Monday, August 14, 2017

PhoulBallz Interview: Lakewood OF David Martinelli

David Martinelli, image- Jay Floyd
As a member of the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws this season, David Martinelli has had a steady presence in the club's lineup.  He's helped the team compete all season long as the 'Claws remain hopeful of having an outstanding final month and locking down a postseason berth.

Martinelli, the Phillies' 6th round draft selection last season out of Dallas Baptist, has posted a .207 average with six home runs and 26 RBI in 87 games played.

I recently spoke with the lefty batting Texas native about his season, teammates Mickey Moniak and Daniel Brito, his draft experience last year and plenty more.  Read ahead for that full interview.

-I'm hoping to get your thoughts on your 2017 with the BlueClaws.

Yeah, we're a different team now than we were at the start of the season.  There's a lot of new guys, a lot of new faces.  We have a shot here, we have 30-some games left.  We have a shot to win some games, make the playoffs and this is going to be a tough month.  Everybody-- you have to, mentally, just grind through it.  But, I started off, myself, I started off slow and then I picked it up there in the middle and have kind of been struggling here lately, but definitely gonna try to finish the season strong.  It's a mental thing, you just have to grind through everything.

-It's great that you're talking about the team, but how about your individual efforts?  Is there satisfaction with your production?

I mean, it definitely could be better.  I think everyone thinks they could be doing better.  So, for myself, I just want to drive the ball more consistently and just do everything I can to help the team win.

-You talk about the "drive-the-ball" focus, is that feedback you've gotten on where to improve from the coaches?

I mean, yeah, sort of.  Just in general I'm trying to hit the ball harder.  If you hit the ball hard I think good things are going to happen.  Just trying to stick with that right now and keep it simple.

-The Lakewood outfield has gotten a little bit of attention as a group.  It started when Cord Sandberg was here with some post game celebrations on the field after wins, doing a bit of football choreography.  You guys have still stuck with some celebrations since he's left, but maybe it has been toned down since Cord was promoted?

Well, Cord was kind of the ring leader, I'm gonna be honest.  We see all these big leaguers doing things after they win and Cord was a good football player in high school, so we thought we might run some plays, like you know after we win and stuff.  And since he's left, it's been kind of a bummer, because we had some tricks up our sleeves we didn't get to put out.  You know, we can't do any football without him.  It's definitely gotten more tame just, I mean, we were trying to hold off till we were back, doing a bit better as a team.  We don't want to put too much attention on individuals.  We want to keep it more as a team.

-I just saw Daniel Brito go by.  He's credited by players and coaches alike as having a positive impact on the club.  He's a big smiles guy.  A big positivity guy on the team.  Do you see that coming from him?

Yeah, absolutely.  He's a fun guy, man.  He's full of energy.  He's a great young talent.  It's kind of fun to be hit teammate and just see what he does.

-Speaking of teammates, a guy that's out there with you in the outfield is (last year's top overall draft pick) Mickey Moniak.  He gets a lot of attention.  Is it fun to be part of the outfield with him?

Yeah, absolutely.  He's a great guy, man.  There's a lot of hype behind that kid and there's a lot of attention given to him and I feel like sometimes it's not always positive.  Just, you know, there's always people that are going to try to bring you down. He's a tremendous baseball player and he's super young.  And there's so much talent.  It's fun to watch him.  Just to be in the outfield with him and get to know him.  I think he's going to shock the world one day.

-You're a southern guy, right?

Yes, sir.

-So I don't imagine that you spent much time in New Jersey before coming here to play, right?

No.  I've never been here before.

-What were your impressions of New Jersey before coming here to play?

 Well, I just thought everybody would be really tan and have a bunch of accents.  From watching the TV shows and all that stuff.  It's good.  It's difficult driving around here with no left turns, I'm going to be honest with you.  That's kind of tough.  There's a bunch of nice people.  I never thought that anybody would be rude or mean, by any means.  But, my host family, they're amazing.  Billy Quinn and Kristy Quinn, they're awesome people.  She's from around here and we kind of joke with her about that stuff every now and again.  But, yeah, the people up here are great.

-How about the coaches?  Have they been really helpful for you and your progress?

Yeah.  Any coaching staff-- you need a good coaching staff.  No matter where you go, it's weird calling them coaches.  You get to know them more on a personal level and they're great guys and they want us to succeed and they want the team to succeed.  The Phillies do well in putting our entire staff with our trainers and guys and everybody together.  The Phillies did a good job.

-Your pal Austin Listi is (nearby playfully looking in on our chat) and he's from this year's draft class.  What do you remember from your draft experience last year?

Yeah, well I was-- it was kind of funny.  I was going to the bathroom upstairs at my house when my name was called.  I hear everybody downstairs going crazy and I thought, "Wow!  I just missed it.  I just missed my name being called."  So, that was funny.  And I came back downstairs and everyone was cheering.  

Not a whole lot of people get to experience (being drafted).  It's definitely something that you've dreamed about so when it happens you're kind of in shock a little bit.  And then you're on that flight and leaving your family to guy play with guys you've never met from all over the country, it gets real, real fast.  

-Had the Phillies been in touch with you, or were they a surprise to take you in the draft?

No, not at all.  I mean, we had a lot of people contacting myself and my agent.  I had a pretty good relationship with Paul Scott, the guy who was my area scout at the time and I had a good feeling about it too.
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