MLB.com's Bill Ladson announced yesterday, in a blog post entitled, "Norris, Meyers earn special honors", that '07 5th Round pick, pitcher Brad Meyers, and '07 4th Rounder, catcher Derek Norris, had been named the Washington Nationals' Minor League Pitcher and Player of the Year, respectively, after Meyers, a right-hander who split the year between Class-A Potomac and Double-A Harrisburg, finished the season with a combined (11-3) record and a 1.72 ERA in 23 starts, 1 relief appearance and 136.1 IP and Norris, who spent the whole year with Class-A Hagerstown, hit for a .286 AVG with a .413 OBP, 30 doubles, 23 HR's and 84 RBI's in 126 games.
The two young prospects, Norris who's 20-years-old and Meyers, 24, joined MASN's Rob Dibble and Bob Carpenter in the booth last night during the broadcast of the Nationals/Phillies game in DC's Nationals Park to talk about their seasons and what the future holds for each of them. Norris, as you might have heard, will be catching Stephen Strasburg and Drew Storen in the Arizona Fall League this September. Read what they had to say after the JUMP...
What's it like being here?
Derek Norris - "You, know it's great...to come out here and see the big league team play. You only get a little taste of it in Spring Training, but you know, you come here and see the beautiful ball park and the game, you know it's just so much more than that..."
• What was the difference between hitting in high school/college vs the minor leagues?
Derek Norris - "Well, you know, it got to a point where it was almost like hitting in high school again, you know, at the end of the year, once I had produced so many home runs and so many RBI's, through the end of August and beginning of September, you know, i'd be getting walked 3-4 times a game, and not getting really any pitches to hit other than maybe 1 or 2 change-up or curve balls per game to hit...so you know, it was really, in a funny way, kinda like high school..."
• Brad, as a pitcher, your thoughts on the season you had?
Brad Meyers - "Well, I just wanted to stay injury free this year and get my innings up, get a consistent delivery, I started to use my legs, that was kinda nice, and uh, just basically throw strikes and pitch to contact..."
• What are they teaching you at the minor league level? (Dibble says he was always told if you had 2-3 pitches you could throw for strikes you could pitch in the majors)...
Brad Meyers - "They actually told me as a starter you need 4 (pitches), so I've been throwing a little bit of a cutter lately, but, you just need a couple different planes, you know, different pitches, obviously, just use the fastball and the change up to your ability and mix speeds..."
• Some of your favorite players growing up?
Derek Norris - "You know, being from Kansas, you know, watching Kansas City, George Brett was always a favorite of mine...Johnny Bench went to Wichita State...(Dibble - "What? Come on, Johnny's way old!)...He's way old, but you know, he's from kinda where I'm from, so, my position as well..."
• Brad, what was the key to your K/BB ratio?
Brad Meyers - "Actually, the biggest pet peeve of mine pitching is don't walk guys, don't put 'em on or give them any free bases...make them put the ball in play, and uh, when I'm doing that things are usually going well for me..."
• Derek, What does winning the award mean to you, as young as you are?
Derek Norris - "You know, it means a lot, you know, sometimes you look at oh he's just 20 and in A-ball, but I really don't look at it like that, because once you step in between the lines, you don't really look at it that way, you know if the guy's 26, 19 or 32, you kinda want to go out there and do the same thing, you want to go out there hit a line drive off the wall, or you wanna go out and strike the guy out, you know, so I think, so far as the age thing goes, I don't use that as an excuse, just go out there and play as if you were any age, and just play your best and go out there and try and prove to everybody that you play older than what your age is..."
• Offseason plans?
Brad Meyers - "First thing I'm going to do is take a break. Go home and relax, take a couple months off, and get back to it and just continue what I was doing try to get a little stronger...a little bigger"
Derek Norris - "I'm going to Fall League, Arizona Fall League, get a chance to play with Strasburg and Storen, both first rounders this year, and I got a chance to play with Storen earlier this year and he's got real great stuff, you know, and if Strasburg's any better than that, it's just exciting to see what he's got, cause Storen's just electric, he's awesome..."
• Brad, you got a chance to play with Ian Desmond?
Brad Meyers - "He's great, I mean, having him playing behind you, it's awesome, cause he gets everything and makes great plays behind you..."