Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Q&A with Tim Lahey
Rochester/New Britain Relief Pitcher
Good morning to everyone! I am officially a working member of the Twin Cities Metro area as of today, so it should be interesting. I thought a Q&A would be nice for today.
Tim Lahey's career has not been as obvious as it would appear for a guy who debuted in AAA at the end of the 2007 season. He was a basketball star in high school, along with baseball. He went to Princeton and played baseball for a former big leaguer. He was a catcher in college and in his first season with the Twins organization. But he is now a pitcher and a very solid reliever at that. For more of his stats, click here.
I think that Tim did a spectacular job with the questions and that you will really enjoy this. If you do, be sure to leave Comments below, or send me an e-mail.
Note - if you are interested in viewing all of the Q&As that we have had at SethSpeaks.net, click here.
Let the Questions Begin!
SethSpeaks: Growing up in Massachusetts, I should probably know, but who was your favorite team? Who were some of your favorite players?
Tim Lahey: Yeah obviously growing in Worcester, MA my favorite team was the Red Sox. I remember watching guys like Clemens and Boggs when I was young, but as I got into high school and more recently while I was in college, I became more a fan of the game in general and liked watching Pedro throw in his prime and a guy like Varitek grind it out all season.
SethSpeaks: Tell us a little bit about your high school baseball career.
Tim Lahey: My high school baseball career was a lot of fun. I played under Coach Bill White who was not only a great baseball guy but a great man Ė he taught me a great deal about the game and has since become a friend. I was the first freshman to make the varsity since Ron Darling and was fortunate to play on some very good teams and probably more importantly made some lifelong friends.
SethSpeaks: Did you play other sports or participate in other activities?
Tim Lahey: I played golf and basketball in addition baseball. Iím probably better known in my hometown for my basketball career than my baseball exploits. My senior year we won the Massachusetts Division I State Title, which definitely ranks very high on my greatest sports moments list.
SethSpeaks: What went into your decision to go to Princeton to play baseball?
Tim Lahey: For me, going to Princeton was one of the easiest decisions Iíve ever had to make. The combination of a legitimate baseball program coached by an ex-major league catcher (very important to me at the time) and a world-class education made all the sense in the world to me.
SethSpeaks: Can you briefly talk about baseball in the Ivy League?
Tim Lahey: Baseball in the Ivy League is good. The programs certainly couldnít compete in the big baseball conferences day in and day out but not because of a lack of talent. It would have a lot more to do with a lack of depth. We showed that in the NCAA regional tournaments we went to 3 out of my 4 years. For example we had 5 guys drafted from the 2004 team and beat UVA in the opening round of the tournament. As the weekend went on though, we suffered somewhat from a lack of pitching depth, which is directly correlated to the academic standards at Princeton. Having said all that, Iím incredibly proud to have been a part of the Tiger baseball program. Coach Scott Bradley made playing at Princeton awesome in every respect.
SethSpeaks: The Twins took you in the 20th round of the 2004 draft. As a four-year senior, did you have much negotiating power, or did you just sign right away?
Tim Lahey: As a senior picked in the 20th round I had zero negotiating power. My choice was to either sign and go play or get a real jobÖthat might have been an easier decision than going to Princeton.
SethSpeaks: Did you graduate from college, or will you continue your education? What is your degree in?
Tim Lahey: I graduated from Princeton with a degree in politics. At some point, hopefully in the very distant future, I would like to go to medical school and follow in my brotherís footsteps as an orthopedic surgeon.
SethSpeaks: Once you signed, you remained a catcher and hit a little bit. Then when you came back in 2005, you became a relief pitcher. Can you talk a little about the decision to switch from catcher to pitcher? Was it your decision or something that the Twins asked you to try?
Tim Lahey: It was a combination of the two. In 2005 I was left in extended Spring Training to work on a few aspects of my game both defensively and offensively. After considering a lot of different factors (particularly my age and where I was in my career), I spoke with Joe Vavra and Jim Rantz about the things I did well and the things I needed to improve on. After pitching was casually mentioned by Mr. Rantz, I made it clear that I was open to the possibility. After my first bullpen, Joe Vavra had seen enough and told me to hand in my catcherís gear. I think we all made the right decision.
SethSpeaks: Do you ever miss catching? What did you enjoy about being behind the plate?
