Q&A with Mike Daniel

With their 7th round selection in the 2005 draft, the Nationals picked up a sweet swinging, college polished lefty bat in the person of Mike Daniel. The former Tarheel brings a lot to the Nationals farm system and we sat down with Daniel to discuss those things, his 2006 expectations, and much more.

CapitolDugout.com: Mike, take us back to the draft. What type of expectations did you have on draft day? Were you surprised to be selected when you were?

Mike Daniel: I wasn't really too surprise by where I was picked. I was talking to a couple teams before the draft. I talked to the Nationals of course, and the Indians as well. So, I figured I would be picked by one of those two teams. And, from what I was hearing, I was going to be picked between rounds seven and eleven. So, I definitely wasn't disappointed by being picked in the 7th. When I found out I was picked by the Nationals, I was ecstatic. It was a great day.

CapitolDugout.com: When you made the jump to professional baseball, were you expecting a smooth transition or did you think that you may have some trouble at the outset?

Mike Daniel: I think I was expecting a smooth transition. From the things I was hearing about the league I'd be playing in, I didn't think it would be anything that I couldn't handle. I heard that the New York Penn League was like a college type of league. A lot of the guys were drafted out of college like I was and I knew I would be playing against a lot of the guys I had already played against. I knew they were going to be a group of a lot of the best college guys, but I wasn't too concerned about being overmatched.

CapitolDugout.com: You mention that you expected a smooth transition. But, in your mind, what was the most difficult part of adjusting to professional baseball?

Mike Daniel: Just playing everyday was the most difficult thing to get used to. I mean, it isn't easy to just be playing every single day. It really takes a toll on you. I mean, in college, we would play five days a week a lot, but then you'd have a day off here and a day off there. It isn't like that in the pros. You don't get many of those off days. And, then you have to travel overnight on the bus and that's tough too. So, just the professional lifestyle and not getting worn out were the biggest adjustments I think.

CapitolDugout.com: So, overall, would you say that you are satisfied with your first professional season in 2005?

Mike Daniel: Yeah, I am. I think I did pretty well for my first season. The only thing I wish I could do differently is hit a little better in the final two weeks. Before that, I was hovering around .290 with my batting average and I was playing pretty well. But, then I hit a slump at the end so that kind of hurt my overall numbers. I just wish I could have ended on a better note. But, for the most part, I did pretty well.

CapitolDugout.com: Has the organization given you any indication as to where you might be starting out in 2006?

Mike Daniel: I have somewhat of an idea but there has been nothing really definite yet. Mostly, I have heard that I'll probably go to Savannah. But, also, I've heard that if I perform well in spring training, I could possibly go to Potomac to start the season. Obviously, that would be great, but I'm not going to worry about it too much. If I play the way I know how, that will take care of itself.

CapitolDugout.com: Moving forward into 2006, what do you think will be the most important adjustment for you to make?

Mike Daniel: Well, the thing is that every level has a different style of pitching. So, the key for me will be to find what that style is wherever I'm playing and adjust to it the best I can. I mean, in the New York Penn League, the pitching was mostly fastball oriented and the pitchers don't have the best control yet. But, in the higher levels, pitchers locate their fastballs better and have better command of their off speed pitches. So, I'm going to need to be ready for that better pitching.

CapitolDugout.com: Mike, if you had to describe your overall style as a hitter, what would you say about yourself? Also, is there any MLB player that you would compare yourself to in terms of style?

Mike Daniel: I've always tried to model myself after Tony Gwynn. I've always wanted to be the type of hitter that he is. He's just an amazing hitter. The way he spread the ball around the whole field and hit the ball where it was pitched was just the sign of a great hitter. And, that's the way I like to approach my at bats too. I'm not afraid to take the ball to the opposite field and I want to put the bat on the ball. I also think that I can develop more power as I move up the ladder and become a really well rounded hitter.

CapitolDugout.com: Would you describe yourself as a strong defensive player at this point in your career?

Mike Daniel: I'm a strong defensive play, yeah. I had some tough luck in the beginning with Vermont, but it just took some time for me to get settled in. People don't think about it, but getting used to the defense with a new team takes some time and effort too. Cut off men have to learn your arm and you have to learn about them. There's a lot of new things to learn. But, I was fine after some time with Vermont.

