July 29, 2010 at 11:04 AM
Perhaps overshadowed by Lars Anderson, Anthony Rizzo and Chris McGuiness in the Red Sox’ crowded minor league depth chart at first base, Miles Head has quietly been working towards the big leagues just outside of the spotlight. Drafted in the 26th round in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft, Head made the switch from third base to first base upon being assigned to the Lowell Spinners. Despite the move on defense, he has been solid offensively as a 19-year-old in the New York-Penn League, hitting .270/.366/.396 with 1 home run and 21 RBI. Miles took the time to sit down with SoxProspects.com’s Jonathan Singer at a recent Lowell game.
Jonathan Singer: You worked out for the Red Sox at Fenway Park prior to the 2009 MLB draft and hit a home run over the monster. The team had obvious interest in you, but you were also committed to play baseball at the University of Georgia. Was the lure of the Red Sox drafting you the biggest reason you broke your commitment to the Bulldogs?
Miles Head: I think that was a big thing to think about. My dream growing up as a kid was to play professional baseball, and ultimately, whatever got me into the pro ball the fastest that was the path I was choosing. It happened that signing out of high school with the Red Sox was that path.
JS: What if you had been drafted by a lesser team, say, a team in the bottom half of the league, do you still think you would have signed to become a professional?
MH: I think I probably would. As I said, it’s always been my dream to play professional baseball, regardless of which team it was for. I just want to play.
JS: You were a participant in the fall instructional league in 2009. Tell us how that went and what did you take away from it?
MH: I thought it was a very good experience. The way the coaching staff worked with us in all aspects of the game was absolutely beneficial. I definitely think the work put in here will pay off in the long run.
JS: Over the winter what type of workout regimen did you partake in to prepare yourself for your first full professional season?
MH: I worked out with a club called Home Plate from around the same part of Georgia where I live, and just every single day I was hitting and throwing to prepare for the grind of my first full professional season.
JS: The organization held you in extended spring training to begin this season. What were some of the things you focused on during the extra time spent in Fort Myers?
MH: I just wanted to improve a little bit on my defense, especially my footwork. I felt like my hitting was there and would come around, but the main focus was getting my defense down to the point where I was comfortable.
JS: You were drafted as a third baseman but now you have moved over to first. Tell us about the adjustment you have made moving across the diamond.
MH: They are two very similar positions, but they do have their differences. At first base it was a big change, as I was a little uncomfortable to begin with, but now I am getting the hang of playing over there every single day and my comfort zone has greatly increased there.
JS: How did it come about that you moved positions so early in your career?
MH: You know I’m not sure. When I got here I was saying to myself that I was going to be a third baseman but the first day, (Spinners Manager Bruce) Crabbe called me into his office and said, ‘We are going to try you out at first base and see how you feel.’
JS: Coming up to Lowell, did you set any specific goals for yourself?
MH: One of my goals was to come here and finish the year in the .285 to .300 range batting average-wise. It would be nice to accomplish that in my first full professional season.
JS: What type of preparation do you go through before each game? Do you have any specific routine?
MH: I have my hitting routine that (Spinners Hitting Coach) George Lombard and I do every day. It’s the same thing as I do tee work and front flips, and that’s something I repeat every single day.
JS: You hit your first professional home run last night. How did that feel to get that weight off your shoulders? (Note: Head had hit that home run the previous night)
MH: It felt awesome. It’s just a big burden off my shoulders. The moment and the feeling were definitely surreal and it’s something I won’t forget.
JS: You have been in the organization for less than a year, but in that time, is there any player that has impressed you the most?
MH: I would have to say Brandon Jacobs, because I knew him a little growing up but I always looked at him as primarily a football player. You know he came here and has really shown myself and the whole organization a lot, because he knows how to play this game.
JS: Did you have any role models growing up in your life, and what part did they play in getting you to where you are right now?
MH: I would definitely say my parents and my grandparents. Growing up as a kid, I always played travel ball and they were there beside me the whole time. They took me to my games at 6 o’clock in the morning; they were always there no matter what.
JS: You grew up in Brooks, Georgia, which is small rural town. Was there a big culture shock coming up to Lowell and being in a region that was so passionate about its sports teams?
MH: I mean, yea. The south is so much different than the north. We have baseball fans in the south, but nothing like it is here. Red Sox Nation is the real deal. Its crazy how all the fans are and the support they have for you.
JS: Would you compare the passion of the professional sports teams up here to college athletics in the south?
MH: Absolutely. SEC football is what we grew up watching. The fans there are crazy and it’s the same thing here with the Red Sox.
JS: Moving away from baseball, tell us about some of the things you enjoy away from baseball that we may not know.
MH: In the off-season, I love to fish and hunt. I also play a little bit of guitar and I enjoy hanging out a lot with my grandparents.
JS: Since you have been in the Boston area only a short time, what is the best thing you have done so far?
MH: I’d say visiting Fenway Park. Just walking into the park gives you chills, as does knowing all the guys that have played there in the past and knowing in a few years I could be there.
JS: Have you taken in a baseball game at Fenway on any off day this year?
MH: A few of us players went to a game in June when Daniel Nava hit his grand slam. We had become pretty good friends with him in spring training and went to watch him play, and it was an awesome feeling to watch the game he had.