Q&A with Ryan Flaherty

Ryan Flaherty played like a first-round draft pick in his professional debut season. The infielder and Cubs first-round supplemental draft pick (41st overall) from Vanderbilt batted .297 with eight home runs and 19 doubles in 56 games for Class Low-A Boise. InsideTheIvy.com chatted with Flaherty days before his Thanksgiving break in the midst of off-season classes at Vanderbilt.

The Cubs said when they drafted you that they were just going to kind of let you alone and let you do your own thing. Is that what happened and was this past year a kind of hands-off approach with you and your swing, etc.?

RYAN FLAHERTY: It was a little of both here and there. I wouldn't necessarily say they let me go, but I think they gave me a little bit of freedom and let me do my thing or whatever. I think the advice of the people and the coaches helped me make the transition from metal to wood and things like that.

A couple of stats that kind of stand out: you really hit the tar out of left-handed pitchers. As a left-handed batter, had you always hit lefties pretty well?

RYAN FLAHERTY: For the most part, yeah. Growing up as a kid, my dad threw left-handed so I was always used to hitting off left-handers in batting practice and what not. I think over the long course of time, I've probably hit left-handers better, but there are always times when you go through little slumps where you're struggling off them.

We'd talked after the draft about your doubles being down at Vanderbilt, but they seemed to shoot up nicely at Boise. How important was it to get back in the groove of finding those gaps on a daily basis?

RYAN FLAHERTY: Yeah, when I hit a lot of doubles, I feel like I'm hitting probably my best. My power numbers have been down before, but my doubles were always pretty consistent. But this year at school, they really were down. I think I got back to hitting to all fields, hitting it to the gaps and I think that helped me out a lot.

Did any of that in college have to do with Pedro (Alvarez) being out and maybe forcing you to adjust your swing and adapt to the lineup in his absence?

RYAN FLAHERTY: I guess you could say that, but I don't necessarily look at it that way. The way the year took its toll, that's just kind of the way it happened. With the year before and me not hitting any home runs and then hitting more, then all of a sudden my doubles [are down]. I think it's just one of those things where one thing was up, one thing was down and that's just the way the season took its course.

Obviously you're a shortstop by default and that was the position you played at Boise. You know that some scouts and coaches have said for a while that they think you might be better off at second or third base. Did the Cubs talk to you at all about your defense and where they see you if it's anywhere different than short?

RYAN FLAHERTY: No. I've talked with the infield rover and the front office and coaches, and they want me to stay at shortstop. That's what I want to do and I just have to work on defensively getting better and offensively, too.

Your errors – would you say they were more throwing or fielding errors?

RYAN FLAHERTY: It was probably a little of both, but there were actually a lot more throwing errors than in the past. It was one of those things where you have a couple of bad weeks and you can rack ‘em up pretty fast. It's just the way it takes its toll. I think the longer you're around the game and the more times you play then the more experience you get and you can cut those errors down as the years go on.

Overall, how do you grade your first season?

RYAN FLAHERTY: You always look back and say, "I wish I could have done that," or "I wish I could have done a little better in this area." But I think overall it was a success just getting into pro ball and learning little things that are different than the college game, and just getting to know the guys in the organization. I think that was the biggest thing. When you're only playing half a season, I think numbers don't always matter that much. But the transition was a good one and I think it was a success.

What are you majoring in again?

RYAN FLAHERTY: I'm majoring in Human Organizational Development. It's like a business program.

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