Friday, May 4, 2007
Q&A with Korey Feiner
New Britain Catching Prospect
Good morning! I am very happy and excited to bring you yet another Q&A of a Twins minor league prospect today. (Side Note - if you haven't already, be sure to e-mail me your question or questions for Kevin Slowey TODAY!)
Korey Feiner signed with the Twins as a free agent shortly after the 2004 draft out of the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. Oshkosh is quite the Division III powerhouse. If you recall, it was against UW-Oshkosh that Chris Coste went 2-3 with a home run in the 1995 D3 Regional tournament (sometimes referred to as the Oshkosh Invitational). Washburn, former Twins infielder Terry Jorgenson, former Cubs OF Gary Varsho and former Brewers 2B Jim Gantner are just four of the eight former Oshkosh players to have played in the big leagues. If Korey Feiner continues to progress at the plate and behind the plate, he just may be the ninth. Although known more for his glove and arm than his bat, Feiner is off to a great start so far this year at New Britain. In 36 at bats, he is hitting .361/.477/.444 with three doubles and seven RBI. (If you would like, you can check out his career numbers here.)
If you would like to see what other Twins prospects I have had Q&As with, please be sure to check out a page I created with all of my Q&As. Today, I want to thank Korey Feiner for taking the a lot of his time to answer some questions for us! I really hope that you all enjoy the Q&As. If you have any comments for me or Mr. Feiner, please e-mail me, and I will try to answer your questions or forward them on to him and see if we can get you an answer. Also, leave Comments below if you would prefer.
Let the Questions Begin!
SethSpeaks: Growing up in Wisconsin, who was your favorite team, and who were some of your favorite players to watch?
Korey Feiner: I loved the Brewers growing up. Going to County stadium and sitting in the family section for $5 a seat was great. I liked watching Paul Molitor and Robin Yount. As I grew older I turned into an Orioles fan because I liked watching Cal Ripken.
SethSpeaks: Tell us a little about your high school career, some memories or stories. And did you participate in other sports or activities?
Korey Feiner: The best part of high school baseball was playing on multiple travel teams throughout the summer my junior and senior years. I got to meet a lot of different people and travel to different places. I was a two time all-state wrestler and a QB and CB on my high school football team.
SethSpeaks: Were you heavily recruited out of high school? Was there any thought of pro ball at that time?
Korey Feiner: I wasn't heavily recruited out of high school. Being from a small town and not specializing in one sport, I never got a great look by any D1 colleges except UW-Milwaukee. I definitely had aspirations of playing college ball and someday pro ball but never thought it was a guarantee by any means.
SethSpeaks: You went to UW-Oshkosh, a Division III powerhouse. What made you decide to go there, and describe the baseball tradition at the school.
Korey Feiner: After I didn't get any looks from any D1 schools and UW-Milwaukee stopped encouraging me to come, Coach Tom Lechnir from UW-Oshkosh called me and ask to meet with me. He never promised anything but said if you are good enough to one day play pro baseball, you will not get overlooked at Oshkosh. The tradition there was something I had no idea about until I was there for a year. The number of professional players that come back helped my career immensely. I got to work with multiple professional catchers and get the best coaching from all of them.
SethSpeaks: The Twins signed you after the draft in 2004 as a free agent. Were you expecting to be drafted? Were other teams talking to you?
Korey Feiner: I was expecting to be drafted due to the fact I went to a few pre-draft camps and performed well. Other teams had contacted me throughout my senior year and I thought I would be chosen sometime during the second day of the draft. When it didn't happen I was upset but Mark Wilson, a Minnesota area scout, called me 15 minutes after the draft and offered me a free agent contract. I wasn't mad that I wasn't drafted, just happy I was getting a chance to play pro ball.
SethSpeaks: If you weren't playing pro baseball, what would your career of choice be? Did you finish college?
Korey Feiner: I graduated college in Urban and Regional Studies and City Planning. If I didn't play ball I'd probably be working as an electrician for my father. Although in the future Trevor Plouffe (Rockcats shortstop) and I plan on writing and directing movies.
SethSpeaks: How would you describe yourself as a player? What are your strengths, and what areas would you say you most have to improve upon?
Korey Feiner: As a player I see myself as a defensive catcher. I take pride in my defense and being the leader of the field. If I could improve on one part of my game it would be becoming a better hitter in the lineup.
SethSpeaks: Last year, you spent the season at Ft. Myers. The Florida State League can be tough on hitters. How did you feel about your season?
Korey Feiner: The Fla. St League was different because of the heat and the thick air. The ball definitely doesn't carry well and there are very few fans at the games. But it was my best year both offensively and defensively. It was a positive year for my career that I hope to build on.
