C’s Chat – Logan Warmoth

Vancouver Canadians Logan Warmoth

Logan Warmoth delivered two game-winning hits in the playoffs to help the Vancouver Canadians win the Northwest League championship in 2017.


2017 Vancouver Canadians shortstop Logan Warmoth is the latest player to take a couple of practice swings and step into the batter’s box in this episode of C’s Chat.

The Vancouver Canadians came up with the big hits when they needed them the most in 2017 and two of the biggest came from the right-handed bat of Warmoth, the Toronto Blue Jays first-round pick taken 22nd overall in last year’s draft.

When the former North Carolina Tar Heels product made his way to the plate with two outs in the bottom of the fifth inning in Game 4 of the Northwest League, there were two runners in scoring position.  Deiferson Barreto drew a one-out walk and Reggie Pruitt followed with a base hit. Both of them moved up 90 feet after a Chavez Young ground ball to second. Top Chicago Cubs prospect and then-18 year-old right-hander Jose Albertos was trying to nurse a 1-0 lead into the sixth. Warmoth had other ideas as he was able to punch a single through the right side of the infield to score Barreto and Pruitt.

Warmoth said a bit of levity from Young helped him deliver the base hit that gave Vancouver a 2-1 victory and its fourth Northwest League championship.

“I’m pretty sure I swung at the first pitch. I just remember after Chavez was hitting before me and he got out, he went back in front of me in front of home plate and said, ‘I moved them for ya! I moved them for ya!’  (It) just kind of lightened the mood a little bit for me. I put an okay swing on it and I hit it to right field and luckily Reggie was on second and he was able to score on it.”

“When Reggie got the hit, it kind of just gave us a little confidence. We were shoving and him just getting on base and him getting a hit kind of gave us some confidence and baseball is kind of like a momentum (game). Once he gave us a little more momentum right there, we were able to get it done.”

On seeing his single go through to right field.

“Having Reggie on second base with two outs especially is definitely trouble for a team. I didn’t hit it that hard so it gave him a little bit more time to (score). Just having him on second base really gave me some confidence and I kind of knew right when I hit it that he was going to come in to score.”

On his ability to succeed with runners in scoring position.

“I think I just learned over time. Especially late in the game my freshman year, going back to college and stuff like my freshman year, I don’t think I was very good at it.

It was kind of understanding that if I’m having a bad game (from) my first few at bats through six or seven innings, then knowing that no matter what I did before, my most important at-bat is most likely about to happen.

The games are close and just having that in the back of my mind, like, ‘If I’m going good, who cares?’ Like the most important at-bat’s is probably going to happen because most games in minor league baseball are fairly close. I’m just trying to have a clear head going and walking up (to the plate), I guess.”

Vancouver Canadians Logan Warmoth

Logan Warmoth is greeted by Chavez Young after Warmoth’s two-run single in Game 4 of the Northwest League final.


On how he celebrated after William Ouellette closed out the clinching Game 4 of the Northwest League title.

“Ouellette struck out the last guy and I kind of just threw my glove up, threw my hat up and kind of took it all in. I just looked at the crowd for a second. I’m not a big fan of being at the bottom of a dogpile so that was kind of a nice moment. Just to check out the scenery and check out the fans and just it let sink in for a second before I ran up and tried to get in the dogpile.”

On the aftermath of winning the championship.

“It was a grind for sure, the whole season. It was nice knowing that just everything you put in each day and each game and it kind of paid off at the end. What I remember was just celebrating with my team, just hugging them and everything.”

On the forest fire situation in Spokane that resulted in the all of the North Division final to be played at Nat Bailey Stadium.

“I think they just told us the day of the game, it was awful. There was a lot of smoke from all the forest fires. I mean, I was asking people, ‘Are we actually going to be playing in this?’ Because the last time we played in Spokane, it was also smoky. I mean, they did it before so.

Then we found out and it was a nice feeling knowing that you get to play two or three games in front of your home crowd and knowing that they’re going to have your back. It was kind of weird being the visiting team that first game but it was fun.”

On the unique situation of being the “visiting” team for Game 1 of the North Division final.

“It was strange. I did it once, actually last year in the (NCAA) Regional but other than that, that’s only one of the other times I’ve seen a set-up like that.”

The Canadians were the road team in Game 1 of the North Division final despite playing in the cozy confines of the Nat. The score was 0-0 when Spokane pitcher Joseph Kuzia walked Norberto Obeso with one out in the top of the eighth inning. With Brandon Polizzi entering the game as a pinch-runner, Kuzia tried a quick pick-off move to get Polizzi but was unsuccessful. He then turned his attention to Warmoth and he connected for a two-run home run to left field to give the C’s an eventual 2-1 victory.

