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July 15, 2011 at 8:00 AM

Q&A With Matt Gedman


Matt Gedman's connection to the Red Sox goes beyond being their 45th round pick in the 2011 draft. His father, Rich, was a catcher for the Red Sox for ten years, and is now the hitting coach for the Lowell Spinners. Being drafted is certainly an honor, but being selected by an organization that his father has had ties to since before Gedman was born was certainly the icing on the cake.

Gedman attended the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, where his statistics improved each year. He had a particularly impressive senior year, in which he led the Atlantic-10 in hitting with an average of .402. Since being drafted by the Red Sox, Gedman, who is playing with the Gulf Coast League Red Sox, has had to make some adjustments to professional ball. I recently had the chance to speak with Gedman about the possibility of playing for his father, how he matured as a player in college, and how he has been adjusting to the challenges of being a professional baseball player thus far.

Elizabeth Dreeson: How was it for you to get drafted by your father's former team?
Matt Gedman: I was definitely excited. I was happy to go to anybody, really. I was just looking for a chance to play. Of course for the Red Sox [to draft me] made it special, so that was definitely a plus, but I was just looking forward to playing somewhere.

ED: It's likely that you'll end up in Lowell at some point, so how do you think it will be for you to play for your dad?
MG: No different than playing for anybody else. All the coaches here are really good, so anywhere I go I'm just looking to do my best, and it doesn't really matter if my dad is the coach or anything like that.

ED: How are you a different player now than you were in high school? How did you mature over at the University of Massachusetts?
MG: [I was just] looking for a new approach, getting new experiences through failures, and learning [how to deal with them like] putting extra work in. As you get older obviously it doesn't get easier--it never gets easier--but just learning the right approach at the plate--no swinging early--and just going about business the right way.

ED: You mentioned a new approach. Is that what you're talking about like not swinging early or is there something else?
MG: Yeah, like when you're slumping and you kind of know yourself more. You get all the information from coaches at different levels--summer coaches, regular coaches--and you put it into your own persona. It helps you out; everyday you learn something.

ED: Did you play in summer leagues?
MG: Yeah I played in the NECBL for two summers, which is a New England college baseball league, and everyday you have to learn to deal with failure because the pitching is good there. You can’t get frustrated or else it's only going to get worse.

ED: What was your biggest challenge last year as a player?
MG: I had a few fielding problems and struggled a little defensively, [so it was] just to overcome that. [Baseball is] such a mental game that the biggest critic is going to be yourself, and you have to battle sometimes, and once you get through that it just makes you stronger.

ED: Speaking of defensive problems, I know you played a lot of different positions at UMass. Where are you most comfortable in the infield?
MG: I feel comfortable at third, second, first, [and the corner outfield positions]. In the field, I feel alright at all the positions.

ED: I know you haven't been here too long, but has the organization conveyed to you their long-term intentions for your position?
MG: Not really. I'm just doing what they're telling me right now, and I'm just trying to get better while I'm doing it. It's very early on, and I'm just trying to improve everyday.

ED: Has the organization changed your mechanics at all?
MG: Not really. They said they have a policy: there's something we have done to get us here that has made us successful so early on. They don't really say much unless we approach them about it.

ED: What would you say your greatest strength is?
MG: [In] school this year it was my hitting. I had a good average and definitely learned a lot as a hitter and [I'm just trying] to carry that over to the new pitching, and the wooden bats.

ED: What about your biggest weakness?
MG: I have to improve my speed a lot.

ED: What have the biggest changes for you been between college ball and pro ball so far?
MG: Probably getting up at 6:30 am every morning. But baseball is baseball: there's not really too much that changes, but if you make it change too much that’s when you get in trouble. If you keep it simple, that’s when it's easiest.

ED: Have you had to make a big adjustment to wooden bats?
MG: That's not too different. Division I switched to the [new aluminum bats that mimic wood], so that's pretty similar, but I played a couple of summers with wood, so I'm kind of used to it. I'm sure I'll get used to it more as it goes on, but it's pretty similar.

ED: Were the new bats in college a big adjustment for you?
MG: Oh, that was a big adjustment. We used some in the fall, but they were a lot different. A lot of fly balls weren't home runs anymore, and you have to get all of it to really do damage.

ED: What have you noticed so far about the pitchers at this level, and how are they more sophisticated than the ones at the college level?
MG: Consistently you see guys that throw the ball well. Everyone’s got good stuff [here], so even in the first couple of days you start to get used to the speed a little more. At school you see maybe 86-88, occasionally a 90, but it seems like everyone here has 90 in their back pocket, so you just have to get used to it. Everyone is here for a reason, they all have good stuff.

 
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