SethSpeaks: As a catcher, what is your role in developing the pitchers that you catch? How do you go about doing that?
Korey Feiner: Being a catcher that prides myself on defense, calling a game and handling a staff is very important. If the staff is pitching poorly or we are losing a lot of games, I see it as my fault and try to make the adjustments to get back on track. I do this by studying hitting charts, mixing in the hitters weaknesses along with my pitchers strengths.
SethSpeaks: Last year, you caught Matt Garza for a month or so, and Kevin Slowey for a half-season. What was it about them that made them so good?
Korey Feiner: Matt Garza was my roommate in Beloit and Ft. Myers and we stay together in spring training. We have stayed close friends and catching him was fun. His velocity and confidence are his best assets. He has electric stuff that is hard to beat if he's on. Slowey on the other hand has some of the best control out there. He challenges himself day in and day out to get better. He doesn't back down and continually gives you quality outings. He stays loose throughout the game has fun playing.
SethSpeaks: Who were some of the coaches or people that have helped you get to this point in your career?
Korey Feiner: My father, Scott, was always there to coach me in Little League. I had three brothers and all summer we spent the evenings playing catch and wiffle ball. Coach Lechnir at Oshkosh gave me the skills to compete at the next level. Now that I'm in pro ball many people such as my A-ball manager Kevin Boles have helped me to grow as a professional.
SethSpeaks: What was the adjustment to pro baseball like for you?
Korey Feiner: The biggest adjustment was the length of the season and number of games you play. You have so many at bats that you can't dwell on the bad. You have to have a short memory.
SethSpeaks: What are some of your thoughts on the Twins organization?
Korey Feiner: When you're a player like me, this is a great organization because it is smaller market and the best players play. They promote from within and give everyone at least a chance.
SethSpeaks: What do you think of playing in such cold, rainy and snowy conditions as you have seen thus far this season?
Korey Feiner: Playing in the cold and rain is nothing new for me growing up in Wisconsin and playing in Oshkosh. But after a year in Florida and nice weather during Spring Training, the cold temperatures are never something you love playing in.
SethSpeaks: What is the best part, so far, about a career in baseball?
Korey Feiner: Fulfilling my childhood dream is the best part of a career in baseball.
SethSpeaks: What is the most difficult part of life in baseball?
Korey Feiner: Playing in the minors, there are definite financial struggles. It isn't the glamorous life by any means. Moving from team to team and adjusting to different teammates every year is also difficult at times.
SethSpeaks: Favorite baseball movie?
Korey Feiner: I love "The Sandlot."
SethSpeaks: Favorite baseball book?
Korey Feiner: I read Moneyball and it was interesting.
SethSpeaks: Did you enjoy coming to the Twin Cities for Twins Fest?
Korey Feiner: Twinsfest was great. I was in Minneapolis during the last series of the 2006 season so I knew how crazy the city was for the Twins. But then in the dead of winter seeing and meeting thousands of fans was awesome. Definitely a great experience I will never forget.
SethSpeaks: What were your goals heading into the 2007 season?
Korey Feiner: My goals are to continue to improve offensively and to be looked at as one of the best catch and throw guys in the minors.
SethSpeaks: What do you think it will be like to put on a big league uniform in a regular season for the first time?
Korey Feiner: I can't even imagine the feeling I'll have when I put on a Twins jersey for the first time. After so many years of playing to get to that point, it is unimaginable.
SethSpeaks: Is there anything else that you would like to share with Twins fans around the country about yourself?
Korey Feiner: At my parents house back in Sun Prairie, WI, we built a full-size baseball field. It isn't very often we get out there to use it but the city teams and high school teams practice on it. It has become sort of a Sun Prairie landmark. Also my youngest brother Kevyn was drafted out of high school by the Cincinnati Reds and plays Rookie ball in Billings with them.
Korey, thank you very much for taking so much of your time to answer these questions for me and the readers of this site. Obviously we hope you have had a terrific season and continued success. Best wishes for a strong 2007 campaign!
Do you have any thoughts or questions for Korey Feiner or me? If so, please feel free to e-mail me or leave a question or comment below.
If you would like to read any previous Q&A's, I have set up a new page that contains the links to all of them. Click here to see who all has done a Q&A with SethSpeaks.
Twins and their Minor League Updates
Here are the Twins updates from last night, including game reports
of their minor league affiliates.
Twins 4, Devil Rays 6
Another loss for the Twins. That was two out of three against the Devil Rays. Ramon Ortiz had his first non-Quality Start start. He went just four innings and gave up five runs (4 earned) on seven hits. He walked none and struck out three. It was a long fourth inning with a lot of pitches so it was a smart decision to take Ortiz out of the game. Glen Perkins came in and threw up zeroes for the next three innings. He gave up two hits, walked none and struck out two. The most impressive thing was that he did it with just 36 pitches. Jesse Crain then came in and gave up a home to Carlos Pena in his inning.
