How was your off season?
It was good. Last season was longer than normal for me. I played 60 games in college then had almost 80 more with the Cyclones, so that’s pretty close to a big league schedule. So early on, I took some time to relax and recover from the long season. But after that, I got right back after it. As tough as the long season was, it also showed me what it takes to be successful when you are playing baseball every day. I’ve been working really hard with my trainer Carl Thiessen, so I’m coming into this season in top shape.
What was it like when you found out that you had been drafted by the Mets?
When I was drafted it was really exciting. It just so happened that I was working out with some of my teammates from Cal Poly when I got the call. I had somewhat of a feel that the Mets were interested in me since they had invited me to a few pre-draft workouts. During the draft I really had no idea what round I was going to be drafted in just because it was my senior season.
After your first month of the season you were hitting .250 and had two home runs. The rest of the way, you were one of the most productive players in the league and ended up being among the leaders in home runs and slugging percentage. Was their something that you did, or that Bobby or Rich saw that helped lead to the turnaround?
They both just kind of helped me relax and deal with the wear and tear of every day baseball. They helped me deal with the slumps and kept me grounded when I was hot. They helped me cut down my swing a little bit, but mostly they helped me with the mental side of the game.
Of all the big hits you had this season is there one that stands out? The grand slam in State College? The walkoff home run in Brooklyn?
The ones you mentioned obviously stand out, but the first one I hit against Hudson Valley really jumps out at me. Obviously because it was my first, but also because I hadn’t gotten a hit in like a week before that game, and all of a sudden things starting clicking for me that day. Then the rest of the season I was in a pretty good groove.
What are you most looking forward to in 2012? What do you want to improve?
I understand that I need to cut down on my strikeouts and I have been working on that most this of season. I personally I think that I am a power hitter and I like it when there are people on base. I try my hardest when someone is on base to score them no matter what it takes. I enjoy the pressure especially with runners in scoring position. This off season I have been working most on my strike zone judgment, I believe I was swinging at a lot of bad pitches that I should not have been swinging at and getting myself out. This next year I want to make the pitcher really earn it to get me out.
What did you think of your overall experience in Brooklyn?
Playing in Brooklyn was such a great time! I have never experienced anything like that. I have never played baseball in front of so many fans before. It really made it so much fun to play. The city life was really different, but baseball is still the same sport no matter where you go in the United States.
Which one of your teammates did you most enjoy watching last season?
There were so many great guys on the team, but I guess Danny Muno was the one guy who I always made sure to stop and watch his at-bats. He had such a good approach at the plate, and he could hit the ball anywhere. He had such a great swing. Oh, and Jack Leathersich. That kid just threw absolute smoke.