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September 13, 2007 at 10:41 PM

Q&A with Jethawks Broadcaster Jeff Lasky

Lancaster Jethawks broadcaster Jeff Lasky has agreed to do a series of Question and Answer segments with SoxProspects.com moderator Jonathan Singer. Here is the final installment for 2007:

JS: Who is the most exciting player you’ve seen this season on the JetHawks?

JL: Still probably Bubba Bell. He had that mix of tools, none spectacular, but all of them present, along with that 100 % hustle all the time and the personality that came out in the way he played for us. He was exciting at the plate as he grinded out every at bat. He could hit a homer at any time, but could also punch a ball through a hole or drive one into the gap. When Inland Empire played a shift with three players on the right side of the infield, he took what he was given and singled over and over to left, forcing them to adjust their shift. He’s also the only player this season to steal a bag now and then, getting into double digits. He was a team leader and would give up his body on defense. Everyone was inspired when he was taken to the hospital and demanded to be in the lineup the next day. The way Zach Daeges and Brad Correll hit in the second half though was pretty spectacular. Correll had that start with us for a few weeks where you really thought he was going to hit a home run every time up.

JS: Who is the most exciting player you’ve seen on an opposing team this season?

JL: We haven’t seen a ton of really exciting players, though we’ve seen lots of very good big leaguers. I can’t really say Justin Upton because we only saw him one series and while he hit well, it was before he found his power stroke and he really just had a bunch of singles against us. I suppose I’d say Eric Young Jr. from the Rockies organization. He has game-changing speed and an ability to get extra bases. He made things happen.

JS: What was the most memorable moment/experience/game/play you had this season?

JL: There are so many of them and they really do mix together over the course of the season, so I’m having a tough time picking them out. The July 4 tie-breaker was thrilling, although a bit anti-climactic since we dominated the game throughout. Steve Garrabrants hitting the home run to break the franchise home run record was great which was an inside-the-parker. Michael Bowden’s dominating start in San Jose comes to mind. Too many great memories on and off the field with this group to come up with them all.

JS: Which JetHawk player showed the most improvement throughout the season?

JL: This is in many ways the most important question of all, of course. When I think of improvement, Kris Johnson certainly comes to mind. He had a really tough time early in the year trusting his stuff and because of that, worked in so many deep counts that he wouldn’t last very long. Now he gives you at least a solid start every time out and has had some dominating efforts. Ryan Khoury really earned his playing time and became an everyday player. Zach Daeges got over a slump early in the year and had an all-star second half where he was creaming extra-base hits. Mickey Hall is someone who I hadn’t seen in the past but from talking with Chad Epperson and Dave Joppie has shown a lot of improvement in how he handles the bat and has become an excellent defensive center fielder. And Justin Masterson really put things together, of course, and became the most dominant pitcher in the league for the month before his promotion to Portland …where he got even better!

JS: Which player that no one talks about will have a nice major league career?

JL: This is always a tough one to judge. I suppose maybe one of the pitchers. Hunter Jones is a guy who flew under the radar because he wasn’t used in a closer or even a set-up role, but as a middle reliever. But he really became the go-to guy out of the bullpen. Left-handed pitcher who throws 90 with a good curveball. He’s deceptive, which also helps. So if you’re looking for a real sleeper to make the big leagues, it could be Hunter.

JS: Is there one player that is considered the leader of the clubhouse?

JL: I think the veterans as a whole do that job. In the first half I would have said Bubba. In the second half it’s more the group of them that set the tone. Also, Chad Epperson is such a popular manager and is so good at working the clubhouse, that the players do a good job of keeping discipline. I’d say the guys that help the clubhouse go, however, are veterans like Brad Correll and Scott White with the offense. John Barnes was a great clubhouse guy while he was here. T.J. Large is also a very popular teammate. But since Bubba left, it hasn’t really been one guy.

JS: What is your assessment on the job the coaching staff did throughout the season?

JL: I’ve been extremely impressed with our coaching staff this year; they are first rate all the way around. It all starts with Chad , the California League’s obvious choice for manager of the year. He doesn’t over-manage these guys, he lets them go out and play. However, his fingerprints are all over the team. He keeps a very loose clubhouse. The players feel they can kid around and have fun with him. He doesn’t yell, he doesn’t get in guys faces. But they know what is expected of them and he’ll tell them if they are not meeting that level. Bob Kipper is a great influence on young pitchers, which is probably why the Red Sox have mostly kept him in his hometown of Greenville . I think they wanted him in Lancaster this season because he had the patience to guide these talented pitchers through a tough situation at the Hangar. Dave Joppie is every good with the mechanics of the swing. I’ve heard several of our hitters this year talk about how good Jopp is at working with guys within the context of their swing, rather than try to get them to do radical things they are uncomfortable with. All three are fun to talk with and I’ve really enjoyed being in their company this year- especially on the golf course.

JS: Any thoughts on Lars Anderson during his short time with the Jethawks?

JL: I really can’t tell you much about Lars because I’ve only seen him three games. I was gone doing my college football work the last nine games of the season, so I’ve just seen the numbers. Obviously, he’s a player with a lot of tools and I’m excited to see him as the JetHawks regular first baseman next April. Besides, after having a Bubba, an Iggy, and a Hunter to call this year, only a Lars can follow that up.