Ben Verlander took some time out of his every day playing grind to answer a few questions from TPR. Take a look!
TPR: After being recruited to ODU as a pitcher, at what point in time did you realize that it was time to make the switch to hitting? Do you remember a certain moment when it just dawned on you?
BV: After my sophomore year at ODU, I sat down with my coach, Chris Finwood, and we decided that I needed to concentrate on one or the other. He didn't push me in any direction but I decided to go with hitting. I was an average college baseball player up until that point, and I don't strive to be average at anything I do, it just wasn't enough. So I began concentrating on hitting every day and it paid off.
TPR: You've only been a full time hitter for a little while now. Are you starting to make in game adjustments that you didn't make at the beginning of the year?
BV: With every day that passes, I try to become a smarter hitter. So yes, the more and more AB's I get, the more I learn. I like to take things from every AB and learn from it
TPR: Do you find that you have an advantage as a hitter, because you are used to thinking like a pitcher?
BV: I do feel that way. Sometimes it is helpful to think like a pitcher in certain situations, "What would I throw to myself here?" is something I like to think about.
TPR: When you gave up pitching, did you ever think you'd have over a 1000 OPS and lead the team in HR?
BV: I set VERY high standards for myself. When i set my mind solely on hitting, I was striving to be the best, period. I worked every day to be the best I can be and I feel like that paid off on the field. The numbers are nice for fans to see, but if you go out and take care of business off the field, it will show up on the field. So I try not to pay too much attention to stats
TPR: I see you've played a few games at 1B in both college and pro ball. Do you feel more comfortable in the OF or at first?
BV: I began playing 1B my last year at ODU. That really helped me become comfortable there as well. So now wherever I am asked to play, I feel comfortable that I will get the job done.
TPR: How much different facing NYP league pitching than college pitching? Is the sequencing different?
BV: The pitching I have been facing so far as a professional is very good. One game you face a guy sitting mid-90's and the next you face a guy that throws his curve or changeup in any count. You see a lot of guys here with very good stuff.
TPR: How relieving was your first professional hit?
BV: It's always a good feeling to get that first hit out of the way. I hit a line drive up the middle in my first professional game and it is something I will always remember.
TPR: What skills do you have on the baseball field that people don't know about (speed, good bunter, etc)
BV: I think I am a better runner than most people expect. That would probably be an on field skill that would surprise some people.
TPR: If you had to step into the box against your brother, what pitch are you looking for?
BV: Im sitting on one pitch. I've been thinking about this actually. I don't want to say it though because then he won't throw it. But he's in trouble for sure.
TPR: You are the brother of the best pitcher on the planet. What's the best part about being his brother?
BV:I think the best part is just being able to ask him anything. If he doesn't know the answer, he can ask his teammates or coaches up in Detroit. It's a great benefit that not many people get to have.
Thanks to Ben for taking the time to answer our questions. Remember to follow me on twitter @jgoro8 and @tigersprospects for daily recaps and analysis.