I had the good fortune of connecting with the Milwaukee Brewers 2009 Minor League Player of the Year: Logan Schafer and asked if he would have time for a quick interview. He didn't at the time but we agreed to connect somewhere around the beginning to middle of Spring Training.
We had originally thought that we could do a phone interview but that had been discussed just prior to Schafer's thumb injury which he suffered during a Spring Training game.
Instead, we decided that I would email him some questions and he would respond in kind.
Below are the results of that exchange.
Big Rygg: Thanks for doing the interview. I really appreciate your time. The first question I like to ask a professional athlete is always the same basic one and that is: When did you first realize that you were better than everybody else at baseball? Most pros tend to be the best on every team they're on growing up. From that feeling, when did you decide to pursue baseball as a career?
Logan Schafer: I have never been better than everybody else at baseball. In fact, I was rarely the best player on my team. Baseball has been a passion of mine since i was a little kid playing wiffle ball with my brothers and friends in my backyard. My love for the game has never changed or diminished. What set me apart from other players at a young age was my ability to focus and learn how to play the game the right way. I am so thankful to have had such great coaches from a young age up through the present. I was able to put a lot of time and energy into learning the intangables of the game that have given me this incredible opportunity to be where I am today.
BR: How did you feel when you were drafted by a professional baseball franchise?
LS: I was drafted three times out of college, and there was no feeling like it. I was drafted in the 31st round of the 2006 draft by the Boston Red Sox, the 47th round of the 2007 draft by the Colorado Rockies, and the 3rd round of the 2008 draft by the Milwaukee Brewers. My first draft was incredible. It is such an unbelievable thrill to see your name pop up on that screen in front of a Major League Baseball team. I held out however, because I was physically small and felt I had more to learn before I get into pro ball and try and have success. I continued to have two good years at Cal Poly after attending Cuesta College, and had the happiest day of my life to this point in June of 2008 when the Brew Crew selected me in the 3rd round.
BR: To be drafted that many times, no doubt plenty of scouts had seen you over the years, but I'd like to get your opinion on you. Give me a scouting report on Logan Schafer. What is/are your best tool(s)?
LS: A scouting report of Logan Schafer would have to start with the glove. I take great pride in taking hits away from people, holding runners from taking the extra base, and being able to determine where the ball should be thrown before the pitch. I spend a lot of time working on positioning and getting jumps to give me the best chance to be in on every play. Offensively I hit more for average than power, but will have occasional power to the gaps. The small game is also a big part of who I am, so controlling the bat is also something I concentrate on quite a bit.
BR: Let's talk about the injury bug for you these past couple of years, starting with the thumb and then the groin and foot last year and whatever update you could give us after surgery including a projection for when you think you'll be back on the field.
LS: The injury bug is a very frustrating one, in every facet of life. Typing this is tough with a broken thumb for instance, haha. I had surgery on my thumb yesterday and everything turned out well. The doctor is sticking with 4-6 weeks, but they buried the pins so I can do some workouts and keep my arm in baseball shape after a week. My groin tear turned hernia was the worst last year, since the pain and actual injury were so hard to diagnose. It was very humbling and dissapointing to find out that I broke my navicular bone in my foot in late May (last year) coming back from the other injuries. I just had to keep my head up, and that was tough to do when that light at the end of the tunnel seemed to be running away from me at the time. I played a few games in the Arizona Fall League and started off getting back into the groove in Spring Training, and then I break my thumb breaking up a double play. I have learned the value of patience, and as frustrating as this might be, I got to spend a few weeks of incredible baseball at big league camp. Learning from the big leaguers and seeing how they go about their business is something special. It has helped me great amount and it gives me more fire to get there again, this year.
BR: To that end, I have to ask what you think about manager Ron Roenicke's comment that you've earned his call-up confidence should the need arise?
LS: Ron has been outstanding towards me since I arrived in camp. He has been such a personable and outgoing skipper and has treated all of us with the (utmost) respect. I never once felt out of place or as if i didn't belong in that clubhouse. I have so much respect for the way he keeps the game of baseball fun and encourages guys to test themselves by taking chances. In a short few weeks, I have learned so much that I will take with me into this year. The comment he made about me earning his "call-up confidence" is undoubtedly a very high honor. My goal has always been to get to the big leagues and have a long career. I will continue to play the game hard and see where it takes me.
BR: So, finally, whether it happens at some point in 2011 or whenever it finally does happen for you, what will it mean to you the first time you step out on a major league field as a big leaguer?
LS: The first time I step out onto a major league field wearing a major league uniform is going to be a humbling dream come true. Every year, month, week, day, week, hour and minute I have spent playing this wonderful game of baseball has been to become a Major League Baseball Player. I see that day all the time; I am a very big visualizer. It will be the greatest day of my life without a doubt.
Again, I wanted to make sure that I mention how much I appreciate Logan's time for this interview. I've had a fun time doing prospect interviews and I plan on continuing the tradition going forward.
Thanks again to Logan Schafer and here's to a quick call up to Miller Park!