Rays Prospect Q & A: Todd Glaesmann

Despite having an injury-plagued 2011, 21-year-old outfielder Todd Glaesmann ended the year on a high-note when he was named to the Australian Baseball League All-Star team. We talked to him yesterday from Port Charlotte, where he is getting ready to report to minor league camp, about his experience Down Under and what he is working on going into the 2012 season. Our full interview is inside.

Rays Digest: You played in the Australian Baseball League with the Canberra Cavalry this winter. How was your experience down there and how is the game compared to the United States?

Todd Glaesmann: Anytime you can get out of the United States and go to another part of the world it's a great experience. I got a chance to play with some Rays' players like Ty Morrison and I played under {Princeton Rays manager} Michael Johns.

As far as baseball compared to the US - there's really not that much difference. In Australia, baseball is not really a main sport. Rugby, Australian Rules Football - those are kind of the main sports. Being over there we had some time to explain the game to the fans. The fans were great and did want to learn about the game because it is a growing sport. Major League Baseball does a great job of promoting it and I think the league will just progress each year that it goes on.

Rays Digest: What was it like to get a chance to play with Rays' teammate Ty Morrison and your old Princeton manager Michael Johns?

Todd Glaesmann: Ty and I have been good friends for the past couple of years, so it was great being there with somebody I felt comfortable living with and playing with. Michael's a great coach. He really interacts with the young guys well, so we definitely got a lot of work in. It was fun to see a different part of the world, but we were there to get some at bats and we accomplished that.

Rays Digest: What was the main reason for the Rays choosing to send you down there? Was it to get more at bats? Or was it to work on a particular part of your game?

Todd Glaesmann: I think overall it was to get some at bats. I was hurt some last year, so it was to get some at bats and work on some things that I've struggled with. We didn't play every single day down there. I played in like 20-22 games. They mostly played on the weekends. But I worked on some things with Michael and I feel comfortable and ready for this year.

Rays Digest: Specifically, what are some of the things that you worked on with Michael?

Glaesmann worked in Australia with his former manager Michael Johns on cutting down on his strikeouts. He had 85 in 210 at bats in 2011 at Low-A Bowling Green.

Todd Glaesmann: As far as hitting - just slowing the game down. Strikeouts are a big part of my game that I've struggled with. So we worked on just cutting down on strikeouts and seeing more pitches and trying to get into better hitting counts and not missing mistakes when they come up there. So we worked on that. Just trying to get into some hitter's counts and seeing some pitches and just getting some confidence and getting comfortable for this year.

Rays Digest: Is it more of a thing of trying to be a little more selective at the plate and trying to be more patient?

Todd Glaesmann: Definitely. As you go on, the pitchers start learning your tendencies and you definitely have to take advantage of the mistakes they give you. So like I said - we went out there and we worked every day. I felt really comfortable and felt like I played well over there and I'm ready to keep that going.

Rays Digest: You played extremely well in the ABL and were named to their All-Star team, which must have been a huge honor. Unfortunately, you suffered a hand injury and were unable to play. Could you tell me about the nature of that injury and are you fully healed from it now?

Todd Glaesmann: I am. I'm a 100 percent now. It was a great honor to be named to the All-Star team - but like you said - I unfortunately suffered a wrist injury. It was just a minor injury that set me back for a couple of weeks. A few weeks after I got back to the States I was back in the swing of things. The Rays did a good job of making sure that everything was ok and that I was a 100 percent for spring training.

Rays Digest: So it wasn't that serious of an injury?

Todd Glaesmann: I broke my wrist, but it was a small break that healed up real quick. I just took a couple weeks off and then I was back to 100 percent.

Rays Digest: You say you're back at 100 percent, so it may not be an issue, but wrist injuries can be tough for hitters to come back from. Do you have any concerns about how it may affect your swing?

Todd Glaesmann: No, not at all. Like I said - I'm 100 percent now and I've not had any setbacks and hopefully that carries on through the whole season.

Rays Digest: You have had some bad luck with injuries including a torn thumb ligament and broken ankle in high school. Is it just bad luck or is it a football mentality on the field that gets you hurt so often?

