Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Q&A with Dan Rohlfing
Twins Minor League Catching Prospect
Hello everyone! I am happy to bring to you another Q&A with another Minnesota Twins prospect. Dan Rohlfing was drafted out of high school in the 14th round of the 2007 Major League draft. It was a difficult decision, but he decided to sign with the Minnesota Twins. He has spent the last two seasons in Ft. Myers at Extended Spring Training and then catching for the GCL Twins. He had the opportunity to play some winter ball in Australia this offseason which had to be an interesting experience. And he is now looking forward to the 2009 season. I think you will enjoy Dan's responses.
Let the Questions Begin!
SethSpeaks: Growing up in St. Louis, do I need to ask you who your favorite team was growing up? Who were some of your favorite players to watch and follow?
Dan Rohlfing: Haha I was definitely a Cardinals fan. My family had season tickets when I was younger and I went to a lot of games. My favorite player was Ozzie Smith, I could watch him make plays at short stop all day.
SethSpeaks: Tell us a little bit about your high school career. Did you play other positions besides catcher?
Dan Rohlfing: High school ball was a blast. I started 3rd base for my sophomore and junior year. I didn't start catching till my senior year. I was always an infielder. Mainly 3rd base and a little SS.
SethSpeaks: Did you participate in any activities besides baseball?
Dan Rohlfing: My freshman and sophomore year I played on the basketball team then stopped and focused on baseball for the rest of high school.
SethSpeaks: Were you heavily recruited when you were finishing up your high school playing days?
Dan Rohlfing: I got a lot of real late offers. As a 3rd baseman I got some smaller DI's interested but nothing to big. Then when I started catching, offers came in from everywhere and scouts were at all the games.
SethSpeaks: The Twins drafted you in the 14th round in 2007. Where were you expecting to be drafted and how much contact did you have with scouts?
Dan Rohlfing: That’s right about where I was looking to draft. You hear all sorts of people saying this and that, but mainly I was expecting to go somewhere in the top 15 rounds. Greg Miller was the scout who signed me and we had a pretty good relationship. He came by the house to talk with my family and I and came to a lot of games.
SethSpeaks: You decided to sign with the Twins. What was that process like, deciding between college and pro baseball, and what made you decide that signing was right for you?
Dan Rohlfing: The hardest decision of my life! I was back and forth a few times, especially with college coaches calling for my decision as well as the twins scout. I ended up signing because I want to chase my dream. Ever since I started playing baseball I wanted to play in the majors so I thought “why not start my way there now.”
SethSpeaks: What were your first memories of reporting to Ft. Myers and meeting all your new teammates?
Dan Rohlfing: That I better start studying Spanish! haha No they were all cool. It was very overwhelming at first and I remember the first couple days I was completely lost.
SethSpeaks: What was the adjustment like on the field to life in baseball?
Dan Rohlfing: Night and day from high school ball. Coming from high school you don't have the chance to see real velocity everyday. Every part of the game was faster.
SethSpeaks: Although many of your numbers in the GCL were similar between 2007 and 2008, it appears that you added some power. How did you feel about your offensive game between the two seasons?
Dan Rohlfing: I was not happy with my stats from either year. I am a better hitter than I showed in the GCL. I've been working hard and my swing has come a long way. I'm hoping to prove that to everyone this year and put up some numbers.
SethSpeaks: Catcher is a tough position to analyze because of all that goes into the defensive part of the game. Discuss what your best attributes are behind the plate, and what you are really working to improve.
Dan Rohlfing: I like to pride myself as a defensive catcher. Blocking balls and throwing runners out is fun to me. The work is never over for a catcher though. I am constantly trying to get better behind the plate. When I first signed I only had one year of catching experience so I feel like I am always playing catch up to all the others.
SethSpeaks: A catcher can definitely help out a pitcher. You're catching a lot of young, inexperienced pitchers. What type of advice are you giving your pitchers throughout a game?
Dan Rohlfing: Just always staying positive towards them and keeping them feeling confident.
SethSpeaks: After the season, you were given the opportunity to play Winter ball in Australia. Can you explain how the opportunity presented itself to you and your thought process about going there?
Dan Rohlfing: I was working one day about a week or two after I got back from the season and Jake Mauer called me up and basically asked if I would be interested to go. I told him I was so he got me some more information about it and in about a week I started packing. It wasn't a hard decision for me to make. It was either go play ball or go back to work.
SethSpeaks: What was the baseball atmosphere in Australia? Were there any major differences playing there?
Dan Rohlfing: Baseball isn't really popular over there like it is back here, but the ones who were fans of the game were pretty die hard. All the guys I played against over there play hard and with a lot of passion. It made it a very fun league to play in.
SethSpeaks: What were you hoping to accomplish while playing there, and how did you do?
Dan Rohlfing: Going over there I took it as an opportunity to get out and play where usually this time of year there would be snow on the ground. I needed to get more at bats in and work on my catching. There is always room to get better and I mainly just wanted to work on my swing and get ready for spring. Overall I did pretty well over there and feel pretty confident about going back for spring training in March.
SethSpeaks: Now that you're back in the states, what are your plans for the offseason? When do you start preparing for the 2009 season, and what will you do to get ready?
Dan Rohlfing: Spend time with the people I love! I feel like there is no place like home and I'm trying to take advantage of being back and catching up with everyone. I haven't been home much the last two years. As far as preparing for the 09 season I never really stopped this year. I would usually just weight train until January then once the New Year come start throwing and hitting in the batting cage as much as possible. But since I didn't get back from Australia until Christmas day I just took a week off and now I'm back after it..
SethSpeaks: Do you have any goals for the 2009 season? Are there any certain statistics that you pay most particular attention to?
Dan Rohlfing: I just really want to have a good year. I want to come out and prove something this season and start making some moves up the ladder to the bigs. As for the stats I will leave that for you to look at. I try not to pay attention to them much.
SethSpeaks: Here comes the question that is mandatory to be asked... Tell us a little about Aaron Hicks, and how good could he be?
Dan Rohlfing: Hicks definitely has all the tools. Once he can put them all together he is going to be something special. As long as he works like he did in the GCL he should have no problem figuring it out soon.
SethSpeaks: Favorite Baseball Book?
Dan Rohlfing: Moneyball
SethSpeaks: Favorite Baseball Movie?
Dan Rohlfing: Bull Durham
SethSpeaks: What would it be like for you to put on a Minnesota Twins uniform in a regular season game for the first time?
Dan Rohlfing: A dream come true. Knowing that a life time of hard work was put into getting myself there. I would savor the moment for as long as I could!
A thank you goes to Dan Rohlfing for taking the time to answer these questions. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to put them in the comments below, or e-mail me and I will try to get a response. Have a great day!