Thursday, January 19, 2012

Josh Pressley Interview

Josh Pressley was originally drafted in the 4th Round (132nd overall) by the Tampa Bay Rays (Devil Rays) in the 1999 MLB Amateur Draft.

On July 2, 1998 he signed with the Devil Rays and was sent to the GCL (Gulf Coast League) Devil Rays where he hit .304 with 1 home run and 16 RBI's in 36 games.

Pressley spent the 1999 and 2000 season with the Charleston RiverDogs in the South Atlantic League. He hit .275 with 15 home runs with 115 RBI's in those two seasons.

In 2001, Pressley was promoted to double-A Orlando but broke his wrist and only played 30 games.

Pressley started 2002 in double-A Orlando again and hit .304 with 4 home runs, and 34 RBI's in 93 games before he was promoted to triple-A Durham.

On December 15, 2002, Pressley was traded to the New York Mets along with Russ Johnson for Rey Ordonez and cash.

Pressley played two seasons in the Mets organization. His best season came in 2004 with Binghamton when he hit .300 with 3 home runs and 63 RBI's in 101 games.

From 2005 to 2006 Pressley played for four different organizations including Kansas City Royals, Florida Marlins, St. Louis Cardinals, and Boston Red Sox.

In 2007, Pressley signed with the Somerset Patriots and would be become a mainstay at first base over the next five seasons.

In 2008, Pressley lead the Patriots to the Atlantic League championship. That season he hit .354 with 30 home runs, and 101 RBI's and was named "Atlantic League Player of the Year."

In his five season with the Patriots he hit .308 with 96 home runs, and 378 RBI's.

On January 12, 2012, Pressley would have his rights traded to the expansion Sugar Land Skeeters.

CM: Growing up in Florida who was your favorite baseball team? Favorite player?

JP: I actually spent the majority of my childhood in Maine and was born in Maine. I didn't move to Florida until I was around twelve. We had three channels on our TV and the Red Sox were always on. So at an early age I became a Red Sox fan. I carried that with me to Florida and have been ever since. My favorite player would probably have been Bo Jackson.

CM: You were drafted in the 4th Round (132nd overall) in the 1998 MLB Amateur Draft? Do you remember where you were? What was your reaction?

JP: I'm not exactly sure to be honest. I believe I was in school on a normal school day. I had a pretty good idea that the Rays were going to take me so it wasn't a huge surprise. I was extremely honored to be taken in the draft no matter where it was and for the Rays to have believed in me like they did. They have always been a class organization even before their success at the big league level.

CM: Did you feel pressure to perform right away being drafted so high, and by a team so close to where you grew up?

JP: The Rays did a very good job of not putting pressure on me and allowing me to enjoy being on the field. I never felt pressure to perform because of my draft position. Of course, there is pressure to perform in the professional game at any level. Pressure isn't always a bad thing though.

CM: What was your reaction the first time you saw yourself on baseball card?

JP: It was surreal. I was a card collector as a kid so to see myself on a topps card was a pretty cool feeling.

CM: You played in the Rays (Devil Rays) organization for five season, what was your favorite memory? Favorite teammate?

JP: I have so many great memories playing with Tampa Bay. They gave me an opportunity to live a dream and I will be forever great full for that. I can't really say that I have a favorite memory. My first major league spring training was a great baseball experience for me in general. They had a lot of veteran free agents that year and I was only 19. I learned so much from those players that spring about how to act as a professional and respect the game.

It would be wrong of me to say I have one "favorite" teammate. I've been blessed to play on some great teams with some guys that I will be lifelong friends with. I could never narrow it to just one.

CM: You made it triple-A three times in your minor league career. Did you think you were going to get called up the Majors?

JP: There was a few times I thought I may have been close. One would actually have been in 2005 when I was in AA. Who knows how close or how far I ever was. Unfortunately things like that aren't in our control.

CM: In 2006, you played for three different organizations (Florida, St. Louis and Boston). What was that like?

JP: It was a whirlwind. I never was really in one place long enough to take in the organizations. Being in camp with Boston was an unreal experience though. It seemed like every time I finally learned all my teammates names I was off to a different team. That was one of my toughest years professionally.

CM: In 2007, You signed with the Somerset Patriots. What were the circumstances of you signing with the Patriots?

JP: I had known Jeff Nettles from playing against him when he was with the Yankees and from being teammates with him in spring training. He had always told me I would love the league and the organization. When I didn't have an affiliated job he called up and asked me if I wanted to come to Somerset. I always respected Jeff and how he played the game. He got me into Somerset. If it wasn't for Nett I would never have known about the League or the Pats.

CM: What were you first thoughts of the Patriots and the Atlantic League?

JP: It was a very strong league. Coming in I think everyone may underestimate it because of its independent label. You learn quickly that this league is full of very good talent. There are plenty of players here that can play anywhere at any level of baseball.

CM: You had an incredible season in 2008. The Patriots won the Atlantic League championship and you were named "Player of the Year." What did that mean to you?

JP: 2008 was a special year. For some reason everything fell into place. Winning a Championship in Somerset was one of the best experiences of my career. To be named player of the year on top of that was a great honor. It's always great to be recognized amongst your peers. Without a lot of guys in that lineup I never would have received that award though. Brandon Larson was one of the most amazing hitters I've ever played with and Mike Ryan had a monster year in front of me. Those guys enabled me to sneak up on some people I think. I know I wouldn't have pitched to Lars or Ryno!!



CM: You were a member of the Patriots for five seasons. How do you view the fans and organization in Somerset? What do you think of Sparky Lyle?

JP: The Patriots are a first class organization. I have never been treated so well as a player as I was with the Patriots. They gave me an opportunity to mature as a player and become the player that I am today. From my experience they are the best organization in the league and one of the best in all the minor leagues. (sorry duck fans!)

Sparky is the definition of a players manager. He always keeps everyone lose but quietly demands winning. His record and reputation in the league speaks for itself. To be at the head of 5 Championships in the span of 12 years is pretty amazing.

CM:If you could play catch with one person dead or alive who would it be?

JP: Does it have to be a baseball player? If not Michael Jordan. I guess you could say he was a baseball player of sorts. As far as baseball players probably Nolan Ryan. I may end up trying take a swing though!

CM: Did you ask to be traded to Sugar Land? Why?

JP: Yes I did. I loved everything about Somerset and made some of my best memories in baseball there. It's very rare to have a chance to play so close to extended family for an entire season. Being that I am getting to the end of my playing career I wanted to take advantage of that opportunity. I really am thankful to Somerset for being so understanding of my situation. Their professionalism in the transaction proves again that they are a first class organization and put their players first.

CM: Are you excited about going to an expansion team?

JP: It is definitely exciting to be a part of an expansion team. The newness of the whole experience excites me. It's a unique situation to be in when everything that we do as a team will be a first for the organization. I've already had some conversations with Gary and am very excited with the direction the team is going and their commitment to putting a winning team on the field in the first year.

CM: What's one thing you want Skeeter fans to know about you?

JP: I'm pretty intense on the field and take my job very seriously, but off the field I'm actually a big prankster. I definitely enjoy a good prank and don't care if I'm the victim or the one pulling it. We won't get into details, but I definitely have some good ones up my sleeve. That and I may be the only person on earth that doesn't really like chocolate chip cookies.

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