Saturday, January 19, 2013

Six questions for Reds pitching prospect Justice French

by: Matt Bollmann
Staff Writer

Justice French is a rising pitching prospect in the Reds organization. Drafted in the 25th round of the 2011 MLB Draft, the 23-year old will be entering his third season as a professional in 2013. French, a Georgia native, split time between Class-A Dayton and Bakersfield last year, which he compiled a 4-4 record, 3.72 ERA, and 1.446 WHIP in 92 innings pitched.

I recently got the chance to catch up with the right-hander. Here is the transcript for that Q&A session:

1. When you were drafted by the Reds what was your initial thought to be drafted by a team like the Reds?

Initially, I was just happy to continue my lifelong dream. I always knew I would do well if a team gave me a chance, and the Reds gave me that opportunity. I will always be thankful for that and the organization has been nothing but good to me.

2. Success for you personally in 2013 can be defined by what?

Success for me in 2013 would be staying healthy. I’ve worked really hard to get stronger in a functional way so I can pitch throughout the season. The results and everything else should take care of themselves if I can do that.

3. What does a typical workout/training session look like for you in the offseason?
I follow a program that the Reds strength staff gives us going into the offseason. After I get my throwing in outside, I’ll go to my favorite gym close to my home in Georgia and get my lift in. I finish up with some type of cardio to flush out my arm so it’s ready to go for the next workout session.

4. Being in the minor leagues, what are the best and maybe even the worst things about being a minor leaguer? (I.e. bus rides, etc.)
Well the good parts definitely outweigh the bad. I'm blessed to be able to do what I do. Minor league baseball gives you the opportunity to meet so many different people and I’ve made a lot of really good friends. The traveling is another really cool aspect. I love going to new towns and seeing the atmosphere that the teams and the fans create.

5. Being a pitcher are you ever trying to develop new pitches or "tricks" to your advantage? If so, what?
I’m not really searching for anything new, so to speak. I work hard on trying to command all four pitches. If I can mix up a sinker, four-seam, change-up, and a breaking ball with good location, it is effective. That said, I’m always open to learning something new if it’s going to help me get hitters out.

6. You played in Bakersfield for a little bit last season, so you most likely saw Billy Hamilton play. Give Reds fans a scouting report, so to speak on Hamilton. What else does he possess besides speed?
To really understand what Billy brings to the game, you have to see him in person. I try to explain to people how fast he is from base to base but they don’t really get it until they see him play. Apart from his speed, his energy is contagious and he comes ready to play day in and day out.

A big thanks goes to Justice for taking the time to do this. Best of luck to him in the upcoming season! Be sure to give him a follow on Twitter.

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