I will be running a new interview with one of the best MLB draft prospects 2010 has to offer each Sunday and Wednesday up until June, and you can click here to find an up to date archive of them all.
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Kevin Levine-Flandrup: Do you play any other sports besides baseball?
Alex Ramsay: Yeah, my freshman, sophomore and seniors seasons I played football. I skipped out on it my junior year to focus on baseball a little bit more, but then figured I’d regret it if I didn’t go back and play my senior year because I really enjoyed it my freshman and sophomore year.
Kevin Levine-Flandrup: What position were you playing?
Alex Ramsay: I was kind of all over the field. I started off at quarterback and that didn’t really work out so I moved to running back. Then we had a hole in our defense because we lost a cornerback, so I stepped in there, so I was kind of moving all over the place.
Kevin Levine-Flandrup: Are your height and weight still 5’11”, 170 lbs?
Alex Ramsay: I’m now about 6’0”, 185 lbs.
Kevin Levine-Flandrup: What drew you to Maryland?
Alex Ramsay: I committed to them this past summer in July, and it was definitely the influence of Coach Bakich when he came over from Vanderbilt, where he had been the recruiting coordinator. He gave me a call the first day that I was eligible to receive calls from college coaches, and then I met up with him at a Baseball Factory event in Atlanta called Team One South. We went out to lunch, talked things over, and he gave me his overlook of the Maryland program and what he was trying to do with it. It blew me away, so after listening to him the other choices really didn’t matter to me, I mean I knew Maryland was a great school and all, but his spiel on what he was planning on doing with the program sealed the deal for me. I really enjoyed that.
Kevin Levine-Flandrup: What other schools were in consideration?
Alex Ramsay: Some southern schools, some schools around here, UVA, Miami, I had some contact with Central Florida. A lot of schools up and down the east coast. I had seen a couple of things from schools on the west coast such as Stanford, but I didn’t really look into them. I was staying on the east coast.
Kevin Levine-Flandrup: How much have you thought about the draft?
Alex Ramsay: I’m not one of the kids that can say they’ve seen their name in the top 10 or any of the mock drafts, I’m not up there with all the big shots, I guess. Obviously I’m thinking about it though, I can’t wait until June, and I’m not one of those big names, but I can say that I do think about it a lot.
Kevin Levine-Flandrup: Whether it’s out of high school or out of Maryland, what’s your dream when you think about playing professional baseball?
Alex Ramsay: I would love to get a shot out of high school, start young, and just kind of get into the groove of things at an early age. I mean, I’ve always been the one who wants to get out there on my own, so getting drafted and potentially playing with a club that might be on the other side of the country would be the type of opportunity that would be great for me.
Kevin Levine-Flandrup: What teams have you heard the most from?
Alex Ramsay: I’ve had pretty good contact with the Brewers and some with the Red Sox.
Kevin Levine-Flandrup: Any contact from the Yankees?
Alex Ramsay: No, not yet.
Kevin Levine-Flandrup: How would you describe yourself as a hitter?
Alex Ramsay: I’m the kind of hitter that likes to stand at the plate and measure himself off and make sure everything is the same – I’m pretty anal about making sure everything is in the right place when I step in the box, I guess you could call it superstitious. Growing up I was mostly a pull hitter, but over the last couple of years I’ve really been focusing on moving my power to the opposite field. Pull power is going to be there for most hitters, but it’s the opposite field power that does damage, so that’s been my focus for the past few years and we’ll see this season whether I can put it all together.
Kevin Levine-Flandrup: Do you hit for a lot of power?
Alex Ramsay: Growing up I was one of the bigger kids, and that’s caught up with me now, but growing up you’d see my try to pull a ball over the fence. Because most people are catching up with me now and I find myself being one of the smaller kids on each team I’m on so I’ve tried to change my focus to more of a gap-to-gap hitter.
Kevin Levine-Flandrup: Where do you hit in the lineup?
Alex Ramsay: Usually I’m three or four for my high school team, and in the summer I’ll hit there or maybe five; somewhere in the core of the lineup.
