After a week of Twins Fest activities and the playing catch up, today I will be continuing a series of Q&As with Twins minor leaguers. Today, we will get to know a little bit more about Chad Christensen. He was the Twins 25th round pick in 2013 out of the University of Nebraska where he spent four years.
Upon signing, he spent the summer playing in the Gulf Coast League. The Cedar Rapids native will compete this spring with the hopes of spending the season with the Kernels. He can play both corner infield and corner outfield positions.
With that, here is the interview with Chad Christensen:
Twins Daily (TD):
Growing up in Iowa, who was your favorite team, and who were some of your favorite players to watch?
Chad Christensen (CC)
: I grew up a big Yankees fan (sorry). My favorite player was Derek Jeter. I also was a big fan of Jorge Posada, Bernie Williams, and Mariano Rivera.
TD: What are your best memories from your high school baseball days in Cedar Rapids? Did you play other sports?
CC: I have a lot of great memories from high school baseball at Washington. Some of my best friends to date were teammates of mine from 2006-2009. The 2007 season was very memorable with myself and a friend as the young guys. The upper classmen were great teammates and players, and we had a great year. My senior year in 2009 was great beating Xavier to go to the state tournament for the first time since 2001, I believe. We had a dedicated group of guys and the season was one I will never forget.
TD: Talk about your decision to go to Nebraska. Were you recruited elsewhere too?
CC: I fell in love with Nebraska very early. On my visit, the stadium was packed with 7,000 fans for a Sunday game against Texas A&M. You don't get that at many places in the country. I was recruited elsewhere, but the decision was easy. I'm proud to be a part of Husker Nation and now an alumni.
TD: What were your best memories/moments from your college playing days?
CC: Beating Creighton in the first game at TD Ameritrade would be up there. I had some great teammates that will also be lifelong friends. Going through 4 seasons with some of those guys is something that can never be replaced.
TD: When the Marlins drafted you in the 35th round in 2012, was it a difficult decision to return to college?
CC: Being drafted by the Marlins was exciting. But I had to make a decision, and for me, the best decision was to return to Nebraska for my senior season and finish my degree.
TD: As the draft approached, were you seeing or talking to more scouts? Did you have much conversation with any Twins scouts?
CC: I talked to lots of scouts for a lot of teams as the draft was coming up. I had talked to Mark Wilson a lot with the Twins, so I was hopeful that the Twins might give me a shot.
TD: What was it like to play for Darin Erstad?
CC: Playing for Coach Erstad was awesome. I like when coaches are up front with you and make it clear what is expected of their players. Coach Erstad did that well. We had fun, but we had fun by respecting the game and playing the right way. If you respect the game and work hard, you'll love playing for that guy and you won't have any issues.
TD: When the Twins took you in the 25th round, where were you and what was that experience like? (Was that about where you were expecting to be picked?)
CC: When the Twins picked me in the 25th round, I was at a gas station buying a Red Bull. I was waiting at my house all day to be picked. I finally had to get going to get to my brother's baseball game. It was later than I anticipated, but once I got the call from Mark and saw I had been picked by the Twins, I was very amped up. I had always hoped the Twins would pick me being from the Midwest and with the Kernels in Cedar Rapids. It was a great day when I got drafted.
TD: What was the adjustment to pro baseball like for you?
CC: I enjoyed the transition to pro ball. I played in the GCL so playing all day games was different. It was a lot of baseball, but I like that. You really have to take care of your body to stay healthy and alert every day. I'm glad I got a short season in to learn some things before this season.
TD: If you were to write up a scouting report on yourself, what would it be? What would you say are your strengths, and an area you want to work on to improve most?
CC: I want to be looked at as a good athlete who plays the game the right way, who is a good teammate, brings energy, and does whatever it takes to win every game no matter what that is.
TD: Who are some of the people who have helped you get to this point in your career?
CC: There are so many people who deserve credit for me getting into professional baseball. My parents and brothers for pushing me and supporting me. My coaches from the time I was 10 for making the game enjoyable. My teammates at Washington and Nebraska. Coach Erstad for showing how the game should be played, and Coach Bolt for giving me a solid approach to hitting. And obviously Mark Wilson for drafting me.
TD: Outside of baseball, what do you enjoy doing? Hobbies, etc?
CC: I'm a big college football fan, and college basketball fan. I love Monday and Sunday night football. I'm also a personal trainer in the off season, so I am big into working out and teaching others how to work out and stay healthy.
TD: As spring training is now just a couple of months away, what are you most anxious and excited about?
CC: I am excited mostly just to get back on the field and start playing again. I'm in good shape and ready for the season. I am also excited for some Florida sunshine and to get out of the midwest winter. I'm ready to be back with all the boys again in Ft. Myers.
TD: What will it be like for you if you played in your hometown, for the Cedar Rapids Kernels.
CC: Playing for the Kernels will be exciting for me. I grew up going to those games and playing in that stadium. So to be a part of the Kernels and play for the city of Cedar Rapids would be very satisfying and special for me.
TD: Have you set any goals for yourself for the 2014 season? Are there certain stats you think are important for you?
CC: I try not to think about set numbers. For one, I don't want to underestimate myself. My goals are to always improve and bring focus and energy every day. To play the game to win wherever I am. Talking to guys who have done it and things that work for them. Taking care of my body, eating well, getting plenty of rest are all things that will help performance. If I do all those things the numbers will take care of themselves throughout the course of a long season.
TD: Favorite baseball movie?
CC: Sandlot, no doubt.
TD: What is one thing about yourself that you would want Twins fans to know?
CC: My brother Austin and I are tied for the Cedar Rapids metro all-time high school home run record.
Thank you very much to Chad Christensen for taking his time to answer these questions. Best of luck to him in the 2014 season.