Times Staff Reporter
As professional baseball players from all over the country prepare to report to spring training, a local resident will be joining them for the 2010 campaign.
Brady Shoemaker, a 2005 graduate of Northview High School will be in tow when the Chicago White Sox send all minor league prospects to their spring facilities in Glendale, Ariz. on March 10. Shoemaker was drafted by Chicago's South Side squad in the 19th round of the Major League Baseball draft in June after posting a .389 batting average in his senior season at Indiana State University. He claimed he had very little idea what to expect when he reports, saying he hadn't heard much about how things work outside of specifics about practice schedules. Shoemaker said his sole focus was performing at the highest level possible.
"I don't really have any expectations," Shoemaker said. "Wherever I get sent will be based on how I play, so I just have to go out and do the best I can."
As previously reported in August, Shoemaker made an immediate impact last spring playing for the Bristol White Sox, an organization in the rookie developmental Appalachian League. His .350 batting average, nine home runs, 34 RBI's and 21 doubles were all team-highs, while his average was the third highest amongst all Appalachian League players.
For his stellar performance, Shoemaker spent the closing weeks of the season with the Charlotte Knights, Chicago's AAA affiliate. In eight games with Charlotte, Shoemaker was unable to duplicate the success he achieved in Bristol, going just 3-for-29 (.103), with one home run and two RBI's.
"I didn't do as well as I thought I could have," Shoemaker said about his run in Charlotte.
Despite the late season struggles, Shoemaker still called his time in AAA a 'neat experience,' and stated he didn't feel playing a mere eight games gave him the necesary time needed to adequately showcase his abilities.
Shoemaker also stated his time in Charlotte gave him a great opportunity to study the habits of various players who had been part of the professional circuit for years.
"I really got to see how (professional ball players) handled the pressure of playing everyday," Shoemaker said. "I really learned quite a bit. It was a good experience for me."
Shoemaker said he had no way to guess where he would be playing once regular season play began. While he acknowledged the higher degree of competition he would be going up against, Shoemaker said he wasn't paying any mind to just how many players would be jockeying for the same roster spot he too was hoping to acquire. Instead, he said he was focusing solely on his own performance, saying he was the only person in control of where he would be after final rosters are made up.
"I don't feel any pressure on me, honestly," Shoemaker said. "All I can worry about is doing whatever I can to make sure I play at the top of my game. I'm sure it will take me a couple days to get adjusted to everything, but I know for sure that I'll be ready."