CapitolDugout.com: As you look to the future of your career, what do you feel is going to be the key to you becoming a successful big league player someday?

Mike Daniel: The key is consistency. I think it is pretty simple. If I have consistency in everything, then I'm going to be fine. Basically, I need to find my bread and butter. I have to find a comfort zone as a hitter and in every other part of my game. And, then I can remain consistent throughout my career.

CapitolDugout.com: Switching gears for a moment, which of your teammates with Vermont in 2005 impressed you the most?

Mike Daniel: Oh, there were a lot of guys. Dee Brown is the first guy that comes to mind. He's a big, strong guy and he just has some real big power too. He's like a middle of the lineup type of guy. I was really impressed by him. Francisco Plasencia was really good too. He was great in center field and put up big numbers. Leonard Davis was big for our team also.

CapitolDugout.com: Last but not least, what do you think is the most important thing that a Washington Nationals fan should know about you?

Mike Daniel: I'm about winning. When I'm out there, I just want to win the game. And, I'll do anything and everything to do that. That's what I'm about. I also like being a part of an up and coming organization and I think we have a lot of potential. And, I just want to be an important part of it and help the team win.

Capitol Dugout Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nCapitolDugout.com: Mike, take us back to the draft. What type of expectations did you have on draft day? Were you surprised to be selected when you were?\r\n

\r\nMike Daniel: I wasn't really too surprise by where I was picked. I was talking to a couple teams before the draft. I talked to the Nationals of course, and the Indians as well. So, I figured I would be picked by one of those two teams. And, from what I was hearing, I was going to be picked between rounds seven and eleven. So, I definitely wasn't disappointed by being picked in the 7th. When I found out I was picked by the Nationals, I was ecstatic. It was a great day.\r\n

\r\nCapitolDugout.com: When you made the jump to professional baseball, were you expecting a smooth transition or did you think that you may have some trouble at the outset?\r\n

\r\nMike Daniel: I think I was expecting a smooth transition. From the things I was hearing about the league I'd be playing in, I didn't think it would be anything that I couldn't handle. I heard that the New York Penn League was like a college type of league. A lot of the guys were drafted out of college like I was and I knew I would be playing against a lot of the guys I had already played against. I knew they were going to be a group of a lot of the best college guys, but I wasn't too concerned about being overmatched.\r\n

\r\nCapitolDugout.com: You mention that you expected a smooth transition. But, in your mind, what was the most difficult part of adjusting to professional baseball?\r\n

\r\nMike Daniel: Just playing everyday was the most difficult thing to get used to. I mean, it isn't easy to just be playing every single day. It really takes a toll on you. I mean, in college, we would play five days a week a lot, but then you'd have a day off here and a day off there. It isn't like that in the pros. You don't get many of those off days. And, then you have to travel overnight on the bus and that's tough too. So, just the professional lifestyle and not getting worn out were the biggest adjustments I think.\r\n

\r\nCapitolDugout.com: So, overall, would you say that you are satisfied with your first professional season in 2005?\r\n

\r\nMike Daniel: Yeah, I am. I think I did pretty well for my first season. The only thing I wish I could do differently is hit a little better in the final two weeks. Before that, I was hovering around .290 with my batting average and I was playing pretty well. But, then I hit a slump at the end so that kind of hurt my overall numbers. I just wish I could have ended on a better note. But, for the most part, I did pretty well.\r\n

\r\nCapitolDugout.com: Has the organization given you any indication as to where you might be starting out in 2006?\r\n

\r\nMike Daniel: I have somewhat of an idea but there has been nothing really definite yet. Mostly, I have heard that I'll probably go to Savannah. But, also, I've heard that if I perform well in spring training, I could possibly go to Potomac to start the season. Obviously, that would be great, but I'm not going to worry about it too much. If I play the way I know how, that will take care of itself.\r\n

\r\nCapitolDugout.com: Moving forward into 2006, what do you think will be the most important adjustment for you to make?\r\n