Tim Lahey: I really donít miss catching and that isnít to say I didnít love it because I did. But itís more that Iím so excited and consumed by the process of refining my abilities on the mound. For that reason, missing catching is the farthest thing from my mind. The leadership and mental toughness that you need to have as a catcher will never leave my blood, though, and those were the things I loved about the position.
SethSpeaks: What was the biggest adjustment that you needed to make? Something physical, or was it more a mental thing?
Tim Lahey: The biggest adjustments were probably physical Ė I had to literally learn how to pitch (I hadnít pitched since little league). Although the more I learn the more I realize that a very simple approach may be my greatest asset as a pitcher. The mental part of pitching has come through experience. The only way to have a sound mental approach on the mound is to have pitched in all different kinds of situations. Every game I appear in, I get a piece of experience that I really think will prove to be essential as I keep moving towards Minnesota.
SethSpeaks: Caleb Moore went from Ft. Myers back to Elizabethton to make that switch from catcher to pitcher. If he asked for a little advice, what would you tell him?
Tim Lahey: Iíve played with Caleb a couple of times (2005 Appy League title team / Fort Myers last season after heíd been called up from Beloit). During this year I heard about the decision to get him on the mound. If Iím not mistaken Caleb did pitch in college though, so I wouldnít be so presumptuous to offer him any advice, since he probably has more pitching experience than I do. But I certainly wish him the best and Iím sure that Iíll get a full rundown from him on his pitching progress at some point on our fantasy football message board.
SethSpeaks: How would you describe yourself as a pitcher? What are your strengths, and what areas would you say you need to most improve upon?
Tim Lahey: I would describe myself as a big athletic power sinker guy. I throw heavy two seam fastballs, sliders, and split fingered fastballs. I try to be as aggressive as I possibly can and force the action. Every pitcher has things he would like to improve on. I think that commanding all three of my pitches more consistently is and always will be a goal for me. I think very few guys at any level have gotten to a point where they wouldnít strive for more consistent command Ė Iím no exception.
SethSpeaks: What pitches do you throw, and what would you say is your out pitch?
Tim Lahey: I throw 2 seam fastballs, sliders, and split fingered fastballs. Slider is my out pitch to right-handers and the splitter is my out pitch to left-handers.
SethSpeaks: What was the biggest adjustment for you about pro baseball?
Tim Lahey: I think without a doubt that the biggest adjustment is the length of the season. Itís not necessarily only the most talented guys who succeed (although I think it certainly plays a significant role), itís the guys who are able to grind for the entire season. That takes a level of mental toughness that separates the guys who make it from the guys who donít.
SethSpeaks: What are some of your thoughts, after a couple of years, about the Twins organization?
Tim Lahey: I canít say enough about the Twins organization. They certainly have been very helpful to me, as my unorthodox career path has unfolded. Iíve had great coaches, been around great teammates, and Iíve learned how to conduct myself on the field the right way Ė the Twins way.
SethSpeaks: What is the best part about life in baseball?
Tim Lahey: The best part about life in baseball is that it is your job to put on a baseball uniform, be part of a team, and compete every day. Even though the off-season is totally necessary to recharge your batteries and let your body heal, usually about a month into it, you realize how much you crave competition. When you hear that victory song in the clubhouse after a win and you can enjoy it with the boys, that feels pretty good.
SethSpeaks: What is the worst part about a pro baseball career?
Tim Lahey: The worst part is being away from your friends and family and constantly traveling. Thereís no doubt that that aspect of the game is what wears you down.
SethSpeaks: You and Jose Mijares have both been getting save chances this year. Is there a difference in being a set up man versus being a closer?
Tim Lahey: Yes thereís a difference. Iím not sure I can answer this in a few sentences, but Iíll try. I think that a hitterís mentality changes in the ninth inning. Theyíre trying to just keep the inning going and maybe theyíll change their approach just a little. The energy in the park is completely different and that affects the players (hitters and pitchers). There is a finality to your outing. If you pitch well the game is over Ė you win (as opposed to maybe Iíll throw another inning); if you pitch poorly your team is most likely going to lose. Some guys love it and some guys donít. For me there is no other job in the world that is better than closing. Your mistakes are magnified and your successes seem larger than life. Itís the same as pitching any other inning just completely different. I love it but no amount of desire will matter, only your performance will dictate whether you get the save opportunities
SethSpeaks: Favorite baseball movie?
Tim Lahey: The Natural
SethSpeaks: Favorite baseball book?
