Q&A with Cyclones' SS Jonathan Malo

Brooklyn Cyclones' SS Jonathan Malo sits down with InsidePitchMagazine.com for a Q&A session to talk about what it is like playing in Brooklyn in his first year of pro baseball, what he feels he needs to work on the most, and more.

InsidePitchMagazine.com: This is technically your first taste of regular season baseball at the professional level. What has it been like playing for the Cyclones so far in the early going?

Malo: I had heard so many things about Brooklyn, with the fans and everything. And now I see it. The place is packed everyday. This the first time I have ever played in front of so many fans. I couldn't have asked for a better place to play my first season of professional baseball.

Inside Pitch: What was Extended Spring Training like for you? Was there anything specific you were working on down there?

Malo: I was just trying to elevate my game down there on every level. Minor league baseball is way different than college [baseball]. The game is just faster at the professional level. Actually, everything is faster. The pitching, the runners, everything. The pitchers are so much better. I was just working on that, getting better in everything. I needed to get the experience to help slow the game down.

Inside Pitch: You've been batting leadoff all season for the Cyclones. Is that a position in the lineup that you're comfortable with?

Malo: In college and junior college I batted mostly third [in the lineup]. I like batting first or second though. My job is to get on base. I just get on base anyway I can, whether that's by drawing a walk or whatever. Batting first, I need to bunt a lot and make things happen. Since I haven't done it too much, there are a lot of things I need to work on, like my bunting and my speed.

Inside Pitch: Well, as the starting shortstop and now batting leadoff, you're in a position that is traditionally held for speedy players. Do you consider yourself that prototypical middle infielder?

Malo: (Laughing) No, not really. I'm not that fast. I've got average speed. I need to learn how to read the pitchers better so I can steal more bases. I'm not really the type of guy that's going to steal 40 or 50 bases a year. I've got to find a way to get quicker though. As I mentioned, I just need to improve all aspects of my game and that's one of them.

Inside Pitch: Actually, with you and Armand Gaerlan playing the middle infield for the Cyclones, neither of you are what most fans would call the "typical" middle infield type. Neither of you possesses the blazing speed associated with a middle infielder but yet both of you are willing to take a walk and both of you make good contact. What's it like playing with Gaerlan in the middle infield on this Cyclones' team?

Malo: Yeah, we're actually the same type of player. We're both good defensive players and we make things happen, batting first and second in the lineup. We don't strike out too much. We both put the ball in play and that's what we're trying to do.

Inside Pitch: When we spoke last in Spring Training, you mentioned you were a Nomar Garciaparra type of player. It seems that still holds true, to a degree.

Malo: (Laughing) Yeah, ever since that interview came out all of my friends have been giving me a hard time. Every time they see me, they're like: "Hey Nomar, what's up?". You know, stuff like that. But Nomar's hurt now, so you know.
<
Inside Pitch: I know the standard answer to say everything. But what's the one thing you think you need to improve on the most while you're playing with the Cyclones this season?

Malo: I've always wanted to get faster. But you come to a certain point where you know you can't be perfect. I know I can't be a sprinter or anything. But the one thing I want to work on is my consistency, with everything. Hitting-wise I just want to be as consistent as possible. Defensively, I want to be consistent as well. I've been working on being more consistent with my bat.

Inside Pitch: I know it is real early in the season, but who's the one guy that has impressed you the most so far on this Cyclones' team?

Malo: We have a bunch of new guys on this team so it is a little early to pick a guy. It is kind of hard to say. Josh Petersen is a guy that always seems to hit the ball hard. Jonel Pacheco is guy that didn't start the first few games but has been hitting the ball real well since he started playing. We've got so many good players here that it is really hard to tell.

Inside Pitch: Okay, since it might not be fair to ask that question so early in the season, let's turn the question around to a team level. Did you expect this team to come out like it has and be as good as you guys have played and compete for the NY-Penn League title?

Malo: Even watching the players we had before we started the season, I knew we were going to have a pretty good team, especially with all the new guys we got from the draft this year. I knew we were going to be good and battling for first place this year. That's where we are right now, in first place.

