Get to Know Twins New Catcher Ryan Jeffers
Image courtesy of © Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY SportsSince Joe Mauer moved out from behind the plate for the Twins, the position has been in flux. From guys like Wilson Ramos to Kurt Suzuki, and Jason Castro to Mitch Garver, stability behind the plate hasn’t been something the Twins could hang their hat on. Recently named an honorable mention All American by Perfect Game, Jeffers hopes to offer some help in that category.
The UNC-Wilmington product batted .315/.460/.635 last season, and Twins Scouting Director Deron Johnson thinks he’ll stick behind the dish. I recently had the opportunity to interview Jeffers, and it’s apparent he’s excited to get going with his pro career.
Twins Daily: Catchers being taken early in the draft generally signifies a high ability to stick behind the plate. You were fourth off the board and the second college catcher taken. How would you describe your game? Did you call the action in college? What’s a separating ability of yours?
Ryan Jeffers: I would describe my game and myself as a plus defender with the ability to learn and work hard to constantly improve every aspect of my game. I am looking forward to learning and growing and becoming an All-Star caliber backstop. I did call most of my game in college and I think that is something that really helped me maximize my ability. It helped me learn how to read hitters and swings and taught me different ways I can make my pitchers better. I think my receiving, mindset, and intelligence will separate me from others.
TD: When the pick came in, MLB Network talked about your offensive ability and production at the plate. What is your approach like in the batters box? Your numbers suggest there’s lots of pop there, is that something you key in on?
RJ: I have a patient approach in the box. I like to wait on a pitch I can really hit hard. Whether that pitch comes in the first two pitches or later in the at-bat, I will be ready to put my best swing on it. I always try to hit the ball as hard as I can. Solid contact and good exit velo leads to lots of extra base hits and home runs. So, I just try and key on hard contact and the rest will work itself out.
TD: Both at the plate and behind it, development will obviously take place at the next level. What areas are you most looking forward to refining and advancing your game?
RJ: For me I really am looking forward to refining every aspect of my game. There always is a need to get better. No matter how good you are you can always improve some aspect of your game. As I work through the minors and learn more and more about the game, I will continue to look to constantly improve.
TD: Being from North Carolina and staying home for college, have you been to Minnesota before? What is your knowledge of Target Field and the Twins organization?
RJ: I have never been to Minnesota before however I knew a little bit about the organization just from following baseball for so long. My trip to Minnesota and Target Field right after the draft really helped me get a better feel of the Twins and the area. What an awesome facility/field.
TD: What was the draft process like for you? Did you have a feeling the Twins were keyed in on taking you in the 2nd round? Were you watching live with family or how did you take it all in?
RJ: It was a pretty amazing feeling getting drafted by such a well-run organization. I was honored to have my name called by the twins. I knew the Twins liked me, but a lot of different things can happen on draft night, so you never know what will happen. I had just gotten back to Wilmington after playing in the regionals that Monday. I was unpacking and hanging with my girlfriend when I got the call.
TD: You’ve got the floor here, what’s the message you want Twins Territory to know about Ryan Jeffers and how you’ll attack your pro career?
RJ: I just want the Twins nation to know that I am ready to work and get after it. I am looking forward to playing in front of the amazing Twins fans and winning many games and championships in a Twins uniform. GO TWINS!!
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