Monday December 26, 2011
Jonathan Hacohen: Second generation ballplayers are all over the major leagues these days. Strong blood lines and baseball influences help these young men continue their fathers’ legacies. But some become part of a baseball family and create a strong impact on the game. That is the case in the Barfield household, as father Jesse and his sons Jeremy and Josh are all active in the baseball world. Jesse Barfield played from 1981-1992 with the Toronto Blue Jays and New York Yankees. Jesse was a gold glover, all-star and silver slugger during his major league career. Oldest son Josh plays second base in the Phillies organization. Now, emerging into the scene is Jeremy Barfield. The younger brother of Josh, Jeremy is 23-years-old and has recently completed his 4th professional season. Ironically, Jeremy got his start in Canada, playing for the Vancouver Canadians in 2008 (the country of origin for Jesse’s career). Originally drafted by the Mets in 2006, Jeremy opted to attend college instead. The A’s then selected Jeremy in the 8th round of the 2008 draft and he has been climbing the organizational ladder ever since.
Jeremy’s greatest strengths are his cannon for an arm in right field and strong pop at the plate. Standing 6’5″ and weighing 240 lbs., Jeremy is built like a tank. He definitely has the physical tools to succeed in the game. Speaking to him on several occasions, I definitely respect his commitment and focus on baseball. This is a very grounded young man who has the right perspectives on the game and life in general. Jeremy Barfield is mature beyond his years and will be knocking on the A’s door very soon. I talked to Jeremy about growing up as a Barfield, his development and future in the game. As he continues to develop and refine his baseball skills, I can foresee that the youngest Barfield will quickly become a fan favorite in Oakland. It will not be long before people approach Jesse Barfield and ask: “Hey…aren’t you Jeremy’s dad?”
Featured on MLB reports, I am thrilled to present my interview with Jeremy Barfield. Oakland A’s Outfield Prospect:
MLB reports: Welcome to MLB reports Jeremy. It is a pleasure to be speaking with you today. Starting off: who was your favorite baseball player growing up, that you most idolized and patterned your game after?
Jeremy Barfield: Ken Griffey Jr. was by far my favorite player.
MLB reports: Which current MLB star do you most admire and why?
Jeremy Barfield: I don’t have a favorite player anymore
MLB reports: Reflecting on your career to-date, what are your proudest accomplishments on the baseball field?
Jeremy Barfield: In 2008 while in the Northwest League, I hit a game tying grand slam in the bottom of the 9th inning on an 0-2 count.
In 2009 when playing in the Midwest League I had a 3 home run game. I almost hit 4 but the centerfielder brought it back from over the fence my last at bat.
MLB reports: What are your goals going into the 2012 season?
Jeremy Barfield: I am setting my sights as high as possible. I want to play in the Major Leagues.
MLB reports: When you first found out you were drafted, what were your reactions? What was the process like being drafted originally by the Mets in 2006 and the A’s in 2008? What made you decide to finally sign with the A’s?
Jeremy Barfield: I was actually half asleep and didn’t really understand what happened, but when I came to I was very excited. After not signing in 2006 I made sure that I was going to sign this time around. I knew it was a great situation with Oakland since they rely so much on homegrown talent.
MLB reports: What do you consider your greatest baseball skill(s)?
Jeremy Barfield: My throwing arm and that I have a high rate of contact at the plate.
MLB reports: What facets of your game do you most wish to improve upon?
Jeremy Barfield: I want to be more consistent with my swing. More consistency means more power.
MLB reports: How do home runs and walks figure into your game? Do you see any of these three items changing over time and to what degree?
Jeremy Barfield: I don’t go up to the plate looking to walk. Home runs are great but it’s all about production. Michael Young is a prime example of that. I’m sure as I get older I’ll hit more home runs and I’m not concerned about walks. Those come with a good hitting approach.
MLB reports: How much of an influence was your dad on you growing up? What did you learn from your dad that has shaped you as a baseball player?
Jeremy Barfield: My dad was instrumental for me in becoming the player I am today. And the real question you should be asking is what DIDN’T I learn from my dad. He taught me everything I know.
MLB reports: If you had to look into a crystal ball, when do you see your expected time of arrival in the big leagues and what do you think you need to do most to get there?
Jeremy Barfield: Hopefully within the next year or two. I need to be consistent- that’s all.
MLB reports: If you were not playing professional baseball, you would be ____________
Jeremy Barfield: Working for a graphic design company.
MLB reports: What do you do for fun away from the ballpark?
Jeremy Barfield: Play video games and watch movies.
MLB reports: Which of your teammates are you closest with – any good stories?
Jeremy Barfield: My roommate LHP Trey Barham. Our love for late night Whataburger is unmatched.
MLB reports: How close are you with your brother Josh? Is there a good healthy baseball rivalry going?
Jeremy Barfield: Very close. We live together in the offseason. Since we’re so different as ballplayers, we don’t have much of a rivalry going.
MLB reports: Given that your dad was a successful major league player- do you find that you have added pressure to prove yourself? Tell us your experiences of being a 2nd generation baseball player.
Jeremy Barfield: When I was younger, people used to say I was overrated and that my dad was the only reason I was playing. I just let my play on the field stop all that nonsense. They quickly realized that my talent on the field was for real.
MLB reports: Final thought: When fans think of the name Jeremy Barfield, what images do you want them to associate you with?
Jeremy Barfield: Trendsetter extraordinaire!
Thank you to Jeremy Barfield for taking the time to join us today on MLB reports. We highly encourage our readers to post at the bottom of the article any questions and/or comments that you may have for Jeremy.
You can also find Jeremy Barfield on Twitter (@Baseclogger). He may be a MLB prospect extraordinaire, but yes- he does answer back!
Jonathan Hacohen is the Lead Baseball Columnist & Editor for MLB reports: You can follow Jonathan on Twitter (@JHacohen)
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