Before the Arizona Fall League began, we had our first 10 Questions With posting with RHP Kyle Gibson
. I’m hoping to do much more of these, and I have a few in the works. Today, I’m coming back with a 12 Questions With Q&A with a Twins minor league pitcher. Frankly, 10 questions is not enough to get to know some of these guys.
Today’s 12 Questions interview is with LHP David Hurlbut. He was the Twins 28th
round pick in 2011 out of Cal State-Fullerton (and their 35th
round pick in 2009 out of junior college). In 2012, he pitched in 25 games for the Beloit Snappers as a 22 year old, making 15 starts. Overall, he went 6-6 with a 2.76 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP.
In 111 innings, he gave up 105 hits, walked just 25 and struckout 85 (6.9 per nine innings). He will most likely begin the 2013 season in Ft. Myers.
TEN QUESTIONS WITH… David Hurlbut
1.) Growing up in California, who was your favorite team and who were some of your favorite players?
David Hurlbut (DH): Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, it has always been fun to go watch the Giants or the A's play, although I tend to go to more A's games because of the prices. Ha Ha. Some of my favorite players growing up from those two teams were Barry Zito, Matt Cain, J.T. Snow, and Eric Byrnes.
2.) Tell us about your high school career (baseball and/or other extra-curriculars).
DH: In high school, I played football, soccer, and baseball as a freshman. I made varsity only for baseball, and the freshman team for the other two sports. After that year, I only played baseball because it was the sport I was best at, and I had the most fun with the group of guys I was with. I was a starting pitcher and played first base all 4 years. Some personal accomplishments during high school were some all-league honors, mvp awards, but my favorite was throwing a no hitter my senior season. In that final season, we made it to the playoffs for the first time in 15 years, which was pretty exciting.
3.) What were some of the highlights of your college playing days?
DH: I Played at Diablo Valley College after high school for a year under former professional pitcher Mike Neu. That year, our team made it to the state championships, where I started the first game. That is one of my favorite moments in baseball to this day. After that season, I was drafted by the Twins, but I declined to go pitch at California State University of Fullerton. I played there for two years, getting eliminated in playoffs before we had a chance to make it to the College World Series. My favorite moment was going to LSU and playing against the Tigers in a very hostile environment.
4.) The Twins drafted you twice... were there a lot of other scouts talking to you, or were the Twins scouts the blocking you from other teams?
DH: The Twins showed a lot of interest in me throughout my college career. They made their fair share of calls to me, but I don't think that they negatively influenced any other teams from contacting me or talking to me.
5.) You signed quickly and went to Elizabethton. How would you describe your adjustment to pro baseball and what did you learn from that first season?
DH: Well, if one were to look at my stats, they would say the transition didn't go very well. Ha ha. No matter the stats, I love the feel of professional baseball. I almost felt claustrophobic under the gaze of my coaches at Fullerton, but in Elizabethton it was exactly the opposite. I felt like I learned a lot within the few months I was there, from both the players and the coaches.
6.) You moved up to the Midwest League and had a tremendous season. You made 15 starts and 10 relief appearances. How is your preparation different for each role, and do you prefer one over the other?
DH: I tried to go about relieving and starting in similar fashion. The bottom line is that you are trying to get outs, but there does come a time when you need to switch on the competitive side and get ready for a game. The difference was if it was before a game, or in the 6th inning. Having a routine was a large part in preparing myself for starts, not only physically, but mentally to go out and compete at a high level. When I was a reliever, my physical routine mostly consisted of getting loose in the bullpen properly.
7.) What are your highlights from this 2012 season in Beloit, the team and the full-season?
DH: A few moments last year stand out to me. The first was being called up from extended spring training. I was overjoyed to get on a team and start playing. When it came to pitching, throwing a 7 inning 2-hit shutout against the Cedar Rapids Kernals was my favorite start of the year. Also, striking out my old teammate Nick Ramirez was a good feeling, although he did get the better of me and hit a double off of me. And of course, getting to pitch in the playoffs was a great memory.
7.) When do you start preparing for the 2013 season, and what did you learn from your first full season to help you prepare?
DH: Once I was home in California, I took about a month-long break to relax and get my mind off of baseball for a little while. Afterwards, I started working out and running. Now, I have started playing catch to shake off the rust so from mid-December on, I can really get my arm ready for spring training. When I came into spring training last year, I felt that I had done a good job of getting ready. One thing I did want to correct was to increase the amount of long toss I do to get my arm a little bit stronger.
8.) Who are some of the people who have helped you get to this point in your career as a baseball player?
DH: My parents have been behind me every step of the way. Without them, I wouldn't be who I am. My long time pitching coach, Fred Breining, has been my true mentor when it comes to my baseball career. I have been seeing him since I was eleven years old, and he has shown me everything from the proper arm angle to a good balance point. I wouldn't be playing this game if it weren't for him.
9.) If you weren't playing baseball, what would you be doing (your career of choice)?
DH: I honestly have no clue what I would be doing if I weren't playing. My gut tells me I would have ended up in one of the military branches serving our country, but ever since I was a boy all of my ambitions have been towards baseball. It is hard to imagine another route for me.
10.) Favorite baseball movie?
DH: My favorite baseball movie would be "The Natural." It has the most epic ending to a baseball movie ever, what's not to love?
11.) Favorite baseball book?
DH: My favorite baseball book would be "Heads Up Baseball" by Ken Revizza. It is all about the mental side of baseball, a must read for any serious baseball player looking to improve on their game.
Thank you David! We certainly appreciate the time he spent in response. He is a frequent Twins Daily reader. Who knows? Ask him some questions in the comments section… maybe we can get him to respond!!