RC Interview with Murray Watts

After hitting .279 with a club-best 14 home runs and 57 RBIs in his professional debut, Murray Watts was named as the 2010 Idaho Falls Player of the Year. This season the big first baseman is taking his hacks with the Kane County Cougars. RC's David Malamut recently caught up with the 23-year-old slugger for an interview.

Royals Corner: Murray, what's your impression of the Midwest League so far?

Murray Watts: I like it. The parks I've been to have been really nice. It's been a step up from the Pioneer League in that sense, and the competition has been at a high level so far. The season has been kind of up and down, and I'm trying to get comfortable and stay warm for the most part.

RC: What are you working on offensively?

MW: I'm trying to get in a groove and really stay consistent. That, and I'm working on hitting the ball hard.

RC: How about your defense? What types of things are you working on over there?

MW: I worked all offseason on mobility, being able to have range around the bag, and hopefully have the infielders know that they can throw the ball pretty much anywhere in the vicinity of first base and I can catch it.

RC: At 6-foot-7, 270 pounds, do you feel your size helps or hinders your game?

MW: I don't think it really hinders anything. I've been big my whole life, so it's what I'm used to. So I use it to my advantage and really try to play to my potential.

RC: What do you view as your defensive strengths and weaknesses?

MW: My strengths right now are my ability to be on the bag and catch most anything that is thrown at me, whether it's in the dirt or up high. I think my height helps me. My weakness would probably be my range. It is something I have been continuing to work on, and I think it is getting better, but at the same time I need to get better moving to my right.

RC: How would you describe your approach at the plate?

MW: So far it has been trying to find a fastball that I can drive somewhere in the middle of the field and help this team drive in runs.

RC: In college, you redshirted your freshman year at Arkansas before transferring to Arkansas State. What did you get out of your college experience?

MW: I really found a home at Arkansas State. It was a better fit for me as a player. I played for coach Tommy Raffo, who is an unbelievable coach that learned under Ron Polk, who is arguably the best college coach ever. Coach Raffo really taught me a lot defensively and even offensively. He really helped change my game, my approach at the plate, and my swing.

RC: You were selected by the Royals in the 28th round of last year's draft. What was draft day like for you?

MW: Stressful and nervous, but at the same time, it was probably the most exciting day of my life, hearing my name called. I'm glad the Royals gave me this opportunity.

RC: You debuted last season at Idaho Falls. What did you think of that experience, and what did you learn?

MW: I liked Idaho. The weather was awesome, and it was a good league. It was fun to get my feet wet in pro baseball there. I learned that every day you come to the park, it is not going to be easy. There isn't a day when you can say ‘this pitcher isn't very good,' because they are all good or they wouldn't be there.

RC: Besides baseball, what do you like to do?

MW: Video games. I have an addictive personality when it comes to video games. When I get a new one, I play it all the time. I've been playing Call of Duty a lot and FIFA Soccer.

RC: Who are the top five artists in your iPod?

MW: I don't even know. I don't know who it would be. I kind of listen to everything.

RC: Who was you biggest non-baseball influence?

MW: My dad. He influenced me in baseball, but off the field he taught me how to carry myself as a man. That is definitely a credit to him.

RC: If you weren't playing baseball, what would you be doing?

MW: Playing football. If I wouldn't have been able to play baseball, I would've stuck with football to see where that would take me. I quit my sophomore year in high school just to kind of focus on baseball more. I played tight end.

RC: What are your goals for this season?

MW: To get better defensively with my range, and at the plate to just put together a solid season and not worry about the numbers too much, because I can't focus on that. But to have a strong year and help this team compete and hopefully win a championship.

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