In 2006, the St. Louis Cardinals decided to take a chance on a Miami Hurricane outfielder in the 2nd round of the First-Year Player Draft. Since that time, that man has gone onto hit .308 with an .820 OPS in 894 minor league at-bats.
He has risen all the way to AAA Memphis and can almost smell Busch Stadium. His desire to be a big league Redbird cannot grow to a higher level. But before he could even think about taking that final step to the majors, Jon Jay had to answer a few of my questions.
-How is the spring going so far? The numbers suggest you are feeling pretty comfortable at the plate.
Jay: Spring training is going well. I'm just trying to work hard and learn as much as I can. I've felt good at the plate and I'm just trying to keep things simple and try to execute the situation.
-You were hampered by shoulder problems in 2007 and 2008, not to mention a wrist problem in 07. How are you feeling going into 2009?
Jay: I've had some health issues the last couple of years but I'm feeling good now and hopefully those problems won't arise again.
-Was strengthening your shoulder a top priority in your offseason workouts?
Jay: I spent a lot of time working on my shoulder making sure that I got it in shape which has been working so far.
-Is it discouraging to look at the depth chart and see the big league outfield is stocked with quality players or just tell yourself to keep playing the game hard and you’ll get there soon enough?
Jay: I know we have a lot of guys on our depth chart but I can't control those things. I just have to continue working hard and just be ready for what happens.
-What is one thing that you need to improve this season?
Jay: For this season I'm just working on tightening up my game and just trying to learn from the coaches.
-I’m sure you can handle all 3 outfield spots but which position are you most comfortable playing?
Jay: I feel the most comfortable in CF. It's the position I grew up playing. I've gotten used to playing RF and LF, though.
-Which major leaguer would you compare yourself to?
Jay: I don't know who I really can compare myself to in the big leagues.
-Who is the toughest pitcher you’ve faced in the minors?
Jay: I've faced some good pitchers in the minors. I think the best guy I've faced might be Franklin Morales from the Rockies.
-You didn't really have much trouble making the transition from AA to AAA. Did you notice much of a difference in the pitching?
Jay: There is definately a difference between double A pitching and triple A pitching. You just have to make adjustments quicker.
-If you weren’t playing baseball for a living what would you be doing?
Jay: If I wasn't playing baseball I would probably be involved in the financial world.
I would like to thank Jon Jay for answering these questions and wish him the best of luck in what will hopefully be a successful and injury free 2009 season.