Monday, August 13, 2018

PhoulBallz Interview: Clearwater OF Kevin Markham

Kevin Markham, image- Jay Floyd
Through much of the season, outfielder Kevin Markham has been a contributor for his team.  The 24-year-old opened the 2018 campaign with Class A Lakewood where he helped that club win the first half division title and clinch a playoff berth by sporting a .282 batting average with a pair of homers, 15 RBI and 12 stolen bases in 53 games.

Following a promotion to Class A Advanced Clearwater the lefty batter has tallied a .275 average with four doubles, two triples, seven RBI and four steals in 29 games.  The Threshers lead their division in the second half standings and appear to be headed for a post-season berth of their own.

Markham was the 24th round draft pick of the Phillies last year out of the University of Texas at San Antonio.

Recently, I interviewed the Texas native about his successful first full year in the minors, his team, playing along side rehabbing major league players and more.  Read ahead for that interview.

-It’s been a nice season for you. Successful stint with Lakewood and a deserved promotion. Is the season going how you expected and did you set this sort of goal to be at High A for yourself?

I worked harder than I ever have to get ready for the season this year so that I could set myself up to be the best player that I could possibly be. My goal at the beginning of the year was to have a healthy season and to this point I feel as though I have done so. Being in High A was a goal of mine in the back of my head, but it’s not the thing that got me going. I just wanted to be the best teammate I could be to help my team win games.

-What was it like to get the news of the promotion? Was there any trickery to make you think the news was something else, or was (Lakewood manager) Marty (Malloy) straight up about it?

It was a great feeling getting the news that I was being promoted. It was something that I had worked very hard for and couldn’t thank the Phillies organization enough for it. Marty was straight up about it. He was great to play for and I’m very thankful for my time with him.

-What was the highlight of your time with Lakewood?

There were many highlights of playing in Lakewood but when we clinched 1st place in the first half it was a very special feeling. We all had that goal in the beginning and it was a really great feeling to get to celebrate that with my teammates.

-What is the vibe with the Threshers like right now, with the club leading the standings for a playoff spot? Is everyone excited and focused on keeping that division lead?

The vibe here is something very similar to the one in Lakewood. Just full of guys who are easy going and fun to be around. Obviously, we have the goal of making playoffs and are working hard to do so but we try to keep it light and fun which helps us play better in my opinion.

Markham, image- MiLB.com
-Playing in the Florida State League, what are the best and worst things about that?

Playing in the Florida State League has its pros and cons. I think the best thing here are the bus rides. Our longest ride here is only a couple of hours where in Lakewood the longest ride was 14 hours. The worst part has to be the heat and humidity.

-Do you have any game day superstitions or any teammates with any noteworthy ones?

I personally do not have any superstitions or know of any crazy ones that my teammates have.

-Earliest memories of baseball?

My earliest memories of baseball go way back to little league. Watching my brother play made me want to play because I wanted to follow in his footsteps. I had a great support system growing up with parents and a brother that would play with me any time I wanted to play.

-At what point did you realize that baseball could be a job for you and did your approach to the game change with that realization?

I first realized this could be a job for me around my junior year of college. I never played the game in hopes of being drafted. I just wanted to help my teams win in any way that I could. My approach to the game never really changed. My main goal was to take my college to Omaha (for the College World Series) and I failed my team in that goal.

-Did you have a favorite player growing up?

My favorite player growing up was Ken Griffey Jr. The way he played the game and how much fun he had in doing so just made him to fun to watch.

-What’s your favorite rain delay activity?

My favorite rain delay activity came in my freshman year of college when we had a dance off for 20 minutes before the game was called.

-Of late, the Threshers have had some rebabbing big leaguers around. Talk about what it's like learning from those guys.

Having the rehab guys around is a very cool feeling. Those are the guys that we are striving to be and to see how those guys go about their work is special to see. Crawford was fun to be around. He’s a very laid back guy who likes making the game fun again. He was easy to talk to, always had a good time. Eickhoff is a great guy. Easy going and goes about his business in the right way. Every day he shows up, he is finding a way to get better. Ramos just got here but it is cool to watch him play. He’s very even keel in his personality and can tell he’s on the right track to be back in the show here soon.
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