RC Interview with Shawn Griffin

The Royals in June selected Shawn Griffin in the 20th round out of the University of Tennessee, where he led the Vols in slugging percentage during his senior year. The 6-foot-3 outfielder has been one of the Chukars' most consistent bats this summer, and this weekend he began switch hitting for the first time since his junior year in college. RC spoke with Griffin this weekend about his progress.

Royals Corner: Shawn, first off, I understand yesterday (Friday) was the first day you hit right handed as a professional. How did you feel out there?

Shawn Griffin: I'm actually pretty comfortable from the right side. I was hoping I wouldn't strike out, and I didn't. I put the ball in play, and I hit the ball hard twice. I found a hole once, and I hit a line drive right at the right fielder in another at bat. So overall, I'd say I did pretty well.

RC: What's your background with switch hitting? How long have you been working on it?

SG: I've been switch hitting my whole life. When I came to college my freshman year, I did it a little bit, and I stopped. I didn't do it my sophomore year, but I did it for half the year during my junior year. Then I stopped again, and I didn't do it my senior year. So it's been about a year and a half since I've actually done it in a game. I'm just trying to get some good swings and some good at bats. I think I can do it. I've got some power from both sides, so whatever is going to help us and the Royals, I'll do it.

Griffin made his switch hitting debut on August 1

RC: Do you have more power from the right or left side? Or is it about the same?

SG: I don't know. It's kind of weird. I actually hit the ball a little farther from the left side, but from the right side, I hit the ball a little harder. I hit more line drives from the right side. My swing's not there, but once I perfect it, I'd like to see what happens, so I'm kind of excited about that.

RC: It's been nearly two months since you were drafted and joined the organization. How do you feel everything's going so far?

SG: Everything's going pretty well. I feel like I can do better. Sometimes I try to do too much when I shouldn't. The pitching, there's obviously a difference, but playing in the SEC every night, you see 90 [mph], 92, 94. So it's nothing really that new to me. I've been struggling a little bit, but I'm going to get the hang of it. I'm hitting about .280 right now with a few home runs, and I'm hitting right handed. So I'm not doing too bad, but I'd like to do better.

RC: You mentioned playing in the SEC at Tennessee. What was that experience like?

SG: It was unbelievable. The places you see, the people you meet…it's unlike anything. The crowd, and the rivalry, it's unreal. At the University of Tennessee, you represent Tennessee, and you have all these people who look up to you. It's awesome, and I wouldn't change it for the world.

RC: Have you had the opportunity to meet fellow Volunteer alum Joe Randa yet?

SG: No, I haven't gotten to yet. But I'd really like to. That would be awesome. He's a legend himself. He's very knowledgeable of the game, and I'd like to meet him, of course.

RC: Could you talk a little bit about your approach at the plate? What are you trying to do when you go up there?

SG: I just try to get a pitch I can drive, and I try to hit it as hard as I can. I try to put a good swing on it. Obviously you don't try to do too much, but you put a good swing on it and try to put it in a gap somewhere.

Griffin hit his fourth home run of the season, a line drive to right field, on August 2

RC: You've drawn a pretty good amount of walks this year. Is that something you usually do? Do you usually walk quite a bit?

SG: It depends. Usually when I'm hot, I get a lot of walks. But I also get a lot of strikeouts too. I probably should have a few more walks. I get a little impatient at times. I'm getting a lot of offspeed pitches from pitchers who have difficulty locating. That's really about it. If I got pitched to a little bit more, I probably wouldn't have as many walks, but that's just the name of the game.

RC: Let's talk a little bit about your defense. You played mostly left field in college. How do you feel you're progressing out there?

SG: In college I played left and right. I've actually done pretty well. I think I've got seven or eight assists, or something like that. I've only got two errors, and they were both aggressive mistakes, so they're not too upset about that. I know that when I came in, a lot of people thought my defense would be a liability, but it never has my entire life. I just always kind of got that rap. I've always been a pretty solid defensive outfielder. I've got some speed, and I've always had a pretty good arm. I'm just coming here and trying to make plays for the team. Trying to keep runners from scoring and hitting my cuts and doing what I need to do out there to cut balls off in the gap and that sort of thing.

Griffin has over half a dozen assists so far this season

RC: Thanks a lot for talking with me, and good luck the rest of the season.

SG: Anytime. Thanks a lot.

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