Vancouver Canadians broadcaster Rob Fai asked Warmoth in a post-game interview about the pitch he saw after the game.

“It was a sinker, fastball in and when I hit it, I thought there was a good chance but I was just hoping it was staying fair.”

Warmoth thought he was going to face a different pitcher prior to his home run.

“Honestly, it’s kind of funny. I saw (Alex Eubanks) in the bullpen there warming up. He pitched at Clemson, they had him warming up. I think he struck me out two or three times in college that year and he went to Spokane and came out of the bullpen (August 18 in Spokane) and struck me out.

Before the first pitch (from Kuzia), he (tried to) pick off (Polizzi). So in the back of my head, I was like, ‘Okay, there’s no way (Kuzia) is going to throw to me, they have (Eubanks) warming up because he’s had some success against me.’ Next thing I knew, the pitch was coming in. It was a fastball and I just put a good swing on it.”

On finally being able to go deep at the Nat.

“Yeah, it was a good feeling. It was my birthday (turned 22 September 6) too. My mom was there. Kind of a cool moment right there.”

Vancouver Canadians Logan Warmoth

The scoreboard introduction of Logan Warmoth prior to Game of the Northwest League final at Nat Bailey Stadium.


On the challenges of hitting at the Nat.

“Obviously the ball doesn’t fly very well at Nat Bailey. It’s a big stadium, a big fence. I guess you just got to get into your line-drive mind setup and step up to the plate knowing that it’s not very possible that you’re going to hit a home run. So you just have a different mind set and just try to drive the ball through the middle of the field.”

On what was it like to play in front of sold-out crowds at Nat Bailey Stadium.

“It was crazy. I mean, they sold out every single home game so that was one thing a lot of us weren’t used to – playing in front of 6,000 something (people). (It’s) something not many people can do during their first year of minor league baseball, especially a short-season team. It was awesome playing in front of them, playing kind of for the whole city of Vancouver because I felt like just all of them were out there supporting us.”

On his brief stint playing in the Gulf Coast League before heading to Vancouver.

“It was good. I was two weeks late with all the signing stuff. I signed a bit later than everybody else (in his draft class). It was nice just getting some at-bats and getting some innings under my feet before kind of just jumping right into things. That was nice for sure.”

Vancouver Canadians Logan Warmoth

Logan Warmoth jogs back to the dugout after his two-run single in Game 4 of the Northwest League final.


On transitioning from college to the pros.

“The one big thing was just playing every day. I mean, the competition in (the Northwest) league has a lot of college guys so the competition’s very similar to some point. Just to learn how to manage your body, to learn how to manage your time, to get to the whole routine before games, the routine after games for recovery. That was the biggest difference I guess in pro baseball and college my first year.”

On winning the Brooks Wallace Award as college baseball’s top shortstop and dealing with the doubts from the scouting community about his ability to stick at short.

“I mean, it’s alright. I guess I can handle it there, what they think, but I know that I feel like I’m good enough to play short all the way through. That’s people’s opinions, I can’t really focus too much on that because if I did, then I probably wouldn’t be in the situation I’m in. Not being really recruited out of high school and if I were just to listen to everything or everyone’s opinion, then I probably wouldn’t have had a very successful career in baseball.”

Vancouver Canadians Logan Warmoth

Logan Warmoth ended the 2017 season with no errors in his final 10 games.


On his defensive improvement late in the season.

“I guess it was just being more focused. Just getting used to Nat Bailey and getting used to the field. Just trying to make all the routine plays, I guess.”

On taking part in the fall instructional league.

“That was pretty cool. We were with like 60 or 70 other guys. It was tough for sure because we had not even a week off and then we’re playing baseball again for a full month but it was fun. I was just trying to work on little parts of the game and just working on defence and some of the hitting approaches and we had some good guest speakers come and talk to us so that was pretty cool.”

On who he connected with during instructs.

“I worked with Donnie Murphy a lot and he’s our hitting coach now (with the Dunedin Blue Jays) so I worked with him a lot in the (batting) cage. Luckily now this year’s he’s a coach and have a little connection with him so that’s nice.”

 On what he worked on in the batting cage with TNXL Baseball.

“I’m just trying to get in a better overall hitting position. We had some good guys that worked out with us this off-season so I was just trying to pick their brain and just try and see what they did before and their (batting) tee work and just learning as much as I can from other people as well.”

On what he focused on during the off-season.

