Get To Know: Kernels Outfielder Jaylin Davis
Jaylin Davis (JD): Yes, after being home for a while and getting a chance to settle down a little I've had time to sit down and talk to my family about how I thought this season went for me. Although I thought I had a pretty good season I can still take some things from it to help me better myself for next season.
SS: Growing up in North Carolina, who were some of your favorite players and teams? Do you follow other professional or college sports teams throughout the offseason?
JD: Growing up I would have to say some of my favorite players of all time were Derek Jeter and Ken Griffey Jr. The only other professional team that I really follow would have to be the Carolina Panthers. College wise I'm a big TarHeel basketball fan and I still follow our baseball and football teams at App State.
SS: What were some of your highlights while playing at Appalachian State? I would think the two homers off of Carlos Rodon would be right up there.
JD: I would definitely have to say my first game/at bat of my freshman year was one of my biggest highlights at App State. First pitch, three-run homer off of Rodon and we ended up winning that game 5-3. The second one would have to be breaking the single season triple record my sophomore year. And also being named the third freshmen All-American in App State history.
SS: You got hurt your final season. What was the draft process like for you? Did you talk to a lot of scouts?
JD: After getting hurt the draft process for me was a little hectic. Don't get me wrong it all ready was before but the thought of not knowing whether someone would take a chance on me was always on my mind. It was probably about a month or so after my surgery before I started hearing back from scouts again and them informing me on how they were willing to take a chance on me and help me finish up my rehab.
SS: Did you follow the draft to see where you might be selected? Where were you and how busy was your phone after hearing your name?
JD: I had told myself that I wasn't going to follow the draft. I was just going to wait to see if I got a call, but that didn't last very long. I was actually on my way home when I started getting texts from friends and old teammates saying congrats on being drafted and at the time I still didn't even know by who. Shortly after that I got a call from the area scout saying the Twins had drafted me.
SS: Was it frustrating having a dream fulfilled (getting drafted), but then not being able to play last year?
JD: Not being able to play my first year was definitely frustrating; in fact that was definitely the longest year of my life. Being away from the game that long sucked,but at the same time I think it helped me out also. I felt like that it strengthened me physically and mentally and better prepared me for the next level I was about to take in my baseball career.
SS: What was the transition from the Appalachian League to the Midwest League for you? Difference in pitching, ballparks, atmosphere, etc?
JD: The biggest transition for me would have to be the atmosphere. Playing in Etown was fun, but going to Cedar Rapids and playing in front of the big crowds made the experience even better. The only thing different about the pitching was that the off-speed pitches were a lot sharper and they threw them more often.
SS: You got to play in the Midwest League playoffs… What was that experience like?
JD: Playing in the Midwest League playoffs was a great experience and the group of guys I got to experience it with made it fun. The atmosphere in the dugout didn't really change much. We kind of brought that same high level of energy that we had trying to clinch our playoff berth.
SS: How would you describe yourself as a player? What are your strengths?
JD: If I had to describe myself as a player I would say my biggest strength is being able to hit for power and my versatility in the outfield.
SS: Were there specific things you were working on in instructs this year?
JD: The biggest thing I worked on this year in instructs was trying to be more consistent at the plate and cutting down on my strikeouts. The one thing that helped me the most with that was getting ready earlier and not missing my pitch early in the count.
SS: You’ve been home for a couple of months. What have you been able to do to get away from baseball?
JD: Basically just being at home with my family and getting to spend sometime with my little brother has helped me get away from baseball a little bit. I also went back to school and visited some old teammates.
SS: At what point do you not only start thinking about the 2017 season, but when do your workouts and preparation begin? Do you think you’ll do anything new or different after going through a full season?
JD: Well right now I'm working out with a group of guys from my area that play with different organizations at Carolina Acceleration with Carmine Pagano. I felt like working out there really got me ready for last season so I don't think I'll be changing anything.
SS: Did you learn anything about yourself, or did anything surprise you about working through a full season?
JD: I pretty much knew what to expect after talking with some of the guys that have been there for a while. The biggest thing I think I learned about myself was that I was actually more physically and mentally ready than I thought I was.
SS: There are probably some high school baseball players reading this. What would one piece of advice be that you would share with them, or share with a 14-year-old Jaylin?
JD: I would tell them to work just as hard off the field as they do on the field to have that balance (good grades along with the skills) because that balance will open doors that will create more opportunities to take it to the next level. I would also let them know that there will be a lot of sacrifices that will have to be made. And to just have fun playing the game.
SS: If there was one thing about yourself that you would want Twins fans to know, what would it be?
JD: That I have a true passion for the game on and off the field and that I'm very thankful for the opportunity that the Twins have given me to live out my dream.
Thank you for Jaylin Davis for taking time to thoughtfully respond to our questions. Feel free to comment or ask questions below.