TigsTown Q&A: 'Caps 3B Cory Middleton

Coming straight out of high school, many players will have their share of struggles in adapting to the pro game. But Middleton had the advantage of coming out of a Florida high school where he was facing top competition every day, and now he's putting the work in to excel against some of the best in the world.

TigsTown: What's it like to play professional ball?

Cory Middleton: It's definitely a dream. My older brother is in pro-ball and I've watched him play from middle school on and that's been inspiring. I figure if he can do it, so can I. I really enjoy, but it would be so awesome to have this be my job.

TT: You were drafted right out of HS, has it been difficult to adjust to a new level of talent?

CM: Well, the pro games are definitely faster than the HS, but playing in Florida I faced pitchers everyday who threw in the mid 90's. So that helped to make it not too big a jump. Going from playing on Tuesday and Thursday to playing everyday in a faster game and having to play more consistently had been pretty hard.

TT: You're originally from Florida what does it feel like being so far away?

CM: It's not too bad, I cope alright. It's the most fun I've ever had. This is my family now, and these guys are great. It feels like only a few days ago we were in spring training.

TT: How important is your family to you?

CM: My family is real big. They'll be coming up here a few times this year, and last year they came to Lakeland quite a bit. It was only six hours or so for them, so they would just come out for a bit.

TT: You mentioned your brother is a professional pitcher, is the sibling rivalry outrageous?

CM: No, not at all. We actually help each other out quite a bit. He's a pitcher, so he'll throw to me in the offseason and we figure if we can help each other out in the offseason, we'll both be one step ahead of the game.

TT: Speaking of pitching, you pitched through HS, do you miss i?

CM: I loved every minute of it and miss it so much, but I know there's no way to do both. I always start messing with everybody though – anytime I'm not starting [in the field], I tell them to put me in the pen. But I know that it can't happen and I'm fine with that.

TT: You played mainly short through HS when you weren't pitching, was it difficult to switch to a new position?

CM: Well, when you play short you get into a rhythm and everything goes around that. At third, you just have to focus on staying quick – it's all about knocking balls down and making quick plays.

TT: What's a strong point of your game?

CM: I'd say my strong point is my defense and my arm. Up until know I would've said my hitting, but I'm hoping it will come around soon [and be a strength].

TT: What's a weakness?

CM: Coming from HS, I was able to just sit and pull the ball all day. But once I got here, they knew I could hit and started working me away. So I've had to work really hard on taking the ball the other way.

TT: How do you get prepared for your games? Do you have any weird routines?

CM: No, I just go through whatever the team does. I don't believe in superstitions.

TT: You've earned a reputation for being a hard worker, did you get that naturally or was it instilled in you?

CM: That came from my family, but especially my brother. He told me you're not gonna be given anything, you have to earn it. I just know that this could all be over so I wake up and make sure I give it my all.

TT: This is your first full-length season, what did you do differently in the offseason to prepare for this potential opporutunity?

CM: This offseason I got my body ready by watching what I eat, working out and doing the little things. I knew that the most important part was to keep my body healthy because the more you play the more you produce. Everything else was the same.

TT: What adjustments have you had to make in your approach to this year?

CM: Being from Florida, I knew that it was going to be cold here at the beginning of the year, but I didn't realize it would be as tough as it was to stay warm. So that's the toughest thing – it gets pretty cold when it's raining and thirty degrees. But it's been getting easier as it warms up.

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