2012 MLB Draft Q & A: Mitch Nay

We continue our exclusive 2012 MLB Draft Q & A series with an interview with third baseman Mitch Nay of Hamilton High School in Chandler, Arizona. Nay is ranked as the draft's number 67 prospect by Scout's Frankie Piliere and he currently has a commitment to Arizona State University. Inside he discusses his strengths and weaknesses as a player, who his influences are and much, much more.

For a complete scouting report on Nay from Scout.com's National Baseball Expert Frankie Piliere, see: 2012 Draft Scouting Report: Mitch Nay.

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Rays Digest: Your bat is obviously a huge reason you're highly ranked, but what are some of your other strengths?

Mitch Nay: I have a plus arm, from third base or anywhere, so that's a pretty big factor. People say that maybe I have below average speed but I feel like I have pretty good speed. I run a 6.9, which is pretty average. I also have pretty good hands at third base. I can pick a little bit, and I just have a good feel for baseball in general.

Rays Digest: In which areas are you looking to improve the most?

Mitch Nay: I'm probably looking to improve my approach at the plate the most, just getting good pitches to hit, and when I get those pitches just capitalizing and hitting the ball hard. Also, I need to improve on my fielding. I haven't had a lot of years at third base yet, so I'm still kind of learning that position and want get comfortable there.

Rays Digest: So before third, what other positions were you playing?

Mitch Nay: When I was a sophomore, I played shortstop. I was still on the left side of the infield but it's a little different than the corner. It's more of a quick reaction position instead of a rhythm position.

Rays Digest: You've been so dangerous at the plate throughout high school that in your senior year especially, it seemed pitchers really tried to avoid your bat as much as possible. What adjustments did you have to make at the plate to deal with that?

Mitch Nay: At the beginning of the year, I kind of knew I wouldn't get pitched to. I'd get up there and try to be too fine, looking for too good of a pitch to hit. I went through a stage after that where I was swinging at bad pitches. I think at the end of the season is when I kind of figured it out, I took a lot of walks at the end of the year, and when I got a good pitch to hit I'd hit it hard or I'd do some damage with it. I had to get used to that, and I got a lot of curveballs. I'd just wait to get a good pitch to hit with less than two strikes.

Rays Digest: There's been a little bit of talk about you possibly converting to an outfielder when you reach the pros, but your high school coach and others around you seem adamant that you can succeed at third base at any level. Do you see yourself at third down the road?

Mitch Nay: I really do want to play third in the future. I feel like if I put some work in at it and dedicate all my time to third base, I could be good at it because I have good hands and a good arm. If for some reason it doesn't work out, then I could move to the outfield, but I really want to give third a good shot and see what I can do over there.

Rays Digest: You're a frontrunner for the Gatorade State Baseball Player of the Year award for Arizona, which not only recognizes you for your stellar play, but also your academic achievements as well as your character on and off the field. What are your thoughts on possibly winning that award and just being in the conversation for something like that?

Mitch Nay: It's really cool. Terrell Suggs, who used to go to Hamilton H.S, won the Gatorade State Player of the Year in his senior year, so to be in consideration for that award is pretty cool. It's good to be rewarded for things other than baseball, because I put in a lot of work at school. I think it would be awesome to win that award.

Rays Digest: Who would you say has helped you become the player and person you are today?

Mitch Nay: I'd have to say my grandpa (Lou Klimchock), he's played in the major leagues. I'd say him because he not only taught me how to hit and do all the things I do on the field, but other things like staying calm. This whole process though the draft, he's kept me calm through it and kind of kept it in perspective. I never really got too excited about anything, and he was there to keep things fine.

Rays Digest: Are there any players that you have tried to model your game after?

Mitch Nay: I like to watch (Evan) Longoria and (Ryan) Zimmerman play third base. They're pretty good over there. I like their swings because they're not real pull happy, and I don't like to be pull happy either, I like to stay up the middle of the field. They're exciting to watch.

Rays Digest: Changing gears a bit, what's your offseason workout routine, and how does it differ from your routine during the season?

Mitch Nay: In the offseason I work out a lot in the gym. I'll probably be in the gym four times a week and have one off day, switching between legs and upper body, just building strength. During the season, I go about twice a week. I'll do a leg workout, a little upper body, just keeping myself in shape. I take care of my arm too, that kind of stuff. I usually hit once or twice a week too, on my own.

Rays Digest: What are some things you enjoy doing outside of baseball?

Mitch Nay: I like to go hiking. There are a lot of cool mountains out here in Arizona that I can hike, and you get a good view of the city. I like to fish too, fishing's fun. I'll hang out with friends and most of the time we'll go bowling, go to the movies and stuff. Arizona's kind of a desert so there are only a few things you can do.

Rays Digest: You've committed to ASU and speak very highly of it, but haven't shut the door on signing with an MLB team. What factors into your decision to either go to school or sign right away?

Mitch Nay: Obviously it has to be the right decision, so it kind of depends on what the situation is and what my family thinks. I'm definitely not ruling out professional baseball, that's a strong possibility for me, but I want it to be the right situation. We'll see what happens in the next week and from there me and my family will sit down and talk about it.

Rays Digest: What types of things are you and your family looking for in an organization at this point?

Mitch Nay: We're kind of new to all this. We've met with a lot of organizations and the people involved and we've liked pretty much every organization. As a baseball player, being professional would help me get a lot better but so would college. I just want to play baseball.

Rays Digest: Lastly, now that it's less than two weeks away, what are your emotions like heading into the draft?

Mitch Nay: I'm excited to see what happens. I'm still working hard, I'm in the gym all the time, and I have a few workouts leading up to that. I'm going to be really busy, so there isn't going to be much down time for me to think about anything. It'll be a quick two weeks, it's going to be fun.

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