After shoulder surgery set him back in the offseason, Coles has come back with a presence at the top…
Q&A with Mets' 15th Rd Pick Jeff Tatford
Jeff Tatford: It was overwhelming feeling, to see my name pop up on the screen. I was watching it on the internet, so it was a pretty good feeling to see that name come up. You dream about that your whole life as a baseball player.
Inside Pitch: Were you expecting to be drafted by the Mets or were you surprised when they selected you?
Tatford: I wasn't really expecting to get drafted by the Mets—I had about four or five teams in mind that I thought would maybe take me—but It didn't surprise me because the area scout (Benny Latino) with the Mets was with Tampa Bay when I was coming out of high school and he had liked me a lot back then. He's now with the Mets and I guess he still kind of liked me now.
Inside Pitch: What type of player are you and how do you see yourself fitting in with the Mets?
Tatford: Through my college career I didn't really play catcher, I played left field and first base and third base, more of a utility type of player. Through my high school career I caught, and during fall ball and inter-squad and summer leagues I would play catcher, just because that's what most of my projectability to play pro ball was, at catcher.
Inside Pitch: What are your strengths and your weaknesses?
Tatford: I would definitely say I'm more of an offensive guy now just because of not having a lot of time behind the plate, I do have a strong arm, I hit from the left side, I guess those would be my strengths going to it. Weakness would be just not having a lot of time behind the plate, so it'll be interesting to see what happens with getting back behind the plate and really getting some time under my belt.
Inside Pitch: Do you see yourself staying at the same position or do you think you'll be moved to another position?
Tatford: They drafted as me a catcher.
Inside Pitch: Who would you compare your game to at the Major League level?
Tatford: I kind of like a Michael Barrett comparison, of the Cubs. Because he's a solid body, about 200 to 210 pounds, and I'm 6-foot-3, 215 pounds, but nothing spectacular, just solid in everything he does. So I guess I would profile something like that body type, and that type of player. But you know I'd want to make myself kind of like Brian McCann, because I bat left-handed and I'm more like his size. One of those two guys I would guess.
Inside Pitch: What would you say is your best moment in baseball and why?
Tatford: Through my 18 years of playing baseball, I think my best moment was definitely in the regionals that we just lost out on at Texas A&M. I actually robbed a home run in the second game to help us beat Texas A&M—I really think that was probably my best moment in baseball so far.
Inside Pitch: Who was your favorite team and player growing up?
Tatford: Growing up my favorite player was Cal Ripken, Jr. My favorite team was most likely the Atlanta Braves.
Inside Pitch: Growing up a Braves fan, how do you feel becoming an arch-rival Met?
Tatford: Oh, it's unbelievable because growing up I think I was a Braves fan more or less just because of their exposure on TV in the south, I always had a chance to watch them. So I think I started liking the Braves, but in recent years, it's very easy to fall in love with the Mets, just because of their young talent, seeing those guys going out and having fun.
To be honest with you, there were two guys in the Mets system, one who still is, Corey Coles and Chase Lambin, who had played at my college. So I was in contact with those two guys, when they would come in during the winter break. I would be working out with them. Both of those guys were with the Mets and I was like ‘Man, those uniforms are awesome, I would love to wear one of those one day,' and sure enough…
Both of those guys I know real well and work out with them in the offseason. Coles went to a high school next door to my high school. He's four years older me than so I never got to play with him at the high school or collegiate level, but we work out together and stuff. I called him today right after the draft happened and talked to him.
Inside Pitch: Is it your intention to sign now and start your professional career immediately?
Tatford: I'm definitely ready to get going quickly. I don't know how much leverage I have being a senior—I don't know that I really have a choice—but I'm ready to get going. It's a childhood dream, if anybody holds out, I feel that's not the smartest thing to do, I feel you should get going and get play.
Inside Pitch: New York is known to be a pressure-filled environment. How do you think you can handle that?
Tatford: I think I'll be able to handle it pretty well. Fortunately, I was able to play my whole college career in front of great fans at University of Louisiana at Lafayette, having 3,000-4,000 fans every night. I think I'm going to be prepared for it. You know, in high school I played quarterback; playing quarterback kind of puts those same pressures on you that you face at any level of sports. And I think I've been prepared well enough through all of my athletic adventures.
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