What was it like to get drafted?
It was unbelieveable. When they called my name, my parents and my brother, and just everybody was ecstatic. It was just a real blessing, and everyone was real happy I got picked up by the Detroit Tigers.
Did you have any idea the Tigers were interested in you?
Yeah, I knew they were interested, with a couple of other teams, but the Tigers pulled the trigger first, and I was real happy about that.
So how was your college season?
Overall we didn’t reach our goals, but individually I had a pretty good year. My power numbers went up, walks went up, and so overall I improved.
You were also on Team USA weren’t you? What was that experience like?
That was an unbelieveable experience -- something I’ll never forget. I had actually never been out of the country until that, so I went to Cuba and the Netherlands. It was Honkbalweek in the Netherlands. We played the Netherlands, Japan, and Chinese Taipei there, and we won it. So we won gold there, and then we went to Cuba and played.
What are the strengths and weaknesses of your game?
Just the nuances of the game I want to work on. You never have the game figured out, I mean, just making adjustments in each at-bat, actually each swing, so that’s a big thing. But some of my strengths are my power, getting on base, and just doing everything I can to help the team win.
You were a big-time power hitter in high school too, weren’t you?
Yeah, I have the single-season state record for the state of Georgia, and I tied the career state record with 69 home runs.
So that’s something you hope to bring to pro baseball, the power?
Yeah, hopefully as I keep playing and getting bigger and stronger, hopefully the power will keep going up.
Is it mostly pull power right now?
No, I can spray it to the opposite field too. One of my home runs that I had in Connecticut was oppo.
You’ve already been with three teams. Has pro ball been kind of a whirlwind so far?
Yeah, I’ve been moving up pretty quick. I’ve been real blessed. It’s unbelievable, especially when they call you like ‘Hey, you’re going up to the next spot.’ So I just keep on moving up and just keep doing what I can to help everyone win.
Has the organization talked to you at all about what they want from you?
I don’t really know. I assume they want me to just get out here and play. Just keep on playing every day and doing everything I can. Just showing off my tools.
What got you into baseball as a kid?
Actually watching my older brother play. When I was too young to play I actually got into his games. And then when I was old enough I was alway hitting off a tee at my house, like swinging a bat that’s way too big for you, you know? So always doing that, and watching my brother play, and I just always wanted to get out there whenever I could. And me and my brother eventually started playing together. My brother stopped playing at Pee Wee, but I kept on playing.
Are there other athletes in the family?
Yeah, my brother and my dad got the height. They’re over 6’3, so…I’m the first baseball player. Everybody else is a basketball player. My dad, he went to Tuskegee to play.
Did you play any other sports growing up?
I played basketball in middle school, but baseball was what I loved to do, and what I always did, so I stopped other sports just to play baseball and just stick strictly to that.
What kind of music do you like to listen to?
I listen to a lot of stuff, but my favorite is probably hip hop. I really like Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, and Kevin Gates.
What do you do in your spare time?
In my spare time I try to take naps, try to catch up on my sleep, you know? No, but seriously, I just try to rest my body in the off time. I mean, you’re going at it every day and you need to recover. Just get good food in you and fuel your body to help you along the way. My favorite food...I love Chipotle. I get a big burrito or a chicken quesadilla.
Do you have a significant other?
I have a girlfriend, Raven Chavanne. She’s actually playing with Team USA right now for softball...they leave for Japan in a week or so. She went to Tennessee, we went to school together, and she’s in grad school right now.
And you pronounce your name the way it’s spelled?