Tim Lahey: Probably Moneyball even though I donít necessarily agree with any of it Ė I just thought it was though provoking in a business where thought sometimes seems to be absent.
SethSpeaks: What are your goals for the remainder of the 2007 season?
Tim Lahey: Well Iím writing this after the 2007 season has ended, but I think it ended very well. I got promoted to Rochester and got a chance to be part of that team. I wanted to finish the season strong and I think I did. I had a great time in New Britain as well as Rochester. Overall this season was a success on a number of levels.
SethSpeaks: Do you have any offseason plans? What do you enjoy doing in your off time?
Tim Lahey: In my off time, I love coming back home and being with my family. My parents have been there for me every step of the way and I love coming home to relax and have a little down time with my mom and dad. The majority of my friends have moved to Boston so going into the city on weekends isnít so bad either.
This off-season may be much shorter than usual as there is a very high likelihood that I will be playing in the Venezuelan Winter League starting in early October.
SethSpeaks: Are there a few people who have really helped you get to this point in your career?
Tim Lahey: Certainly, my family first and foremost, if not for them I wouldnít be where I am. Iíve had so many coaches that have been influential: Bill White (Saint Johnís High), Scott Bradley (Princeton), Mike Daly (High School). The list could go on.
SethSpeaks: What do you think that it will be like to put on a Minnesota Twins uniform in a regular season for the first time?
Tim Lahey: I think that putting on a Twins uniform for the first time will be a pretty amazing thing. It will be the culmination of a lot of hard work and dedication of not just me but so many others that have positively influenced my career.
SethSpeaks: Is there anything else that you would like to share with Twins fans around the country about yourself?
Tim Lahey: Nothing more than the respect that I have for Twins fans. Itís become obvious over my first couple of years in the organization that the fans are both knowledgeable and loyal to their teams. Iím truly looking forward to experiencing it firsthand in Minneapolis
Thank you to Tim Lahey for taking the time to answer these questions. As you can see, he clearly put the time into his responses and it showed. We wish Tim the best of luck in Venezuela and then in the 2008 season.
NFL "Expert" Picks
There was a 3 way tie for first in the Week 2 picks. Kyle Waldrop, JD Arney, and Tim Kolehmainen all went 11-5 this week. That was enough for JD Arney to put himself in first place overall. Here are the Week 2 results as well as the overall rankings through the Week 2 names.
|JD Arney||Reds Reporter||11||5||68.8%||24||8||75.0%|
|Tim Kolehmainen||Truth About Cats & Blogs||11||5||75.0%||23||9||71.9%|
|Josh Taylor||Taylor's Twins Thoughts||10||6||65.5%||23||9||71.9%|
|Kyle Waldrop||Twins Pitching Prospect||11||5||68.8%||22||10||38.8%|
|John Bonnes||Twins Geek||9||7||56.3%||22||10||68.8%|
|Mike Brasel||Fantasy FB Guru||10||6||62.5%||21||11||65.6%|
|Howard Sinker||Section 220||10||6||62.5%||21||11||65.6%|
|Joe Benson||Twins OF Prospect||10||6||62.5%||21||11||65.6%|
|Trevor Born||Twins Junkie||9||7||56.3%||21||11||65.6%|
|Roger Dehring||Several Blogs||9||7||56.3%||21||11||65.6%|
|Stick & Ball Guy||Stick & Ball Guy||9||7||56.3%||21||11||65.6%|
|Cory Hepola||WENY Sports||9||7||56.3%||21||11||65.6%|
|Nick Nelson||Nick & Nick's||8||8||50.0%||21||11||65.6%|
|Jeff Manship||Twins Pitching Prospect||9||7||56.3%||20||12||62.5%|
|Wes Holtsclaw||Elizabethton Star||9||7||56.3%||20||12||62.5%|
|LaVelle E. Neal III||Twins Insider||10||6||62.5%||19||13||59.4%|
|Josh Johnson||Josh's Thoughts||9||7||56.3%||19||13||59.4%|
|Al Bethke||Al's Ramblings||8||8||50.0%||19||13||59.4%|
|Kevin Slowey||Twins Pitching Prospect||8||8||50.0%||18||14||56.3%|
|Will Young||Will's Twins Blog||8||8||50.0%||17||15||53.1%|
|Bill Ferris||Detroit Tigers Blog||8||8||56.3%||17||15||53.1%|
Let me know what you think. Send me an e-mail, or let's talk about it in the Comments here. That is it for today!|
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