Bijan Rademacher is quickly becoming a fan favorite for his unique set of skills on the field, so we decided to find out a little bit more about him and his approach to the game. Bijan was kind enough to answer a few questions for us and I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.
JA: What do you enjoy most about being a professional ballplayer?
BR: I enjoy everything about being a professional ballplayer. It's what I've wanted to do ever since I can remember, so I cherish every moment because I know a lot of people don't get this opportunity that I've been given.
JA: You've had a lot of success at the plate this year. Please tell us a little bit about your approach as a hitter.
BR: My approach really is to stay within myself and get a quality pitch to drive, but other times it depends on the pitcher. For example, if the pitcher doesn't really have a plus strikeout pitch, I'll go up there looking for a fastball in a small zone knowing that this pitcher can't beat me if I get to two strikes.
JA: What kind of goals have you set for yourself this season as you continue to develop as a ballplayer?
BR: It might seem a little cliche but my goals are always to get better everyday. I'm always asking everyone around me what they think I could get better at whether it be MJ (manager Mark Johnson), Tommy (Tom Beyers hitting coach), or even some of my teammates.
JA: How much interest did teams show in you as a pitcher relative to position player before the MLB Draft?
BR: To be honest, I received interest from almost every team as a pitcher but only a few as a hitter. Everyone saw how good I could be as a pitcher and would always compare my pitching to my hitting, which ended up hurting me in the long run. I knew coming out of college that I could hit as well as anyone and I wanted to prove that to people. I believed in myself and my ability, which is why I turned down teams to become an outfielder.
JA: Not many people know that not only do you have a good arm, but that you can throw both left-handed and right-handed. Is that something that came naturally to you and have you ever thrown from both sides in the same game?
BR: Yes, when I was younger I would pick up a baseball and throw it with my left hand but when I picked up a football I threw it with my right. My parents nor I ever thought anything of it until I got old enough to realize that I could throw just about anything with both arms. I have played in a game where I pitched with my left and then gone out to the field and finished throwing with my right.
JA: The Kane County team looks like a close-knit group and you guys work hard but you also seem to have fun out there -- so who's the prankster on the team?
BR: We all play pranks and jokes on each other. There's not one guy or one group of guys, it's more of a team kind of thing. A lot of it is because the coaching staff we have around us. MJ, Tommy, Kenny (Socorro, coach) and Ron (Villone, pitching coach) make sure we get our work in so that we can joke around and have fun. The atmosphere is really something else here and it really makes the season that much more enjoyable.
JA: Be honest, do you stop what you're doing to watch Dan Vogelbach and Rock Shoulders take batting practice?
BR: No, I'm too busy running down their balls to notice (haha). Sometimes I will but I think I was spoiled when I got to see Javier Baez take BP. So every time I see someone take BP, I just compare them to him and no one is close.
JA: We're big music fans here at the blog. What's your walk-up song during home games and what's the last good album you bought that you'd recommend?
BR: That's a tough question because I have so many favorite songs I'd like to use as a walk-up song. This year I let our strength and conditioning coach pick mine, which is "I Rep That West" by Ice Cube and I have to say it's a solid choice. An album I'd recommend to people is "Piece of Mind" and "Courage to Grow" by Rebelution. They are a reggae band from Southern California and are really good guys, plus the music is awesome.
Thanks again to Bijan Rademacher for taking the time to share his thoughts with us. If you're on Twitter, please give him a follow. He's at @bijanrad24.