|Austin Listi, image- Jay Floyd|
Through 32 professional games at two levels, the righty batter has posted a .274 average with five home runs and 21 RBI.
At this rate, it may not be too long before Listi has sports fans everywhere using NetBet, hoping to make his talents work in their favor.
The 23-year-old Dallas Baptist product was the subject of a recent feature I wrote following a chat at Lakewood's FirstEngery Park. The interview excerpts ahead include Listi's thoughts on earning a promotion, playing in the minors with a pair of college teammates and plenty more.
-With the promotion from Williamsport to Lakewood, what was the jump to the Sally League like for you?
Obviously, I'm humbled and honored to be here. I met the team on the road, we were in North Carolina, so what made it an easier transition for me is I have a couple former college teammates here with me. Darick Hall, David Martinelli. So with those guy here, just giving me advice on how things work at this level or with this organization, or with this team, this organization as well. 'Cause when I got drafted they were there to lay it out for me with what's going to be going down. And all the other guys on the team have been great and have welcomed me with nothing but hospitality and a smile. It's been great. It's been fun and I'm just happy to be here.
-Can you share more about your relationship with those two guys that were your college teammates?
I played with David Martinelli for three years at Dallas Baptist. I was a sophomore when he was a freshman there. And then Darick Hall came there when I return to DBU, I left for a year to go do some stuff. When I was drafted by the Phillies, 'cause they call me and texted me right away. They found out and they welcomed me to the extended family now. They were like, "Welcome to the family again!"
-Coming out of college ball this year, has the transition to the minor leagues been as you expected?
Well, coming from DBU, we have a lot of guys that get drafted, so we'd have guys that come back in the off-season and tell us how it was for them, or tell us what they needed to work on or tell us about what they saw or what their biggest adjustment was, so I took all their advice and kind of put it into myself. I had to use that to help me to see what I thought and to see if I was kind of like them.
At this level especially, the pitching has been really good, I think. They're spotting up with different pitches in different locations in different counts. And they move up, down and it's pretty tough to hit. You know, I would say it's a pretty big transition from college, where a team might have one guy that can do that. Or two, a starter and a closer or something. But here, it's been starter, bullpen, closer, it doesn't matter. It's been good baseball.
-Now that you're in the pro's, are you keeping souvenirs with all the firsts and landmark moments?
I was pretty lucky. I didn't get my first hit ball, but I got my first home run ball in Williamsport. Somebody went and got it and brought it to me. And then I got my two home runs, I got both balls over in North Carolina, their fans went and got them and gave them to me. That was really nice, especially for the away team. Baseball fans, they love the game no matter who it is. Just, I was really thankful, because- my family, they want it more than I do. I'm not really sentimental type. I just give it to my family.
-Coming from Texas, what were your impressions on New Jersey before playing here with the BlueClaws?
Honestly, Jersey Shore. The shore, the beach, the piers and then the show. Me and Martinelli are Italian, so we'd joke about it, being Guidos and stuff but...I've never even been to this side of the country other than North and South Carolina till now.