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SoxProspects News

July 3, 2009 at 1:50 PM

Q&A with Jeremiah Bayer and Sean Killeen

Childhood friends from Greenfield, Mass. and teammates at Division-III Trinity College, pitcher Jeremiah Bayer and catcher Sean Killeen once again find themselves battery-mates this summer as teammates on the Lowell Spinners. The right-handed throwing Bayer, the D-III Pitcher of the Year, was the Boston’s 30th selection in June’s First-Year Player Draft after going 12-1 with a 0.83 ERA for the Bantams in 2009. Killeen was a Division-III First Team All-American, but went undrafted, signing a contract with the Sox as a rookie free agent. Chris Hatfield of SoxProspects.com was recently able to talk with both Massachusetts natives about being teammates once again and becoming pros for their hometown team.

Chris Hatfield: I’ll start with the question I’m sure you’re probably both getting pretty often – what is it like to be starting your career with your battery-mate from college on the same team?

Sean Killeen: It absolutely helps that a friendly face is there, and we’ve also got one of my Trinity teammates, Thomas Di Benedetto. That helps adjusting. Everyone’s coming in, and we don’t really know each other, so it helps to know a couple people to start.

Jeremiah Bayer: It helps tremendously with the comfort level. Comfort level, a lot of times, will translate into success, especially when you make a change such as the one I just made from college to the professional level. Sean and I have been playing together for a long time, so hopefully we’ll help each other continue to move up the ranks together.

CH: You’re local guys too, so what was it like signing with the Red Sox?

SK: That’s something you grow up dreaming about when you’re in Little League. When they called right after the draft, it didn’t take me long to say “yeah.”

JB: I’ve always been a Sox fan my whole life. It’s funny, now my dad’s a Sox fan – he was a Yankee fan, but he’s switched now. But it was unbelievable to get that call. It would have been a dream come true to get drafted by any team – I just wanted a chance to play this summer – but that it happened with the Red Sox just makes it that much sweeter.

CH: Did you know ahead of time if the Red Sox had interest in you?

SK: Yeah, one of their scouts was talking to me throughout most of the year, and he was telling me that they were interested. Jeremiah and I actually went to Fenway Park for a pre-draft workout, and I think they liked what they saw. Obviously there are a lot of things that factor into the draft, but I just wanted the opportunity, so I’m happy to be here.

JB: I had a good feeling about the Red Sox after the workout. In general, they seemed impressed with the both of us, so that was good, and I was hoping that the Sox would be impressed and that they would find a way to get me in the draft. So, like I said, I’m very pleased that I’m here.

CH: Sean mentioned Tom (Di Benedetto), and you’ve also got Jeff Natale up in Triple-A as a Trinity grad. Knowing that guys have come out of Trinity, already a top D-III program, and done well, how confident are you coming into the pros?

SK: To see a guy like Jeff succeed – he was a great hitter at our school, he’s a great hitter now – but to see a guy like that succeed from a Division-III school, it gives you a lot of confidence. You don’t feel overwhelmed here. You feel like they’re all ballplayers just like you, so just go out there and do your job. You just have to work your way up – it doesn’t matter if you’re the guy with the huge signing bonus or if you’re a guy who signed a free agent contract, you’re going to get a shot, and it’s up to you to do it.

JB: Well it gives me more confidence than I would have had. Like you alluded to there, I look to those guys as an example of the success I could have moving up the ranks.

CH: We usually ask guys to give us scouting reports on themselves, but how about this – give me a scouting report on your teammate.

SK: Jeremiah has a two-seamer that moves more than any fastball I’ve ever seen. I think he had the most swing-and-misses at fastballs in the dirt this year than I’ve ever seen. When we were throwing at Fenway, they made him stop throwing his two-seamer because they wanted the kids to actually have a chance to hit the ball. So he’s got that very good two-seamer, he’s a ground ball pitcher with a very good slider – that’s his strikeout pitch. He’ll get swings and misses with that. To be honest, he only threw two pitches in college because that’s all he needed. I think he’s got a pretty good curveball and a pretty good changeup, and he’s probably going to be throwing them more here against better hitters. I think he could be more of a strikeout pitcher if he wanted to, but I think he’s a groundball pitcher because he knows he can go deeper into games that way.

JB: Defensively, I know from first-hand experience that Sean’s a great catcher to throw to. Real good receiver, blocks the ball well, and he’s got a pretty good arm. So he’s fun to throw to. Offensively, he’s got some quick hands at the plate. Compared to some guys he might not look as big stature-wise, but he’s got those quick hands and he can get around on the ball, and I think he’ll turn some heads this summer.

CH: What goals do you have entering your first season of pro ball?

SK: My goal is to take advantage of any opportunity that I get and make it hard for the coaches to take me out of the lineup. If I go out there and do my job and make them keep me in there, play some solid defense behind the plate, that’d be my goal. That’s why you play baseball in the first place. I also want to make sure I don’t get overwhelmed by the whole professional baseball thing. I hear [the Spinners] get great fans and pack the house.

JB: Right now, I’m mostly focused on developing myself. This past season at college it was more about having the stats and getting scouted to get drafted. Now that I’m here, I’m really looking forward to developing myself into a better pitcher, and not really focus as much on stats as I did earlier this year. That’s my goal right now – to really focus on mechanics, and turn myself into a solid, next-level kind of pitcher. In college, I was more of a strikeout guy at the D-III level, but here I’ll be a contact pitcher. I’m a sinker-slider pitcher, so I try to pitch to contact and limit the walks.