Tuesday, October 10, 2006
NFL "Expert" Picks
Q&A with Alexander Smit
Beloit Pitching Prospect
Good morning to everyone! Last week, I posted a Q&A with Trent Oeltjen, who I ranked #9 in my rankings. Today, I have another fun Q&A with another of my Top 10 choices. It was another somewhat controversial choice when I ranked Alexander Smit as the Twins #8 prospect. But, sometimes prospect rankings are based on ceiling and Smit's ceiling is as high as anyone.
Like Oeltjen, Smit has spent a lot of time representing his home country in international competition. The native of the Netherlands had a really terrific season for the Beloit Snappers. Smit started the season in the Beloit bullpen where he made 21 appearances, but by July he was in the starting rotation. Overall, he went 7-2 with a 2.99 ERA. In 108.1 innings, he walked 53, but he struck out 141! In August, he was at the top of his game. In 30 innings, he walked 15, but he struck out an incredible 45! Batters hit just .110/.224/.140 against him. Those are the types of numbers that get a player noticed, that make a 21 year old lefty a big-time prospect.
Alexander Smit was signed by the Twins as a free agent in July of 2002 out of Geldrop, The Netherlands. His goal is to become the seventh Holland-born player to play in the Major Leagues. He would be just the fourth pitcher. You can check out his career numbers here, but let's just get the Q&A started.
If you would like to see what other Twins prospects and more I have had Q&As with, please be sure to check out a page I created with all of my Q&As. Today, I need to thank Alexander Smit for taking the 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. Smit, 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.
NOTE - This is the second time that Mr. Smit has been so kind as to do a Q&A for this site. Be sure to check out the answers he gave to my questions in December of 2004. Maybe of the questions are new, but some were intentionally the same to see if there were any differences in his responses.
Let the Questions Begin!
SethSpeaks: The last time you did a Q&A with me, I asked if you had met fellow Holland native Bert Blyleven. At the time, you hadn't. Have you met him yet?
Alexander Smit: No, not yet. But I would love to meet him. Maybe this spring training?
SethSpeaks: Tell us a little about Loek Van Mil. Has he played in international competition with you?
Alexander Smit: Loek van Mill did not play with me in Holland. I was already in the USA with the Twins when he started to play in the Dutch Major League. Because he is not ( yet) selected for the National team, I have not played with him.
SethSpeaks: I understand that you will be playing in another international competition in November. Tell us a little about that.
Alexander Smit: If the Twins allow me I will participate with the Dutch National team in the Intercontinental Cup. This event is held every two years, this year in Taiwan. Participants are : Cuba, Japan, China, Holland, Taiwan, Australia, South Korea, Italy and USA.
SethSpeaks: Did you participate in the World Baseball Classic this past spring? If so, what was that like? How fun was it to play with Andruw Jones?
Alexander Smit: Yes I did, It was a great event and a really good experience. I met Andrew Jones because he played with our team . He was a very nice guy, fun to play and talk with. I talked a lot about baseball in the majors with him. It's a good thing that he shared his experience with us.
SethSpeaks: You had a remarkable 2006 season in Beloit, but it didn't start out real great. But at some point, about six weeks into the season, something clicked and you became almost unhittable. What was the difference?
Alexander Smit: At first my arm slot was not what it should be. I worked every day with different drills to overcome this problem ( p.e. towel drills ), after a couple of weeks it worked out .
SethSpeaks: What were your goals heading into the 2006 season and how do you feel you did relative to them?
Alexander Smit: My objective was to have a good season and work on my curveball and other off-speed commands. Looking back it was successful and my objectives were met.
SethSpeaks: What pitches do you throw? What would you say is your strikeout pitch?
Alexander Smit: Fastball, slider, curve, change-up. I worked hard on my slider which was a new pitch to me. It worked out well. My strike-out pitch is the fastball.
SethSpeaks: Are there any pitches that you are working on?
Alexander Smit: Still working on slider and curve. But I'm also working hard on my other pitches because you need to do that to keep improving on all your pitches.
SethSpeaks: I think it is fair to say that you are a strikeout pitcher. Is that what you are thinking when each hitter comes to bat, that you want to strike him out?
Alexander Smit: It depends on the situation, but most of the time I'm looking for strikeouts.
SethSpeaks: What was the coaching staff of the Snappers like? How were they helpful?
Alexander Smit: Yes, very. Our pitching coach ( Steve Mintz ) really helped me a lot especially during the difficult beginning of the season. Also the other trainers and staff were great. They were able to form a real team out of us during this season. Great work!
