Anthony Swarzak came into the season as the Minnesota Twins 5th best prospect according to Baseball America.
We talk about his prospect status, the tumultous start to his 2007 season, the benefits of finishing last year in the Eastern League and more…
Thunder Thoughts: Baseball America has you ranked as the Minnesota Twins 5th best prospect this year. When you see something like that, does that mean anything to you?
Anthony Swarzak: “I think at a younger level, it means a lot more than it does now. Now, it’s just you’re going to get an opportunity to do good, or you’re not. At the Double-A or Triple-A level, if you perform, you’re going to get moved up, and if you don’t, you won’t. That’s what it comes down to. So not so much now as it used to.”
TT: With all the hype that’s surrounding you right now, is there any pressure that comes with that?
AS: “It’s not so much pressure. I like to do good and everyone likes to have that prospect status, and everyone wants to keep that. I just try to go out there and throw hard and throw strikes and get it done.”
TT: A few places have you projected as being a big leaguer as early as the end of this year. Is that kind of the goal you have as well, to get there by the end of this season?
AS: “Absolutely. I think that’s everybody’s goal in this clubhouse, as well as mine. Nobody gets drafted and signed to play for the New Britain Rock Cats or the Trenton Thunder, you know. But it all depends. There’s been some other guys in the organization, like Kevin Slowey and Matt Garza, that blow through the organization much faster than me or any other guys have been doing. It’s no big deal.”
TT: You were suspended 50 games at the beginning of last season. How much of a hole did that put you in on the field, and do you feel like you’re finally getting out of it…
AS: “Absolutely, I feel like I’m putting it behind me. Just put it behind me, and look towards the future. I think I’ve been doing a pretty good job with that so far.”
TT: For someone who’s never seen you pitch, give me a scouting report on yourself…
AS: “I like to establish the fastball early, work it on both sides of the plate with that. Throw some curveballs, a couple changeups, working on the slider. That’s about it, you know. Just keep it pretty simple.”
TT: How beneficial was your time in Double-A last year to your development this year?
AS: “Huge difference. Everyone talks about the biggest jump in baseball is going from Single-A to Double-A, and when I got up here, I definitely struggled a little bit. It’s a different kind of ballgame up here. You can’t miss over the plate or up, because you won’t get that ball back, it’ll be a souvenir. You just try to keep the ball down, and just worry about what you have to do. It’s a definitely a pleasure being in this league a second time around when it comes to doing good.”
TT: Off the field, what kind of guy are you?
AS: “I try to be a nice guy, talk to anyone who wants to talk. Off the field, I just try to work hard and take care of what I have to take care of.”
“Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com