The New York Mets selected Shawn Bowman in the 12th round of the 2002 draft out of high school. …
Offseason Q&A with Matthew Lindstrom
Matthew Lindstrom: When I played in high school at Madison High School, I spent most of my time at other positions like first base and right field. I'm a Mormon and then went on a two-year mission to Sweden, where my grandfather originally came from. It was really beneficial, but was kind of weird experience. When I got back and went to Ricks College in Idaho, Ray Swanson was the coach there and he thought I would be better as a pitcher because I had a good arm. It was then I decided to switch over to pitcher full-time and concentrate on that. It was hard to keep it rolling when I got back from my mission after a two-year break. But my experiences on the mission helped me mature as a person and a player.
Inside Pitch: Tell us what it was like when you were drafted by the Mets.
Lindstrom: Scouts from just about every Major League club came to scout me when I was at Ricks, but I never really heard anything from the Mets. I had worked out for the Mariners at Safeco that year and I really thought I was going to be drafted by the Mariners. But I was a 10th round pick by the Mets and it was the hardest decision I ever had to make, whether or not to sign. I was considering going to the University of California on a scholarship, but I figured that if I was going to pursue a career in baseball, I better get moving since I was a little older.
Inside Pitch: How have you liked being a part of the Mets' farm system?
Lindstrom: I was really glad to be drafted by the Mets. New York is the capital of the universe. When I got back from my mission in Sweden I found out about the Subway Series and thought it was really cool. I never got to hear about it in Sweden when it happened and when I did find out about it, I just thought it would be great to be involved in something like that. I thought the Mets had a good future ahead of them I and I definitely wanted to be a part of that. I think it has gone well so far. The people in the organization are great people and they have great coaches. They have really helped me improve every step of the way. They have done nothing but good things for me and the coaches get all the credit.
Inside Pitch: Give us a scouting report on yourself. What types of pitches do you throw, and at what speeds? What is your out pitch
Lindstrom: I throw a fastball, curveball, slider, and changeup. I throw a 4-seam fastball and a 2-seamer. My 4-seamer averages about 93-97 MPH and I can get it as high as 98 and 99 MPH. The 2-seamer is something I've thrown at times, but it is a pitch I was concentrating more in the Arizona Fall League this past year. In the early part of my career, my slider was at 80-81 MPH and I've worked that up to the 85-86 MPH range now. I have a changeup that I throw 80-81 MPH and my curveball is around 77-79 MPH. I had a hard time in the early going differentiating between my curveball and my slider, until I added some velocity to my slider. I was getting around too much on my curveball until Randy Niemann helped me with that pitch. Probably 70-75% of my pitches are fastballs. My fastball is more of my out pitch when I am a reliever, and I'd say my slider is my out pitch when I am a starter. It is harder to mix in all of my pitches as a reliever.
Inside Pitch: On that note, you've been used primarily as a starter but were used as a reliever in the AFL. Some scouts think you project more as a reliever. Which would you rather do, start or relieve?
Lindstrom: Lately, I'd rather do whatever it takes to get to the Majors the fastest. I mean, I would rather start. I figure that if I try and make it as a starter I could always move over to the bullpen. But whatever the Mets want me to do, I'll do it. I would just like to stay a starter as long as possible. I think the Mets are going to keep me as a starter for while, at least, that is what I have heard. I look at the starting pitchers they have in the rotation and realize they are pretty loaded there. I know my best chance is probably as a reliever. (laughing) I'm not stupid.
Inside Pitch: Do you know where you'll begin the year next season? Where would you like to be next season?
Lindstrom: I've heard some stuff about me starting off in St. Lucie because it is not as cold there as it is in Binghamton. I am not really concerned with where I start to be honest. Coming from Idaho, it doesn't really bother me pitching in the cold weather. I think I could handled it pretty well if I started there. My goal for next season is to be a September call-up to the Mets. I want to do well in AA with a possible call up to AAA, then get some time in the Majors.
Inside Pitch: Of the positional players you've played with, who is the player, or players, with the highest upside in your opinion?
Lindstrom: Hmm...I like Blake Whealy, but I'd say Alhaji Turay and Shawn Bowman. Bowman is just so freakin' young. He's got a real hose and can really pick it over at third. His lack of experience is his only downfall. He can do everything really well. Once he learns to be patient, and not do too much, he's going to be legit. Turay has a great arm and just stupid power. Whealy works so hard. He's got good power and draws walks. I think he's going to be a legit power hitting second baseman.
Inside Pitch: Who are the pitchers you believe have the highest upside in the Mets' system?
Lindstrom: Definitely Brian Bannister and Yusmeiro Petit. Of course Petit. His release point is so late and his arm angle when he's throwing makes it look like the ball is coming right from his armpit. He puts a tremendous spin on the ball and all the guys are like, "holy cow"! Bannister is going to be real good for sure. He'll be a good Big Leaguer. He is able to throw all of his pitches for strikes and his curveball is just nasty. He was doing well in the Arizona Fall League but left early because he was getting married.
InsidePitchMagazine.com would like to thank Matthew Lindstrom for taking the time this offseason to sit down with us for a Q&A session. Be sure to check in with Matt Lindstrom this season on the site as he'll be giving updates throught the year.
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