Todd Glaesmann: Obviously a little of it is bad luck. But being a football player, I've always played the game hard and injuries I understand happen. The past year was unfortunate and I had some injuries. I don't think it was anything I was doing, like not taking care of my body or something. I just think that in any game there is going to be injuries and you try and stay away from them, but sometimes you can't.

Rays Digest: You have a lot of tools as a baseball player including a very strong and accurate arm. How much did being a former HS QB help you in developing your arm strength?

Todd Glaesmann: I think it had a little bit to do with it, but in baseball and football the throwing motions are different. Throwing a football in the fall definitely helps with transitioning into a throwing program for baseball. The Rays' training staff is really good about making sure that we do a shoulder program and making sure are arms are healthy. Once I signed with them, my arm started getting stronger, because I was on a strict throwing program. I started feeling differences in my arm.

Rays Digest: How would you assess your season last year at Bowling Green? Are there any areas of your game that you would like to work on this spring training and season? What about your coaching staff? What sorts of feedback have they given you?

Todd Glaesmann: It was definitely a learning experience. It was my first full season. Even though I was hurt and I only played in like 60 games, it was still a learning experience. The competition gets better every year. I just have to keep working harder and start getting more comfortable with the game. I did struggle. But I also learned a lot of things that I feel will help me this year and I hope I can capitalize on that.

Glaesmann, who had 12 stolen bases in 13 attempts last season, cites stealing more bags as one of his goals for 2012.

Rays Digest: Other than working on trying to cut down your strikeouts, are there any areas of your game that you're trying to focus on in spring training or this season?

Todd Glaesmann: I feel like I can improve in every aspect of the game. I want to be able to steal some more bases. I feel like that will help. As far as the strikeout ratio - I'd obviously like to walk more than I have. I can always improve in the outfield on chasing down balls and getting good reads. I feel like every part of game I can continue to improve on. But I would say stealing bases, getting walks and improving reads and jumps in the outfield.

Rays Digest: Your time has been split pretty evenly between right field and center field so far in your career and you are a very good defender in both spots. Do you have a preference over where you play and where do the Rays envision you playing in the future?

Todd Glaesmann: I do enjoy centerfield. You do see things better and I feel like I can get a better read. But I do understand that I'm not one of those guys who you refer to as a "burner", whose going to chase down balls all over the field. So I know that I'll end up in a corner position. I don't have a preference. Wherever the Rays put me, I'm happy to play. I do enjoy right field. I played a lot of right field at Bowing Green and I feel like this year I'll split between left and right field. As long as I'm out on the playing field I'm happy.

Rays Digest: You were committed to go to Texas A & M before you signed with the Rays. Do you have any regrets about not going to school? Or do you think that starting your pro career out of high school was the right choice?

Todd Glaesmann: I definitely think that starting my pro career was the right choice for me. My dream is to be in the big leagues, so I felt like signing out of high school was the right time. It would have been a great experience at Texas A & M and the coaches were really understanding on me signing. They've moved on and they've done well and I wish them the best. It would have been fun to play at A & M, but this is what I want to be. I want to be able to play baseball every day and I enjoy doing that and feel like the time was right.

Rays Digest: Other than some of the things that you talked about before, what is your mentality as you get ready to report to camp? If you had to set a few goals for yourself, what would they be?

Todd Glaesmann: To just go out and play and not worry about where I'll end up this year. Just go out and and play and enjoy the game like I did when I was younger and not have to worry about trying to impress someone. I feel like I've done well with that at times. Sometimes though, I get too focused on whether I'm moving up or why I'm doing certain things. So my goal is to just go out and relax and just enjoy the game.

Rays Digest: I always ask all the guys that are on Twitter what there thoughts are on it. You seem to have a lot of fun with some of the other Rays' minor league players. What is your viewpoint on Twitter? Is it just a way for you to connect with fans and other players? Or are you just having fun?

Todd Glaesmann: It's a way to keep in touch with players in the off-season. It's also a good way to stay in touch with fans. I feel like once you start moving up in the system it's a huge thing to have to interact with fans, because I know that fans really look up to players. I do think that some people take advantage of it to say things that they don't need to, but I just use it to keep up with my buddies and fans.




John Gregg is Publisher and Senior Editor of Rays Digest. You can follow him on Twitter at @RaysDigest. He can also be reached via e-mail at raysdigest.com@gmail.com.

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