June 20, 2008

Tyler Ladendorf Q&A

Tyler Ladendorf was selected in the 2nd round of June 5th's draft. He's a well-rounded shortstop with a lot of potential on both offense and defense. Tyler was born in Des Plaines, Illinois where he attended Maine West High School where he was tri-sport athlete. Despite a history of labrum injuries, he was drafted straight out of high school in the 34th round of the 2006 draft by the Yankees. He was then selected in the same round a year later by the Giants. And after a great 2008 season in which he hit .542 with 29 doubles, 5 triples, 16 home runs, 83 RBI's and had 47 walks in 53 games. He had a ridiculous 1.060 slugging percentage which helped him become one of the top JUCO players in the country. He also was succesful stealing 31 out of 32 bases. After a great sophomore season, he improved his draft status immensely and it was really a no-brainer that he'd forgo attending the University of Oklahoma this fall and quickly sign with the Twins. Last night he made his debut with the GCL Twins and went 0-2 with a walk. Hope you enjoy!

Josh's Thoughts: Before you were drafted by the Twins, what other teams were interested in you?
Tyler Ladendorf: I had talked to every major league team, but the Braves, Pirates, Royals, D-Backs, and White Sox were probably the ones I had the most contact with.
Josh's Thoughts: You were chosen in the 34th round in 2006 & 2007 by the Yankees and the Giants, why didn’t you sign then?
Tyler Ladendorf: The last couple years were good oppurtunities to sign, but I knew going back to school would allow me to get that much better and allow me to get into the top two rounds.
Josh's Thoughts: What was it like to hear your name called on draft day?
Tyler Ladendorf: It was a big relief and it took three or four days for it to really hit me, but it was nice to celebrate it all with some family and friends.
Josh's Thoughts: Are you happy you were chosen by the Twins? What excites you about this organization?
Tyler Ladendorf: Definitely. I played with and against a couple guys already in the organization and they along with everyone else I've talked to have had nothing but good things to say about the way the Twins organization plays the game.
Josh's Thoughts: You are from Illinois, so are you a Cubs or White Sox fan? If neither, what team did you follow?
Tyler Ladendorf: I have always been a White Sox fan and in a way have learned to hate the Twins. So it will be a little different on the other side now, but a lot of my friends and family joke around that now I'm going to have to be a Sox Killer.
Josh's Thoughts: Who were your favorite players when you were growing up?
Tyler Ladendorf: One of my favorite players has always been Frank Thomas. As I grew up I always liked guys like Ozzie Guillen. I'm also a big fan of the older players like Jackie Robinson, Willie Mays and Roberto Clemente.
Josh's Thoughts: Who has been the biggest influence in your career?
Tyler Ladendorf: Probably my mother and grandmother simply because they are the ones who raised me.
Josh's Thoughts: Do you feel that your two seasons at Howard College will benefit you in the long run? Would you encourage players to play in college before entering the draft?
Tyler Ladendorf: It definetly benefited me. I would encourage players to go to school for at least a year or two simply because the competition is so different and I think it will help to make that transition a little bit easier.
Josh's Thoughts: What do you like to do in your free time?
Tyler Ladendorf: I usually just kick back, relax and watch whatever is on espn. I'm a sports fanatic and I love to watch all sports so there's usually something on I'll like.
Josh's Thoughts: What are your interests besides baseball? Favorite music, movies, other hobbies etc.
Tyler Ladendorf: I like to golf and fish on days off. I like rap music like Lil' Wayne and T.I. I'm real big on scary movies if I have someone to go watch it with.
Josh's Thoughts: If you weren’t playing baseball, what else would you be doing?
Tyler Ladendorf: I'd be playing football or hockey which was two other sports I've played all my life.
Josh's Thoughts: What is something people would be shocked to know about you?
Tyler Ladendorf: I can't whistle.
Josh's Thoughts: What would you say is the strongest part of your game? Weakest?

Tyler Ladendorf: My strongest asset is definetly my athletic ability because I make some difficult plays look routine. My weakest asset is probably my power, but I realize that as i mature and get stronger that will come.

Josh's Thoughts: Is there a player in baseball that you believe your skills resemble? Who?
Tyler Ladendorf: I always thought i played a lot like Jimmy Rollins and the way he always makes the game exciting.
Josh's Thoughts: What are your goals for the season? Long term?
Tyler Ladendorf: My goals for this year is to be up in Beloit by the end of the year. Long term I'd like to be sitting in AA or AAA within three years ready for my call up to the Twins. I want to have a career not necessarily known for the numbers I put up, but that when I'm done playing people will say that I played the game the way its supposed to be played.
Josh's Thoughts: Thanks Tyler! Best of luck this season and hope to see you in Beloit very soon.