Tuesday, February 14, 2012

An Interview with Jio Mier

I hesitated to interview Jio because, as a first round draft pick in 2009, he's been interviewed a lot.  But I wanted to talk to him about his offense since that's been the biggest question mark for many people about him.  He has been unable to replicate the .276/.380/.484 line he put up in his first year at Greeneville in 2009, but in looking at his splits, I found a few signs of progress so that's where we started.

WTH:  You spent the second half of the season at Lancaster and, although you started out a little slow offensively there (hitting .214 in your 1st 26 games), you actually hit .250 in the last 31 games after coming back from the knee injury and .346 (with a .481 SLG%) in the final 2 weeks of the season.  To what do you attribute your improvement at the plate?  Do you feel that is something you can build on?

JM:  Yeah definitely. Towards the last two months of the season I kind of switched things up and decided to take the approach of getting comfortable and letting my athleticism take over and it helped me out a lot. I wasn't being so mechanical and thinking at all at the plate and was concentrating more on getting ready every pitch and reacting to the pitches.  [Over the off-season] I have been [doing] the same and am very excited to continue this process. This is basically the way I was in high school (which I got away from the last two seasons).

WTH:  Baseball America just released their Prospect Handbook and said that you need to shorten up your stroke in order to be more successful at the plate. Do you agree with that assessment?  Is that something you've been working on?

JM:  Being short to the ball is probably the thing that I have worked on the most this off-season. When I'm short and stay inside the ball I see a lot of success in my stroke and see good results when I take BP on the field.

WTH:  In your splits at Lancaster, you hit .190 with bases empty, but .294 with runners on and .300 with RISP.  Tell me about your approach at the plate in those situations.

JM:  My approach pretty much stays the same which is work towards the middle of the field and stay gap to gap. As for why my average was a lot higher with RISP is beyond me haha. I guess I liked RBI's more than I thought. Haha

WTH:  A long-term issue for you since you first signed was putting on weight and keeping it on.  How is that going for you now and what steps have you taken to make sure you keep the weight on?

JM:  I was drafted at 170 and for the longest time it was very difficult for me to put weight on and keep it on at the same time. I'm happy to say with good workouts and my good diet I am 205. I have learned from numerous people, even teammates, about dieting and good nutrition and that has been the biggest thing for me. It's really helped me out throughout the season because eating healthy gets very tough with our schedule.

WTH:  You cut down on errors substantially from 2010 to 2011.  What adjustments did you make or what have you learned that has helped you as a fielder?

JM:  The biggest learning experience for me defensively was definitely me going to big league camp last year and learning from Barmes and Bobby Meachum. I took what they taught me into the season and I was a lot more confident and comfortable with every ground ball that was hit my way.

WTH:  How does the infield at Lancaster compare to the infield at Lexington?

JM:  It’s a lot quicker in Lancaster.  In Lexington you have that thick bluegrass they put on the field so every time the ball hits the grass it kind of just sticks and rolls as opposed to Lancaster where the ball has more of a skipping action. Also, the dirt was very well kept in Lexington, almost like a double A field; as for Lancaster, it's so windy and dry the dirt would get very hard at times.

WTH:  What area do you feel that you've improved the most over the last two years?

JM:  Besides my defense, I would say learning the kind of player I am. You can really get sidetracked and get away from the player/hitter you are and try to become something you’re not so me learning that has really helped me out.

WTH:  What do you feel you need to do this year to really re-establish yourself as a top prospect?

JM:  Just to control what I can and get back to the player I am. I know if I play my game, hit the way I know how, I feel the rest would take care of itself.

WTH:  Are there any players or pitchers in the Astros minor leagues that you particularly enjoy watching play or pitch?

JM:  There are numerous players I can watch play all the time but my favorite would have to be Altuve. Playing next to him for 2 seasons was the most fun I had with any second baseman that I've played with. Being his size and playing the way he does is extremely fun to see.

WTH:  As a first round draft pick, a lot has been written about you.  Can you tell me something about yourself that most people don't know that might surprise them?

JM:  There's not much to me besides me being obsessed with my dog, call of duty (jmier3, in case anybody wants to play) and HGTV. That’s about it haha.. But seriously, I'm just a simple guy trying to chase a childhood dream.

Thank you for your time Jio and the best of luck in the 2012 season.

4 comments:

  1. Great interview, thanks for posting.

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  2. Thank you! At 21, Jio is too young to give up on but I think some of the bloggers have. He's easy to root for, too.

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  3. I'm glad you interviewed Jio, Jayne! I think there's still hope there for him. Every "top prospect" struggles and has to make adjustments. I still think his time will come. Nice read-

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  4. Nice interview. Jio is a great kid who has worked hard to move closer to where the Astros want him. I think the first round hype and being projected as that rare bird, "a next level SS", may have worked against him since expectations were awful high for a 19 year old. The added muscle and maturity look good on him.

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