Q&A with Jamar Hill

Bombers' RF Jamar Hill sits down with NYfansonly.com for a Q&A session to give us his thoughts on his year last season, what his goals are for next season, who he compares himself to at the Major League level, and to give us his impressions on which players he has been the most impressed with in the Mets' farm system.

NYF: Jamar, what you have been doing since the season ended?

Jamar Hill: Right now I'm hanging out with my girlfriend in Tennessee. I was down in the Dominican Republic for about three weeks. That was fun. It was cool to see where some of the guys I've been playing with live.

NYF: How do you feel about your season last year?

Hill: It was a bit rough, average wise, and staying consistent all year. But I got hotter at the end of the year and it made it all worthwhile. I think my season could have been improved upon, but it was a good opportunity to show people what I am capable of doing.

NYF: Did you have any sort of specific goals going into last season?

Hill: I realized going into my first year that I could hit for power and I really never was worried about my power after my second year. I figured if I hit well, the power numbers would be there. My goal this past year was to be more of a contact hitter and the power numbers would take care of itself. I did have the goal of 15 home runs last year and the coaches and instructors had the same goal for me.

NYF: What would you say is the strongest part of your game?

Hill: My raw power, definitely. It's really the strongest part of my game. It's tough with the daily grind of playing everyday to keep a decent average. With my power, that's the one thing I worry about the least so that has to be my strongest suit. Playing everyday is all about making adjustments. I try and keep my power to right-center to help keep on pitches more. That's what I did last year in the second half of the season. I hit something like .240 the first half and .313 the second half. What I started doing was committing to my swing more and driving the ball hard.

NYF: Have the Mets given you any indication where you'll be playing next year?

Hill: Not really, but I have my sights set on Binghamton. I just want to be in good enough shape to be in the lineup everyday. I don't want to waste at-bats resting. If I played in St. Lucie though, that wouldn't be bad.

NYF: We were talking about specific goals a moment ago. Do you have any goals for next season?

Hill: You might laugh at me, but I am shooting for 40 homeruns next year! Any time you begin a new league, a new level, I need to feel it out. But I want to get into it to get something done. I want to go right after it! I think my average will be pretty good if I have that mindset. I told the scout that signed me (Steve Levitz) that my goal was to reach the Majors by the time I'm 23-years old. Repeating that level (Kingsport) hurt my timetable. (Steve) will be the first one I'll call when I make it. (laughing) He and I have remained good friends.

NYF: Of all the players in the Mets' system you've been around, who in your opinion has the highest upside?

Hill: Lastings Milledge has the highest ceiling of anyone I've ever played with or against. He can do whatever he wants to do on a baseball field. He makes a lot of stuff happen on the base paths and has unbelievable power. He kind of reminds me of Barry Bonds when he was younger, although right-handed. He can hit for power and has great speed. Although, Lastings has a better arm than Barry and a lot of bat speed. He has so much power, I think it would be wasted batting leadoff.

NYF: Is there anyone else that you would put up there as a high-ceiling guy?

Hill: Ambiorix Concepcion, although I still call him Solano. He's got a real hose in the outfield and can gun anybody down. When we played together at Kingsport he's the one guy I thought would play in the Big Leagues for sure as somebody with a really high ceiling. He's really strong. The players today are so strong, it's hard to compare him to other players.

NYF: You were down at the Instructs this past year. What one player stood out in your mind as somebody to keep an eye on?

Hill: Of the guys that I hadn't seen yet? I'd have to say Mike Carp. He has a great looking swing and some good pop in his bat. Of the little bit I saw of him, he looks really good.

NYF: Okay, switching to the pitchers for a moment, which of the pitchers would you say has the highest upside among the Mets' prospects? I already know the answer but go ahead and tell me.

Hill: (laughing) Yusmeiro Petit, absolutely. It is really hard to see his fastball. When I'm playing out there in the outfield, you wonder how he does it. You think the (opposing) batters are just dumb. It really looks like he's throwing darts out there. It is like his pitches are invisible. I'm not kidding! When he throws the ball, it comes out at you real low like a dart would, like it is not even going to make it to the plate and before you know it the ump is ringing you up. I have had 26 at-bats against him when we were in Kingsport and I got one hit off of him in my last at-bat, and that was because I was guessing.

NYF: A lot of people have told us he resembles Greg Maddux on the mound with his pitching.

Hill: Yeah, I've heard that too and that's the first name that comes to mind when you compare him to a current (Major League) player. But Petit's actually a little different. Guys like Maddux and Glavine make a living off of the plate whereas Petit is all around the plate. It's really amazing.

NYF: Is there another pitcher in the Mets' system that has caught your eye as somebody special?

Hill: I only got to play with him for half a season, but I'd have to say Shane Hawk. He's a competitor and really goes after the hitters. He has a good fastball, around 93 MPH or something like that, and just makes the hitters look stupid.

NYF: Is there a current Major League player you would compare yourself to?

Hill: Numbers-wise, I think I compare to Reggie Sanders. We're pretty much about the same player, except for the injuries. Mookie Wilson was the first one to tell me that. I've also had a few scouts tell me in my earlier playing days that I compared to Jermaine Dye. But I'd have to stick with the Reggies Sanders comparison.

NYfansonly.com would like to thank Jamar Hill for taking the time to answer our questions.

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