Over the weekend, I had the opportunity to interview minor league power hitter and Tigers prospect Mike Hernandez. Hernandez started the year in Single-A and did very well and was ultimately called up to Double-A where he did good as well. He will probably start there again but do not be surprised if he is with the team next season or in 2009. He has got a lot of potential, and knows what it takes to make it. I want to thank him and Adam Bierman of XTS Sports for setting up this interview for me, I really appreciate it.
ELI: How did you break into professional baseball?
MIKE: I went to an open tryout at Spring Training and I did well in the field and when I started hitting, they were impressed and gave me a contract.
ELI: Was it hard to adjust playing competitive, professional baseball to what you were used to?
MIKE: It was huge. I wasn't used to playing competitive baseball and hadn't played for about a year. I was focusing on getting in shape and working out alone getting better. So trying to adjust to competitive play was a struggle at first, but I got the hang of it pretty quick.
ELI: What was the competition like where you played baseball this season?
MIKE: I started in A and it was pretty good. You know, it is where teams keep their top prospects and have other pitchers with good stuff so it was good. And then in Double-A the pitchers were a cut above the rest with some good young guys on the brink of making it, so I really learned a lot from playing at those levels.
ELI: What was it like to get the call up to Double-A?
MIKE: It was great. I felt like I should have been up there sooner than I was because of the way I was playing but to finally get the call, it felt great.
ELI: Where are you hoping to begin next season?
MIKE: I hope to be at the big league camp in the spring. I am going to play Winter Ball in the Dominican but after that, I hope to go back to Double-A and work my way up from there again.
ELI: Did you have a team growing up?
MIKE: I respected players and teams more than individual players or teams but if I had to chose one player it would have to be Roberto Clemente because of how good he was on and off the field.