Lambin Is Now Learning the Outfield Too
Growing up playing shortstop and third base, Chase Lambin has quickly risen through the Mets' minor league ranks and has proven his worth as a valuable utility player. InsidePitchMagazine.com sat down with Chase during the minicamp for a Q&A session. (Free Preview of Premium Content)
You had a solid season last year. Have you been given any indication where you might start 2005?
I could not tell you. You've got to come in and compete for a spot and if you show that you're ready to play, they'll put you up a level where you'll flourish. Maybe it's Double-A, maybe it's Triple-A. You never really know. I'm just going to come to spring training and compete as hard as I can, and see what happens.
Do you feel you'd be ready to make the leap to Norfolk?
You never know. If I play well and I'm ready to catch up, then yes. If not, then I'll go back to Double-A. Either one, I'll be happy with, so I'm ready to start playing and work hard to get better.
One thing that helps your value in this system is your versatility. How were you able to pick up a number of positions relatively quickly?
I guess just over the years. I played short and third in college, then I played second in the pros. Now they're playing me out in left field a little bit, and I guess I'm just picking them up along the way. I guess I'm athletic enough to move around and get the job done, and I think it helps me to do all that. It's not like you'll get stuck in one position, you can fill in at spots, and I love the idea of being able to play all those positions.
Which positions are you most comfortable at?
Anywhere in the infield – second and short mainly, the middle infield positions. I've gotten to be real comfortable at second over the last few years, but I grew up playing short and third. The outfield is a little foreign to me right now still.
Which has been the most difficult?
I guess the hardest has been shortstop, because it's so demanding. You never do really master it; I mean, I'm comfortable there, but there's so many things that you have to do right that it's probably the hardest. The outfield is also hard just because I haven't had that much experience out there and I'm sure there's balls I haven't seen yet that are real hard to judge. I think I'll be able to pick it up over time.
Who has been a great influence on your career and development so far?
I've had HoJo [Howard Johnson] with me all the way, and he's been my coach at every level for three years. I think he's seen every one of my at-bats in pro ball and he probably knows me better than I know myself. Guys like him and Ken Oberkfell have been there a lot; I'd say every coach in the whole system has really been awesome with me. They're all down to earth and every one of them will help me.
It seems like HoJo is a guy who really gets into his work – last year in New York, he was calling David Wright all the time. Does he do that with you guys too?
If you give him the respect and he sees you work hard, he'll work hard with you. He's not going to hunt you down and make you work, but if you need anything he'll do it for you. He's just a guy who'll pick you up if you're feeling down or put you down if you're getting too high. He's a good person – he's a good coach, a good family man and a good friend.
Of the players you've played with in the Mets system, which guys have the most potential?
Well, there's guys like D-Wright [David Wright] that speak for themselves. I played with [Scott] Kazmir, and he was amazing. Those two really stand out.
Blake Whealy and Bobby Malek are guys who play the game right, and that's what I really respect, the way they approach the game. Wayne Lydon will make your jaw drop with his speed, and he's got a great work ethic. Brett Harper can crush it. Guys like that – there's a lot of guys that I've played with who'll just knock your socks off.
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