The bats were the problem in this game. Well, not all the bats, just the bats that you would hope would come through. Luis Castillo and Nick Punto combined for seven hits and a walk. Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau then combined to go 0-8 and leave 14 runners on base. I suppose some out there will say that Justin Morneau "just can't hit out of the four spot in the lineup." That's just dumb, so don't be one of those people!
Torii Hunter continued his hit streak. It is up to 18 games now.
This everyday playing thing is really going well for Jason Kubel. It should have been an obvious decision. Last night, he went 3-5.
Luis Castillo is 7-15 since returning from injury.
When the Twins went on this road trip to Detroit and Tampa Bay, Nick Punto was hitting .188. In the six games, he went 11-27 and raised his average to .250.
Friday night - 7:10 - Carlos Silva vs Tim Wakefield.
Saturday night - 6:10 - Johan Santana vs Julian Tavarez.
Sunday afternoon - 1:10 - Sidney Ponson vs Curt Schilling.
David Ortiz has had two hits in his last four games.
Manny Ramirez has at least two hits in his last four games too.
Kevin Youklis is on a nine game hitting streak. He has also walked nine times in those games.
Any other Twins Thoughts? E-mail me or leave Comments below.
Thursday - Red Wings 4, Columbus 5 – Tony Batista messes everything up, doesn't he!? Scott Baker had another very nice start going in the sixth inning last night when Batista hit a three run homer. In all, Baker went seven innings and gave up four runs on five hits. He walked none and struck out seven. Carmen Cali was charged with an unearned run in the 8th. Matt Tolbert continues to hit well. He went 2-3 with a walk, his third double and fourth triple. Jose Morales was 2-4. Doug Deeds hit a solo homer in the 9th to cut the lead to one, but that was as close as it gets.
WHO'S HOT? Matt Tolbert's 2-3 day gave him an eight game hitting streak. During that time, he is 12-27 (.444).
NEW BRITAIN NEWS
Thursday - Game 1 - Rockcats 4, Binghamton 3 – Gil Velazquez had a triple and three big RBI in this game. Felix Molina was 2-3 with a double. Tristan Crawford picked up his second win. He gave up three runs on nine hits and a walk in five innings. JP Martinez got his first save with two shutout innings.
Thursday - Game 2 - Rockcats 7, Binghamton 2 – Bruce Forystek made his first start of the year. He struckout five in four shutout innings. Nick Blackburn pitched the 5th for the Win. Tim Lahey then gave up two runs in the last two innings. David Winfree played again! He was 1-3 with a double and two RBI. Korey Feiner went 2-3 with a double. Felix Molina went 2-4. Matt Allegra hit his second homer.
WHO'S HOT? Felix Molina was an Eastern League All-Star last year. This season, he started out by hitting .083 (2-24). Since, he has a nine game hitting streak during which he is 17-34 (.500). He has had at least two hits in each of his last six games. He is 13-23 (.565).
FT MYERS MEMOS
Thursday - Miracle 4, Tampa 5 – Steven Tolleson had a great day with the bat. He was 4-5. But he also had two big errors. Ryan Mullins pitched great again. He went six innings and gave up seven hits. He walked one and struck out 11. But, errors led to four unearned runs. Zach Ward fell to 0-3. He gave up an unearned run in his two innings. Frank Mata pitched a shutout frame. Juan Portes went 3-5. Erik Lis was 2-3 with a walk. It was a tale of two halves for the Miracle lineup. Those top three hitters combined to go 9-13 in the game. The bottom five hitters combined to go 0-17.
Thursday - Snappers 1, Ft. Wayne 0 – Cole DeVries threw the first six shutout innings in this pitcher's dual. He gave up three hits, walked one and struck out six. Armando Gabino went the next two innings. Robert Delaney came in and gave up a walk and a hit to load the bases with nobody out, but he got the team out of it for his 6th save. Steve Singleton went 2-4. Joe Benson had a double. Danny Berg drove in the lone run.
Player of the Day – Matt Tolbert,
Rochester Red Wings
Thursday SethSpeaks Player of the Day – Cole DeVries, Beloit Snappers
Do you have any further thoughts on any Twins prospects, minor leaguers, or these summaries? E-mail me, or also feel free to leave comments below.
That is it for today and for this week. If you have any ideas for the site, people to try to get Q&As from, article concepts or more, please leave some Comments or send me an e-mail. I would appreciate your help. Have a terrific day!
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