Despite a 7.03 ERA at UAB this season, right-hander Ryan Woolley was selected in the 39th round by…
Q&A with Mets 2010 20th Rd Pick Luke Stewart
InsidePitchMagazine.com: Tell us what is going through your mind right now after being selected by a team like the New York Mets?
Luke Stewart: I'm pretty excited. I didn't really know who or if I was going to get drafted this year and when I got the call yesterday I was pretty excited and I still am excited and I can't wait to start playing pro ball.
Inside Pitch: Were you surprised it was the Mets that selected you? Did you and the Mets have any discussions leading up to the draft?
Stewart: No, I don't think I was surprised because they were the team that I talked to most recently once the season had ended and before the draft, so I wouldn't say I was surprised.
Inside Pitch: Do you have any idea of what the Mets' organization or farm system is like?
Stewart: I actually do not. Once I got drafted, I had my little brother get on the internet and see just where all the affiliates were, so that's pretty much all I know so far.
Inside Pitch: How do you feel your amateur days have prepared you for the jump to professional ball?
Stewart: I've gotten to realize some things that are weaknesses that I can improve on, realize some things that are my strengths that I can keep building off of. I think playing college ball, having success that way has really prepared me to get to pro ball and hopefully have continued success, but it also taught me how to deal with failure and how well you can bounce back from it.
Inside Pitch: Did you have any expectations of where you may have gone in the draft? Did you have any range of rounds you anticipated being selected or did you just prepare to be drafted at any time?
Stewart: I really didn't know where I was going to go. I didn't really have any idea or hopes. My hope was to get drafted by someone and I don't want to say I was surprised when I got called in the 20th round, but I kind of was because I was a senior and I know that that was pretty high for a senior out of college that doesn't have any eligibility left, so that was a good thing.
Inside Pitch: Getting to your game, what areas do you think are your strongest? What areas will you focus on improving once your professional career begins?
Stewart: I've got pretty good power at the plate. Obviously a lot of power hitters struggle with the strikeout numbers. I think I've done a better job of that, lowering my strikeout numbers and just taking a little single here and there to raise the average, so I think if I continue to do that, it'll help me out a lot in pro ball. As far as defensive stuff goes, I think at first base I'm pretty solid. At first you have to make all of the routine plays, try to help pick up another infielder if he makes a bad throw. I kind of enjoy that, you get a sense of pride when you help an infielder, so those are things I like to do.
Inside Pitch: You play first base. Do you see yourself staying there? Do you have experience at any other positions?
Stewart: I think I would stay at first, but I have also played third in college so I wouldn't be surprised if I got a few reps over there, but I'd say most likely I'll play first for the majority and then maybe a little bit of third every now and then.
Inside Pitch: To give our readers a little bit of an idea what you look like out on the field, what big leaguer would you compare yourself to?
Stewart: That's a good question. I'm a tall guy with easy actions, I'm trying to think here. My dad's a scout for the Padres and he compares me to Lyle Overbay. I really haven't thought about that.
Inside Pitch: What was your favorite team and your favorite player growing up?
Stewart: Being from Illinois, I was a White Sox fan and I think that was because my dad grew up as a White Sox fan and my favorite player as a kid was watching Robin Ventura because he was a left-handed hitter and I liked to watch him hit. He was number 23 on the White Sox and my number was always 23 when I was playing little league.
Inside Pitch: What would you say is your best moment in baseball so far?
Stewart: I would have to say it's kind of two best moments tied into one. My first hit in college was a home run and my last hit in college was a grand slam, so I think those two moments right there kind of defined my college career, so that was cool.
Inside Pitch: As I'm sure you know, New York is known for its high intensity atmosphere. What do you think about the prospects of one day playing in New York?
Stewart: I'm excited. I've never been to New York, so that would be a cool thing to experience that. I know it's one of the best sports cities in the world, so that's just icing on the cake and it makes me want to get there even faster and work even harder to get there. Just go there and try to help the team win, try to do what I can do to hold up my end of the bargain.
Inside Pitch: What are your immediate plans now that you have been drafted by the Mets? Is it your intention to sign now and start your professional career immediately?
Stewart: Yep. They told me yesterday, they would call me in the next few days and let me know what would happen. I'm not real sure yet as to what will happen, but I would assume tomorrow or Friday I would know when I was going to go or where I was going. As soon as they want me to start, I'll be down wherever they got me, so I'm ready to go.
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