Get To Know: Twins Minor League Infielder Andre Jernigan
Let’s get to know him a little bit.
Seth Stohs (SS): Growing up in Indiana, which was your favorite team and who were some of your favorite players?
Andre Jernigan (AJ): In Indiana, we don't have any MLB teams, but my father has always been a huge Chicago Cubs fan so naturally my brother and I grew up Cubs fans also. As far as favorite players I grew up watching, I'd say Ken Griffey Jr. And Barry Bonds. Some greats I looked up to included Barry Larkin, Reggie Jackson, and Ricky Henderson.
SS: What were some of your best memories from high school baseball? Did you play other sports?
AJ: There are far too many to list. There were so many great memories from back then. I'd have to say that of all those memories, the best was all the time spent with teammates and friends I grew up playing with and against. I played basketball for a little bit, then focused on baseball.
SS: What were your options coming out of high school? What was it about Xavier that made it the right place for you?
AJ: Going to play college baseball was a longtime goal of mine. Coach Googins made it an achievable goal when he offered me a scholarship to play at Xavier University. I absolutely loved the family-like feeling of the team and university along with the quality of education it offered. The hard-working, blue-collar culture that Coach Googins instilled in the program made my decision even easier.
SS: Did you talk to a lot of scouts before the draft? Specifically, did you talk to any of the Twins scouts?
AJ: I filled out a fair share of questionnaires leading up to the draft. Jay Weitzel was the Twins scout that I had the most contact with.
SS: Drafted by the Twins in the 14th round... is that about where you thought you might be selected before the draft?
AJ: Going into the draft I was not exactly sure where I was going to be selected. I had been told anywhere the second day of the draft, up to early the third day. At the time I was trying to stay concentrated on helping Xavier win a conference tournament and playing in a regional down in Nashville.
SS: Did you watch or listen to the draft? Where were you and who were you with when you found out? How busy was your phone at that time?
AJ: I was back home in Indiana with my parents, younger brother, grandmother, and cousin when I found out the news. I've always watched the draft but this year was certainly a bit more exciting.
SS: What was the biggest adjustment you had to make, going from college to the pro game? On or off the field?
AJ: One of the biggest adjustments was getting use to the everyday grind and getting into a routine on a daily basis. Having played shortstop my entire life, moving over to second base and learning the position this season was also quite an adjustment. I found it important for me to begin to concentrate more on the mental side of the game such as having different approaches that change with the day, pitcher, and situation.
SS: How did you feel about your first professional baseball season? How did you enjoy your time in Elizabethton?
AJ: I felt like it was certainly a fun experience. It was far different than the previous college seasons I had been a part of. Playing everyday and being at the field for the vast majority of the day was exciting for me. The fans of Elizabethton, along with my coaches and teammates made for an unforgettable experience. Looking back on it, I absolutely enjoyed my time there this past summer.
SS: In these early stages of your career, what would you say are your biggest strengths as a player?
AJ: I am always looking to learn more about my game and about the game of baseball as well. With that being said one of my biggest strengths is being able learn different things quickly. I believe my athleticism allows for me to be able to apply those learnings efficiently.
SS: What were some of your focuses at Instructs? What are the things that you feel you need to improve over the offseason and going forward?
AJ: I worked a lot both with an approach at the plate as well as making a few swing adjustments to help with consistency. Defensively, I worked on smoothing out my movements and actions at second base. I also spent some time working and playing third base. I always feel the need to improve consistency both offensively and defensively as a baseball player, so I'm always striving to make adjustments to allow that to happen.
SS: What are some of your plans for the offseason? Baseball Training, but also what do you enjoy doing away from the game of baseball?
AJ: I've spent the majority of my time getting ready for spring training in March. However, I have spent my fair share of time relaxing. Getting away from baseball allows for me to clear my mind for the time being. Being the person I am though, a week into the offseason and I was already looking forward to starting up again on the spring.
SS: Who are some of the coaches and others who have helped you get to this point in your career?
AJ: My mom and dad introduced me to the game at a young age so I have to thank them. Coach Googins and all of the coaches at Xavier helped get me to where I am today. Finally, a former summer coach of mine by the name of Quentin Brown has been a great mentor to me over the years.
SS: Favorite Baseball Movie?
Long live G-Baby! Thank you very much to Andre Jernigan for answering our questions and giving us the chance to get to know him better. Feel free to leave comments and ask questions down below.
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