Second baseman Joey DeMichele was drafted in the third round by the White Sox in 2012. Seen as a very polished 21-year-old at the time, he was expected to move up quickly through the system, and so far he has.
DeMichele is one of only three players from the Sox 2012 draft class that has already made it to High-A along with Courtney Hawkins and Chris Beck. He's struggled with the bat thus far in 2013, but he's still on the short list of infield prospects to watch in the system.
I talked with Joey recently to see how he's adjusting to the aggressive trajectory and life in professional baseball.
What was your reaction when you were drafted?
It was a dream come true. I went undrafted out of high school, went to ASU for three years. Third round was a blessing, I was really excited to start my pro career.
Which are you more proud of - your hitting or your defense?
Defense right now, I'm off to a slow start offensively. In my past, people labeled me as an offensive player, but people have started turning around now saying, 'hey, this guy can really field too.' Some days you might go o-fer, but you try to help the team, and I feel proud of my defense.
How big is the difference in pitching quality between A and High-A?
Here the pitchers are older and more experienced, command is better. They have more of an idea of how they want to get you out, more of an approach, more intellectual. It is all about adjustments here. There are guys in this league who are just about big league already, close to it. The more intellectual aspects of the game are more (part of the game) here.
Are there any particular aspects of your game that the White Sox have you focusing on right now?
The beauty of the White Sox is, they let you play the way you want to play, and figure it out yourself. They will tell you things to work on when they see something though. From the beginning, they have said it is your career, take it where you want to go. But they are happy to help when I need it.
If you could play any position other than your native second base, what would it be, and why?
Probably shortstop. You're involved a lot, I try to be as athletic as possible, usually the shortstop is very athletic. I played a little in high school, but the full time shortstop there went on to a D1 program as a shortstop.
Do you have any sort of pre-game routine, or things you like to do before games regularly?
I do flips in the cage with the team, infield and outfield drills, but nothing personal or specific as a story or anything. We all (the team) have a routine together. Sundays we get a break from some of the pre-game drills.
Have the White Sox given you any idea of a plan for your future in the organization? Anything you are pointed towards?
You look back at what I've done (so far), I've been moving up fairly quickly, only a couple other 2012 draftees are in High-A and none are higher. I feel like I'm on a good direction, depends a lot on numbers and how well you’ll do. They don’t tell you those things exactly, but if you perform, it is a lot more likely you'll move up, if they think you are ready for it.
What are your hobbies? What do you most like to do outside of baseball?
I love to go to the movies. I also like watching sports. I recently got into cooking, especially now that I'm out here on my own, that was a bit of a wake-up call.
What's the best baseball movie, in your opinion?
Bull Durham is classic. But usually like to get away from baseball for movies. Action films, comedies, just about anything.
Who is the funniest guy on your team right now?
That's a tough one. Pitchers are usually the biggest pranksters, we have a few jokers on our team. Jason Van Skike has a great sense of humor. I'll say him.
If you could tell White Sox and Dash fans one thing you’d like them to know, what would it be?
I think I'd say, look at the type of guys in the Sox minors right now. There will be a bunch of good players coming up, doing good things for the Sox, sooner rather than later. Sooner than you might think.
To read more about Joey DeMichele, check out his prospect profile.