The Texas Rangers recently selected catcher Doug Hogan in the 18th round of the 2008 MLB Draft.
Hogan, 23, spent five seasons at Clemson University. After redshirting in 2004 and spending the following two seasons as a reserve, Hogan broke out with the Tigers in 2007. That season, the backstop batted .350 with 15 doubles, 13 home runs and 46 RBIs.
Although he was drafted by the Cleveland Indians in the 16th round, Hogan returned to Clemson to finish off his collegiate career. In 2008 – his fifth-year senior season – he hit .271 with 17 doubles, 11 home runs and 51 RBIs.
Lone Star Dugout was able to sit down with Hogan for a Q&A session.
Jason Cole: How did it feel to be drafted by the Rangers in the 18th round?
Doug Hogan: It felt really good. It was a big relief for me. Sitting around there on draft day, waiting for my name to come up, just hoping somebody would give me a shot to play somewhere. Once I saw the Rangers picked me, I thought that was a big relief for me.
Cole: Is that about where you were expecting to be picked?
Hogan: Well I didn't really know what to expect. Being drafted last year, I was around the same area. I know I struggled some this year, so I didn't really know what to expect. I'm just glad somebody gave me the opportunity to play.
Cole: How much had you talked to the Rangers leading up to the draft?
Hogan: Not a whole lot leading up to the draft. They actually called me on draft day in about the 13th or 14th round asking if they pick me up if I would sign. That is really about all I talked to them in person.
Cole: Having already signed with the Rangers, how long did it take to get a deal done? Were you pretty much ready to sign right away?
Hogan: Yeah, pretty much. He came over a couple of days ago. We sat down and he went over all the paperwork with me and my parents and answered any questions that we had. We took care of all that and then set up all my travel plans. I'm shipping out tomorrow.
Cole: Tell me a little bit about your game offensively. What are you trying to do at the plate? What is your approach like?
Hogan: This year, I was pretty aggressive at the plate. I tried to hit early in the count to avoid getting two strikes. Sometimes it hurt me because I would be a little too aggressive and I'd find myself in a hole early in the count. I think that is what led to so many strikeouts this year. I try to stay ready for a fastball in any count and just try to adjust to any other pitch.
Cole: Was that approach different from what you were doing last season?
Hogan: Yeah, last year I was hitting a little bit lower in the order. It was my first year starting, so nobody really knew who I was. I had only 40-something at-bats my previous two years there. I just kind of sat fastball and I would see a lot of fastballs last year. I think that's why I did so well.
Cole: What would you say is your biggest strength as a hitter?
Hogan: I'd say my ability to hit a fastball. I feel that I can hit some pretty good velocity.
Cole: How much experience do you have with a wooden bat?
Hogan: My first two summers in college, I went and played in the Coastal Plains League. That is really my only game situation with a wooden bat. Every now and then I hit with it in batting practice or something like that. When I was in college, I really stuck with the aluminum bat because that is what we were using. I didn't really want to mess with a wood bat. But I have liked the wooden bat the few times I have done it, so I'm looking forward to it.
Cole: What are your thoughts on your performance with Clemson this season?
Hogan: It was a little tough for me because coming back for my senior year, it was my last year to play, I wanted to help out my team as much as I could. I think sometimes I was trying to help a little too much and I was putting too much pressure on myself. I was going up to the plate and trying to do too much instead of just relaxing and letting the game come to me. It was frustrating to that point, but at the same time, I had to look around and see what I was doing. I was playing baseball for one of the top programs in the country and I had a really good time doing it.
Cole: What would you say are your greatest strengths as a catcher?
Hogan: I'd say my greatest strengths are catching and throwing. I really like to throw to all the bases – throwing behind runners and trying to pick people off. I feel like I have a pretty strong and accurate arm to do that. That is definitely, I think, my biggest strength.
Cole: Going into pro ball, is there one area defensively that you would really like to improve?
Hogan: Maybe receiving. I know I am going to be dealing with a lot of pitchers that I've never seen before. The whole part of working with a pitcher and getting used to them. In pro ball, you're going to be coming in with new guys right off the bat – guys you have never caught before. That is definitely going to be a big adjustment for me.
Cole: Were you able to call your own game in college or is it going to be something that is new to you in pro ball?
Hogan: I don't think it's going to be that new. I know last year, I called a good bit of the games on my own. This year, we kind of split it up. Sometimes I would call the game and sometimes the pitching coach would call the game. But I'm pretty comfortable with calling a game – I like doing it.
Cole: So fans can get kind of an idea of what you're like as a player, is there a big leaguer that you would compare your game to or that you try and model yourself after?
Hogan: I don't know. I've heard that question before asked to other people and I try to think about what mine would be. I really don't know. I don't know that there is any one person that I try to emulate. I just try to go up there and play my hardest.
Cole: You were drafted in the 16th round by the Indians last year. What led you to return to Clemson for your senior season and pass up pro ball?
Hogan: It was mainly a personal decision. The Indians had a great situation set up for me. The money was good, the environment I was going to be going into was really good, and everyone with the Indians that I had talked to and worked with was extremely cooperative. But the biggest thing for me was that I wanted to go back to Clemson and finish my career there. I had been there for four years, this was my fifth year. My brother was here for five years playing baseball. It is just somewhere that is a really special place for me and my family. I just wanted to come back and finish off my career the right way.
Cole: What would you say has been the best moment of your baseball career so far?
Hogan: I'd say one of the best was in 2006 when I wasn't even playing. Just going out to the College World Series. Being out there in that atmosphere was unbelievable. It's something that you grow up watching on TV every year. To be out there as a player is something that is pretty incredible.
Q&A with Rangers 18th Round Pick Doug Hogan
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