Exclusive With 15th Round Pick Mark Dolenc

In the 15th round, the Twins selected Mark Dolenc from Minnesota State University- Mankato. On Wednesday, TCD sat down with Dolenc to find out more about the player behind the stats, what he feels his best attribute is, and much more.

TwinCitiesDugout.com: First off, congratulations on being drafted by the Minnesota Twins, I know it must be a big day for you. What was it like for you on draft day?

Mark Dolenc: It was actually a pretty eventful day. Most of the day I was actually out doing a baseball camp, then when I got home it was on the 14th round or so, so I got to turn the computer on and see the pick. After that, it was all kinds of phone calls, a lot of people were waiting for it and watching, so I talked to some relatives. It went fast though, before I knew it, it was 10pm, and my phone was out of batteries (laughing). It was fun man, definitely fun and exciting.

TwinCitiesDugout.com:Obviously you had a great season last spring, where you in fact had an 18-game hitting streak at one point. Talk to me about what it is like to be in a zone like that?

Mark Dolenc: Well, it is exciting when you know you're in a stretch like that, and you know you can do a lot of damage everytime you come up to the plate. You're seeing the ball well, and hitting the ball well, but also some hits are falling in for you. I can't sit here and say I crushed every hit, but it is definitely exciting. Actually the best part was that our team won like 17 of those 18 games, so that was the best part. And to tell you the truth, it wasn't until the school newspaper said something about the hit streak that I actually realized it.

Dolenc then went on to talk about his career a little more in depth.

For me, I actually started out my career as a pitcher, and like a backup position player. But I always want to play a lot, and I was trying to do both, and it kind of took away from both of those areas. But then we had some pitchers step up, and then the need for me to pitch wasn't there that much. Then we had some injuries in the outfield, so it kind of forced me to get in the lineup. Then I would get some consistent at-bats, and everything kind of came from that.

TwinCitiesDugout.com: Just to get into your game a little bit, What would you say that your best attribute is?

Mark Dolenc: That would definitely be my speed. That is the thing that everything works off of. I can't even tell you how many hits I had this year were like bunt hits, or infield hits. I'd like to say I can hit for power and average and everything, but my average definitely reflected what I do with my speed. For the year I think I had eight base hit bunts in nine attempts (laughing). So I think it would be my speed and also my defense that are a key part to my game. I try to make a difference in every game I play, not necessary getting hits or hitting home runs, but doing the little things as well. Making plays, walking, getting sacrifices, getting hit by a pitch, or stealing a base, that is what going out there and making something happen is. I'm not a guy who worries about my average, or how many home runs I am going to hit.

TwinCitiesDugout.com: What kind of contact, if any, did you have with the Twins before the draft?

Mark Dolenc: Yeah, I had quite a bit of contact with them. And actually, last year I was being scouted a lot more as a pitcher. So I had met Mark Wilson (Twins Scout), and some other Twins' scouts, and had talked to them already. And when we had Scout's Day in the Fall, even though I was a pitcher, I ran well and showed a good arm. Then last Thursday I came in to do a pre-draft workout for the Twins, and I got to meet a lot of guys there and talk to them.

TwinCitiesDugout: Do you intend to sign quickly with the Twins, and get your career going?

Mark Dolenc: That is definitely the goal. I'm definitely understanding how the process works, and I want to get my professional career going and not have to come in late. As long as everything goes as planned it should be as soon as possible.

TwinCitiesDugout.com: What do you think the biggest adjustment is going to be going from college ball to pro ball?

Mark Dolenc: I think the consistent high level of players. Although, playing in Division II you play against some very good players, and the competition is definitely there. We were down in the Regional Tournament and those are some great games against some great teams. But when you are talking professional baseball, consistently every night you are going up against very good players. Everybody runs and throws well, and the pitchers are all going to have good off-speed stuff.

TwinCitiesDugout: Looking back, before draft day, what would you consider the highlight of your career?

Mark Dolenc: I would say it would be this year, when we won our conference tournament. Our Head Coach is a legend around here, just elected to the Hall of Fame, and he has like 19 or so conference championships. But the last three years we had not won it, and we were in the finals the last two years. We got up 2-0, then got down 4-2, so the team was kind of down. But we were able to string some hits together, and I actually hit the game-winning Grand Slam. It was just a good team win, and being able to have a big hit in a game that meant a lot to my coach was just special. It was definitely my best moment in baseball so far.


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