MadFriars' Interview: Jeremy Baltz

LF/DH Jeremy Baltz, 21, was drafted in the second round of the 2012 draft by the San Diego Padres after a stellar career with the St. John's that saw him leave as the school's all-time home run champion. 

In his junior year he hit .344/.431/.531 with twenty-five extra-base hits and eighteen stolen bases in twenty-five attempts.

  The 6-foot-3 native of Vestal, New York, located in upstate New York along the Pennsylvania border, was drafted in the forty-fifth round by the New York Yankees out of high school in 2009 but he elected to go to join the Red Storm instead.

This season with the Emeralds he has primarily seen time in left field and at DH and the organization likes the right-handed power potential in him.

  We caught up with Jeremy as the Northwest League season was winding down to see how his adjustment to pro ball has been going.

How has the adjustment to pro ball been from college? Jeremy Baltz: The biggest thing is just the grind of playing every day and trying to perform the best you can. We get to the park around two, take batting practice and then there could be a team practice and then you have to go out and compete.

We always talk about what a long season it is coming out of college and then playing 70+ games in the pros. How much did playing summer league baseball in college prepare you for this kind of schedule?

Jeremy Baltz: They do prepare you but it's just not the same. I played about 90 games last year and right now I am around 120 games. With college there are just so many variables; some guys take the summers off and maybe not everyone puts out the same effort in different summer leagues.

It's different here. Its fun and we love it, but it's also our careers so everyone is going all out all the time.

You ended up the all-time leader in home runs for St. John's but I noticed 24 of your 38 home runs came in you first year. How come?

Jeremy Baltz: My freshman year I felt great at the plate. My sophomore year is when many of the new bat changes came in which really affected everyone. The bats did change my numbers but I think it affected me mentally more than the actual composition of the bats.

Also I think I may have tried too hard to match the numbers I put up my freshman year during my sophomore season. However this year I was pretty happy with may and the team's performance.

How has it been hitting with wood?

Jeremy Baltz: The mental bats we used the past two seasons in college are pretty close to wood. Actually I like wood more than the newer mental bats even though the sweet spot is smaller. I'm still trying to pick which type of wood model I want to use, I've been experimenting with a few different bats – mainly either ash or maple.

The best thing is when you hit the sweet spot with wood, and I mean really square it up, there is nothing that compares to it.

For a guy that is known as a power hitter you had a pretty good K/BB ratio throughout your three- year career. How did you balance between power and not making outs?

Jeremy Baltz: I came out of college labeled as a power hitter, mainly based off of my freshman year, but I never thought that was my entire game.

I'm the type of player that really likes to stay in the gaps and take my walks. I really don't want to be just a pull side power hitter.

You played high school and college ball in the northeast, an area that doesn't get a lot of attention from scouts. This year in the College World Series and now in the pros how have you found the competition?

Jeremy Baltz: I think the competition that we played in college was pretty good. The summer leagues helped us to get acclimated to different players and here you are going against good players every game.

Here it's tough when you have a 0-4 or 0-5 game and you have to go back out there the next day. But that is the big key to being successful at this level, to keep the same approach and attitude and work on trying to get better every day.

In Eugene you have been in left field and DH. Where did you play at St. John's?

Jeremy Baltz: At St. John's I was mainly in left field. I really didn't DH much in college.

What is the biggest part of your game that you are going to work on in the off-season?

Jeremy Baltz: After you get here and play a few games you realize that there are so many things you need to improve on.

Right now the first thing that comes to mind is just putting on more muscle. I will finally have some off time so I can go to the gym and just eat healthy.

Also I want to get faster and more agile so that I can really perform for the whole season.

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