(ed. note - "These interviews took place during the last homestand and I just never found time to transcribe and post them, so here they are while nothing else is going on in NatsTown.")
In 2009, it was a then 20-year-old '07 4th Round pick, backstop Derek Norris, who'd hit .286/.413/.513 at Class-A Hagerstown with 30 doubles and 23 HR's and 23-year-old '07 5th Round pick Brad Meyers, who'd gone (11-3) in 24 games, 23 starts and 136.1 IP over which he struck out 108 (7.1 K/9), walked 32 (2.1 BB/9) and surrendered just 3 HR's all season (0.1 HR/9) who were named the Nats' Minor League Player and Pitcher of the Year. This year, as the Nationals' announced during the final homestand of 2010, 23-year-old '08 16th Rounder Tyler Moore, who played first for the Potomac Nationals all season, dominating the Carolina League offensively, hitting .269 in 129 games played with 43 2B, 31 HR's, 111 RBIs and 78 runs scored after getting off to a slow start, and '08 10th Round pick Tom Milone, a 23-year-old 6'1'' left-hander who was (12-5) with 155 K's (8.8 K/9) collected and just 23 walks (1.3 BB/9) allowed in 27 starts and 158.0 IP for Double-A Harrisburg, were named the Minor League's Pitcher and Player of the Year, respectively. Both Moore and Milone visited Nationals Park during the final homestand of 2010, and took a few minutes to answer questions from the D.C. press corps. What follows is the full transcript of both interviews...
Nats' Minor League Player of the Year, Tyler Moore:
• Tyler, what did you think of the year you had?
Tyler Moore: "It was kind of up and down to say the least. First half of the year just went from struggling real bad and just kind of got to a point where enough is enough and just kind of had to go out and stop thinking about everything and just go hit and pretty much that's what it basically boiled down to."
• Have you ever struggled like that before?
Tyler Moore: "Not really, I feel like I kinda matured as a hitter this year a little bit, kind of handled some adversity, and last year really, the only time I really struggled like that was in Vermont in my short season year, but this year was really the first time I struggled, and it was just time to kinda overcome it and just learn from your mistakes."
• What was it like to go on the power run that you did?
Tyler Moore: "It felt like I was just kinda locked in the whole time. It just felt like I was hitting offspeed in fastball counts, and just felt like I was just going up there and seeing the ball and hitting it. I was getting hits. Hard hits were getting through and then chink hits were getting through. I felt blessed, you know it was awesome."
• Did being in a race and winning the title (w/ the P-Nats) have a lot to do with it?
Tyler Moore: "Yeah, definitely. That made us lock in a little more. Everybody on the team. Everybody just got contagious hitting and it just kinda went off for us and we were able to win a championship."
• What's next for you next year?
Tyler Moore: "Just come back for Spring Training, you know, just work out a little bit this offseason, and just come back and just have that competitive edge again just to never be satisfied with anything and just kinda keep going with it."
• Do you think you have enough to go to Double-A?
Tyler Moore: "I hope so, they're doing all that kind stuff, the guys up top, but I'm just going to do what I do and play ball."
• Does having that kind of year change your perception of what you can do?
Tyler Moore: "Yeah, I definitely think it gives you more confidence and maybe just kinda just like, 'Wow', I'm capable of doing this and maybe it just keeps going on..."
• Nats' Minor League Pitcher of the Year, Tom Milone:
Tom Milone: "Just keeping the ball low in the zone, throwing a lot of strikes with every pitch, just hitting my spots when I needed to, going out fo the zone when I needed to, and basically just throwing a lot of strikes."
Tom Milone: "Not really, no. It would have been nice, but I know the Nationals are trying to move me a little slower. I wasn't really expecting it, but you know, it would have been nice to get [a call up]."
Tom Milone: "Maybe a little bit. But it didn't really bother me that much. I just went out there and just threw like I usually do and didn't really let it bother me. I think that kinda helped a little bit, just going out there and pitching, instead of worrying about what other people are saying or when I'm going to get a call-up."
Tom Milone: "I haven't heard to much about that. Hopefully I get that call, get invited to that."
Tom Milone: "The challenge, really, actually got easier for me because I throw a lot of strikes and it's easier, just because the hitters, they're more patient, more disciplined, they don't go up and swing at everything so they're looking for one pitch and if they don't get it they aren't going to swing at it unless it's two strikes. I'd just go out there and get ahead and I think that's what led to my success this year."
Tom Milone: "Yeah, definitely. That's how I pitched all my life. I haven't really been that blessed to throw really hard, throw fastballs by people, so I'm glad that I got picked up by this organization. Once I got here they said 'We're turning the radar guns off, we don't need to know how hard you throw.' If you fire up donuts you'll get moved up."