Q & A: OF Josh Ellison

InsidethePark.com caught up with Josh Ellison after a recent Everett AquaSox game. An 11th round draft choice by Seattle in 2001, the 20-year-old talked about getting the team on a winning track, developing as a player and being a leadoff hitter. Read more in this InsidethePark.com exclusive.

Josh Ellison is in his third year of pro-ball with the Seattle Mariners organization. The 5-10, 208-pound outfielder out of West Palm Beach, Fla. is quietly having a solid season. We at InsidethePark.com figured it was about time someone gave him some ink.

Ellison's stats through August 4:
111 AB, .288 AVG, 2 HR, 16 RBI, 9 SB

InsidethePark.com: You had a few hits tonight. It seems like you've made a nice transition from rookie ball in Peoria over the last two years to Low-A ball in Everett.

Josh Ellison: As an individual I can't complain but as I team I just wish we could get the team rollin' and get everyone together. We need to finish well. People don't remember how you start, they remember how you finish.

ITP.com: In minor league baseball, fans often care more about personal performances than wins and losses. You seem to be a real team player who takes winning very seriously. Is that the case?

JE: Yes. I have to, I'm a leadoff man. It's my job to set the table, and if I don't do that you won't see me leading off for long. If I'm setting the table, I'm counting on the guys to pick me up and drive me home.

ITP.com: How have you progressed as a player over your three-year professional career?

JE: My first year, I was basically what you would call a player. Last year, I learned how to become a baseball player. That includes all the little things - what it takes to be a leadoff guy, knowing the game, thinking ahead, slowing the game down in my mind and preparing myself before I come to the stadium every day.

ITP.com You have the unique opportunity to play for a manager in Pedro Grifol who scouted and signed you out of high school. Does that mean anything extra?

JE: That's all good and dandy that he signed me, but there is a job out here to be done. Only the best nine guys play on the field each day. I don't really look too much into the fact that he signed me. I look at it like he's out here to help me and I'm out here to help him.

ITP.com What major leaguer would you compare yourself to on the diamond?

JE: I like Luis Castillo and Rafael Furcal. If I had to compare my body style and my playing style, I'd think of myself being like those two.

ITP.com You've increased your stolen base total each year as a pro and currently are at nine on the season. How have you improved to become a better base stealer?

JE: It's not so much my instincts. I'm getting more and more comfortable once I get on first base. I'm getting a feel for what the catcher is calling, getting a good jump and going. I no longer feel like a sitting duck on first base. I'm just trying to get in scoring position and help the team any way I can.

ITP.com: What are your goals for the final month of the 2003 season?

JE Right now, as we finish out the year, a few things come to mind. As an individual I want to finish strong. As a team player, I want to get my team on a winning streak, some how, some way. Let's just see if we can pull out a winning streak of five. What I want the team to realize is that it's not how you start it's how you finish. The thing that is fresh in the manager's mind at the end of the season is what you did last.

ITP.com What is it like to be out on the field in front of thousands of fans?

JE: I played in front of a lot of fans in high school, and to me once I walk out of that clubhouse to the field I'm in a zone. I hear the fans speaking to me, but I'm just in a zone where I think of one thing as a leadoff man - the first at bat. And 99 times out of 100, I've already thought about the whole game before I get out to the field. Preparation is big. It's easy to fall and not get back up. But this game is all about consistency and how well you can adapt to situations.

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