Q&A with Mets 4th Round Pick Branden Kaupe

With their fourth round pick in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft, the Mets selected shortstop Branden Kaupe out of Baldwin High School in Hawaii. In this exclusive Draft Day Q&A, he talks about his process of being drafted by the organization, who he'd compare his game to at the big league level, if he's looking to sign quickly, and more.

InsidePitchMagazine.com: So, what were your first thoughts on being drafted by the Mets?

Branden Kaupe: I was expecting the Mets, the Orioles, or even the Braves to draft me, but I was really surprised when I got picked up in the fourth round because I was projected to be in the sixth, seventh or eighth rounds. It surprised me and my family, and put a smile on our faces. Being drafted by the Mets, well, I've been following them since Jose Reyes was on the team, and I look up to that guy.

InsidePitchMagazine.com: So Jose is a guy you really feel like you resemble as a player?

Kaupe: He's also a guy that I resemble myself as, because like me he's a switch-hitter, he's fast, and he's a middle infielder. As soon as he left, it bummed me out. [laughs] Shane Victorino is another guy. He's from Maui, like me and I've known him personally. He's not big, just like me but he always gets the job done.

InsidePitchMagazine.com: So how does a guy like Victorino inspire you?

Kaupe: Well, he made it from Hawaii, and not too many guys can say they made it from here. The exposure we get at a young age is slim, and the fact that he can do it out of nowhere, and the fact that I know him, pushes me more to be like him.

InsidePitchMagazine.com: What do you feel are the strengths of your game?

Kaupe: My biggest strength is probably my speed. I can switch hit, so it helps, and I can actually hit for power for my size. And I have a good glove in the infield.

InsidePitchMagazine.com: How have you progressed throughout high school to make it to where you are today?

Kaupe: I grew a lot between my sophomore year and now. Strength-wise, I work hard every day in the gym. I do a lot of running as well. And I've been getting more mature, and learning the game more, because I know that the mental game will take me far as well as the physical part.

InsidePitchMagazine.com: Let's talk about defense. How do you feel you are defensively?

Kaupe: Defensively I'm great. I cover a lot of ground and I pride myself on my glove skills. I'm a second baseman, but I've played shortstop this year because one of our guys got injured this year. I'm open to move if needed, because I've also played some outfield.

InsidePitchMagazine.com: Talk about your time in the outfield.

Kaupe: To make our defense stronger sophomore year, I moved to the outfield. My speed helped the team out there, because I was faster than most of the guys.

InsidePitchMagazine.com: So you're just comfortable playing just about anywhere.

Kaupe: Yeah, I feel like I can be a utility guy if needed.

InsidePitchMagazine.com: What do you feel was your best moment in baseball and why?

Kaupe: In the Hawaii State Playoffs, my sophomore year I hit a triple late in the game. It boosted the morale of the team, because I was one of the younger players at the time. It got us going crazy. The fact that I was so young and was able to come through and make an impact was fun. And I scored on a passed ball that inning, which ended up being the winning run and taking us to the championship game.

InsidePitchMagazine.com: Was there a team that you favored growing up?

Kaupe: I didn't really favor any teams; I just watched the pro game all day. I started watching baseball as a three-year old, and since that age I could watch full baseball games, all alone without anybody bothering me. [laughs].

InsidePitchMagazine.com: Do you feel like you're ready to play immediately?

Kaupe: Oh yeah! I haven't really gotten into contact with anyone just yet, but next week the guys from New York are gonna come to Maui and help me with my contract next week. I can't wait to get started.


Amazin Clubhouse Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nInsidePitchMagazine.com: So, what were your first thoughts on being drafted by the Mets?
\r\n
\r\nBranden Kaupe: I was expecting the Mets, the Orioles, or even the Braves to draft me, but I was really surprised when I got picked up in the fourth round because I was projected to be in the sixth, seventh or eighth rounds. It surprised me and my family, and put a smile on our faces. Being drafted by the Mets, well, I've been following them since Jose Reyes was on the team, and I look up to that guy.
\r\n
\r\nInsidePitchMagazine.com: So Jose is a guy you really feel like you resemble as a player?
\r\n
\r\nKaupe: He's also a guy that I resemble myself as, because like me he's a switch-hitter, he's fast, and he's a middle infielder. As soon as he left, it bummed me out. [laughs] Shane Victorino is another guy. He's from Maui, like me and I've known him personally. He's not big, just like me but he always gets the job done.
\r\n
\r\nInsidePitchMagazine.com: So how does a guy like Victorino inspire you?
\r\n
\r\nKaupe: Well, he made it from Hawaii, and not too many guys can say they made it from here. The exposure we get at a young age is slim, and the fact that he can do it out of nowhere, and the fact that I know him, pushes me more to be like him.
\r\n
\r\nInsidePitchMagazine.com: What do you feel are the strengths of your game?
\r\n
\r\nKaupe: My biggest strength is probably my speed. I can switch hit, so it helps, and I can actually hit for power for my size. And I have a good glove in the infield.
\r\n
\r\nInsidePitchMagazine.com: How have you progressed throughout high school to make it to where you are today?
\r\n
\r\nKaupe: I grew a lot between my sophomore year and now. Strength-wise, I work hard every day in the gym. I do a lot of running as well. And I've been getting more mature, and learning the game more, because I know that the mental game will take me far as well as the physical part.
\r\n
\r\nInsidePitchMagazine.com: Let's talk about defense. How do you feel you are defensively?
\r\n
\r\nKaupe: Defensively I'm great. I cover a lot of ground and I pride myself on my glove skills. I'm a second baseman, but I've played shortstop this year because one of our guys got injured this year. I'm open to move if needed, because I've also played some outfield.
\r\n
\r\nInsidePitchMagazine.com: Talk about your time in the outfield.
\r\n
\r\nKaupe: To make our defense stronger sophomore year, I moved to the outfield. My speed helped the team out there, because I was faster than most of the guys.
\r\n
\r\nInsidePitchMagazine.com: So you're just comfortable playing just about anywhere.
\r\n
\r\nKaupe: Yeah, I feel like I can be a utility guy if needed.
\r\n
\r\nInsidePitchMagazine.com: What do you feel was your best moment in baseball and why?
\r\n
\r\nKaupe: In the Hawaii State Playoffs, my sophomore year I hit a triple late in the game. It boosted the morale of the team, because I was one of the younger players at the time. It got us going crazy. The fact that I was so young and was able to come through and make an impact was fun. And I scored on a passed ball that inning, which ended up being the winning run and taking us to the championship game.
\r\n
\r\nInsidePitchMagazine.com: Was there a team that you favored growing up?
\r\n
\r\nKaupe: I didn't really favor any teams; I just watched the pro game all day. I started watching baseball as a three-year old, and since that age I could watch full baseball games, all alone without anybody bothering me. [laughs].
\r\n
\r\nInsidePitchMagazine.com: Do you feel like you're ready to play immediately?
\r\n
\r\nKaupe: Oh yeah! I haven't really gotten into contact with anyone just yet, but next week the guys from New York are gonna come to Maui and help me with my contract next week. I can't wait to get started.
\r\n
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