SethSpeaks: How much more comfortable do you feel with the Twins now compared to a couple of years ago?
Alexander Smit: Well, every year you feel more comfortable because you know more people in the organization. You make more friends and get to know everybody in the coaching staff.
SethSpeaks: Are you feeling more comfortable with being in America six or seven months out of the year?
Alexander Smit: Yes, I sure do. I am really starting to settle in. I Know my way around and know where to go. Furthermore, USA = baseball and I love the game and the country.
SethSpeaks: What were your thoughts on Beloit?
Alexander Smit: My thoughts were : lets go back and do the best I can do and make it a great season.
SethSpeaks: What is the best part, so far, about a career in baseball?
Alexander Smit: I've learned a lot about the mental part of the game. That's really interesting. Also participating in the WBC was a great experience.
SethSpeaks: What is the most difficult part of life in baseball?
Alexander Smit: I don't know. I really like my life as a pro player so I'm happy.
SethSpeaks: What kind of support do you get from back home? From your family, friends, or the general population of your country?
Alexander Smit: Well, my family supports me a lot. They love the game very much and listen to the games on the internet-radio as much as they can. The Dutch population look at my web-site a lot and they send me a lot of e-mails.
SethSpeaks: You still have your website (www.alexandersmit.com). Do you spend much time with that? Do you still enjoy working with it?
Alexander Smit: Yes, I still enjoy doing it. I try to keep it updated as best as I can.
SethSpeaks: What is your favorite baseball movie?
Alexander Smit: For the love of the game.
SethSpeaks: What is your favorite baseball book?
Alexander Smit: The mental game of baseball. By H. Dorfman.
SethSpeaks: What are your plans for the offseason?
Alexander Smit: Working on all of my pitches, work on arm-strength and take care of being in good shape for next season. Also working hard with the Dutch National team for the Intercontinental Cup.
SethSpeaks: If you don't mind, tell us a little bit about some of your 2006 teammates. Have any of them personally helped you with any part of your game or your adjustments?
Alexander Smit: We have had a great team this year. We stuck together in difficult times and supported each other when necessary. So it's difficult to talk about individual players because it's all about being a team.
SethSpeaks: What do you think it will be like to put on a big league uniform in a regular season for the first time?
Alexander Smit: Its my dream to play at the highest level with the best players in the world. So if I put on that uniform that will be the best thing that ever happened to me. It also means that my goals are met.
SethSpeaks: Is there anything else that you would like to share with Twins fans around the world about yourself?
Alexander Smit: I really appreciate the attention the fans give to me through my web site and e-mails. We will be up late every night for the coming period to follow the Twins in the play-offs. I wish the team and all the Twins fans good luck in October !!!!!!
As you can tell by that last answer, these questions were answered right before the playoffs started. I do know that I get a lot of e-mail from The Netherlands. Lots of fans over there are interested in the Twins, and specifically in Dutch players like Alexander Smit, Loek Van Mill and Wesley Connor.
Do you have any thoughts or questions for Alexander Smit or me? If so, please feel free to e-mail me.
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.
NFL "Expert" Picks
We were perfect for the week. OK, Trevor Born was perfect for the week, at 14-0, but the consensus picks were also perfect. This is a tough group. This week, I went 12-2, and I fell further in the standings. Kyle Waldrop extended his lead to three games with a 13-1. If you would like updated standings or info on our players, click here.
|Kyle Waldrop||Twins Pitching Prospect||13||1||92.9%||57||17||77.0%|
|JD Arney||Reds Reporter||13||1||92.9%||54||20||73.0%|
|Stick & Ball Guy||Stick & Ball Guy||11||3||78.6%||53||21||71.6%|
|Will Young||Will's Twins Blog||13||1||92.9%||52||22||70.2%|
|Trevor Born||Twins Junkie||14||0||71.4%||51||23||68.9%|
|Al Bethke||Al's Ramblings||13||1||92.9%||51||23||68.9%|
|Roger Dehring||Several Blogs||11||3||78.6%||51||23||68.9%|
|Bill Ferris||Detroit Tigers Blog||12||2||85.7%||51||23||68.9%|
|LaVelle E. Neal III||Mpls Star-Tribune||13||1||92.9%||50||24||67.6%|
|Mike Brasel||Fantasy FB Guru||13||1||92.9%||50||24||67.6%|
|Cory Hepola||KTVH-TV Sports||14||0||100.0%||50||24||67.6%|
|Seth's Mom's Class||St. Pauls School||11||3||78.6%||48||26||64.9%|
|Kevin Slowey||Twins Pitching Prospect||10||4||71.4%||45||29||60.8%|
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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