Q&A with BJ Hermsen: Twins Pitching Prospect

21 Jan

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net

Hello everyone! I am really excited to bring you another Q&A with a Twins minor leaguer. For the first time, however, I am bringing you a Q&A with a Twins minor leaguer who is yet to play a regular season game in the Twins organization. BJ Hermsen was an incredibly highly touted pitching prospect out of high school in Iowa. It was believed that he really wanted to play college baseball at Oregon State, a prolific college program. In the end, the Twins offered him a signing bonus far over the slot number, and he signed hours before the August 15th deadline. Hermsen is an excellent all-around athlete with good size who certainly profiles very well. He has a long way to go and will likely start his 2009 season at Extended Spring Training. There is a chance that he will stay in Ft. Myers and pitch for the GCL Twins, but there will also likely be an opportunity that he could even start at Elizabethton. Due to his late signing and high profile, Hermsen will be one to watch in 2009 and beyond.

 

Normally I put a link in here to the player’s career statistics, but because Hermsen signed so late, he does not yet have any career stats . (Click here to see previous Q&As)

 

Let the Questions Begin!

SethSpeaks: Growing up in Iowa, were you a Twins fan, or did you have another favorite team?

 

BJ Hermsen: I was actually a big Cardinals fan growing up.

 

SethSpeaks: Who were some of your favorite players to watching when you were growing up?

 

BJ Hermsen: I enjoyed watching Greg Maddux pitch but other than him, I didn’t have any favorites.  I tried to watch baseball whenever I could though.

 

SethSpeaks: Tell us a little bit about your high school baseball career. Did you play other positions when you weren’t pitching?

 

BJ Hermsen: I played varsity all four years of high school.  During those four years, our team went 140-15.  When I didn’t pitch I played shortstop, which seems odd considering how big I am.  Even though I was a stand-out pitcher, I also was a pretty good hitter.  I ended my career with 57 homeruns, which is 5th all-time in Iowa history.  My junior year we won the state championship and my senior year we were state semi-finalist. 

 

SethSpeaks: Did you participate in other sports or other extra curricular activities?

 

BJ Hermsen: I also participated in football, basketball, and track in high school.  I was all-state in football and basketball, along with baseball.

 

SethSpeaks:  The Twins drafted you in the 6th round last June. Had you been talking to Twins scouts, or scouts from other teams? What were you hearing? Where were you expecting to be drafted?

 

BJ Hermsen: I had been talking with about six or seven organizations around draft time, including the Twins.  I had no idea what was going to happen on draft day.  I was projected to go in the top three rounds but ended up falling to the sixth.  I was a little disappointed with where I went but understood I was selected by a great organization who knew how to develop players.

 

SethSpeaks: People talked about you falling in the draft because of your commitment to play at college baseball powerhouse Oregon State. How difficult was the decision to sign with the Twins rather than go to college?

 

BJ Hermsen: The decision to sign was extremely tough because I loved Oregon State.  Coach Casey and his staff have a tremendous program up in Corvallis, and the school has a family atmosphere to it. 

 

SethSpeaks: What were some of the determining factors that helped you decide to sign, or was it strictly about the signing bonus?

 

BJ Hermsen: In the end, my parents and I figured the signing bonus was too much to pass up.  Whatever I had decided to do was going to be a win-win situation in my opinion.  The Twins have a reputation for developing players, and that played a big role too.

 

SethSpeaks: You signed on August 15th, the last possible day, but it was too late to get any time with the GCL Twins, so your first pro experience came in Instructional League. Tell us about that experience, what you hoped to do there, and how it went for you.

 

BJ Hermsen: Instructional League was definitely an eye opener.  I had no idea what to expect when I showed up.  I kept my mouth shut, and tried to learn as much as possible from the coaches and more experienced players. Overall, I learned a lot of information that will be useful for spring training and for the upcoming season.

 

SethSpeaksSince Instructs, how has your offseason been? Were you able to get away from baseball for awhile?

 

BJ Hermsen: Since Instructs was my first time being away from home for that period of time, it was nice to see friends and family again.  I took about three weeks off and then started working out again.  I just started throwing again about two weeks ago, and it feels good to throw again.  I have been able to enjoy time with my friends and family over the break too.

 

SethSpeaks: According to the Twins website, you will be at Twins Fest this year. Is that something you look forward to attending?

 

BJ Hermsen: I am not sure if I will be attending Twins Fest or not this year, but it does sound like a very exciting time.

 

SethSpeaks: What are your goals for spring training, your first with the Twins?

 

BJ Hermsen: One of my goals is to acquire more knowledge about professional baseball and the lifestyle it brings.  Another goal is to learn something new every outing I have.  I’m still going to have the mindset of keeping my mouth shut and learning as much as I can from everyone around me. 

 

SethSpeaks: Where do you expect to play during the 2009 season?

