Saturday, April 26, 2008
This afternoon, I had the pleasure to talk with Red Sox pitching prospect Michael Bowden. Bowden is currently in Double-A, but is very advanced for his age. It looks like the Red Sox are taking him level by level, but his stuff will definitely get him to the majors soon. His attitude is a 'live and die for baseball,' something that should allow him to the succeed at the highest level. I want to thank him for doing this interview for me and I also want to thank the Portland Sea Dogs, I really appreciate it.
ELI: So what was the draft experience like for you?
MICHAEL: It was unforgettable. I was meeting with professional teams everyday, it was great. On draft day, I had friends and family over for a little draft-graduation party, because it was close to graduation.
ELI: Did you think the Red Sox were going to draft you?
MICHAEL: Yeah, they showed a lot of interest. They ran me through some exams, I had a pretty good feeling. One of my friends got me a Red Sox painting with my name on it, so we were pretty confident that they were going to take me.
ELI: After being drafted, you signed and went to Florida to start playing. Was there any adjustment period that took place?
MICHAEL: I think it was three weeks after I drafted that I signed, and then I reported to the Gulf Coast League. It was the middle of the summer, twelve o'clock games, one-hundred percent humidity, it was rough. We were put up in a hotel, I had no car. I was like, 'this is going to be hard.'
ELI: I see you grew up in Illinois, were you a Cubs fan?
MICHAEL: Yeah, Cubs fan.
ELI: Did you have a favorite player?
MICHAEL: Nah. I just like watching.
ELI: In 2006, you reported to Greenville and put together a solid season. What did that do for your confidence?
MICHAEL: It did a lot. It was the first time pitching in front of 5,000 people, this was my job now. I'd say it did a lot.
ELI: You really do not go over scouting reports too much in high school. What do you look for when reviewing or watching them?
MICHAEL: We mainly discuss weaknesses.
ELI: At the low levels and high school, pitchers do not have much of an approach. How did that change in Double-A?
MICHAEL: I always felt I was pretty smart about it in high school. I would get ahead with my fastball, then put them away with some sort of off speed pitch. I think you get better with more experience.
ELI: Your name came up in the Santana talks, did that bother you at all?
MICHAEL: No, there is nothing you can do about. The only thing I really heard about it was when one of my friends sent me a text message saying 'So I hear your pitching for the Twins.'
ELI: Does it flatter you at all being mentioned in a trade for a player like that?
MICHAEL: Yeah definitely.
ELI: Is there anything you hope to improve on from last season?
MICHAEL: Yeah. When I got to Double-A, I was not trusting myself. So, I would like to have more trust in my stuff this season and I do this season so far.
ELI: What was Spring Training like in big league camp?
MICHAEL: It was an awesome experience.
ELI: Did you get a chance to talk with any of the veterans?
MICHAEL: I talked with Josh Beckett and Kyle Snyder a lot. Both guys have a lot of experience up in the MLB.
ELI: What is the biggest difference between Double-A and Single-A?
MICHAEL: Up here, you have to have an approach. The batters will be much more disciplined, you can't be free swinging or throwing fastball-fastball every time.
ELI: Who was the toughest guy you faced in Spring Training?
MICHAEL: Toughest guy? I don't know, I was just going out there and throwing. I just listened to my catcher, I don't look to see who the batter is.
ELI: What was the Red Sox clubhouse like? Terry Francona?
MICHAEL: It was very laid back. [Terry] Francona was very personable-he didn't make you feel weird around him.