Adam Bailey, a 23rd round draft pick out of the University of Nebraska in 2010, hit the ground running in 2011 and never slowed down. Bailey spent 79 games at Lexington (.282/.329/.494) before getting promoted to Lancaster (.289/.316/.430 in 30 games) and finally to Corpus Christi to end the season (.323/.333/.495 over his final 23 games). Bailey was second only to Kody Hinze in home runs and RBI's in the Astros minor league system.
Now on to the questions ~
WTH: I'd like to start with having you describe your college career. You didn't exactly take the most direct path to being drafted, having started out as a pitcher and having changed colleges twice. How did all that come about?
AB: Well I was recruited by ASU [Arizona State University] out of high school in 2006 as a two-way player, and within the first three weeks I became a pitcher. I told coach I would do anything to play and he wanted me to pitch so that's what I did. I came back that following year and I told him I still had hitting in my heart and that I would love to give it another shot. He gave me a shot that following fall and he told me if I wanted to to be a two-way player I would have to either redshirt, go to junior college, or transfer. I decided in my best interest that junior college was the best bet for me. I went to South Mountain Community College [in Phoenix] my sophomore year and did really well there as a hitter. After that I was then recruited by the University of Nebraska and that's where I played for two years. I definitely experienced all walks of life in college that is for sure.
WTH: You were first drafted by the Yankees in the 38th round in 2009 but didn't sign until you were drafted by the Astros in the 23rd round in 2010. What was different? Any regrets about not signing with a perennial powerhouse like the Yankees?
AB: I really don't know what was different. I felt in my heart that I was not really ready mentally for professional ball. The first thing that came to my head was NO. And of course there are no regrets. The Yankees are a great ball team and have a great farm system as well but I am positive that God put me in the right organization.
WTH: You moved very quickly through the Astros organization in 2011, starting at Lexington, going through Lancaster and ending the season at Corpus Christi. Can you tell me a little about that experience and how you handled it?
AB: OMG the experience was unreal. I had a decent year and I really hope it continues on. The play was different in every level. I met alot of great guys and had a great time except for the bus rides of course. I was quiet most of the time because it was the first time I played with a lot of those guys. As soon as I started to get to know everyone that is when playing with the guys was really fun.
WTH: There is not a lot of information out there about you yet, despite the fact that you were 2nd in home runs and 2nd in RBI's in the Astros minor league system in 2011 behind only Kody Hinze. What can you do to draw more notice as a prospect in the organization?
AB: Well I really don't care about drawing notice, all I really care about is being productive and consistent as much and as long as possible. I want to be a great teammate and I want to do what the coaches expect of me.
WTH: With that said (previous question), you did barely miss out in being named one of the Astros top 30 prospects by Baseball America in their recently released 2012 Prospect Handbook. You were included in their 31st prospect supplement in which they concluded that you are "aggressive to a fault" and don't draw enough walks. Is that a fair assessment and, if so, what are you doing to improve your plate discipline without compromising your power?
AB: Yes every baseball player has their flaws and I agree I am a very aggressive hitter. I should not be striking out as much and for sure draw more walks - that is something that I will work at this spring training. I will work on not swinging at balls over my head or in the dirt but at the same time I do not think I will ever get rid of the aggressive mentality I take up with me at the plate.
WTH: Defensively, you are known to have a good arm, and you ended the season with 21 outfield assists. How do the three venues (Lexington, Lancaster and Corpus Christi) compare defensively for an outfielder?
AB: Lexington has a really short wall in right and I think that is where I had most of my assists. In Lancaster the wind blows out so most of the time I would be running back on balls or just watched them go over my head. And in Corpus Christi the wind blew from right to left. It was a difficult adjustment but I got the job done ... I think haha.
WTH: What pitcher in the Astros minor league system would you least like to face as a hitter and why?
AB: The pitcher I least like to face....hmmmm I dont really know actually. I think after this spring training I will have that answer for you.
WTH: Can you tell me something about yourself that most people don't know and might be surprised to hear?
AB: Well something most people don't know about me is that I love to fly fish, I have a studly swimmer girlfriend that I know I will end up marrying, and also I loveeee tattoos. I only have one but I plan on getting more in the future.
[Note from WTH: I asked a follow-up on this answer because I've never heard a female athlete referred to as "studly" before. Adam's response follows.]
AB: Yes, I said that correctly. My girlfriend is a swimmer aka ... a stud. She qualified for the Olympic trials her sophomore year in college and she is trying to get her trial cut again. She is more athletic than I am.
Thank you for your time, Adam. We all wish you (and your girlfriend) luck and continued success in the coming season.