2006 Draft Preview: Q&A with John Shelby

As the NCAA baseball season approaches, scouts and scouting directors will get ready to hit the road and will be on the look out for this year's top draftees. One of those potential top draftees is Kentucky second baseman, John Shelby. We recently sat down with John for a Q&A session as we continue our extensive pre-draft coverage.

Scout.com: John, first of all, congratulations on being selected as a second team preseason All-American. What are your thoughts on that honor?

John Shelby: Well, thank you. It was definitely an honor to be recognized among many great players in the nation. I'm not usually into personal achievements though. It will mean a lot more to me if I go out and have a great season that helps my team win a national championship. I'm looking forward to having a great season this year and I think we have a really strong team.

Scout.com: So, what would you say is your most important goal for the 2006 season?

Shelby: Well, the national championship is definitely something I'd like to help my team win. The first thing we need to do is get off to a good start and get into the tournament. I really feel like we can do that too. I feel that team chemistry is very important to a team's success. And, I think that chemistry and playing as a unit is more important than talent.

Scout.com: Obviously, you are being thought of as a high round draft choice in the upcoming draft. Is that hard to keep off of your mind as your try to focus on your college season?

Shelby: The draft is definitely on my mind. I think it would be impossible not to think about it at this point. But, I know that I have to remain focused and play the college season. And, I'm not the type of guy that's going to be affected by the pressure to perform or anything. This is a team game, and I'm going to give my best effort to help this team win. I know the draft is out there on the horizon, but before that comes, I have to hold up my end of the deal and perform and do everything I can to help this program.

Scout.com: John, your father was a Major League player for several years, and even played under Tommy Lasorda with the Dodgers. How much do you think being around that big league atmosphere is going to help you in the future?

Shelby: Wow, it's going to help a lot. I mean, not many people have that opportunity. I got to be around big league players when I was a little kid and I just took everything in. I got to see how those guys handled themselves and how to be a good teammate. It was just important for me to see what it took to play on that level though. So, I think that gives me a leg up. Just to see how big leaguers go about their business gave me a great idea of what it was going to take to get there. I'm just so grateful that I had that opportunity.

Scout.com: Heading into the upcoming 2006 college season, what are some of the improvements that you would like to make?

Shelby: Well, I want to make every part of my game better. For me, I'm always just looking to refine every part of my game and try to get better every time I go out there. But, specifically, I want to work on my defense. That's a part of my game that could use the most improvement I think. I'm always tweaking with my hitting and looking for ways that I can make it better. So, making improvements is a never ending process.

Scout.com: How would you describe your overall approach to each of your at-bats?

Shelby: Well, generally, I try to remain patient and jump on my pitch when I get it. I try not to go out of my zone and drive the ball to all fields. But, my approach really depends on the situation and where I'm hitting in the order. Like, this year, I think I'm going to see more off-speed stuff and I'm not going to get as much to hit because teams know about me now and they're going to be a lot more careful. I just have to be able to adjust to how they're pitching to me.

Scout.com: You are known as a player that has a lot to offer as far as tools. What would you say is your strongest tool?

Shelby: I think my speed is my strongest tool. I also have a really strong arm I think. I think I am at least solid with all aspects of the game but my speed and my arm are very strong.

Scout.com: For all the teams out there that might be eyeing you as a potential high round draft pick, what do you think is the most important thing they should know about you?

Shelby: They're going to get my best and that's all there is to it. There's never any days where I'm going to put less than by best out there on the field.

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