Wednesday, June 9, 2010

PhoulBallz Q&A with Jeremy Barnes

Jeremy Barnes is a second baseman with the Phillies Class A affiliate Lakewood BlueClaws. Drafted in the 11th round in 2009 out of Notre Dame, where he wore the same jersey number Brad Lidge wore there- 20, Barnes played shortstop last season in rookie league Williamsport, but has converted to second base this season.

In 53 games thus far in 2010, the right-handed hitting Barnes is batting .296, with 17 doubles, a triple, a homerun, 8 steals and 22 RBI for Lakewood. Earlier this week, the 23-year-old Barnes was named to the SAL Northern division all-star team. I spoke with Jeremy about that, among other things. Read on, for that interview...


Jeremy, you've had some solid success thus far in the 2010 season and just got the all-star nod this week to represent Lakewood in the South Atlantic League all-star game. Can I get you to talk about that sort of recognition this early in your pro career?

Well, I mean, anytime you make an all-star team it's a big honor. Especially, since this is my first full season, as I played in (short-season) Williamsport last year. And going into the year, you think, "What if I made the all-star team?" But you've just gotta go out and try to take care of your business every day. I found out the other day that I made it, and it's a huge honor and I am excited to be able to represent the BlueClaws and the Phillies.


Is there a little extra excitement involved because you get to go with 3 of your teammates (Nick Hernandez, Jonathan Villar and Josh Zeid also made the team)?

Yeah, definitely. If you can share the experience with some good friends, it makes it that much better. And it speaks wonders to the organization that we're sending multiple guys to the all-star game every year. They're doing their job of picking the right players.


What was the process of finding out about making the all-star team like? Who told you and how were you all told?

We were actually told as a group. We were down on the field and (Mark) Parent called us over and let us know who would be going. People had talked about how we were on the ballots, but we got the official word the other day, so it was pretty cool.


With the MLB draft going on this week, can you tell me about your draft experience last year?

Going into it, I had no idea what to expect. I was being told- maybe somewhere in the 20's-30th round. I talked to a lot of different teams, actually didn't talk to the Phillies, and didn't want to be sitting around, waiting for my name to be called, staring at the computer all day, so I was actually doing a high school baseball clinic with my high school baseball coach. And I got the call that the Phillies took me in the 11th round and I was shocked that the Phillies took me and that I ended up going as high as I did.


Who was the initial call that you got to inform you of the news?

Actually, I got a text from my old college coach. Coach Mainieri, who's at LSU now, was the first one. He texted me and let me know that the Phillies took me and immediately after that I got texts from everybody.


How much of a help have hitting coach Greg Legg and your manager Mark Parent been for you this season?

Oh, huge, you know. Legg and I spend countless hours in the (batting) cage and stuff like that, working on my swing and what I need to work on. Parent has big league experience, so you get a different aspect from him. And (he can tell you) what to do in situations. And they ride you hard, but that's how you want them to be as a coach. You want them to push you as hard as they can, so they get the most out of you and they've done a good job of that. I think that speaks to the success of our team this year.


What aspects of your game are you focusing specifically on improving?

Well, I'd say one of the most is overall, just being as consistent as I possibly can at the bat. Trying to drive in runs...trying to read pitchers and trying to get their tendencies...making adjustments on the fly. I am at this level for a reason, so I have a lot to work on before I can get to the bigs or anything like that. The biggest thing I spend the most time on is just trying to learn the game...trying to learn myself, trying to learn what's going on...working with (the coaches) to become consistent, because if you become consistent, you can play this game a long time.


What advice might you give to teen-aged players that hope to play baseball beyond high school, whether it's college or pro, if you had the chance?

My best advice that I could give anybody...it's not about how good you are at this level, it's about how hard you work and doing things the right way. There becomes a point in your life when you play with a group of guys when everyone has the ability to play well, and it's just how hard you work and put the time in. And secondly, once you get to that level, it's about controlling what you can control and trying to let everything that you can't control go, because baseball is a game of that. You can only control a certain amount of things.


With Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. in the house, watching batting practice on Tuesday, was there any increased level of excitement and do you see that as sort of an opportunity to show off at all?

Well, yeah, maybe show off a little bit, for some guys. But he's here, and other coordinators come in and you've just got to go about your business everyday. It's like I said earlier, you've just gotta stay consistent. You can't get too up, or too down. This is one of those games where a lot of crazy things can happen, so you gotta stay even keel and play ball.


Who was your favorite player growing up in Texas?

I didn't have a favorite player growing up. I'm one of those weird guys that kind of likes underdogs. If I had to say one player though, it would be somebody on the Rangers like Rusty Greer or somebody like that. Right now, I like Michael Young. I like watching Dustin Pedroia, 'cause he's a little second baseman.


What types of music would be among your favorites?

Country- number 1. I am a big fan of Texas Country...Randy Rogers Band- that type of thing. I like Jack Johnson and some easy listening kind of stuff, but country's definitely up there as my number 1.


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