Tom Koehler is a pitcher in the Miami Marlins organization. He played for Triple-A New Orleans last season. He has been pitching in the Marlins system since 2008, when he was drafted in the 18th round of the MLB Draft. He is from the Bronx, New York. Thanks for the interview Tom. You can follow him on Twitter @TKREFRESH22. I would also like to thank him for his help in getting this interview recovered after it was lost!
Niklas: Hi Tom. To start off, what was your favorite team and player growing up? I imagine this could be hard being from the Bronx in the 1990s!
Tom: Actually, it wasn’t hard for me at all. My father and grandfathers were all Yankees fans so it was an easy choice. Even though they struggled in the early 90s, the latter part of the decade was pretty rewarding. My favorite player was Roger Clemens. His work ethic and ferocity on the mound are unparalleled.
Niklas: Clemens was a great pitcher. So how do you feel now that you are so close to playing for the Marlins? This is it…it’s the next step forward.
Tom: It very exciting. I am very appreciative of the opportunities the Marlins have given me thus far and look forward to helping the team in any way I can for years to come.
Niklas: Yes, the Marlins are a great organization. How did it feel to be drafted? What was that day like for you?
Tom: It was great! It is something that you dream about the first time you lace up your Frank Thomas Big Hurt Reebok cleats as a kid. I was a senior in college and I was just hoping that a team would give me a chance. I am fortunate that the Marlins did just that.
Niklas: Nice cleats! Sounds sweet. Now you have been a starter your whole career. Since the rotation is full, how do you feel about the possibility of moving to the pen in the majors.
Tom: I just want to win. Do not get me wrong, I love starting. You get to set the tone for the game, but, if they want me to come out of the pen, then that’s what I will do. I would play CF if they thought it was the best way to win.
Niklas: So how was New Orleans?
Tom: New Orleans is a very interesting city full of rich history. They are still rebuilding from the flooding a few years back, and it’s very muggy. But it’s a pretty cool place to play. But from what I have heard Miami is just a little bit better.
Niklas: New Orleans sounds very rich in history. What do you think your best pitch is?
Tom: Everyone’s best pitch should be their fastball. But, for me, it’s all about strike one. Things get a lot easier once you get ahead.
Niklas: Speaking of strike one, what’s your mentality out on the mound?
Tom: It’s all about keeping my team in a position to win that game. I want to get the hitter out as fast as I can and get my team in the dugout so they can go hit. You can’t score any runs when your out on the field.
Niklas: What do you think about your pro career so far? You had a very special season in 2010.
Tom: I believe it’s been successful, but, no one has ever been remembered for what they did in the minors, not even Crash Davis. 2010 was great, but, I don’t want to be remembered for 2010. I want to have a respectable big league career to talk about.
Niklas: Yes. Very true. What do you think will happen for you in 2012? Give me a prediction…
Tom: The only thing that I can predict is what I can control, and, that is I will give it my all everyday and compete in all situations.
Niklas: Ok. What do you think about pitching in the NL East. There are some good teams and scary hitters.
Tom: Good, yes. Scary, no. It will be like pitching anywhere else. You have to trust your stuff, trust your catcher and trust your preparation. Then everything else takes care of it self. Respect all and fear no one.
Niklas: You are very focused and sound like you have the attitude you need to be a pitcher. Now on a lighter side. What’s the funniest thing you have seen in the minors, or have done.
Tom: One of the funnier things I’ve done was win the dance off at a Hornets game. However, the most funny things that go on have to stay in the locker room. Let’s just say there has been some good victory dances and bus trips.
Niklas: I know. I have heard some stories of riding the bus. What did you think of the Marlins offseason?
Tom: It’s been very exciting. They have gone out and made some serious moves. Hopefully it draws in more fans and puts a great product on the field.
Niklas: I think it should. So do you think the new ballpark will be a pitchers park? Do you like it?
Tom: I actually have not seen the park, but, it looks very colorful and very nice and from what reports are its unlike another park. It was the perfect way to end a long season.
Niklas: Did you ever pay much attention to scouts or even a GM who might want you as part of a deal?
Tom: No it’s a business, that’s not something we as ball players can worry about. If something were to happen then you have to deal with it.
Niklas: Ok, now did you know you shared a birthday with a baseball great??? If not, take one guess.
Tom: Hammerin Harmon(Harmon Killebrew), no I had no clue but I just looked it up when you asked me that question, that’s pretty cool.
Niklas: Ok. Cheater…(Laughter). Rapid fire time.
Niklas: Favorite MLB Stadium
Tom: Old Yankee Stadium
Niklas: Best team that you ever saw
Tom: 1998 Yankees that went 114-48
Niklas: Best hitter and best pitcher in the MLB
Tom: Albert Pujols and Roy Halladay
Niklas: Best MLB Game you ever saw?
Tom: Game 6 of the 2011 World Series.
Niklas: Favorite food?
Tom: My moms baked Ziti.
Niklas: Super Bowl pick
Tom: The New York Football Giants