\r\nMike Daniel: Well, the thing is that every level has a different style of pitching. So, the key for me will be to find what that style is wherever I'm playing and adjust to it the best I can. I mean, in the New York Penn League, the pitching was mostly fastball oriented and the pitchers don't have the best control yet. But, in the higher levels, pitchers locate their fastballs better and have better command of their off speed pitches. So, I'm going to need to be ready for that better pitching.\r\n

\r\nCapitolDugout.com: Mike, if you had to describe your overall style as a hitter, what would you say about yourself? Also, is there any MLB player that you would compare yourself to in terms of style?\r\n

\r\nMike Daniel: I've always tried to model myself after Tony Gwynn. I've always wanted to be the type of hitter that he is. He's just an amazing hitter. The way he spread the ball around the whole field and hit the ball where it was pitched was just the sign of a great hitter. And, that's the way I like to approach my at bats too. I'm not afraid to take the ball to the opposite field and I want to put the bat on the ball. I also think that I can develop more power as I move up the ladder and become a really well rounded hitter.\r\n

\r\nCapitolDugout.com: Would you describe yourself as a strong defensive player at this point in your career?\r\n

\r\nMike Daniel: I'm a strong defensive play, yeah. I had some tough luck in the beginning with Vermont, but it just took some time for me to get settled in. People don't think about it, but getting used to the defense with a new team takes some time and effort too. Cut off men have to learn your arm and you have to learn about them. There's a lot of new things to learn. But, I was fine after some time with Vermont.\r\n

\r\nCapitolDugout.com: As you look to the future of your career, what do you feel is going to be the key to you becoming a successful big league player someday?\r\n

\r\nMike Daniel: The key is consistency. I think it is pretty simple. If I have consistency in everything, then I'm going to be fine. Basically, I need to find my bread and butter. I have to find a comfort zone as a hitter and in every other part of my game. And, then I can remain consistent throughout my career. \r\n

\r\nCapitolDugout.com: Switching gears for a moment, which of your teammates with Vermont in 2005 impressed you the most?\r\n

\r\nMike Daniel: Oh, there were a lot of guys. Dee Brown is the first guy that comes to mind. He's a big, strong guy and he just has some real big power too. He's like a middle of the lineup type of guy. I was really impressed by him. Francisco Plasencia was really good too. He was great in center field and put up big numbers. Leonard Davis was big for our team also.\r\n

\r\nCapitolDugout.com: Last but not least, what do you think is the most important thing that a Washington Nationals fan should know about you?\r\n

\r\nMike Daniel: I'm about winning. When I'm out there, I just want to win the game. And, I'll do anything and everything to do that. That's what I'm about. I also like being a part of an up and coming organization and I think we have a lot of potential. And, I just want to be an important part of it and help the team win.\r\n","mobileBody":" \r\nCapitolDugout.com: Mike, take us back to the draft. What type of expectations did you have on draft day? Were you surprised to be selected when you were?\r\n

\r\nMike Daniel: I wasn't really too surprise by where I was picked. I was talking to a couple teams before the draft. I talked to the Nationals of course, and the Indians as well. So, I figured I would be picked by one of those two teams. And, from what I was hearing, I was going to be picked between rounds seven and eleven. So, I definitely wasn't disappointed by being picked in the 7th. When I found out I was picked by the Nationals, I was ecstatic. It was a great day.\r\n

\r\nCapitolDugout.com: When you made the jump to professional baseball, were you expecting a smooth transition or did you think that you may have some trouble at the outset?\r\n

\r\nMike Daniel: I think I was expecting a smooth transition. From the things I was hearing about the league I'd be playing in, I didn't think it would be anything that I couldn't handle. I heard that the New York Penn League was like a college type of league. A lot of the guys were drafted out of college like I was and I knew I would be playing against a lot of the guys I had already played against. I knew they were going to be a group of a lot of the best college guys, but I wasn't too concerned about being overmatched.\r\n

\r\nCapitolDugout.com: You mention that you expected a smooth transition. But, in your mind, what was the most difficult part of adjusting to professional baseball?\r\n

\r\nMike Daniel: Just playing everyday was the most difficult thing to get used to. I mean, it isn't easy to just be playing every single day. It really takes a toll on you. I mean, in college, we would play five days a week a lot, but then you'd have a day off here and a day off there. It isn't like that in the pros. You don't get many of those off days. And, then you have to travel overnight on the bus and that's tough too. So, just the professional lifestyle and not getting worn out were the biggest adjustments I think.\r\n