 

BJ Hermsen: I expect to start the ’09 season with the GCL Twins.

 

SethSpeaks: Tell us about you as a pitcher. What pitches do you throw? How hard do you throw? What are you working on yet?

 

BJ Hermsen: I throw a four-seam and two-seam fastball, along with a curveball and change-up.  I throw in the high 80’s, usually around the 86-89 mark.  The coaches changed my curveball grip about halfway through Instructs, so I’m going to continue working on that here in the off-season.  I’m also trying to get better with hitting my spots on a consistent basis.  Other than those things, I’m just trying to prepare myself physically and mentally for the upcoming season.

 

SethSpeaks: Who are some of the people that have helped you get to this point in your career?

 

BJ Hermsen: Many people have helped me to this point in my life.  Two of them are my parents.  They have always been there for me and supported everything I’ve done.  Bill McCool, Steve Keppler, and Kevin Harbaugh were my coaches from when I was nine years old until high school ball, so they definitely deserve some credit.  My high school coaches, Mike Morrison and Jay Reeder, were a huge part of my success as a high schooler, especially Coach Morrison.  He helped me get my name out there, and helped out in the recruiting process.

 

SethSpeaks: What were your thoughts on the Twins organization before, and has that changed at all in your brief time as a member of the organization?

 

BJ Hermsen: I had heard before the draft that the Twins were extremely good at developing young players, and I’m going to have to agree with that after going to Instructs.  Not only do they help on the field, but they expect us to be role models off the field as well.

 

SethSpeaks: What is your Favorite Baseball Book?

 

BJ Hermsen: The Last Best League by Jim Collins

 

SethSpeaks: What is your Favorite Baseball Movie?

 

BJ Hermsen: “The Sandlot” or “For The Love Of The Game”

 

SethSpeaks: What do you think it will be like to put on a Minnesota Twins uniform for a regular season game for the first time?

 

BJ Hermsen: It’s going to be a very special moment that’s for sure.

 

A big thank you goes to BJ Hermsen for taking the time to answer these questions. It will be fun to follow his career as he hopefully climbs up the Twins system. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to put them in the comments below, or e-mail me and I will try to get a response. Have a great day!

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8 Responses to “Q&A with BJ Hermsen: Twins Pitching Prospect”

  1. TheMix January 22, 2009 at 2:52 am #

    “When I didn’t pitch I played shortstop, which seems odd considering how big I am. Even though I was a stand-out pitcher, I also was a pretty good hitter. I ended my career with 57 homeruns, which is 5th all-time in Iowa history.”

    “I was all-state in football and basketball, along with baseball.”

    JEEBUS! He’s like a right-handed, pitching Mauer!

    Ok, over-reaction….still, shows some serious promise. Glad to hear the Twins could sign him.

  2. Marc January 22, 2009 at 10:19 am #

    Good to know if he blows his arm out we can flip him to a hitter. Seriously though I was so excited to hear when the Twins went overslot for BJ. For a pitcher his size to already have good command of the offspeed stuff is vital.

    I expect good things from this guy.

  3. Erica January 22, 2009 at 2:56 pm #

    Nice to hear he’s taking the “good citizen and role model” part of baseball seriously, as well as listening to the coaches. It sounds like BJ has the ability and maturity to be successful- good luck to him.

  4. kris sutter January 22, 2009 at 6:15 pm #

    BJ is a good citizen and role model. We in Manchester know this very well. BJ was always helping at baseball,basketball and football camps at West Delaware.He is a class act. It will be exiting to watch his progress in the twins organization.

  5. rob petsche January 26, 2009 at 11:54 am #

    BJ is a great young man with the talent and and brains to be successful. I can’t wait to watch him play in the bigs.

  6. Jim and Pat Graybill January 28, 2009 at 10:43 pm #

    We live in Manchester and spend the winter at our home 12 miles from the Twins field in Ft Myers, Florida. We are proud of BJ and hope to be able to see him play sometime.

  7. John Jensen April 9, 2009 at 9:00 am #

    I had the pleasure of covering B.J. for a couple of the local newspapers whose schools that he regularly tore up. B.J. was one of those kids who come along once in a great while who you don’t mind losing to because he’s so good. A couple of years ago (during West Delaware’s championship run) I sat right next to the dugout taking photos when the team encountered some adversity. I gained a lot of respect watching his cool demeanor away from the eyes of the fans. The last game I saw him throw was a substate final. I think he threw his hard (4-seam) fastball twice and had one of the better high school curveballs I’ve seen in a 14-strikeout one-hitter (while also hitting a home run) in a 2-0 victory. He was the team that day. A 35-year veteran baseball coach I work with called B.J. the best he’s ever seen.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Q&A with Joe Testa: Twins Pitching Prospect « SethSpeaks.net - January 29, 2009

    […] the Twins system! If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to put them in the comments, or e-mail me and I will try to get a response. Have a great […]

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