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SoxProspects News

March 19, 2009 at 10:10 AM

Q&A with David Mailman

The Boston Red Sox selected David Mailman out of Providence Sr. High School in North Carolina in the seventh round of the 2007 draft. Signing at the deadline in 2007, Mailman only played a handful of games in the Gulf Coast League before breaking camp with the Greenville Drive of the South Atlantic League in 2008. Spending all of the 2008 season with the Drive, he struggled initially before coming on strong to finish off the season. Recently, during Minor League Spring Training, Chris Mellen of SoxProspects.com had a chance to sit down with Mailman to talk some baseball.

Chris Mellen: David, you started off on the slow side last year in Greenville, but came on strong in the second half of the season. What kind of adjustments did you make at the plate?
David Mailman
: I just began to trust myself again. I worked hard with Billy (McMillon) and Victor (Rodriguez), the hitting coaches with the team, trying to get back to the reasons that they drafted me. I always had a pure swing so I tried to go back to that again, and the results started to come.

CM: What’s been the main difference between Spring Training last season and your experience thus far this season?
DM: Ah. I’m just more comfortable with things. I know the process much more now and how things go. Right now it’s getting in tune for the games. You realize that everything you are doing thus far is about getting yourself to Salem or wherever I may be, but it’s also about getting ready for the season, whether that is taking a lot of pitches or seeing the curveball or change-up. You want to see a little bit of everything so that way you are coming into the season prepared and there is nothing that you haven’t seen in the last six or seven months.

CM: What type of things did you focus on this past off-season and what do the Red Sox have you working on as your main developmental goals for 2009?
: This past off-season I worked hard on getting stronger. I worked out with a guy who played football at Florida and, actually, with the New England Patriots named Tony George. He’s a great guy. Tony talked with Pat (Sandora), our strength coordinator, and they got me on a program. I was with him four days a week and then by myself for another one or two. I just tried to work hard, getting myself up to 200-205 [pounds]. I’ve been feeling really great and strong. The biggest thing for this year is just to trust myself and let everything go; to try to slow the game down and let everything come to me, and the results will come.

CM: Can you give our readers a self-scouting report on David Mailman?
: (Laughing) You know, [I’m] just a natural lefty [with a] pure, smooth swing. Besides the swing, [I] maybe not someone with great, great tools, but [I’m] a ballplayer that’s going to play the game solid, smart, and the way it should be played.

CM: What are some of the things you learned last year in your first season in professional baseball, and how do they translate against what you want to accomplish this season?
: Basically, you have to go out each day with a plan. Last year I let everything speed up on me. I was just happy that I was in Greenville for the first couple of months. You have to work on the little things to make you better each day [and] realize that it’s not about the short term results. Those things are nice, but everything I do needs to be for the long run. Hopefully, I can apply these things to my work this season and move my way up to Boston in a couple of years.

CM: After playing first base in high school, the Red Sox converted you into an outfielder. Can you talk about how the conversion went and some of the main areas you needed to focus on?
: The main reason I played first was because I also pitched. I was just a little lefty pitcher that got by in high school. I ran like a 6.7 (60-yard dash), and all of the scouts started to say that maybe I could play the outfield. It just kind of came naturally. I worked with Lou Frazier the first year and now [I’m] working with Tom Goodwin; you can’t ask for two better coaches than that. Goodie’s been saying the same thing: let the game come to you. Our job isn’t to make the spectacular play, but to make every play. We’re there because maybe the pitcher made a mistake or one gets past the infield so our job is to clean things up.

CM: What’s been the one thing that has really stuck out at you about professional pitching?
: Especially in Greenville last season, everyone threw hard. They maybe don’t always know where it is going, but is going to come at you hard. Guys are beginning to get a plan with what they are doing. Maybe it’s about establishing their fastball and working off of that, but they are going to come after you. Everyone’s got good stuff. There is no longer someone throwing 85, where you know it’s going to be meat, and everyone is throwing 90 so you have to get ready for that on a daily basis

CM: As a hitter that is known for a patient approach at the plate and isn’t afraid to draw a walk, can you talk to us about how you go about approaching an at-bat?
: We talk with Victor (Rodriguez) a lot about it. Our goal isn’t to draw a walk. Victor says that Manny Ramirez always said it the best [when he said] that we don’t do all of that work in the cages and before a game to go up there and walk. Our job is to hit the ball. I’m going up there looking for my pitch. You zone in on that pitch and if it comes, you hit it. If not, I’m not afraid to get deep into the count and work off of that.

CM: While at Greenville last season, what kind of things did the coaching staff work with you the most on?
: It’s a great coaching staff up there and they professionalized me a lot, especially Bolsie (Kevin Boles). Overall, they’re just a good group of guys all around. I was fortunate enough, being one of the younger guys, to have some of the older guys like
(Ryan) Kalish and (Kris) Negron really help me and teach me how the game is supposed to be played. If there is a pop-up, you run hard. Little things like that. Never show [your] emotions as well, and don’t wear it on your sleeve. Go about every at-bat with a level approach and success will come.

CM: What is your favorite part about playing baseball?
DM: It’s fun. I had a long off-season, and coming down here you realize how much you love and miss it. Of course, hitting is the best part of playing baseball, but there is just a great group of guys here with the Red Sox.