Thursday, August 9, 2018

PhoulBallz Interview DitC Edition: Lakewood 3b Cole Stobbe

Cole Stobbe, image- Jay Floyd
On a throwback Thursday, we're taking it back to April of this year when I talked to Class A Lakewood third baseman Cole Stobbe (pronounced STOW-bee) in this previously unreleased interview.

This year, Stobbe has missed significant time with two separate hamstring strains to the same leg.  In just 12 total games with the BlueClaws the righty batting Nebraska native posted a .209 average with three doubles, a home run and seven RBI.

The 20-year-old was the Phillies' 3rd round draft choice in 2016.  He was ranked as the Phillies' 22nd best prospect entering this season.

Read ahead for the full interview.

-What are you early impressions of Lakewood?

It’s a big field. But, you see the crowd, you see how they interact, it’s going to be a fun place to play.

-How did your spring campaign go for you?

It was good. You know, the whole thing about spring is that nothing counts, so you can go ahead and get yourself ready for when it does count, which is now, so I think our team did a good job with that this spring and we came in ready to play.

-With this team, there are guys returning to this league for a second time, Daniel Brito and some others. Is there anything they’ve told you about this place or anything else about the level to get you ready?

Yeah, I mean there’s not much said about Lakewood itself because it is what it is. It’s nice- it’s probably one of the nicest stadiums, so there wasn’t much said about that. It’s more about opposing (teams’) stadiums, like stadiums that aren’t so nice, the travel. So, just picking their brains about the travel and how they get ready on the road.

-So what are the impressions you get about that travel and long road trips? Are there negative notions or feelings about the amount of travel?

It’s early, so I haven’t hit that yet, but that’s what you signed up for. You signed up to play baseball and it’s a job, so you’ve got to take the highs and the lows. Whether it’s 16 hour bus rides or three hour bus rides, it’s all part of it.

-You talk about “It’s all part of it”, that’s a famous phrase throughout minor league baseball, made popular by Cord Sandberg, Jack Murphy and others. Do you thrive and live by that?

Of course! Especially in pro ball, at the lower levels, everything is all part of it. For the Latin guys, they’ve got shirts (that say) “Todo es Parte”, so I think it’s a good motto to go by.

-Outside of the ballpark too, right?

Right, yeah, it’s kind of like taking things that don’t go your way, taking a lesson from it and moving on. I think it’s a good thing if you’re playing baseball or even off the field.

-Very cool. Is there anyone on this BlueClaws roster that you’ve bonded with a lot or are really close with?

All the dudes from last year that I was on Williamsport with and then Brito. I’ve been his roommate probably five times throughout instructional league and all that, so Brito is probably one of the closer ones I’m bonding with.

-I know that at the strength and speed camps last fall Spanish classes were mandatory for the American guys. Did you go through those camps and classes?

Yeah, I went through the Spanish classes, but I took four years of Spanish in high school, so it was sort of a refresher. I did those four years and then got Rosetta Stone and I try to communicate with the Latin guys as much as possible.

-Are you fairly fluent?

You can ask a Latin on that…

-I’ll ask about you! But here’s a test…could you turn on the Spanish channel and keep up?

Keep up? Probably not. Order a meal at a restaurant? Yes.

-Four years and Rosetta Stone?!

Hey, it’s tough. The Spanish you learn here is a little different than the regular conversational stuff you’d hear.

-Okay. Cool. I’ll stop giving you a hard time. You were an early round draft pick. Do you have any standout draft day memories?

The draft is unpredictable, so no matter what anyone says, you’ve got to take everything with a grain of salt and, you know, you can’t believe one thing or another, you just have to wait for your name to be called. Overall it was a good experience and I’m thankful to the Phillies for giving me the opportunity.

-Is there anybody coach wise that you’ve taken a lot from in your career so far?

(Tyler) Henson, the hitting coach. He was in Williamsport last year and he moved up with us. I have a good relationship with him and I think we understand each other pretty well.

-I noticed on the roster with his date of birth, he’s still a playing-age guy (at 30 years old). It could probably easier to learn from a guy that could still be out there doing it as opposed to someone, not to be insulting, that is a parent’s age or something like that. So, is it cool to have someone that’s closer to your age to be able to bond with and learn from?

Of course. I think it’s good for the whole team, just kind of bridging that gap, so he understands what we go through nowadays. And Marty’s unbelievable. He’s a players’ managers. He’s doing a great job. But I think with Henson, he’s fresh out. I think he’s a couple years out from playing so he understands a lot about what we’re going through and a lot about what needs to be communicated.

-You mentioned communication there and I know with the new regime there’s Sam Fuld in a role to be able to convey or relay analytics details and all that to the players. Any thoughts on the exposure at all? Do you dig it? Do you think it’s going to be very helpful?

I like it. I mean, if you’re playing the statistics, playing the percentages and the guy’s hitting 70-percent pull, why wouldn’t you play him to pull? He’s only going to hit over to the right side or opposite field 30-percent of the time, so why wouldn’t you play the 70 and take away all those hits? So, I think it’s very beneficial.

-The analytics focus- is there anything being brought to the offensive players? Or is it just defensive strategy?

Yeah, we’re talking launch angles and exit velo’s, but our main focus is on hitting the ball hard, getting the barrel of the bat on the ball and good things will happen.

-Did you play any other sports, growing up as a kid?

I grew up playing hockey and baseball and then I played baseball, football, basketball in junior high and then in high school I played basketball, baseball.

-Any brag-worthy details about your hoops days?

No. I ran fast and jumped high and I weighed a little less. I was a defensive specialist, so I would get the rebound and pass to the point guard.

-Is there anybody on this club that stands out to you as a leader thus far?

I think the guys that are returning are kind of doing the most right now, ‘cause they know what to expect, they know how Marty (Malloy) is as a manager, so I think the returning guys are standing out for sure.

-How about Brito? You mentioned him being a roommate. Every time I’ve encountered him or when I see him around, he’s the fun guy- laughing, joking, keeping things light. Do you see the same things?

Doesn’t change (for me). He’s like that at midnight, he’s like that at 6 AM. It’s unbelievable, that dude. It’s fun to watch. It’s fun to be around.
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