10/30/2007 1:37 PM ET
Delaney concentrating on first base
Pirates prospect played outfield, third base in '07
Jason Delaney is trying to get more comfortable defensively at first base while playing for the AFL Desert Dogs. The former outfielder/third baseman took part in an online chat Tuesday and said he enjoys playing all three positions.
Jason Delaney: Thanks for joining me in this chat. Let's get started.
Q: How long do you feel you will be in the Minors before becoming a big leaguer?
Delaney: That decision is based upon my performance for the most part. Everybody's goal is to someday become a big league baseball player. That's what I'm striving for. But in terms of a timetable, there really hasn't been one set yet. I'm just going to continue to work hard, play well and let my performance speak for itself. Hopefully that timetable will be shortened so long as those things hold up.
Q: Are you working on anything specifically while playing in the AFL?
Delaney: There's always room for improvement in my entire game. But more specifically, I'll be really concentrating on getting more comfortable defensively at first base because that is a relatively new position for me. That being said, every area of my game has room for improvement, and that could be said for anybody.
Q: What will your offseason workout be like?
Delaney: My offseason workout will consist of a wide variety of things. Once I get done playing baseball for the season, I'll probably take a week or two off and then from there start an intense weight-training program. That will include all sorts of running and agility and sprint work, along with actual weight strengthening.
From there as the offseason moves on, I'll start picking up some baseball activity stuff, start swinging in the middle of the winter, throwing and doing a lot of defensive work around that time, as well.
As Spring Training nears, the weight training aspect of my workouts will decrease and I'll concentrate on more baseball-specific activities.
Q: How did you like playing with the Lynchburg Hillcats with such players as Pedro Powell and Jamie Romack?
Delaney: Playing in Lynchburg was a great experience. I had been with that coaching staff for my second straight year and they've done nothing but aid my development. I have a lot of respect for what they've done, in terms of helping me reach my goal. Playing with those guys was a lot of fun, they're great kids and good ballplayers. Both of them have extremely bright futures in the game.
Q: Do you feel that your future is at first base or will you play a different position next year?
Delaney: Right now I'm trying to make myself playable in both the outfield and the infield. In baseball that's a huge advantage to be able to play more than one position, so that way if my name does get called, it gives the manager more flexibility in terms of getting me in the lineup and helping the team win.
In terms of which position that I would prefer, I'm indifferent towards it, so long as I'm able to play them both.
Q: What ballpark did you enjoy playing in the most in 2007?
Delaney: My home field in Altoona was the best. It had a great atmosphere, the fans were extremely loyal. And on top of that it was a beautiful ballpark to play in on a daily basis. It made coming to work that much easier.
Q: Last year, you struck out about a quarter of your at-bats, how do you plan on decreasing that for next year?
Delaney: I struck out a fair amount last year, but that number can be slightly deceiving. I also walked nearly 80 times last year, so that being said I'm constantly getting into deep counts. That means I'm going to strike out more, especially in the Minor Leagues because of the strike zones and the inconsistency of both the pitchers and the umpires in some cases. I'm confident that number will go down at the higher levels, because strike zones shrink and pitchers are around the plate more often.
Q: You had a great season in Lynchburg, then was named Player of the Week in Altoona. What's your view on next year?
Delaney: I'm excited for next year, I think I've put myself in a situation where I'm close to achieving my goal, so long as I can stay healthy, continue to work hard and continue to produce the way that I have the past two years in the Minor Leagues.
Q: Do you think you would be called up come Spring Training?
Delaney: I would definitely like to be called up, but that decision is made by others in the organization and based upon my performance this upcoming season.
Q: Have you had any free time to watch your Boston College Eagles this fall?
Delaney: Yeah, off and on I watch the games. I watched the game on Thursday night against Virginia Tech. It was a huge win for them and hopefully they can keep it up.
Q: Why did you move from the outfield in college to first base in the Minors?
Delaney: I originally started college playing third base in the infield and played third base, first base and outfield all in college. Then when I got in pro ball I originally was an outfielder. This past season was the first season I've gone back to the infield.
I played almost half the games in the outfield and half in the infield. It's a great advantage to be able to play both at this level.
Q: How do you think you will do at Spring Training?
Delaney: I am confident that I will come into Spring Training prepared. And also I'm confident with the hard work I put in this offseason, I will be able to produce like I did the past two seasons.
Q: Who has been the toughest pitcher you faced?
Delaney: Out here in the Arizona Fall League, I have seen numerous pitchers that have exceeded my expectations. Overall the pitching out here has been phenomenal. So it would be difficult for me to narrow it down to just one. But I can tell you that so far my experience out here has shown me plenty of great pitchers and guys that will contribute in the big leagues in short time.
Q: Having now spent two full seasons in the Minors and now in the Arizona Fall League, how would you compare the pitching at each level? And what adjustments, if any, you've had to make?
Delaney: The pitching has gotten stronger at each level. Obviously out here it has been the most difficult. I can say that the pitchers out here in a lot of cases are Double-A or Triple-A All-Stars, and in some cases are even on big-league clubs.
The one difference is that the style of pitching has been different from level to level, as well. I anticipate it to be even more challenging in years to come.
Delaney: Thank you for your time, I appreciate the questions. Hopefully, we can do this again sometime.