RC Interview with Nick Van Stratten

A 2004 graduate of Winnetonka High School in Kansas City, Nick Van Stratten was selected by the Royals in the 10th round of the 2006 draft. While playing collegiately at a St. Louis community college, Van Stratten in 2006 was third in the nation with a .498 batting average. He rolled that over into a very solid professional debut, en route to being named the 2006 AZ Royals Player of the Year.

Royals Corner: Nick, as a Kansas City native, were the Royals your favorite team growing up? And who was your favorite player?

Nick Van Stratten: Yes. George Brett was my favorite player, because he was the best hitter the Royals had.

RC: What was your reaction when the Royals selected you in the 10th round in last year's draft?

NVS: I was excited. I was talking to some scouts who said the Royals were interested in me. So I was hoping that the Royals would take me because I'm from Kansas City and I grew up being a Royals fan. It's a lot more exciting to be with the Royals.

Van Stratten grew up as a big Royals fan

RC: Could you tell us a little bit about the program you played in at the community college you attended in St. Louis?

NVS: I spent two seasons at St. Louis Community College at Meramec. Our coach was big on hustling, and he knows a lot about hitting. He really helped me out.

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

NVS: I'm more of a fastball hitter. I kind of try to take a few pitches to get my timing down, and then whenever I get a fastball, most of the time I'm hacking. But if he hangs me a curveball, then I'll probably swing at it. But I'm really a fastball type hitter.

RC: Is there anything in particular you're working on?

NVS: Yeah. Actually I'm always real anxious at the plate, so I'm out on my front foot a lot. So we've been working on a lot of stuff to try to help me be more relaxed and get that front foot down and not push off my back foot – try to keep my weight back.

Van Stratten is working on keeping his weight back

RC: You played centerfield in college, but you primarily played in right for the Arizona Royals last year. Do you have a preference?

NVS: I like centerfield a lot, but as long as I'm starting I'm happy with it. I just feel like I can get really good reads off the bat in center. I've played there a long time, but if I'm going to start in right field, that's fine – wherever they put me. I'll play left, right, or center. I like center better because I get more balls most of the time, but I'll play any position in the outfield.

RC: Do you think you'll play right field again this season?

NVS: I'm not sure. It just depends on where they put me, the situation, and who the other outfielders are.

RC: How did you feel about your first professional season?

NVS: I felt pretty good about my first season. I got to see a lot better pitching. Just being here and getting a lot of reps in, I learned a lot more. There are a lot more coaches to give me pointers, so I can get more off of them than I can off of just one coach. You can take a little bit off of each coach and figure out what feels more comfortable to you.

RC: What are your goals for this season?

NVS: My goal is to be on a full season team, so I just have to come out here, practice hard, and hustle every day, and just let them know that I'm ready for a full season.

Royal Curve Top Stories