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Nine Innings with Jeremy Baltz
By Phil Stanton
Junior outfielder Jeremy Baltz
of St. John's is not only one of
the top players in the Big East, but in all of college baseball.
He was voted preseason Player of the Year in the Big East by the
conference coaches and is a preseason All-American. Baltz batted
.311 a season ago with 12 doubles, six homers and 60 RBI. He
posted a slugging percentage of .483 and on-base percentage of
.444. A native of Vestal, N.Y., Baltz helped St. John’s reach
the NCAA Regionals for the second straight year. Baltz hit .396
as a freshman with 16 doubles, 24 homers and 85 RBI in earning
Baltz recently took time to
answer our questions.
First Inning – What made the transition into
college baseball so smooth for you offensively during your
In high school I had a lot of success hitting
fastballs, but I didn't have much experience hitting offspeed
pitches. During the fall of my freshman season, my coaches
really had me concentrate on hitting curveballs and sliders by
keeping my hands back and using the entire field. I think this
helped my transition into college baseball mostly by becoming
more of a complete hitter.
Second Inning – Your batting average was down
during your sophomore season, but your on-base percentage was
still high. Were you more patient at the plate than you were as
The new bats in college baseball hurt me mentally
at the plate during my sophomore year because I was trying to do
way too much to compensate. I struggled the entire year so I
tried to just concentrate on keeping things simple and taking
what the pitcher gave me, whether that be a walk or a hit by
Third Inning – Were you surprised to get a
second straight trip to Charlottesville last year for regionals?
That was a pretty surreal moment when we saw St.
John's come up on the screen during the college baseball
selection show. The only problem was we had to go to Virginia
again and face off against Danny Hultzen, who was probably the
most advanced pitcher I have ever faced. Still, Charlottesville
was a great host for two straight years - we just wish we could
have had better results there.
Fourth Inning – How have expectations changed
over the past three years for St. John's baseball?
I don't think expectations have changed for the
coaches and players of St. John's Baseball - we have always been
confident against every opponent we face. I just think that we
have gained a little more recognition because of the success we
had in the past two seasons. Hopefully this year we can break
that barrier and reach a Super Regional.
Fifth Inning – What do you see as the team
goals for 2012?
Our main team goal is to break that barrier like
I said before and reach a Super Regional and ultimately go to
Omaha. But to reach our goal we will just have to take it game
by game and come to the field everyday ready to play.
Sixth Inning – Do you have personal goals as
well for the upcoming season?
My only personal goal is to help my team win no
matter what that takes. I try not to worry about stats because
if I'm helping my team win then the numbers will come.
Seventh Inning – You were voted Big East
Preseason Player of the Year by the head coaches. Does that put
additional pressure on you this season?
It is an honor to be named Big East Preseason
Player of the Year but it is only a preseason award and the only
awards that count are the ones that come at the end of the year.
I don't feel pressure from such an award - I am just going to
try to have fun every day, enjoy the moment, and like I said
before, help my team win.
Eighth Inning – You earned three letters in
high school in basketball. Is there anything you learned in
basketball that helps you with baseball?
I was very aggressive in basketball and I try to
take that aggression onto the baseball field as well. I know I
have to remain in control but controlled aggression is important
at the plate, on the base paths, and in the outfield.
Ninth Inning – Are you a New York Giants fan?
Do you have a prediction on the Super Bowl?
I'm not going to make any predictions because I
don't want to jinx anything. All I can say is... Go Giants.
(photos courtesy of St. John's
Media Relations Office)