As I write this report, I'm sitting at Alliant Energy Field in Clinton waiting for the first of a three game series to start. As you can imagine, with a recent winning streak that just ended, individual stats look better this week. Roberto Espinoza, Paul Cruz, Chris Swauger, and Charlie Cutler are all batting above .300. Arquimedes Nieto, now leads the team in innings pitched. Adam Veres leads the starting pitchers with an astounding 0.061 ERA. Congratulations go to Domnit Bolivar and Chuckie Fick on their recent promotions to Palm Beach.
My interview this week with Jon Edwards reminded me again why I love this game and why I love writing about it. He's an Impressive young man—no two ways about it.
Jon, thanks for talking to me today. I'd like to get to know you as a person and as a ball palyer, so I'll be asking about your game and about the way you look at life. Where are you from and where did you play last year?
Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas. Last year I played in Batavia and here in the Quad Cities.
Of everyone on the current team, who do you think has the best chance to make it to the majors and why?
Pitcher?- I would say it's Gary Daley. He's strong and has a plus fast ball. He's got the tools.
Batter? - There are several who I think will make it. Chris Swauger hits well. Osvaldo Morales is young and big. Domnit Bolivar has a chance. Niko Vasquez has good hands and a good head at the plate. He has the tools, but might be a little below average as a runner. His plate discipline is good and he's young.
What part of your game needs the most improvement this year? What are you doing to improve it?
Consistent hitting. I need to be more aggressive in the strike zone. To get there, I try to take a good overall approach. I have a drill set in the cages every day—I make it my routine. I narrow my workout down to two things to work on at a time in my swing and keep it in check. I think the right word is “execution.”
Do you ever read what the fans are saying about you in discussion forums like scout.com? If so, would you rather read praise or critique?
I don't read them. If I did, I wouldn't let critiques get me down and I don't put too much in the praise. I don't keep track of my stats every day—I know how I'm doing overall, but I don't really track it. It's nice to hear good things being said but if fans are unhappy with my game, I use that for motivation to improve.
What's your favorite off-field activity during the season?
I really spend time at home. I like to read Christian books and hang out with my team, playing video games. I really don't go out much.
If baseball had never been invented, what profession would you choose?
I've never seen myself working at a desk. If there was no baseball, I think I'd play football instead.
Do you have brothers and sisters?
I have a younger sister and a younger step-brother. I'm the oldest.
Who is your hero?
First of all, it's Jesus Christ, then my dad. In either case, I look up to them for everything.
What advice would you give to kids just starting in baseball?
I would tell them to have fun and enjoy the game. As they develop, they should never lose the boyish attitude that they start with. Go out there and get dirty playing and keep it competitive.
Considering the strength of the Cardinals system now (the increase of “real” prospects at every level) what are you doing to make yourself more valuable to the game?
I'm working on what they want. I have to use all of my talents and tools. I'm still young, but this is my fourth year so my expectations for myself are up. I go back to why they drafted me in the first place—my power, my hitting, and driving in runs. I have a strong arm and need to make plays from the outfield. That's what I have, so I'm making the most of it.
What is the biggest change in your personal life since you signed your professional contract?
Well, when I signed, I was only 18. I was mature for my age, but I was still pretty immature. I wasn't ready for all of this back then. I've really strengthened my relationship with God since then and I'm established more maturity and set better priorities.
What should people know about you that they probably don't know?
They already know that I love baseball, but the main reason that I want to make it to the Majors is to have a platform to reach out to more people. I look at Albert Pujols and what he is doing; I hope I can do something like that someday.
Thank you Jon
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