Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Q&A with Nick Papasan
Twins Infield Prospect
Good morning all! Well, Johan Santana remains a Twin, but for how long? In case you missed it yesterday, there were two new postings. The first was a look at the All-Twins Prospects team for 2007 compiled by our good friend Roger Dehring. Last evening, I posted Nine Questions with La Velle E. Neal, which I think was pretty interesting, so be sure to check those out.
Itís been awhile again since we had a Q&A, but today, I am very happy to present a Question and Answer with Nick Papasan. Nick Papasan's was the Twins 24th round draft pick in 2006 out of his Texas High School. He had an excellent baseball career in high school and had a scholarship to Texas A&M, but the Twins made him and offer and he signed. However, he signed too late to play in 2006, so his first season playing with the Twins was 2007. Unfortunately he was hurt, had surgery, rehabbed and only got into a few games for the GCL Twins. Although a low-round pick, I think that the upside on Nick Papasan is some mix of former Twin Chuck Knoblauch and the Red Sox Dustin Pedroia. Either scenario would be great for the Twins and there fans. For more of his stats, click here.
I thought it would be fun for Twins fans to learn a little more about Nick Papasan. Thankfully he was willing to answer some questions. If you would like, 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 Texas, who was your favorite team, and who were some of your favorite players to follow?
Nick Papasan: Even though I grew up in Texas, the team I followed was the New York Yankees.† Derek Jeter was the player I looked up to the most.† He works hard and is very consistent.† Just a fun guy to watch play the game.†
SethSpeaks: Tell us a little about your high school playing days. I know that it is a baseball hot bed in the Ft. Worth area.
Nick Papasan: There are a lot of very good players in the Ft. Worth area.† I played for Granbury High School and there were 2 other players in our district that were drafted the same year I was.† Jordan Walden from Mansfield was drafted by the Angels and Zack Britton from Weatherford was drafted by the Orioles.† They were both pitchers.† Somehow I never faced Walden but faced Britton several times.† Heís a tall lefty that attracted a lot of scouts and I had a few there to watch me so it was exciting when we played each other.† He and I were planning on rooming together at Texas A&M if we hadnít been drafted and signed.
SethSpeaks: Did you participate in other sports or activities while in high school.
Nick Papasan: I played basketball through my freshmen year and football through my sophomore year.† I was a wide receiver and really enjoyed it but decided to give it up to focus on baseball.
SethSpeaks: The Twins were able to draft you in the 24th round of the 2006 draft. Were you expecting to go any higher?
Nick Papasan: I was expecting to go somewhere around rounds 4-7.† After the 7th round passed, I think they thought there would be a signability problem so I dropped to the 24th round.† It was a little disappointing at the time but Iím very happy with the way itís worked out.
SethSpeaks: Were you heavily recruited in high school? What made Texas A&M the right choice for you?
Nick Papasan: I was recruited by some really good baseball schools but Texas A&M was an easy choice.† I had always been an Aggie fan and even had a dog named Aggie.† They were the first school to call once recruiters were allowed to have contact with players and I never thought about going anywhere else after that.
SethSpeaks: You decided to sign with the Twins late in the summer. How difficult was your decision to sign with the Twins as opposed to going to college?
Nick Papasan: The offer didnít come until late in the summer a couple of weeks before school started.† It didnít take me long to decide to sign so I guess it was a pretty easy decision.† I knew I wanted to be a professional baseball player so I decided to start right then instead of 3 or 4 years later.
SethSpeaks: You When spring training started in Ft. Myers this year, how excited were you to begin your pro career?
Nick Papasan: Very excited. Itís great to be around that many very good players and to be that close to the major leaguers.† I had a shoulder problem that started right before spring training but they let me DH in games during spring training while I rehabbed and got ready for surgery.
SethSpeaks: You were injured for much of the 2007 season. Most importantly, how are you physically feeling now?
Nick Papasan: Great.† I had the surgery in May.† After rehabbing, I got to play the last few weeks of the GCL season at 2nd base.† By the time I reported to instructs in September, my arm felt like it did before the injury.
SethSpeaks: How would you describe yourself as a player? What are your strengths, and what areas do you feel that you need to work on most?
Nick Papasan: I would say my strength is hitting the ball to all fields.† The thing I am working on is being more aggressive on the bases.† Iíve got good speed but during instructs, we worked on using it a little better.
SethSpeaks: Defensively, which position would you say is your best position, and which other positions could you feel comfortable at?
Nick Papasan: I feel comfortable at either of the middle infield positions.† Itís been a while since I played 3rd base but I think I could do it too.
SethSpeaks: What has the adjustment to pro baseball been like for you?
Nick Papasan: Not bad so far.† Hitting with wood is probably the biggest adjustment but I hit with wood a lot during BP in high school so it hasnít been too big of a deal.
SethSpeaks: What is the best part about life in baseball?
Nick Papasan: Definitely getting to follow your dream.† Getting up everyday knowing youíll be doing something you love.
SethSpeaks: What is the most difficult part?
Nick Papasan: Hard to say after just one season.† Having to sit through the injury was tough but I guess thatís just part of the game.†
SethSpeaks: After the season, you went to the Twins Instructional League? Do the Twins send you there to work on a few specifics, or what happens there?
Nick Papasan: The Instructional League was a lot like extended spring training.† Drills and instruction in the morning with a game every afternoon.† The games were either intra-squad or against the Reds, Red Sox and Orioles.† Everyone has their own thing that they are asked to work on.† Mine was being a more aggressive base runner.
SethSpeaks: Since then, what have you been doing? How is the offseason treating you? At what point do you start thinking about the 2008 season?
Nick Papasan: So far Iíve been working out some with the high school team, golfing, coaching an 8 year old flag football team.† My plan is to start my weight training, throwing and hitting at the beginning of December to get ready for March.†
SethSpeaks: What is your offseason routine (as it pertains to baseball)?
Nick Papasan: Starting in December my typical day will consist of working out with weights in the morning, long toss and hitting in the afternoon. I will also go on a more nutritional diet that the Twins have recommended for their players.
SethSpeaks: Who are some of the coaches or others who have helped you get to this point in your career?
Nick Papasan: The first coach I ever had that taught me how important it was to hit the ball to all fields was Kelly Gordon when we lived in Midland, Texas.† I was 9 years old and he had a batting cage in his backyard so a lot of our practices were there.† Iím a right handed hitter so he showed me how to hit the outside pitch to right field and the inside pitch to left field. And how to keep my hands inside the ball to have a quicker swing.† Things I still can use.
I moved to Granbury just before my junior year and my coach was Pat Watson.† He made me feel like part of the team right away and pushed me to be better.† I still like working out with him and the team in the off-season.
SethSpeaks: Favorite Baseball Movie?
Nick Papasan: Canít pick just one.† Field of Dreams and Sandlot.
SethSpeaks: Favorite Baseball Book?
Nick Papasan: I havenít read a lot of baseball books but I just recently finished the book Heads- Up Baseball: Playing The Game One Pitch At A Time.† It covers the mental side of the game and itís great for anyone that wants to play the game at the next level
SethSpeaks: What will it be like to put on a Twins uniform in a regular season game for the first time?
Nick Papasan: It will be like having a dream come true. Itís every kids dream to walk out onto a major league field surrounded by superstars.
SethSpeaks: Anything else that you think that Twins fans should know about you?
Nick Papasan: Just that Iím glad to be a Twin.† Itís been a fun year and I canít imagine playing for anyone else.
A big thank you to Nick Papasan for taking the time to answer all of these questions. We wish Nick well in his offseason and for a healthy and successful 2008 season!
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!