RC Interview with Mike Stodolka

Plagued by injuries and underperformance since being taken with 4th overall pick of the 2000 draft as a pitcher, Mike Stodolka became a first baseman last spring after showing promise as a hitter during instructs in 2005. He had a solid "debut" last year in High Desert, and he advanced to Wichita this spring. On Wednesday, RC's Kevin Agee sat down with Stodolka to discuss his transformation.

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Royals Corner: Mike, how do you think the season's going so far?

Mike Stodolka: Well, I think team's doing well. It's kind of hard to start when it's snowing and 30 degrees, 20 degrees out, but we're fighting through it like the other teams are, and I see a lot of good things. We're always running out good pitchers, our hitting is starting to come around, and our defense has been pretty solid, so we're just looking forward to building on a good year.


Stodoka is manning first base for the Wranglers this year

RC: This is one of your first full seasons in the higher minor leagues after spending a lot of time in Single-A. What has the transition been like? Has it been more difficult or easier than you expected?

MS: It was kind of what I expected. I mean, obviously, the guys here are a little more experienced, a little more refined. I kind of knew what I was getting into because I'd pitched at the Double-A level, so I kind of knew the difference of the caliber of play coming in. The pitchers are more consistent, a little bit better, a little bit sharper, which is pretty much what I expected. It's just a matter of making the adjustments you need to.

RC: What aspects of your game are you working on right now?

MS: Just becoming more consistent in every aspect of my game. This is only my second season hitting, so I have one full season under my belt, but just offensively and defensively becoming more consistent and a more well-rounded player.

RC: What are the biggest differences between pitching and hitting?

MS: The one thing that I like about hitting that I didn't like about pitching is that you get to go out there every day. If you have a bad start as a pitcher, you have to sit there and wait four more days to get out there again. As a hitter, if you have one bad at-bat, you know you're coming back up in a couple of innings. If you have a bad game, you know you're gonna be in the lineup the next day and get that bad taste out of your mouth, so to speak.


Stodolka hit .284/.396/.449 with 11 HRs last year for High Desert

RC: Which part of your game is stronger at this point? Fielding or hitting?

MS: I'd say being a first baseman, you'd better learn how to hit if you want to play first. I'd say right now, I feel like I need work in all the areas. I'm trying to get better at everything. You watch TV, and you see guys at the big league level, and they're just consistent, and good at everything, so that's what I'm striving to do.

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