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The Twins made college pitching a priority (or at least that’s how it ended up) in the 2009 draft. In the 16th round, the team selected 6-6 righty Dakota Watts from Cal-State Stanislaus. After signing, he spent time with the GCL Twins, then Ft. Myers, then he went back to Elizabethton, which is where he should have been all along. He is heading to his first Twins minor league camp, so it should be a lot of fun getting to know Dakota Watts. (To see all previous SethSpeaks.net Q&As, click here) (and feel free to leave questions or comments here)
…Let the Questions Begin!
SethSpeaks: Now that you’ve had a few months to look back and reflect, what are your thoughts on your 2009 season?
Dakota Watts: Looking back now I realized that I’m not as far behind a lot of the higher guys as I originally thought, I got into some trouble this year trying to press to hard instead of just going out and doing what I’ve always done.
SethSpeaks: What do you do when you’re not playing baseball or working out in preparation for the upcoming season?
Dakota Watts: When I’m not playing ball I usually do a lot of hunting with friends from home and family, I just try to stay as busy and as active as possible till season comes around again.
SethSpeaks: When did you start getting ready for the 2010 season, and what was your routine?
Dakota Watts: I started working out in the gym back home on the 1st of Nov. to build overall strength, and came back to Florida to train on the 6th of Jan. to work out with some guys doing more conditioning and baseball specific exercises.
SethSpeaks: What are your goals for the 2010 season? Where would you like to play, and are there any statistics that you are looking to improve?
Dakota Watts: My goals for 2010 are to pick up where I left off after instructional league and to develop myself as a closing pitcher. I would like to play up in Ft Myers but will probably start in Beloit and hopefully get a chance to move up at the half way mark, and I would like to lower my walks.
SethSpeaks: What does spring training mean for you, and what are you looking forward to this year?
Dakota Watts: Spring training to me means developing as a pitcher and proving myself, to let all the top dogs in the organization see how hard I worked this off season and much better I can get each year.
SethSpeaks: Who was your Favorite Player?
Dakota Watts: Growing up I never really had a favorite player, but if I had to pick one i remember really watching it would have to be Mark McGwire.
SethSpeaks: What team did you grow up watching and cheering for?
Dakota Watts: Favorite team was the A’s because it was a local team back home, now I gotta say the Twins because I’ve met too many great people throughout the organization.
SethSpeaks: What were your thoughts as you were considering signing with the Twins?
Dakota Watts: Lots of stuff was going through my mind around draft time, lots of questions, When? Where? How much? The usual, and when I heard it was the Twins I was excited because I knew they were out on the east coast which I had never been to. It took me about 24 hours to decide I was for sure going to sign, playing pro baseball had been a dream of mine since I was just a kid so the seizing the opportunity was in my best interest.
SethSpeaks: Best thing of career in baseball?
Dakota Watts: The best part of my career so far besides meet a bunch of great guys which I consider some of my best friends would be getting to play at a few different levels and seeing each caliber of baseball, it was a great eye opener and great confidence booster.
SethSpeaks: Toughest thing of career in baseball?
Dakota Watts: The toughest thing so far for me was going up to Ft Myers and not really succeeding to the best of my ability, not knowing any of the guys kind of challenged me mentally from the get go. I felt I had to excel and produce right away and pressed a little too hard to be good.
SethSpeaks: Funniest story in your minor league career?
Dakota Watts: Probably the funniest story would be watching Joe Testa try to run on the woodway treadmill for the first time and lean to far forward and fall flat on his stomach!!
SethSpeaks: What would it mean to make your big league debut?
Dakota Watts: To make my Big League debut would mean the world to me, I pride myself on work ethic and being rewarded by getting a shot in the majors would be nothing but satisfying, a personal and family Dream Come True.
Thank you very much to Dakota Watts for his time and excellent, thoughtful responses as he looks forward to his first spring training camp.. If you would like, you can e-mail me, or feel free to leave your comments here.