Daniel Berg:Stepping up offensively was a huge goal of mine. It was something that I had to do. My season in Beloit was a tough one. I felt like I was hitting the ball hard, and while the coaches were insistent that it is not always about the result and more about having a good approach and having a good process during the at bat, I was definitely working hard to hit for a better average in the 2008 season.
TwinCitiesDugout.com: What is the difference between High-A and AA ball?
Daniel Berg: From what I had heard, the biggest jump in Minor League Baseball is from High- A to AA. I was very happy that I got the opportunity late in the season to get that promotion. I struggled in the first couple of games in AA, but I feel like I made some good adjustments in my short time there and was feeling very comfortable in the last couple of games. Sometimes you get caught up with trying to do too much, trying to impress, pressing too much instead of relaxing and doing what you know you can do. The quicker you can make that adjustment the better off you are going to be and I felt like I was adjusting well to the new league.
TwinCitiesDugout.com: Talk to us about your approach at the plate?
Daniel Berg: My approach at the plate was something that I really worked hard on this year. I spent a lot of time with Jim Dwyer, the High-A hitting coach, working on my approach and I think that is the main reason that I had more success this year. A combination of really learning to understand my strengths, and studying the opposing pitcher and his tendencies, paying attention to how he is trying to get you and your teammates out were the 'process' type things that really helped my approach at the plate this year.
TwinCitiesDugout.com: You hit very well with runners on. Do you change your approach in these situations?
Daniel Berg: Hitting with runners on and especially runners in scoring position is arguably the most important aspect of a minor league players development. During the year in Ft Myers, we as a team had a number of rough patches where we really struggled with this aspect of the game. We spent a lot of time talking about the process of hitting in these situations as well as training physically to become better and I think that helped all of us a great deal. I wouldn't say that you change your approach in any situation. Change is a strong word and we as baseball players work hard every day to repeat our actions so that we can find consistency in our game. I worked hard on making adjustments to my plan to match with the situations that I was being faced with. I feel like I got better at hitting with runners on this year, but this is definitely a part of my game that still needs a lot of work.
TwinCitiesDugout.com: You were drafted in the 30th round. Does that motivate you to jump guys drafted higher than you?
Daniel Berg: Everybody knows who the big money guys are and there is no question that you should feel good when you jump guys who were drafted higher than you. I would like to think, however, that most of ones motivation would come from within. The motivation that comes with success because of all the hard work that you have put into the game you love, and the motivation of the ultimate goal to one day make a career in the big leagues. If you get too caught up with all of the money, and you worry to much about what everybody else is doing, you lose site of the things that really matter.
TwinCitiesDugout.com: Being from Australia. Are you able to keep in contact with the people back home?
Daniel Berg: I talk often with my parents on the phone but I use the internet for most other communication with my friends and other family. My parents come to the United States every year during the season as well so it's really nice to have them in the stands for some games. My time back in Australia in the off season is a great time to catch up with all of the people that I have missed while I was away.
TwinCitiesDugout.com: You have really started coming into your own as a player. What do you feel you need to work on to make the next jump?
Daniel Berg: There are so many things that I can always be working on to become a better player. I feel like I need to keep proving that I can play multiple positions in each new league that I play in. I need to keep improving with the bat, paying close attention to finding a swing that is easy to repeat and make adjustments with so that I can be valuable both as an everyday player or as a utility guy.
TwinCitiesDugout.com: You play multiple positions. Do you feel this is going to help you continue to jump levels?
Daniel Berg: No question. Everybody always asks me what my favorite position is, but I could never pick just one. I love being the guy who can step in and help the team out wherever they are needed. I love playing multiple positions and having to work hard to be good at all of them. Those kinds of guys are valuable, especially those guys who can hit. If I do that I definitely think that will help me continue to jump levels.
TwinCitiesDugout.com: What would you consider your best attribute?
Daniel Berg: I wouldn't say that excel at any of baseballs 'tools'. I never have. I have always been the guy that had good 'make up'. A guy who does all things well but not stand out. A solid ball player who has great work ethic and who plays hard every day. I would say my work ethic and my heart for baseball are my best attributes.
TwinCitiesDugout.com: What are your goals for the 2009 season?
Daniel Berg: My goal is to carry my success from 2008 into the 2009 season. During the off season I will be working hard to get stronger so that I can hit for more and more power as I get older. I will be playing baseball in Australia to work on my game and hope to play on the Australian team in the World Baseball Classic which would be a great experience and great preparation for the 2009 season. My goal every year is to do whatever it takes to make the next jump and get closer to playing baseball at the highest level.