Wednesday, October 18, 2006
Q&A with Danny Powers
Fort Myers Pitching Prospect
Good morning! I am very happy and excited to bring you yet another Q&A of a Twins minor league prospect.
Danny Powers was the Twins 8th round draft choice in 2005 out of Central Missouri State University. A Division II school, CMSU had five pitchers drafted in the first 11 rounds of the 2005 draft. In his final season there, the team finished third in the nation. He signed quickly and reported to Elizabethton. There, he pitched 22 games in relief. In 42.2 innings, he struck out 47 hitters. He went 3-3 with a 2.53 ERA. The only negative was that he also walked twenty hitters. He began the 2006 season with Beloit. In nine relief appearances, Powers went 1-0 with a 0.43 ERA. In 21.1 innings, he struck out 20 and gave up just one earned run. Maybe most importantly, he walked just four. He moved up to Ft. Myers and there he went 6-2 with a 3.10 ERA with ten saves. He pitched in 30 games and started two. In 58 innings, he struck out 61 hitters. He walked 18.
I thought it would be fun to learn a little more about Danny Powers. I would guess that he could spend the 2007 season in the New Britain bullpen. Could he be yet another high quality relief pitcher for the Twins?
If you would like, 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 want to thank Danny Powers 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. Powers, 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.
Let the Questions Begin!
SethSpeaks: Growing up in Missouri, who was your favorite team, and who were some of your favorite players growing up?
Danny Powers: Growing up, I was a huge Royals fan. I know both my parents were big fans, so I naturally became one too. George Brett and Bo Jackson were my favorite players growing up. I still think that George Brett was one of he best pure hitters of all time and that Bo Jackson might have been world's greatest athlete of all of all time.
SethSpeaks: Tell us a little about your high school career. Did you play other positions besides pitch? Did you play on good teams? Did you play other sports or participate in other events?
Danny Powers: I had a great time in high school. I went to Carl Junction High, which is a medium size high school in Missouri. I played three sports: football, basketball, and baseball. I lettered all 4 years in each sport and was fortunate enough to play on very good teams. During my junior year, my baseball team finished second in the State. That year I earned All-State honors as a pitcher. When I wasn't pitching, I played the outfield. Actually, my senior year in high school I earned All-State honors as an outfielder rather than a pitcher.
SethSpeaks: Were you drafted out of high school? Were you heavily recruited?
Danny Powers: I was not drafted out of high school, although I thought there was a chance I'd be a late round, draft-and-follow pick. The summer after my junior year of high school I was invited to participate in the Junior-National USA Team Trials. On my trial team, I played with guys that have already made it to the big leagues such as Joe Mauer and J.P Howell. Despite getting a lot of exposure by participating in such a prestigious event, I was not heavily recruited for baseball. The schools that were the most interested were Kansas, Missouri, and Missouri State, but I didn't get the offer I was looking for. After I didn't get the right offer during the early signing period, I decided to pursue I college football career at Emporia State University as a quarterback. That summer, however, I decided that my future may be in baseball, so I decided to go to a junior college and focus solely on baseball. After I disappointing season at Crowder College, I decided junior college wasn't for me. I spent the rest of my college career at Central Missouri State University.
SethSpeaks: The Twins took you in the 8th round in 2005. Had you talked to the Twins' scouts much, and where were you expecting to be drafted?
Danny Powers: Being selected by the Twins was a pleasant surprise to me. I had not talked to any Twins' scouts the entire season. The teams that had shown me the most attention were Oakland, Seattle, and Cleveland. I wasn't exactly sure where I would go in the draft, but I was expecting to be taken anywhere from the 4th to the 10th round.
SethSpeaks: If you weren't playing pro baseball, what would your career of choice be?
Danny Powers: Well, right now I'm spending this of season finishing up my Secondary Education--Social Studies degree. When I'm done playing baseball, I would like to get into coaching and teaching.
SethSpeaks: Who were some of the coaches or people that have helped you get to this point in your career?
Danny Powers: I have been very fortunate to have always been surrounded by excellent coaches and people who have helped along the way. The people that have been the most important and helpful have been my parents. They always supported and provided for me while I was attending school and playing baseball. There is no way I would have been able to support myself while going to school and playing ball. I owe this opportunity to my parents for always being there when I needed them. I've also had several coaches that helped along the way. I would like to thank Todd Hafner, Phil Cook, Denis Vilela, Mark Hoekstra, Richard Neria, Flave Darnell, Andy Summers, Lance Robbins, Clint Culbertson, Darin Vaughn, Steve Miller, and Darin Hendrickson for being outstanding coaches and helping me develop as a person and a player.