Kevin Levine-Flandrup: What is your on-field personality?
Alex Ramsay: I usually see myself as one of the most vocal kids on the field, being a catcher and all. I’m usually the one talking the most. When the moment calls for it I’m definitely jumping up and down and getting excited. One of the best examples of that is my high school team, Severna Park, we were in the state championship last year and we ended up coming away with a victory, so that was definitely an emotional moment. So when the moment calls for it you’ll definitely see me excited or getting up in players’ faces.
Kevin Levine-Flandrup: Defensively catchers are the most important position on the field. What does being a catcher mean to you?
Alex Ramsay: It means everything, it’s one of the main reasons I wanted to become a catcher. I didn’t really start catching until I was going into my freshman year of high school, so I looked at being a catcher as a great opportunity to take a leadership role on the field.
Kevin Levine-Flandrup: Do you call your own games?
Alex Ramsay: I was on varsity my freshman season, and that season the coaches kind of took the playcalling over, but by my sophomore year I had full responsibility of that, so this will be my third year doing that.
Kevin Levine-Flandrup: How did you go about learning how to call a game?
Alex Ramsay: For my high school season my main focus has been catching the pitchers over and over again. There’s a place nearby where we can throw bullpens, and I’ll usually be up there a lot with my high school pitchers in the offseason, and that’s kind of how I learn them. I learned a lot from my head coach that called the pitches when I was a freshman, we would talk about it in between innings, what to throw in certain situations. Sometimes as a freshman he would give me an inning or two to see what I would call, and then we would go back in the dugout and talk about it, so that’s pretty much how I learned.
Kevin Levine-Flandrup: What was it like playing at Wrigley for the Under Armour game?
Alex Ramsay: It was awesome. It was definitely the major League experience; the first-class experience. It was pretty much like playing as if you already made it for a week. Those first steps onto Wrigley were a little breath-taking, and when we took our team photo out in front of the centerfield wall I was able to grab a couple of pieces of ivy, so that was pretty cool. It was definitely a life-altering experience.
Kevin Levine-Flandrup: Speaking of the pros, is it safe to assume you’re an O’s fan?
Alex Ramsay: Yeah, I’m a local guy, so when they’re good, yeah. [laughs].
Kevin Levine-Flandrup: Who are the players that you look up to in terms of their skills or the way they play?
Alex Ramsay: I definitely look at Jason Varitek’s leadership abilities, but as far as being a hitter goes I try to kind of model myself after Joe Mauer, being a lefty and all.
Kevin Levine-Flandrup: If you could steal one skill from anybody else you’ve met in your draft class, whose would it be, and why?
Alex Ramsay: I played with a kid named Mitchell Shifflett in Virginia, he ran like a 6.1 60 yard dash at the Metrodome, and I probably wouldn’t mind having that kind of speed. That’d be pretty cool [laughs].
Kevin Levine-Flandrup: Who’s the toughest pitcher you’ve faced?
Alex Ramsay: I faced Karsten Whitson, who’s going to Florida and is one of the top names in the draft, at the Under Armour game. I faced him a couple of times, and one time he actually hit me right in the back, but he might be one of the hardest kids I’ve ever faced.
Kevin Levine-Flandrup: What are you goals this year, both individually and as a team?
Alex Ramsay: As a team it would definitely be to win a state championship. Individually I would say one of my main focuses is going to be handling our pitchers. We lost three senior starters off our staff from last year, and to go along with that we have a pretty short field, so I’m going to take that as a challenge to see how I can control the pitchers, especially at our home games.
Kevin Levine-Flandrup: You’re 17 years old and you’ve got two amazing opportunities in front of you, but with that also comes a lot of pressure. What’s this whole process like for you?
Alex Ramsay: It’s tough, it gets complicated sometimes, but usually when it gets down to that I can rely on my family and friends to guide me because they all know what I have a stake. I can look to my coaches, my parents, my brother, or my closest friends to point me in the right direction if things things get complicated.