Amazin Clubhouse Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\n\r\nInsidePitchMagazine.com: This is technically your first taste of regular season baseball at the professional level. What has it been like playing for the Cyclones so far in the early going?
\r\n
\r\nMalo: I had heard so many things about Brooklyn, with the fans and everything. And now I see it. The place is packed everyday. This the first time I have ever played in front of so many fans. I couldn't have asked for a better place to play my first season of professional baseball.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: What was Extended Spring Training like for you? Was there anything specific you were working on down there?
\r\n
\r\nMalo: I was just trying to elevate my game down there on every level. Minor league baseball is way different than college [baseball]. The game is just faster at the professional level. Actually, everything is faster. The pitching, the runners, everything. The pitchers are so much better. I was just working on that, getting better in everything. I needed to get the experience to help slow the game down.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: You've been batting leadoff all season for the Cyclones. Is that a position in the lineup that you're comfortable with?
\r\n
\r\nMalo: In college and junior college I batted mostly third [in the lineup]. I like batting first or second though. My job is to get on base. I just get on base anyway I can, whether that's by drawing a walk or whatever. Batting first, I need to bunt a lot and make things happen. Since I haven't done it too much, there are a lot of things I need to work on, like my bunting and my speed.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: Well, as the starting shortstop and now batting leadoff, you're in a position that is traditionally held for speedy players. Do you consider yourself that prototypical middle infielder?
\r\n
\r\nMalo: (Laughing) No, not really. I'm not that fast. I've got average speed. I need to learn how to read the pitchers better so I can steal more bases. I'm not really the type of guy that's going to steal 40 or 50 bases a year. I've got to find a way to get quicker though. As I mentioned, I just need to improve all aspects of my game and that's one of them.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: Actually, with you and Armand Gaerlan playing the middle infield for the Cyclones, neither of you are what most fans would call the \"typical\" middle infield type. Neither of you possesses the blazing speed associated with a middle infielder but yet both of you are willing to take a walk and both of you make good contact. What's it like playing with Gaerlan in the middle infield on this Cyclones' team?
\r\n
\r\nMalo: Yeah, we're actually the same type of player. We're both good defensive players and we make things happen, batting first and second in the lineup. We don't strike out too much. We both put the ball in play and that's what we're trying to do.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: When we spoke last in Spring Training, you mentioned you were a Nomar Garciaparra type of player. It seems that still holds true, to a degree.
\r\n
\r\nMalo: (Laughing) Yeah, ever since that interview came out all of my friends have been giving me a hard time. Every time they see me, they're like: \"Hey Nomar, what's up?\". You know, stuff like that. But Nomar's hurt now, so you know.
<\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: I know the standard answer to say everything. But what's the one thing you think you need to improve on the most while you're playing with the Cyclones this season?
\r\n
\r\nMalo: I've always wanted to get faster. But you come to a certain point where you know you can't be perfect. I know I can't be a sprinter or anything. But the one thing I want to work on is my consistency, with everything. Hitting-wise I just want to be as consistent as possible. Defensively, I want to be consistent as well. I've been working on being more consistent with my bat.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: I know it is real early in the season, but who's the one guy that has impressed you the most so far on this Cyclones' team?
\r\n
\r\nMalo: We have a bunch of new guys on this team so it is a little early to pick a guy. It is kind of hard to say. Josh Petersen is a guy that always seems to hit the ball hard. Jonel Pacheco is guy that didn't start the first few games but has been hitting the ball real well since he started playing. We've got so many good players here that it is really hard to tell.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: Okay, since it might not be fair to ask that question so early in the season, let's turn the question around to a team level. Did you expect this team to come out like it has and be as good as you guys have played and compete for the NY-Penn League title?
\r\n
\r\nMalo: Even watching the players we had before we started the season, I knew we were going to have a pretty good team, especially with all the new guys we got from the draft this year. I knew we were going to be good and battling for first place this year. That's where we are right now, in first place.
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