Pirates Prospect Interview: Jim Negrych

Jim Negrych was honored as the Pirates' Minor League Player of the Year after posting a .359 batting average that was fifth best in the minor leagues this year. He also ranked fifth in on-base percentage (.438), ninth in hits (170) and 12th in doubles (41). He finished the season with Double-A Altoona. PiratesDugout.com's George Von Benko spoke with Negrych recently.

GVB-- Were you pleased with the season that you put together?

JN-- It's something that you take pride in and you try to go out there and be consistent and try not to get in a long drought. It's a long season and it's a grind and you've got to keep going out there and play hard every day.

GVB-- You were healthy and that had to be a big key as well?

JN-- That's something – you never want to be labeled as an injury prone player. I never had any injuries until I got to pro ball and I ended being hurt my first two-years and it kind of bit me. But I was lucky enough to have a healthy season and hopefully go into this off season and work on getting my body back in shape and be ready to compete next year.

GVB-- What was the key at the plate for you this season?

JN-- It was a matter of getting my swing fine-tuned, compared to the year before. It was understanding what type of hitter I am, because it's such a drastic change from what I was in college. I'm going to the plate with the mentality of, instead of trying to hit the ball out of the park; I'm just trying to put it in play. All I tried to do was make consistent contact – if you strikeout you can't get a hit – just put the ball in play and anything can happen."

GVB-- You racked up some RBI's – how about your approach with men on base?

JN-- That's an area of the game that if I'm going to hit for RBI's – I'm going to have to because I'm obviously not a guy that's going to hit 25 home runs – I'm a guy that can hit 45 doubles. In order to get my RBI's I've got to take advantage of my opportunities and this year I was lucky enough to come through."

GVB-- You bounced around a little bit defensively at second and third – which position are you more comfortable at and how is your defense coming along?

JN-- The defense is obviously part of my game that I'm going to need to focus on and really work on this off season and come into spring training ready with my defense. It doesn't matter third or second base – I've spent more time in my career at second, as long as I'm in the lineup everyday I'll play anywhere.

GVB-- You moved up to Double-A Altoona – are you hoping to start at Triple-A next season?

JN-- I try not to think about things that I can't control and I'm just hoping to go to spring training and have a chance to move up as high as possible.

GVB-- You are going to play in the Hawaii Winter League are you looking forward to that?

JN-- Hawaii should be a good experience and I'm going to place defense at second base out there and get my reps there and get a chance to play against some good competition.

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