Today's edition of the Minor League Notebook takes a look at David Purcey, as he continues to battle…
Player Spotlight: Catcher Josh Bell
Josh Bell: As far as hitting, if I do everything right I can be a good hitter, and if I do everything wrong I can be a bad hitter. I think that I have pretty good power mainly to the gaps. I feel like if I can just stay calm I can be a pretty good hitter. As far as the footwork, my arm kind of helps out my lack of foot speed. I have pretty good speed, but not as good as some people have. The arm strength definitely helps that.
InsideTheDome: Is that something that you are focusing on here this year, trying to get a little quicker feet?
Josh Bell: Yes, but I have never been that fast anyways, so I think that may not happen. Mainly I'm just going to work with what I've got so far.
InsideTheDome: How do you think playing in a major conference like the SEC for Auburn helped prepare you for a professional career?
Josh Bell: It really helped me out a lot. You play against top-notch competition, even in our preseason schedule we had Florida State, Clemson, etc.So we were playing top 25 teams all the time. We were facing pro pitchers every single day in the SEC. That has really helped me prepare for what I'm doing today.
InsideTheDome: How would you rate the level of competition that you faced in the SEC to what you are seeing today? I hear all the time that playing in a major Division I conference is comparable to playing at a minor league level professionally.
Josh Bell: It's definitely close to this right now. Low-A is really good competition and everything. That's what's really good about the top-notch conferences. They put you in check all the time. Especially if you come from a smaller conference where you're used to being the guy and then you are with a bunch of stars. Being in a big conference there are stars among stars. When you come from a smaller school, sometimes it is harder to adjust to being just another guy. That has really helped me, being able to play against a bunch of great players in the SEC.
InsideTheDome: Talk about the offensive production of this line up so far. You have been a big part of that, but it seems like when you middle of the order guys come up with guys on base, you always seem to come through up to this point.
Josh Bell: I just hope that we can continue it. It's awesome right now. We're putting up eight runs a game or so right now. I wish that we could do that every single day but there are going to be days when we don't do it. There are going to be stretches when we can't even get a run. I guess we're going to try and enjoy it right now. It's an awesome thing to see, everybody hitting so well right now. Plus, you have to give credit to the pitchers too. They aren't giving up many runs either.
InsideTheDome: That was my next question actually. With the offense you guys have been putting up, the pitching has kind of been over looked, especially the bullpen. Talk a little bit about what it is like to catch these guys right now.
Josh Bell: I think that the most runs we have given up is three or four runs, and that's really good. With the bats that we have, that gives us a chance to win every single night. Tom Signore is really doing a good job with the pitchers and focusing on pounding the lower side of the strike zone. As long as I can help my pitchers out, I would much rather do that than get three RBI a game.
InsideTheDome: What are some of the things you did this past off-season to help prepare yourself for the full season grind?
Josh Bell: Mainly I just relaxed. That was my first season and I got really uptight and everything. I really didn't know how to take it. I learned how to play every single day. I really worked on the mental aspect of my game, which is just relaxing during the game. If you do bad today, hey, you have tomorrow to make up for it. Just realize that there is always tomorrow.
InsideTheDome: Going back to the pitching staff. Have you learned all these guys yet, and do you have a feel for what each pitcher likes to do in certain situations yet?
Josh Bell: I will tell you that I did get lasic eye surgery and it has really helped me out with my vision. A lot of the guys I caught last season and down in instructional league, I knew what a lot of these guys had anyway. I haven't seemed to have had trouble catching these guys so far this year. We seem to be on the same page every single night and that is the important thing.
InsideTheDome: What are some of your impressions of the MWL so far?
Josh Bell: So far, the Midwest League is awesome. Compared to the NY-Penn League, it is night and day right now. Not only is it just that the stadiums are better, but it just seems like the atmosphere and Michigan and the Ohio Valley just seem more like the south to me than it did in New York. I'm not a big country music guy, but they play more of that here than they did there. It just seems a little more like home. I guess I'm used to being in the north a little bit more now.
InsideTheDome: Last question. What are some of the goals that you have set for yourself for this season?
Josh Bell: Mainly just to leave everything that I have at the ball park. Don't take anything home with you because if you do, it just makes it worse the next day. Have a good game, celebrate it for a little bit, and then forget about it and come ready to play again tomorrow. If you do bad, just forget about it and come back the next day ready to work hard. Just keep working hard and if you do that, you will have a pretty good year. Just keep on working hard at it.
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