Sunday, December 16, 2018

PhoulBallz Interview: Off-season Check In with Jake Scheiner

Jake Scheiner, image- Jay Floyd
Jake Scheiner is a prospect that really made a name for himself last season.  The 23-year-old was a 4th round draft selection in 2017 and became an All-Star in his first full season in the minors.

In 122 games for the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws last year, the righty batting University of Houston product posted a .296 average with 13 home runs, 67 RBI and 10 stolen bases while manning several positions on defense. 

Scheiner played second base and third base fresh out of the draft in 2017, but added left field and first base to his repertoire during the regular season this year.

Last week I talked with Jake about his thoughts on his first complete professional campaign, giving the catcher position a whirl in the Florida Instructional League this off-season, how he's preparing for next year and plenty more.  Read ahead for my interview with him.

-In hindsight, what are your thoughts on your 2018 season?  What were the best parts for you?

Well, you know, coming up (to full-season A level) it was a lot of the same guys (I played with) in short-season (short-season Williamsport) from the 2017 draft and I thought we, overall, had a great year and we exceeded our expectations.  We played really well as a team and I thought we bonded a lot, which is good going forward in the minor leagues, going forward with the same group of guys.  But, yeah I was really impressed with what people accomplished individually and team wise.

Individually, I felt like I got my feet wet in there and I got my name out there.  I had a good season.  Trying out more positions defensively.  I had a good year at the plate and I'm looking to improve and elevate my game even more.

-Was there anything you would say was the biggest lesson from your 2018 season?

You know, it's a long season.  Definitely played over 150 games in one season, so taking (that) to the next season, I figured out a routine I do every day at the ballpark.  Whether it's getting my body right, or coming off a bus ride, you know just having a routine to get me ready for every day.  Offensively, defensively, or just my body.

-What are you up to during these down months?  Are you doing anything around the game, are you holding a job?  What are you doing to take up your time?

Right now I live with my girlfriend out in Houston, Texas.  We got to go on a vacation.  We went on a cruise together.  We had a good time.  It was good to relax and just spend some time with her and family, got back to California where I'm from and I'm going back there soon, but I've been working  out pretty much since the season ended.  Did stuff individually with a trainer.  Been training pretty hard, getting my body right and where I want to be.  Recently, I've been hitting and throwing and just starting to pick it up right now.  And worked on some things I need to work on getting ready to, hopefully, exceed some expectations.

-You mentioned working on some specific things there.  Are there points that you could share that have been focuses for you while you're working out?  Was it your body or something with your game?

Well, you could always work on your body.  I'm always going to be working to get stronger, get faster.  That's what I'm doing right now.  I'm doing a lot of speed stuff.  And I'm lifting weights.  You know, I'm doing good.  My body feels good.  And baseball wise I'd say there are a few things offensively at the plate I'd like to work on.  So, I'm going to work on that and getting comfortable playing all these positions in the field.  You know, I never played left (field) or first base and I've got to be ready to play second, or third, first, left, just taking reps everywhere and feel comfortable.

-How did the trial at the catching position go for you?

Right now, I would say my main focus is not catcher, but it is an option for the future and I am willing to play whatever position they see fitting.  I believe I did well and I learned a lot with (catching instructor) Ernie (Whitt), so we will see where that takes me.  

-How long do you put down the bat for between the end of the season and when you start to knock the rust off?

I swung a little bit in Instructs, which was October.  So, I took some of October off and most of November.  Then just lightly got back into it.  And before I got back in the cages I did a lot of research and looking at videos and hearing great hitters talks and getting some ideas that will help me.

-Was there anyone specific that you studied and what did you learn?

It wasn't specifically one player that I would study, but a lot of the great hitters in the big leagues today.  I like to hear about their approaches, whether it's cage work, game reps or mechanics.  I take bits and piece from numerous great hitters past and present to see what makes them great.

-That's excellent.  What facility do you work at and do you work with any other players?

Currently there are no other players.  But I work with a really good trainer, it's called Athletic Body Mechanics in Friendswood, Texas.  The guy's name is Allen.  He's been working a lot with me, trying to get me into a more baseball specific routine and he's had NFL players and he he's got some really good training.  I like what he's doing with my body and strength and speed.  

-There's been some news over the past week or so that Chris Truby gets promoted to the Phillies' minor league field coordinator, taking over the role previously held by Doug Mansolino.  I don't know how dialed in you are with staff news like that, but is that something you've heard, how do you hear about it and what are your thoughts there?

I actually saw it on Twitter.  But, I love Chris Truby.  He's a great guy, a great baseball guy.  Very knowledgeable in all aspects of the game.  I mean, he was our minor league infield coordinator, so he's just a really good baseball guy and I know he's gonna help us out a lot.  And a few guys I spoke to, we're all excited to have him in that position.

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