Q&A with Chase Lambin

Binghamton Mets' second baseman Chase Lambin sat down with Nyfansonly.com to talk about his transition to second base, his fielding, his hitting, and what it's like being a Texan in Binghamton. <b>(Free Preview of Premium Content)</b>

NYF: As a Texan how do you feel about Binghamton weather?

Lambin: I'm not as negative as some people around here. I think its…..

NYF: It's alright. You can say it sucks.

Lambin: Either you're in Houston in 100 degrees or you're here in the rain. No place is nice all the time unless you're in San Diego.

NYF: I went to the All Star Game in Texas back in 1995 and I couldn't imagine how anybody could play in that kind of weather for an entire summer.

Lambin: I played 80 games a year there in High School. When you grow up there you get used to it. You grow up sweating. When you wake up and it's already 90 degrees you are prepared to sweat all day. But I'd rather sweat then freeze for sure.

NYF: Now that Bacani has been promoted to AAA, do you expect to get more playing time at second base as oppose to being a DH or sitting on the bench?

Lambin: Wherever they want me to play, I'll play. As long as I'm playing I don't care where it is and since it's not up to me if I play or not I don't really worry about it. They may even bring up somebody from A ball so I don't get too concerned. I just try and do my job.

NYF: You have been a shortstop most of your life. What was it like making the change to second base?

Lambin: Well first they moved me to third and that what I played most when I was in A ball.

NYF: Why did you leave third?

Lambin: The organization was big on this guy named David Wright. I don't know what ever happened to him. Seriously though, David Wright and Baldiris were both hot prospects so the moved me back to short.

NYF: A lot of people say that Matsui should move from short to second but you say its just not that simple. How were you able to make the transition?

Lambin: At first I just went off athleticism. Then after working with the instructors that we have, guys like Fonzie and Chico, my footwork got a lot better. They know so much about it. They know which direction to move your body towards and all the right footwork. Things I certainly never knew about.

NYF: How difficult is it to make the double play when you are on the other side of the bag?

Lambin: Yeah, everything is backwards. You have to completely change. Everything from short is to your left ad from second everything is towards your right so you got to adjust your feet.

NYF: What about throwing the ball? Is there a big difference from second to short?

Lambin: From short there are only two things you can do. You can either flip it or throw it. From second there is the flip, the shovel, underhand, throwing after you pivot, throwing while in the air, throwing after a 360. There are four or five different ways to just feed the shortstop.

NYF: What about fielding a throw from the catcher?

Lambin: That's pretty much the same. It's just catching and slapping down the tag. The big difference is when you turn a double play. As a short stop you come across the bag and handle the throw from the second baseman. As a second baseman you can go across the bag, behind the bag, on the side of the bag, on top of the bag. There are all different ways to do it.

NYF: How did you master it?

Lambin: Repetition, Repetition, Repetition. I've always been able to transfer well so all I had to was work on my footwork.

NYF: When you first made the move, did you find yourself breaking the wrong way on groundballs?

Lambin: The field looked a little backwards at first, but a groundball is a groundball and since you have more time than you would at short, your focus becomes knocking it down and making a good throw. When it comes to bunting I think I only forgot to cover first one time. Usually I'm pretty good about knowing where to move on groundballs and bunts. If you don't cover or if you get a late break everybody will be safe so you have to work hard to remember where to move.

NYF: If you had your choice what position would you play?

Lambin: Probably shortstop because I played there since I was a kid. I like the middle infield because it's right in the middle of all the action. Playing third is fun too but you get beat up a lot over there.

NYF: When did you become a switch hitter?

Lambin: I became a switch hitter when I was 13 but I didn't get a hit from my weak side until I was 16. My dad kept on me. I wanted to quit so bad. I was pathetic but my dad made me work hard at it. I had no natural ability. It was a long battle. I stuck with but even now I question whether or not I should keep up with it.

NYF: Have any of your coaches ever suggested that you give up switch hitting?

Lambin: Maybe when I was 15 because I wasn't getting any hits but since I've gotten to pro-ball no one has questioned it.

NYF: How beneficial is it for you to hit in the middle of the lineup behind guys like Pagan and Huber?

Lambin: It's great. I pride myself on hitting with runners on base. I thrive off driving runners in and you certainly have more chances to do that when your batting in the middle of the lineup.

NYF: They say the biggest jump is from A to AA. This is your first year in AA. Have you noticed a tremendous difference?

Lambin: I think the hardest thing is putting together a good season in A ball. A season that shows you are ready for AA. Once you do that your confidence goes up and then the hardest part is over. I mean the guys who got you out last year are going to be the guys in AA this year. Everybody is a little more consistent and a little more sharp. So as a hitter you just have to make adjustments but I never felt overmatched. It was just a matter of getting my feet wet.

NYF: When I talked to the pitchers they say the biggest difference from A to AA is that hitters are much more patient. They don't swing at bad pitches. Obviously pitchers are making adjustments to compensate for that.

Lambin: Well it's the same way for us. Pitchers at this level don't make many mistakes. You may get one pitch per at bat to swing at and if you foul it off, well that could be it. If the pitcher makes his pitches there is nothing you can do about it. You just have to tip your hat. At this level the pitchers have better control, better velocity. They have a real good idea of what they are doing. They're not just throwing the ball at you anymore. They know you as a hitter and they have a plan on how they are going to get you out. They know what your weaknesses are and if you cannot adjust as a hitter then you are just going to keep struggling.

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