Friday, June 9, 2017

PhoulBallz Interview: Reading 1B Kyle Martin

Kyle Martin, image- Jay Floyd
Saturday's home game in Reading is being billed as Super Hero Night, with the home club slated to wear Captain America inspired jerseys, but first baseman Kyle Martin kicked things off early, as he became the hero of Thursday night's contest.  The 24-year-old lefty batter blasted a two-run walk-off home run that helped the Fightin Phils knock off the visiting Bowie Bay Sox by a score of 4-3.

For Martin, the round-tripper was his 11th of the season.  Through 49 games in the Double-A Eastern League, the Phillies' 4th round draft pick from 2015 is batting .191 with 31 RBI.

I recently spoke with Martin, who grew up as a Philadelphia sports fan, about his ups and downs this season, working to improve and plenty more.  Read ahead for that full interview.

-I wanted to get your thoughts on Eastern League competition and how you're performing in the league so far this year.

It's good.  Obviously, as you move up the pitchers get better, the hitters get better, all of it gets a litte bit better.  It's been tough, but I'm coming around as well and I'm getting used to things.

-I think your production was slow to start, which is what you were just getting at there, but the power's definitely been there of late.  Are you happy with your progress right now?

Yeah.  I'm really happy with the progress.  I started out a little slow, but that tends to happen. Some people take a little longer to get out of the gate, so it's coming around and everything's starting to feel good.

-There are a couple guys that have helped the lineup all year that may not have seemed to need that time to warm up.  Andrew Pullin and Scott Kingery have been hot throughout the year and they're a lot of fun to watch-- not indicating that you aren't fun to watch, but how is it as a teammate to be watching these guys do their thing and being a part of the lineup with those two?

Those are great hitters.  They both really know how to hit and they both have some experience up here a little bit, so of course you're going to be a little more used to it.  Um, I mean they know how to hit and get on base and that's important to be at the top of the lineup.

-How do you feel about playing in front of that true Phillies fan base, people that gew up as Phillies fans, in Reading?

I've really enjoyed it so far.  Like you said, they're Phillies fans in and out and it's been a great experience so far.  Being a Phillies fan, I'm one of them, so it's definitely been a lot more enjoyable.

-You and I have talked about the Phillies fandom before, but are you a Philadelphia guy all the way through?  Eagles, Sixers, everything?

Everything!  Yup.  Through and through, since day one.

-Are you following the drafts for these other leagues?

A little bit.  I'll definitely be watching the draft for the Eagles.  That's mainly the other sport that I follow.  The Sixers a little bit, here and there, the Flyers (too) especially when they make the playoffs.

-Back to you, is there any feedback that you've gotten from the coaches that have helped you focus or target where to improve?

There's always stuff to work on and we've talked a good bit.  Getting better pitches is one thing.  That's a good start.  And anticipating pitches in certain counts and just being ready, honestly.

-What was your off-season routine like last year, to step it up or to help you make improvements?

I took a month off just to kind of rest mentally and physically.  Then started getting back in the groove, trying to get bigger, stronger, faster, the usual.  Then I was back in Greenville, hitting with a buddy of mine most of the time and we kind of worked on a few things, kind of picking pitches out, trying to be ready for certain pitches in certain counts.

-Who were you working with?

His name is Jeff Young.  He coached me back in high school in summer ball and stuff and we became really close.

-Is there anybody else in your area that are in the pros that you work with?

Yeah, Bradley Jones...worked out with him a good bit.  A couple other ones.  Ramon Osuna.  He's with the Braves.  Bradley's with the Blue Jays.
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