MadFriars' Interview: Maxx Tissenbaum

PEORIA, AZ: Maxx Tissenbaum was picked in the eleventh round of the 2012 draft by the San Diego Padres. He was one of seven players from the Stony Brook, including Padres' supplemental first round pick Travis Jankowski, that was selected in the major league draft.

They were a big reason why the 2012 edition of the Seawolves was not only the first team ever from their conference to advance to the College World Series but the first team from the Northeast to do so since 1986.

Tissenbaum, 21, put together three very good years at the college along the north shore of Long Island, hitting .362/.424/.516 for his career. In 674 plate appearances he only struck out 39 times and had 67 extra-base hits.

With the Emeralds last year, and after signing late, he became the regular second baseman despite having both Jalen Goree (6th round) and River Stevens (9th round), drafted ahead of him. Maxx hit .296/.403/.379 and posted an excellent 27/14 BB/K ratio.

This year he's been the everyday second baseman for the TinCaps and is off too a strong start at .325/.465/.403 in April and again walking more than he strikes out at fourteen to nine.

We caught up with Maxx at the end of spring before he embarked on his trip to the Summit City.

You went to the same college as Travis Jankowski at Stony Brook. Can you tell us a little bit on how you got there and what positions that you played?

Maxx Tissenbaum: At Stony Brook all three years were at second base. I'm originally from Toronto and one of the assistant coaches, Joe Pennucci, saw me at the provincial tryouts. We started to talk and emailed back and forth and I ended up taking a visit and loved it.

Best three years of my life.

Travis was also very high on his experience there too. When you went to Eugene you also had a good season. What really stands out is that you had a very high on-base percentage. You are really hard to strike out.

How did you develop that skill?

Maxx Tissenbaum: It is something that we really worked on at school. Our coach was huge on battling with two strikes and not giving the opposition easy outs. As a team we had a philosophy of whenever you have two strikes make it as difficult as you can for the team to get that out.

Hit it on the ground. Make them catch it, throw it and then catch it again. Anything can happen.

Do you widen out your stance?

Maxx Tissenbaum: A little. I even choke up some depending on who the pitcher is. It's more about just staying short and compact.

You got drafted after your junior year. What was the process of deciding of if you were going to go pro or come back for your senior year?

Maxx Tissenbaum: The Padres showed a lot of interest from me right from the beginning of the process in the fall. It was an easy decision because they made it about having faith in me as a player as opposed to just here is the money that you asked for.

I felt because they committed to me as a player, it was a pretty easy decision for me.

It also had to be your lifelong dream to play in the major leagues?

Maxx Tissenbaum: Absolutely. It was also one of those things with the team that we had last year in Stony Brook. A lot of our guys had big years in the Cape Cod League and then came back to have really good junior years.

In the end it worked out for all of us and I think really helped our draft stock.

I always think its so tough that after a full season of college ball you then have to grind out sixty plus games. I know this is where you want to be, but it also has to be tough.

Maxx Tissenbaum: It was kind of interesting of the shift that you have from playoff baseball with the college world series to getting back to the fourth or fifth week of a regular season.

It was interesting to trying to slow the game back down and ratchet back the intensity a little from the College World Series.

How was the adjustment to pro ball with the wooden bats?

Maxx Tissenbaum: Its a big difference. But each of the past three summers I played in wooden bat leagues like the Cape Cod last summer, so I was kind of used to it.

We played about five nights a week so that helped to prepare you; but the first season after college is tough.

I've read something interesting about Canadian baseball players. While the overwhelming majority are right-handed nearly all of you bat left-handed because everyone grows up playing hockey.

Is that true?

Maxx Tissenbaum: Its something about your dominant hand. I think my Mom read that article too. Our right hand is the dominant hand for throwing and writing and when you pick up a stick your dominant hand is the top one on the hockey stick. So you end up shooting left-handed. When you switch to baseball you end up being a left-handed hitter.

Its better to hit left than right. Was that the case with you?

Maxx Tissenbaum: Yeah I think so, even though I played baseball before hockey. One of my first birthday gifts was a red, white and blue baseball glove from my uncle.

But, I kind of like the hockey story too. [laughs]

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