SethSpeaks: How would you describe yourself as a pitcher? What are your strengths, and what areas would you say you most have to improve upon?
Danny Powers: I would describe myself as a very competitive pitcher. I'm a sinker/slider guy that's not overpowering. I think I make up for that by constantly attacking the hitter and pounding the strike zone with all my pitches. I can't really think of just one area I need to improve on. I am constantly working on to improve every aspect game. If I had to focus on just was thing it would be to get comfortable enough with my change up to throw it in any count.
SethSpeaks: What pitches do you throw, and what would you say is your "out" pitch?
Danny Powers: I throw the standard 4 pitches for a pitcher-- fastball, curve ball, slider, change up. My "out" pitch would have to be my slider. I can throw it pretty much in any count and usually put it where I want it.
SethSpeaks: What was the adjustment to pro baseball like for you?
Danny Powers: The main adjust I had to make for pro baseball was adjusting to the role of a reliever. My entire college career I was a starter. It took me a few weeks for my arm and my mind to be prepared to throw every day.
SethSpeaks: What are some of your initial thoughts on the Twins organization?
Danny Powers: I had good initial thoughts about the Twins organization. I have to admit that I didn't know much about the organization prior to being drafted. After getting to know the Twins philosophy, I really enjoy being a part of the organization. The Twins handle everything with professionalism and it shows. That's why they are able to bring up guys within the organization and build a competitive team year after year.
SethSpeaks: You started the 2006 season by completely dominating the Midwest League. That earned you a quick promotion to Ft. Myers. Can you discuss the differences between the Midwest League and the Florida State League, from your perspective?
Danny Powers: I would have have to say the most glaring difference was team defense. Not that the defense was poor in the Midwest League, but balls that I was used to seeing get through the hole or drop in the outfield were being caught with regularity. Also, the hitters in the Florida State League seemed to be more patient hitters. They looked for their pitch and hit it well if you gave it them.
SethSpeaks: Are there three or four of your 2006 teammates that you just know are going to make it to the big leagues? Is there a sleeper prospect, in your mind?
Danny Powers: This is a tough one to answer. I think nearly everbody I played with has the potential to make it. I'd say Eric Lis, Brian Duensing, and Brock Peterson are all on the right track to the Big Leagues. My sleeper would have to be Danny Aselton. I'm not sure if you can really call him a sleeper, but he's a big lefty with nasty stuff. He was hurt for a large part of the first half of the season, but I expect him to put up some outstanding numbers in next couple seasons.
SethSpeaks: You did miss a little time due to injury. Can you describe the injury, and let us know how you are feeling now?
Danny Powers: Right before the all-star break I had a bulging disk in my lower back. During one of our team workouts I felt a pop in my back while putting weight back on the squat rack. For about 2 weeks I was in a lot of discomfort. I was put on the 7 day DL and after some rehab, I was able to come back and get back into the swing of things. For the most part my back doesn't bother me. Every once in a while it gets a little stiff, but it's not a big deal. I just have to make sure I do my low back exercises every day to make sure it's strong.
SethSpeaks: What is the best part, so far, about a career in baseball?
Danny Powers: The best part about a career in baseball is getting to play baseball everyday. I'm getting a chance to make a career out of playing a game. I have my whole life to go out and get a real job. I want to play the game for as long as I can.
SethSpeaks: What is the most difficult part of life in baseball?
Danny Powers: The most difficult part is being away from my friends and family for 6 months. In the off-season you get used to being at home with family. It's an adjustment to get used to the time away and the constant traveling and packing.
SethSpeaks: Favorite baseball movie?
Danny Powers: For the Love of the Game.
SethSpeaks: Favorite baseball book?
Danny Powers: Moneyball
SethSpeaks: What were your goals heading into the 2006 season, and how do you think you did?
Danny Powers: Entering the season, my goal was to finish the year in Ft. Myers and have a shot to be in Double-A in 2007. Although I slumped a little bit during the middle of the season, I think overall I had a successful season and accomplished my goals. I don't think any pitcher is every satisfied at the end of the year. I'm not satisfied with performance this year. I think no matter what kind of numbers I put up at the end of year, I can always think of ways I could have pitched better.
SethSpeaks: What are your plans for the offseason Did the coaching staff give you some things to work on specifically?
