Lone Star Dugout Q&A: Mitch Moreland

BAKERSFIELD, CA - The Texas Rangers promoted first baseman Mitch Moreland to Double-A Frisco on Tuesday afternoon. Chris Hadorn sat down with Moreland for a Q&A session just a few days before his promotion.

Chris Hadorn: First off, you are having a pretty good season. How do you feel out there?

Mitch Moreland: I feel real good. At first, it seemed like I started off having my good days and my bad days. I just tried to work hard. I tried to keep going, keep getting my hits. So far it's been pretty good.

Hadorn: What's the difference of playing early out here compared to the cold Midwest League?

Moreland: The weather definitely a lot better. It's a lot better. It's been two different experiences, but both of them have been fun. And I've enjoyed it so far.

Hadorn: Does it test you as a ballplayer when you're there (Midwest League) during the month of April and you're playing at night in some of those cold conditions?

Moreland: Definitely. That cold weather will get to you every time, but it's part of the game.

Hadorn: Last year Topps named you the Midwest League Player of the Year. Did they give you a trophy or anything for it?

Moreland: I actually got a plaque for it, I did. It was a lot of fun. I couldn't have done it without the guys around me too, the guys hitting behind me. We had a good year last year as a team. So you couldn't have asked for a much better year and we had a lot of fun. Hopefully, we can continue with that this year. We kind of started slow here, we are swinging it well and starting to pitch better. Everything is picking up so maybe we can keep going from there.

Hadorn: That plaque, do you have it hung up in a special part of your room?

Moreland: I haven't been home since I got it. I actually got it this spring training. I don't know what I will do with it. Probably let my parents do something with it, I'm not sure what they want.

Hadorn: Where does that rank with your individual achievements as a ballplayer?

Moreland: It's always good to get an accomplishment like that. I'm proud to have it, but like I said, there are a lot of teammates, our coaches, our manager from last year, all of them helped me with that. It's a team sport, but I'm happy be there, happy to get that.

Hadorn: Last year you had a pretty good year and this year in the Baseball America Prospect Handbook they didn't have you in the Top 30. Were you disappointed to see that? Is that something that drives you?

Moreland: I haven't even looked at it. I don't know, I just try to go out and play. Hopefully everything will take care of itself. I haven't looked at it that much.

Hadorn: I've noticed that you get a little bit of outfield time. What do you enjoy playing more? First base or outfield?

Moreland: Well it really doesn't matter to me. I like the infield, you get a lot of action and you seem like you are in the game a little more than the outfield. But, you know, you can change the game in the outfield too with a catch, or a throw, getting a guy out at the plate or something. As long as you're between the lines, man, you can't beat it.

Hadorn: Since you have a pretty good arm, being a pitcher in college and even a little bit at the pro level, do many baserunners test you when you're out in the outfield?

Moreland: Yeah, you still get tested, you know. You're trying to put up runs. I don't know, I don't get tested that much maybe because I don't play out there as much as an everyday guy does. But I get tested still when I'm out there.

Hadorn: Is gunning a runner out one of the more enjoyable parts of the game?

Moreland: Yeah, it's fun. There's some stuff that can be real rewarding and yeah, I think that's one of them.

Hadorn: You're a big time doubles hitter. Do you feel like as you mature more of those doubles are going to fly over the fence?

Moreland: Well, I don't know. I hope so. It would be nice. Like I say, you just got to take it one game at a time and play your game and hopefully it will work out.

Hadorn: I think last instructional league, last fall in Surprise, didn't the Rangers exclusively use you as a pitcher?

Moreland: Yes, I did not touch a bat. I did, I pitched the whole month. Enjoyed it and it was a good learning experience. For now, I am going to try to hit as long as I can.

Hadorn: Was it just an experimental thing?

Moreland: They wanted to just see me a little bit more. We had a couple of blowout games in Clinton and I got to throw there. They just wanted to see a little bit more on the mound I think. So we did that, it went well, but like I said, I'm going to try to hit and see how that works out.

Hadorn: What are your pitches that you do throw when you're on the mound?

Moreland: I'm just a fastball – slider - change guy. Try to get it over the plate right now. It's fun. I enjoy it.

Hadorn: I understand when you were in the Cape Cod League, you won a home run derby there?

Moreland: I did. It was fun. It was good timing, there was some big names in it. Actually, well I ain't going to say anything. I was going to say it…….it was a good time.

Hadorn: Ah, c'mon this is just Rangers fans reading it……

Moreland: I can't, I can't, I can't do it. (Laughs)

Hadorn: Describe that experience. Was that one of the more fun experiences as a baseball player playing in the Cape Cod League?

Moreland: Oh yes, it's great experience up there. It's a good learning experience. Of course you hit with wood all summer and play you against some great competition. The better collegiate players are in that league. The host families are great up there. And you can't beat that as a summer league for college ball.

Hadorn: You played in the SEC at Mississippi St. How did that prepare you for this level? Is there a big difference in the competition?

Moreland: Well you know the SEC every weekend was very tough. I see a lot of those guys, I recognize a lot of names I played against in college throughout the league and throughout minor league baseball and even breaking into professional baseball already. We have some in our organization that have done that already. It's a great league to play in. It definitely got me ready for this. You can't beat it. It's one of the best there is in the country I think. Like I said, the overall experience for the SEC is great.

Hadorn: Who was the toughest pitcher you faced in the SEC?

Moreland: I don't know, there was a few of them. Price was there at Vandy. He was tough. There was some good arms though.

Hadorn: Being from Mississippi St., did you ever have the chance to meet Will Clark or Rafael Palmeiro?

Moreland: I've met both of them, I have. They've come back a few times and spoke to us. I've got to shake their hands. Great guys and they're great players too. I grew up watching them. Being a hometown guy right there, I was an hour up the road so definitely knew who they were.

Hadorn: Is that something that you take pride in since you're a first baseman from the same program, hopefully you're the next guy in line?

Moreland: Those are awful big shoes to fill. If I get anywhere close to what they've done, that's a major success for me. They're great players, it's good to come from a program like that that has some names so you can get to see those guys when they do comeback. And maybe learn a little from them because they've been there and done it.

Hadorn: Your hometown of Amory, Mississippi, can you talk about that a little bit? How big is it?

Moreland: We're not real big. I am not sure of the specific number. It's kind of a small town. We're a 3A school. I think I graduated with about 112 people. It wasn't real big, but it's a nice little town. I love it. I love being home. There's nothing like it.

Hadorn: When you ride into the town, does it say this home of Mitchell Moreland?

Moreland: (Laughing) No, they haven't done that yet. Hopefully maybe one day. I just like going back there and seeing old friends and catching up with the family. It's a good place.

Hadorn: What are some of your hobbies when you go back to Mississippi?

Moreland: I'm a big hunter. I try to hunt and fish as much as I can when I go back home, but the weather is kind of bad for fishing so I'm pretty much in the woods when I go home.

Hadorn: What's your impressions of Engel Beltre? He's been your teammate for the second year. What stands out about him when you watch him?

Moreland: He's going to keep you relaxed and he's going to make the game as fun as it can be. He's a great player to have on your team, in your dugout and even in the locker room. He's loose and just a great guy to have around. He's going to have fun and that helps you have fun. You can't ask for anything more than that in this game.

Hadorn: Final question, do you have a nickname on the team?

Moreland: Not really. They call me Mo, which is short for Moreland. Not really because I don't have anything that sticks out.

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