Mack - Folks, we’re moving along here (after being a little bogged down)… this is a good guy I was hoping to interview. Mack’s Mets, welcome to Minnesota ‘s DJ Snelten. I currently have the 6-6, 215 lefty as one of the top 10 LHPs in the June 2013 draft. Donald, welcome to MMs and thank you for answering some questions. I’m tall but not as tall as you. Am I assuming everybody tried to throw a basketball at you when you began to sprout, rather than a baseball glove?
DJ - Yes, I had coaches back in high school from the basketball team tell me I should try to give it a shot, but after a few pickup games that I would play with some friends in the neighborhood or just shooting around with my brother, I realized that basketball isn't really my thing. People tend to get more surprised when I tell them I can't dunk... usually ends up with them saying: "you're 6'7 and you can't dunk? that's embarrassing" or something in the lines of that.
Mack – White knees. Anyway, take us back to where you first started playing competitive baseball, and who was that person that told your future in the game was on the bump?
DJ - I played baseball since I was about 7 years old, and I always enjoyed playing the game, but I was never really competitive about it until I was a Freshmen in high school. My dad still always jokes with me about how I was the kid that always wanted to get ice cream after the games, but that ended in high school. I knew my future in the game was on the bump when I was about 7 years old. My dad bought me a right handed glove because my brother was right handed, and I threw kind of funny for a week. My dad was confused about it because he thought I would be somewhat athletic since I come from a family of athletes. He finally thought to give me a left handed glove and right away I looked more coordinated. He started to laugh and I heard him say to himself "Thank you God for giving me a lefty". It was right there that we both knew I had to work on pitching more than anything.
Mack – You were drafted by the San Diego Padres in the 30th round of the 2010 MLB June Amateur Draft, but chose to go to college instead. In 2011 (a little stat history for the readers) you went: 1-3, 5.44, 13-G, 4-starts, 29.1-IP, 18-K, 12-BB, .295-OBA. Last year you went: 4-4, 3.24, 16-G, 13-ST, 86.0-IP, 55-K, 33-BB, .229-OBA. A scout tells me “Snelten has worked hard and long on his velo, which can run up to 95. This represents a 5-mph change since high school. He’s also developed a slider and backs both them up with a change-up. He needs to pound the zone more and work on the BB/IP ratio.” Your comments?
DJ - I couldn't agree more, I think every pitcher has their flaws and their projects for next season. My project happens to be pounding the zone more and working on the IP/BB ratio like he said. As a college pitcher, I have tried to do too much with the strike zone, working with 3 inches on both sides of the plate. My pitching coach at the U of Minnesota has told me countless times that I need to simplify it, and it's come a long way since my freshmen year. Although it has improved, it's safe to say that I have a lot more to work on to be as effective as I can be. I look forward to my next step of becoming a better pitcher, and I think that less walks and an improved IP/BB ratio is my ticket to becoming more successful.
Mack – I was going to ask a good wrap-up question, but it sounds like you just did. Do you want to leave us with anything until we check back around mid-season?
DJ - I don't think I have anything else I have worth adding, but thank you for the opportunity of being a part of this interview!