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Interview with Cubs draft pick Zak Blair

Interview with Cubs draft pick Zak Blair

Recently I had the opportunity to correspond with Zak Blair. The Cubs drafted Blair as a 2B with their 20th round draft pick. He was kind enough to answer a few questions for us. I chose 9 questions, well, because 9 is a good baseball number.

We hear so much about the first round draft picks but many of us may not know a lot about the guys who were drafted a bit later. These are players the team obviously liked as good fits for the organization and when you read about Zak Blair, I think you'll agree he'll fit right in with "The Cubs Way".

But I don't want to say too much. I'll let Zak respond in his own words.

Interview with Zak Blair

JA: For the 99% of us who don't get drafted by the MLB, what does that day feel like to you? How did you react when you were picked?

ZB: This is a dream come true. I will never forget that day. I was overjoyed when I was picked. I was definitely in shock and it didn't set in for a few days that I was actually on the Chicago Cubs.

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JA: Did you have an idea you'd be picked by the Cubs? Had they expressed a lot of interest beforehand or was it a surprise?

ZB: I knew the Cubs were interested during the spring. I was just extremely thankful they selected me.

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JA: What do you feel are some of your strengths as a ballplayer?

ZB: My work ethic, versatility, and my love and respect for the game.

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JA: You put up some pretty impressive numbers at Mercyhurst, leading the team in average (.329), total bases (71), hits (57), doubles (12), and runs (26). You also hit .354 in your career there. Please tell us a little bit about your approach to hitting.

ZB: I just try and win every pitch and never take a pitch off. I try to use all fields and hit the ball where it's pitched. I also try not to do too much and stay within myself. I will do whatever it takes to help the team.

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JA: What parts of your game are you most eager to get to work on and develop?

ZB: I would like to gain knowledge in every aspect of my game. You can always get better. So you can bet I will do whatever it takes to help the team.

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JA: Tell us a little bit about why you chose Mercyhurst. A lot of people may not know that they've produced 3 major league players and have had 14 players drafted. There is some good baseball history there.

ZB: Mercyhurst is a dynasty. We won 111 games in my 3 years there. I transferred here because I knew the reputation of the program and the coaching staff. They have done so much for me and I can't thank them enough. I chose Mercyhurst for the opportunity to play everyday and reach the next level.

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JA: You played shortstop at Mercyhurst but the Cubs announced you as a second baseman. Have you played the position before and if so, what's the biggest difference for you? If you have not played it before, what do you anticipate being the toughest part of the transition?

ZB: I played 2B my first year at Mercyhurst and I like it a lot. I can also play outfield, shortstop, and 3B -- or wherever the team needs me.

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JA: We know it's the Cubs now, but which was your favorite team and who was your favorite player growing up?

ZB: I was a Cleveland Indians fan and Omar Vizquel was my favorite player.

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JA: Last question: What is it you most like to do when you are not playing baseball?

ZB: I like to fish and work out.

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JA: Zak thanks for taking the time to answer some questions and congratulations on being drafted. Welcome to the Cubs organization!

ZB: Thanks John, I really appreciate it.

Filed under: Interviews, MLB Draft

Comments

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  • He seems like a very good kid, I feel like he will fit in with the cubs, also good interview questions john

  • In reply to kingpro98:

    Thank you. He does seem like a good kid. Definitely a team player and a guy who will do what it takes to win. Every team needs those kinds of players.

  • Nice, hope you can get more as the seasons goes on

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    I'll definitely see what I can do. It's a great way to get to know these guys.

  • Hey John, was this the kid that was the only non Div I player to start in the cape all star game? I assume the cape was the best level of competition he faced, did you get a chance to ask him anything about that experience?

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    No, I didn't. I tried to focus more on his college experience and the type of player/person he is. But that is a great point. The kid can obviously hang with tough competition and that bodes well for him.

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    In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Yes,it is. Zak had a great summer on the Cape. He started the Cape League AllStar game at second, but really shines at any position he plays

  • In reply to Capeleaguemom:

    He's a very versatile player it seems. He's going to fit right in with what a lot of the Cubs current infielders can currently do. That's going to be a great asset for him to move up.

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    Seems Zastryzny has signed:

    https://twitter.com/RobZastryzny_8/status/345590223134142464

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Yeah, so has Scott Frazier. I'll cover some of that in the game notes.

    Spoiler Alert: There are really only 2 question marks (Remilliard and Doi). The 37th and 38th guys (Martinez and Brown), won't sign.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    Didn't get a chance to say it before but I think Zantryzny will be a steal. People compared him to a Raley /Rusin type but im thinking more Tony Cingrani if he settles in at 92-94mph(which is great for a lefty) and it seems like he'll move quickly as well.

  • Raley down, Rodriguez in.

  • Hey John, Michael Heesch is pitching tonight. Does that mean you will be at the game?

  • In reply to elusivekarp:

    Haha! I actually had tickets but I exchanged them for tomorrow since Maples is scheduled. And then I noticed there was a chance of rain and that the Blackhawks were on at the same time. Doh!

    That's what I get for skipping a Michael Heesch start. Karma.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Im at the game, so let me know ifyou need to know anything.

  • In reply to elusivekarp:

    Which game? Cubs?

  • In reply to elusivekarp:

    Oh, sorry. Was answering from my dashboard and I didn't see the comment before! My response looks ridiculous.

    How does Heesch look? What's the velo like?

  • Sorry, but I would ask these questions to Zak......

    #1 - Your name "Zak"....did someone forget the "c" when filling out your birth certificate at the hospital?

    #2 - When you heard you got drafted by the Cubs, what came to your mind first....The Goat or Bartman?

    #3 - As a second baseman Zak......how soon will you be able to replace Barney?

    #4 - Where would you rather start at first playing in the minors...Kane County?...Daytona?...or Boise?

    #5 - Did Cubs GM Theo Epstein tell you that his grandfather co-wrote the movie "Casablanca"

    #6 - Did you know that Zak Blair spelled backwards is "Rialb Kaz"

    #7 - Are you related to actress Linda Blair?

    #8 - How did you feel Zak when the Florida Marlins beat the Cleveland Indians in the 1997 World Series?

    #9 - Zak, got a girlfriend yet?....if not, don't worry Zak, there are plenty of young women in Boise, Daytona and Kane County looking for a future MLB husband.

  • Nice interview . Hope there are more to come .

  • In reply to walterj:

    Thank you. Glad you enjoyed it. I will probably start doing them more frequently.

  • John, hearing that Zaz us good at changing speeds on his fastball made me think of Rick Reuschel. Any other similarities.

  • In reply to Bilbo161:

    He's athletic, as Reuschel surprisingly was. Doesn't have his great sinker, though, at least not yet.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Thanks John.

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