The rigors of professional baseball require self-discipline. It is also helpful to have a winning background.
Tyler Naquin has both.
The Cleveland Indians’ first round draft pick of 2012 (15th selection overall) is excelling for the Mudcats as he did in college. The Spring, TX-native starred on the 2011 Texas A&M team that reached the College World Series. Naquin is putting what he has learned as an Aggie to good use in Zebulon.
“Playing at Texas A&M, reaching the College World Series, was great preparation for now,” Naquin said. “I have been a part of winning baseball, and I want to be a part of some more, for Carolina and for Cleveland.”
“Baseball is a job now. I have to come to work and be prepared every day.”
Attending Texas A&M helped Naquin prepare for the daily grind of a professional baseball. Aggies head coach Rob Childress is grateful for his contribution while in College Station.
“Tyler was the cornerstone of our 2011 College World Series team,” Childress said. “We had a great team, but he was the straw that stirred the drink. He carried us on his shoulders.”
In the first half of the season, Naquin contributed mightily to the Mudcats cause. The centerfielder batted .311 with six home runs and 29 RBIs. Over a third of Naquin’s hits have been for extra bases.
For his efforts, Naquin was named to the 2013 Carolina League All-Star team.
“When you come out here and you grind hard every day, it is nice to be rewarded with an All-Star game for your efforts,” Naquin said. “I am just thankful for the opportunity.”
“I congratulate my teammates and everybody else from the Carolina League,”
Childress is not surprised Naquin has succeeded for the Mudcats.
“He is a five-tool player,” Childress said. “Tyler can do it all. He not only throws the ball well from centerfield, but has a remarkable accuracy on his throws as well. Defensively, he is solid”
“His bat speaks for itself. Tyler can spray the ball anywhere, at all parts of the field. His strength will increase as he progresses. ”
“I expect big things from Tyler and we here at Texas A&M are all very proud of him. He is as great of a player as I’ve ever had.”
Carter Hawkins, Cleveland Indians Assistant Director of Player Development, is delighted by the growth he has seen from Naquin at Five County Stadium in the first half.
“When we drafted him, we knew he was a special bat,” Hawkins said. “For him to make some slight adjustments and to start hitting the ball with the authority that we know he has, and couple that with the defense he is playing in centerfield, it is very exciting.”
Naquin is also encouraged by his progress, but is intent to not rest on his laurels.
“I am going to climb the ladder as fast as I can,” Naquin said. “My goal doesn’t stop here.”
“My goal is to win every single day and get to the top of the ladder. When you get to the top, then you have got to stay at the top.”
Childress wants to see his former star pupil continue to work towards accomplishing that goal.
“It is nice that he plays baseball so well, Childress quipped. “Because he can’t hunt or fish.”
Photo by Nikolaus © 2013 Carolina Mudcats