“Just trying to get stronger. This is the first full year of 140 games. It’s going to be a long haul so I tried to put on some weight, just because I know it’s going to be tough to keep on the whole time especially being here in Florida and how hot it is. I made that emphasis for sure to just be as strong as I can and big as I can because this is a long (season).”

On being compared to major leaguers J.J. Hardy and Brian Dozier.

“I like those two a lot. J.J. Hardy’s been one of the better defensive shortstops and I feel like he made all the routine plays and didn’t do anything too flashy and then Brian Dozier is just an offensive-minded middle infielder who is someone I’d kind of like to emulate my game by too.”

On his father Greg and brother Justin as TV broadcasters in Orlando.

“It’s pretty cool. I grew up with my dad being on TV my whole life and then my brother (Justin) is doing the same thing. It’s pretty cool for them. He was the one that kind of got me into baseball. He’s been there, both of them. They both got me into baseball just watching them when I was younger doing everything I can with them. It was a pretty special moment because knowing for them, I feel like all the work they put in with me kind of paid off.”

On having his brother Tyler who recently pitched in the Los Angeles Angels system.

“He kind of just gave me a brief rundown of what pro baseball is like. I mean, he was the first one in the family to play. He kind of gave me some pointers and some tips and just how to take care of my body and how to be a pro.”

logan_warmoth_nate_pearson_pregame

2017 first-round picks Logan Warmoth and Nate Pearson get together before a game at Nat Bailey Stadium.


On whether he had met fellow Floridian and first rounder Nate Pearson before they were drafted.

“No we didn’t. After the draft though, before we signed already, we had the same agent so we kind of got together and played a round of golf for the first time and that’s when we met and we have been good friends since.”

On being Pearson’s teammate.

“It’s nice. He’s a competitor for sure and he just kind of shows me how he puts in so much work with all of his routines and stuff and it kind of paints a picture for me of what I need to do to be successful as well.”

On going after another championship ring in Dunedin with Pearson and his other Vancouver teammates Riley Adams, Justin Dillon, Jake Fishman and William Ouellette.

“It’s nice to have some familiar faces and it’s nice to walk into a clubhouse and know some of those former players. Everyone’s goal in here to win another ring for Dunedin again because they won last year so we can’t disappoint.”

On receiving his championship ring during spring training and whether he wears it often.

“It was pretty nice. I mean, those rings are huge. It was a pretty cool experience. I let my parents have it. They put it in my room back at home so they’re taking pretty good care of it.”

On his family being able to see more of his games in Dunedin.

“My mom came the first two games so it was nice to see her up in the stands. My dad’s coming today so it’ll be nice to see them.”

On his favourite player being Derek Jeter and whether it was a coincidence he is wearing number 2 with Dunedin this season.

“It was just kind of chance. I mean, it was the smallest fitting jersey they had so I was the first to pounce on that. Vancouver had an extra-large jersey and I wasn’t a fan of that so I just tried to find the smallest size and it happened to be number 2. It’s a good choice, that number. So many shortstops wear it in today’s game.”

On how he wound up with number 29 in Vancouver even though his college number of 7 was available at the time when catcher Matt Morgan switched to #30.

“I think that was the only number left, honestly. The number 7, they didn’t have one of the road jerseys or they didn’t have one of the right colour jerseys for it so I can’t use that one. I think it was like 29 or 23 or something, I’m not sure. There was only two numbers left so I picked 29.”

My thanks again to Logan Warmoth for fielding all my questions in this edition of C’s Chat. You can follow him on Twitter @loganwarmoth.

I would also like to thank Dunedin Blue Jays Media Relations Coordinator Daniel Venn for arranging this interview. You can check him out on Twitter @GalapagosDan.

 

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About Niall O'Donohoe

My name is Niall O’Donohoe and I am an avid follower of baseball, specifically Canada’s Teams – the Toronto Blue Jays and their affiliate, the Vancouver Canadians. My blog beginnings began in 2007 with Batter’s Box, where I’m still allowed to write stories, summaries and photos about the Blue Jays minor league system under the alias #2JBrumfield. The blog formerly known as Niall On Baseball, C’s Plus Baseball follows the C’s from behind the lens at Nat Bailey Stadium. The reason for the name change was to reflect the main purpose of this blog, which is to deliver plus coverage of the C’s through photos and observations of the players striving to make it to the major leagues, be it with Toronto or one of the other 29 MLB teams. From time to time, I do make it to other baseball games outside of The Nat and will post about them here as well. If you like what you see here, please spread the word about CsPlusBaseball.ca by tweeting about this website or using your favourite social media platform about this website that pledges to deliver awesome content about Canada’s only affiliated professional minor league baseball club. Thanks for visiting!
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