\r\nCapitolDugout.com: So, overall, would you say that you are satisfied with your first professional season in 2005?\r\n

\r\nMike Daniel: Yeah, I am. I think I did pretty well for my first season. The only thing I wish I could do differently is hit a little better in the final two weeks. Before that, I was hovering around .290 with my batting average and I was playing pretty well. But, then I hit a slump at the end so that kind of hurt my overall numbers. I just wish I could have ended on a better note. But, for the most part, I did pretty well.\r\n

\r\nCapitolDugout.com: Has the organization given you any indication as to where you might be starting out in 2006?\r\n

\r\nMike Daniel: I have somewhat of an idea but there has been nothing really definite yet. Mostly, I have heard that I'll probably go to Savannah. But, also, I've heard that if I perform well in spring training, I could possibly go to Potomac to start the season. Obviously, that would be great, but I'm not going to worry about it too much. If I play the way I know how, that will take care of itself.\r\n

\r\nCapitolDugout.com: Moving forward into 2006, what do you think will be the most important adjustment for you to make?\r\n

\r\nMike Daniel: Well, the thing is that every level has a different style of pitching. So, the key for me will be to find what that style is wherever I'm playing and adjust to it the best I can. I mean, in the New York Penn League, the pitching was mostly fastball oriented and the pitchers don't have the best control yet. But, in the higher levels, pitchers locate their fastballs better and have better command of their off speed pitches. So, I'm going to need to be ready for that better pitching.\r\n

\r\nCapitolDugout.com: Mike, if you had to describe your overall style as a hitter, what would you say about yourself? Also, is there any MLB player that you would compare yourself to in terms of style?\r\n

\r\nMike Daniel: I've always tried to model myself after Tony Gwynn. I've always wanted to be the type of hitter that he is. He's just an amazing hitter. The way he spread the ball around the whole field and hit the ball where it was pitched was just the sign of a great hitter. And, that's the way I like to approach my at bats too. I'm not afraid to take the ball to the opposite field and I want to put the bat on the ball. I also think that I can develop more power as I move up the ladder and become a really well rounded hitter.\r\n

\r\nCapitolDugout.com: Would you describe yourself as a strong defensive player at this point in your career?\r\n

\r\nMike Daniel: I'm a strong defensive play, yeah. I had some tough luck in the beginning with Vermont, but it just took some time for me to get settled in. People don't think about it, but getting used to the defense with a new team takes some time and effort too. Cut off men have to learn your arm and you have to learn about them. There's a lot of new things to learn. But, I was fine after some time with Vermont.\r\n

\r\nCapitolDugout.com: As you look to the future of your career, what do you feel is going to be the key to you becoming a successful big league player someday?\r\n

\r\nMike Daniel: The key is consistency. I think it is pretty simple. If I have consistency in everything, then I'm going to be fine. Basically, I need to find my bread and butter. I have to find a comfort zone as a hitter and in every other part of my game. And, then I can remain consistent throughout my career. \r\n

\r\nCapitolDugout.com: Switching gears for a moment, which of your teammates with Vermont in 2005 impressed you the most?\r\n

\r\nMike Daniel: Oh, there were a lot of guys. Dee Brown is the first guy that comes to mind. He's a big, strong guy and he just has some real big power too. He's like a middle of the lineup type of guy. I was really impressed by him. Francisco Plasencia was really good too. He was great in center field and put up big numbers. Leonard Davis was big for our team also.\r\n

\r\nCapitolDugout.com: Last but not least, what do you think is the most important thing that a Washington Nationals fan should know about you?\r\n

\r\nMike Daniel: I'm about winning. When I'm out there, I just want to win the game. And, I'll do anything and everything to do that. That's what I'm about. I also like being a part of an up and coming organization and I think we have a lot of potential. And, I just want to be an important part of it and help the team win.\r\n","skipOnMobile":true,"skipOnMobileReason":"Unsupported Markup","unsupportedMarkup":"body","media":[],"dateOverride":"2006-01-21T20:32:00","authorOverride":"Frankie 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