that you lasted until the 33rd round. Was that disappointing or is it a relief that the wait was over and you could start playing professional baseball?

DG: It is really easy to slip through the cracks. For a while, I wondered if I would be drafted at all. I was a little disappointed when the Mets told me they were going to draft me on day two and they didn't. But, I was also disappointed that guys I had played with were chosen in the first 10 rounds. Anyone with a competitive edge will tell you confidence is very important in baseball. Confidence is the most important thing in baseball, I think. In the back of my mind, I am thinking they are not that much better than me.

Yeah, I would have liked to have gone higher. But coming from a small school, I feel fortunate I didn't completely slip through the cracks. But truly, all I wanted was that chance to play professional baseball. When I would go to sleep each night, I would ask God for that chance. I just feel really fortunate that I have got the chance to chase my dream.

DM: Give me a scouting report on Devin Goodwin.

DG: Laughing, I guess I am like Dustin Pedroia because neither of us miss the fastball. I can usually at least get a piece of it. I do believe I am a little taller than he is buut he is probably faster than me. I am a contact hitter with a little bit of power.

DM: Tell me about the adjustment in your stance you made during your senior year.

DG: I have always been a crouch hitter and actually, I have gone back to that a little bit here. Depending on what you are facing, you have to adjust. So, after slumping, I started standing a little taller. I got off on an unbelievable hot streak and raised my batting average from like .270 to .420. I know as I move up the ladder, I am going to have to continue to make adjustments.

DM: I know you played against some good competition last summer in the Northwoods League. How did that experience help you prepare for your professional debut?

DG: That experience is probably what prepared me most. In that league, you play every single day. Fortunately, my manager played me every single day. Playing everyday and traveling is what I am doing now. The ballparks in that league are a lot like those in minor league baseball.

The pitchers in that league threw pretty hard. You would see anywhere from 86-96 every night. But most of the time it was right around 90. That is valuable for anyone that is going to play professional baseball.

DM: I know that you are an Alabama native and you were once a QB. How difficult was it to give up the pigskin?

DG: My dad is a high school football coach and every time I watch a high school football game, I get chills. I played on a team that was one of the best I have ever seen in high school football. We were a complete package. I don't miss college football as much. It seemed to be more political.

College baseball wasn't that way for me. I played for a (baseball) coach in college that didn't care if you were a walk-on. If you got the job done, you were going to play. I was a walk-on baseball player on a football scholarship. I was performing so I was in there.

DM: When you are not playing baseball, how do you like to spend your spare time?

DG: If I am not playing baseball, I am usually back home hanging out with my older brother who is about to have a baby boy. My dad is still a football coach and I hang around up at the school with him a lot as well. He has got some good players that have the potential to play Division I football so I try to help them out if I can. One is a quarterback and my brother happens to be the quarterbacks coach. So, if there is any knowledge I can share with him, I happily do it. Everybody deserves to play at the next level and if I can help him out at all, I will do it.

DM: Last question. What should Cardinal fans know about Devin Goodwin?

DG: I am a people person. I am not shy and please don't be afraid to approach and talk to me.

I thank Devin for his time and wish him the best of luck in his career with the Cardinals. subscribers have enjoyed the following as part of our Cardinals 2009 Draft Interview Series:

Tyler Lavigne (50th Round)
Justin Edwards (41st Round)
Matt Adams (23rd Round)
Christian Beatty (26th Round)
Matt Carpenter (13th Round)
Scott Bittle(4th Round)
Robert Stock (2nd Round)
Joe Kelly (3rd Round)

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