"Don’t ever settle. Don’t think your early success or your early struggles define you. Have fun and control only what you can control and have fun along the way."
What was your experience during the recruiting process? Is there anything you wish you knew back then that you know now?
My recruiting process was a little different than most because in high school I was heavily into basketball as well. So I didn’t play for the most amazing travel ball teams and go to every big time showcase. I went to some but I definitely wasn’t as focused on baseball only at those times because they always fell in the heart of our basketball season or important off season tournaments. There were pros and cons to that, I think that playing multiple sports helped me out so much. It didn’t burn me out from baseball and it gave me other skills physically and mentally that baseball doesn’t offer alone. I think playing multiple sports is huge when you are in high school and honestly I would’ve played football as well. The best players that moved on were always the most athletic and strongest and when you are only doing showcases and tournaments year round those things get neglected. Looking back I wish I would’ve honestly enjoyed playing the game more and had fun with my friends traveling and realized that things will take care of themselves. Being more open minded to colleges out there and not worrying about what everyone else around me is doing because not everyone’s journey is going to look the same. You can go play pro ball from JC , D1 , D2 etc. go somewhere that you think will give you the most opportunity to grow.
How did you choose which college program you wanted to play at? Did you have multiple offers? What was your most important aspect when choosing a college program?
I didn’t have any offers going into my senior year of high school. I was definitely a little panicked, almost ready to hang up the cleats and just go to college for school. I ended up having a really good game when some pro scouts were at one of my high school games watching my teammate Dom Miroglio and they asked him where I was committed and he told them no where yet. After that the scout reached out to some college coaches that he was in contact with and Pepperdine came to the next game, watched me and offered me the same week. After that I had a few more offers come in Nevada, UC Davis and a few others. So even though Pepperdine always felt like a dream school it was almost like it was my only option so I was very fortunate. It just goes to show that stay with and you never know who’s watching and when and great things can happen.
What was your favorite part of college baseball?
By far my favorite part of college baseball was meeting my life long best friends. Looking back now my favorite memories were all off the field. Having perspective is everything. At times we all put so much pressure on ourselves to perform well when that was not the most important part of the whole process anyway. The best part is the lifelong friendships and relationships that were built.
As you have progressed into professional baseball; how would you compare your experience professionally to college baseball? Which have you enjoyed more?
They were both great in completely different ways. College was obviously way more structured and having a routine every single day was awesome for me as someone that loves to have that structure. Pro ball was very much about yourself and worrying about your own success. You also have way more freedom to make decisions for yourself. If you want to fully commit to chasing your dreams you will always have the opportunity to keep pursuing it.
If you could provide advice to an amateur player looking to play college baseball and has dreams to play professionally, what would it be?
Don’t ever settle. Don’t think your early success or your early struggles define you. Have fun and control only what you can control and have fun along the way. The people that take it too serious can’t enjoy the little victories along the way. I went to Pepperdine for two years which I thought was my dream school and got changed from a shortstop to a pitcher. The reason I had no success there was because I was always playing to not make “mistakes”. I always played timid and worried about what everybody else thought of me. I hit rock bottom and had to transfer to USF and the main difference wasn’t that I got better, it was that I had perspective on my life and career. I saw that the best players enjoyed what they were doing. They worked hard and had confidence in themselves and didn’t worry about what other people thought of them because they knew they put in the amount of work they needed to. The lack of confidence I realized was because I didn’t prepare as well as I wanted to and knew I could’ve been doing more. If you fail when you have given everything you can there are no regrets and you can tip your cap and know you gave it everything, it frees the mind. So work hard but enjoy that journey because it goes by in the blink of an eye.