Infielder Drew Stankiewicz was an 11th round draft choice this year by the Phillies. The son of former big leaguer Andy Stankiewicz, Drew is already in the midst of his second stint with the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws.
After posting a .305 average in his junior year this season at Arizona State University, Stankiewicz was anxious to begin his pro career and quickly signed with the Phillies.
The 21-year-old batted .390 in July with short-season Class A Williamsport and rejoined the BlueClaws on July 30th. He spent a week with Lakewood in June. Through 13 games with the ‘Claws, the five-foot-nine 160-pounder has posted a .156 average with an RBI and two steals.
I spoke with Stankiewicz this past weekend about his draft experience, adjusting to the pro’s, his father’s pride in him and plenty more. Read ahead for the full interview.
-What was your draft experience like? How did you find out you were drafted by the Phillies and how did you celebrate?
I was sitting at home and I got a call from my scout, Brad Holland, saying that we’re probably going to take you in the next round. So, I turned I turned on my computer and watched the pick and me and my family were just celebrating down in Phoenix, Arizona, where I live.
My whole family was there. We just sat there and just were all happy, got some food. It was like any normal day, and I was thankful I got drafted.
-What’s been the biggest thing about adjusting to the pro’s, coming from college?
Honestly, it’s more mental than I thought. Physically, playing in the PAC the past years, which is the top baseball you can play in college baseball, but coming here, it’s more of a mental game, when you’re not succeeding you just get down on yourself, but you can’t do that, because you play every day here in the minors, so it’s just probably more mental.
-How do you think playing college ball helped you prepare for professional baseball?
I think it helped me tremendously. Just the way we do things here is basically the same. You’ve got to work hard, play hard and just grind everyday.
-What are your impressions of playing in Lakewood with the BlueClaws thus far?
I think the stadium’s beautiful. That’s pretty much what stands out to me. It’s amazing to play in. The fans are great. It’s just a great place to play.
-Thoughts on playing in Williamsport?
It was actually pretty fun playing there. The Little League World Series is there. It’s more of a smaller town than I’m used to, but it was a great place to play.
-I know you grew up in a baseball family. Do you remember the first game you attended?
Aw, shoot. I probably couldn’t remember the first game. They all blend together a bit, but I remember going to watch my dad play a lot. That was obviously an unbelievable experience that I’ll remember for the rest of my life. But I don’t think the first game is something that I would remember.
-Has your dad seen you play a game as a pro yet?
He’s actually seen me play two. It was when we were down in Greensboro, he was in North Carolina, coaching the USA team, so he was there and he got to see me play a little bit.
-What was his reaction? Tears in his eyes? Great level of pride in his boy?
He’s pretty, uh- he’s a manly man. He doesn’t show emotions around me, but I just want to make him proud in anything I do, so I’m sure he’s proud of me.
-Do you have any game day superstitions or good luck charms?
I think the one superstition I have is I have to say a prayer before every game. Just probably that and putting on my socks and shoes the same way. That’s about it though.
-If you were asked to scout yourself, what would you say?
Shoot. I’m just a grinder. I’m not the most talented player. You know, I’m five-foot-nothing. But, I play defense real well and I just try to get on base anyway I can and try to help the team win anyway I can. That’s my game. Anyway I can help the team win, that’s what I got to do and I’m a grinder.