Danny Powers: My plans for the offseason is to finally finish up my education. I had to take last year off because I was invited to participate in the Fall Instructional League. I have one semester left, and I will graduate in December. As far as baseball goes, I feel this may be my most important year in pro ball. I plan to be in the best shape of my life when I report for Spring Training and we'll see where things go from there.
SethSpeaks: What do you think it will be like to put on a big league uniform in a regular season for the first time?
Danny Powers: I think it will be a dream finally come true. I'm sure it's a moment that I'm not fully prepared for. I've always dreamed of playing Major League Baseball, finally getting there and putting that uniform on will certainly be surreal experience.
SethSpeaks: Is there anything else that you would like to share with Twins fans around the country about yourself?
Danny Powers: I'm just like to say that I've very grateful for the opportunity to play pro ball. I'd like to thank my parents and everyone whose supported my along the way. Hopefully, I'll have a chance to get help the Twins win a World Series someday.
Danny, thank you so much for taking some of your time to answer some questions for me and the readers of this site. Obviously we wish you the best for an enjoyable offseason, but also for a great 2007 season in the Twins system.
Do you have any thoughts or questions for Danny Powers 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.
Here are a few other site and links that you should check out if you have a moment. Also, here is an update on what happened down in Arizona yesterday:
Maybe someone can explain this site to me... I think it is pretty cool. I just don't really understand any of it!
Shocking!! Former Vikings WR Koren Robinson was suspended for a year by the NFL for his most recent arrest. Why did the Packers decide to sign him?
Mesa Wins! Mesa Wins! Matt Tolbert led off, played second and went 2-6 with a homer and two RBI. Tolbert's homer came off of former Twins farm hand and current Marlins minor leaguer Scott Tyler. Matt Moses was the DH. He hit fourth and went 2-5. Errol Simonitsch started and gave up three runs on four hits in just 1.2 innings. Kevin Slowey came in in relief and gave up a run on three hits in 1.1 innings. Kevin Cameron later came in and gave up three runs on four hits and two walks in 1.2 innings.
Kevin Slowey updated the TwinPeeks blog the other day with some thoughts on an off day, his time in the bullpen and more.
I mentioned it previously, but I think that it is time for me to announce my choices for the baseball awards for 2006. I'm not going to do a big, long, stat-filled article with a lot of numbers and acronyms. I'm just going to post them here and encourage you all to discuss.
AL MVP - 1.) Justin Morneau, Twins, 2.) Derek Jeter, Yankees, 3.) David Ortiz, Red Sox
NL MVP - 1.) Albert Pujols, Cardinals, 2.) Ryan Howard, Phillies, 3.) Miguel Cabrera, Marlins
AL ROY - 1.) Justin Verlander, Tigers, 2.) Jonathan Papelbon, Red Sox, 3.) Francisco Liriano, Twins
NL ROY - 1a.) Ryan Zimmerman, Nationals, 1b.) Hanley Ramirez, Marlins 3.) Dan Uggla, Marlins
AL CY - 1.) Johan Santana, Twins, 2.) Chien-Ming Wang, Yankees, 3.) Justin Verlander, Tigers
NL CY - 1.) Chris Carpenter, Cardinals, 2.) Brandon Webb, Diamondbacks, 3.) Chris Young, Padres
Kelly Thesier, the Twins mlb.com journalist, answers Twins questions via her mailbag. Some interesting answers, but nothing overly shocking or new.
This is actually old news, but if anyone missed it... 220 American League players voted and Johan Santana was named the AL Pitcher of the Year by The Sporting News. Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau were named the top AL Catcher and 1B, respectively. Earning that on a vote of your peers has to mean a lot!
LaVelle E. Neal sat down for a Q&A with Twins GM Terry Ryan. Great information!
The shooting story of White Sox SS Juan Uribe is anything but funny, but you should really check out the Deadspin take on the story. I like the "we are empathetic to Mr. Uribe's plight: We've gunned down people for so much as looking at our jeep before" part.
Will Young is writing about some of the lesser known Twins of yester-year. We always read stories about the big names. Well, Will writes about German Gonzalez a Venezuelan who was the Twins first home-grown Venezuelan native to reach the big leagues. He pitched in 38 games in relief between 1988 and 1989. And what about Carmen Castillo. He came to the Twins from the Indians as a free agent and played for the team in 1989, 1990 and nine games in 1991.
Here is a terrific story on Chris Coste from the Philadelphia Daily News last week. Just an excellent story by Mark Kram.
That is it for today. Check back throughout the rest of the week for more updates to the site. Of course, on Friday we will be back with the NFL "Expert" Picks as well! By the way, 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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