Daniel Fields. A 6'2, 215-pound outfielder who conveys both speed and power to the baseball diamond, has never felt pressured into playing the game of baseball. Despite having a professional baseball playing/coaching father, Fields has let the game of baseball become a natural fit to him.
Recently, Daniel and I had a brief Q&A session for the readers of the Detroit Tigers Prospect Report, as well as the world-renowned Bless You Boys community. Here are the questions I asked Daniel with his answers applied:
TPR: What is the worst/best part about being a professional baseball player?
DF: The worst part would obviously be having to spend time away from your family. Everything is great about baseball though. It's the best sport there is. I love the travel, playing with my teammates and going out competing every night.
TPR: Your Dad is a former major league player (Tigers, Mariners), as well as a major league hitting coach (Indians). Did you ever feel forced into the game of baseball or was it just a natural fit?
DF: I never felt pressured into playing baseball. I played football and basketball growing up too so I just didn't play one sport. At one time early on I really liked football the most. The older I got baseball did become the natural fit for me.
TPR: Follow up from the last question, did having all that exposure to the game of baseball help in your development as a player?
DF: It definitely helped me a lot. I always would go to the field with my dad and would workout and run around the field. It was a lot of fun but definitely helped my game.
TPR: Growing up, other than your father obviously, who did you idolize?
DF: I really looked up to my older brother. Growing up we always were around each other and when my dad was gone he was the one I would play catch with and hit with so he has a lot to do with my success as well.
TPR: You had signed a LOI (letter of intent) to attend the University of Michigan to play baseball, was it particularly hard to turn down that scholarship or was it easier because it was the Tigers who drafted you?
DF: It was a very hard decision. I went through the whole orientation process and was ready to go. I had a lot of friends who were going to Michigan so I was really looking forward to it. It was tough but I made the best decision for myself.
TPR: If any other team but the Tigers would've drafted you, would have gone back to play for Michigan?
DF: I definitely think I would have gone to school if any other team drafted me. My dad was with Cleveland at the time so them and the Tigers were the two teams that had the best chance. That was something we talked about before the draft.
TPR: How well do you fell you have progressed as an outfielder?
DF: I think the transition out there has been smooth and I'm learning all the time. There are still things I need to work on which I have this offseason so I am just looking forward to Spring Training.
TPR: You played all three major sports in High School (football, basketball and baseball), what made baseball stand out from the other two sports?
DF: I actually stopped playing football before I started high school and that's because I just didn't love the game anymore and my dad always told me if you don't love stop playing so you don't get hurt. I knew when I was about 12 that baseball was what I wanted to play going forward. I definitely loved playing basketball but baseball was my first love. Just being around it all the time is what made it stand out to me.
TPR: Last year in 2012, you played at two minor league levels. High-A Lakeland and Double-A Erie, what were the biggest differences between the two levels?
DF: The difference between the two are the speed of the game. Every level you go the speed goes up some. It took some games to get use to when I went to Double A but once I got it I felt very comfortable.
TPR: You're one of those types of rare players that bring both speed and power to the baseball field, what is the one thing you'd like most to improve on in 2013?
DF: I would say to consistently keep the power. I know last year having the surgery really took away from that and I couldn't drive the ball as well as I could before. But having a offseason to get strong again I feel that it's going to show this year. I definitely want to build on the stolen bases from last year. 23 was good but I know I can do better.
TPR: Being ranked as the Tigers 5th best prospect by MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo, does that give you any added pressure to perform well in 2013?
DF: Nope no pressure at all. I know if I go out and play my game it will speak for itself. My second year I put pressure on myself and did not have a good year at all so I'm just trying to stay within myself and good things will happen.
TPR: The Tigers have invited you to Spring Training as a NRI (non-roster invitee) for the second straight year, do you feel you have a legitimate shot at making the 25-man roster?
DF: You never know. If I go set the world on fire this spring it could be a chance. But I'm not thinking about that. I'm just going to learn from the Veteran guys, get better every day and play my game and have fun.
TPR: Favorite pastime besides playing baseball?
DF: I would say college football. I love watching it. Michigan State is my team!!
TPR: Lastly, where do you see yourself in 20 years?
DF: In 20 years I will be retired wife and kids and teaching them the game and enjoying life.
I'd like to personally thanks Daniel for taking the time out his business off-season regiment to partake in this Q&A.
From just the short time I spoke with Daniel, he seems like quite the motivated individual and it wouldn't surprise me one bit if we see him eventually roaming the OF at Comerica Park.
Intersted in getting to know Daniel even more? Head on over to Twitter and give him a follow: @dfields_23.
And while you're at it, you might as well follow me too: @iTigerTravie.