Q&A: Oregon baseball's Mitchell Tolman talks about upcoming season, position change
Mitchell Tolman, who played most of last season at third base, will be the starting second baseman for the Oregon Ducks this season. Tolman led last year’s team with a .315 batting average and 49 RBIs. Here’s what he had to say about the 2015 season:
So how do you feel about second base?
I feel good. I came in here as a second baseman, so I’m kind of just getting back into routine and getting comfortable there. And I feel with all the practice we’ve had lately, I feel pretty good right now.
George Horton mentioned “junior-itis.” Talk about what that means and how you get past that.
Obviously I’m draft eligible this year so I have other pressures that influence me from the outside, scouts and all that going on. I think it’s been really good coming through the last couple of years because I’ve seen how other guys have dealt with it and coped and everything.
What are your personal goals for this upcoming season?
First thing: I want to win a Pac-12 Championship. I’d love to be a part of this team where I can contribute every game and be one of the guys for our team, just help our team win in any way I can really.
With Ryon Healy and Tyler Baumgartner gone, do you feel like you’re the big bat in the lineup and has that changed your approach this off-season?
I mean, Shaun Chase locks that down leading the (Pac-12) in home runs (last year). I definitely feel good at the plate and feel confident in myself. Obviously the last two years I’ve done well and I’m ready to get another season started and see where it takes me.
Horton seems to think that this team will have more offensive pop than the past couple of years, does that change your role as a RBI guy?
I definitely agree with him. We have good pitchers too, but guys are hitting. It’s good to see. At least how it ties into my role, if I’m hitting second (my role is to) get on for guys behind me and if I’m hitting fourth than if guys are on base: it’s time to drive them in and get the job done.
Who do you think will be your biggest competition in the Pac-12?
I know Stanford has some pretty good arms, at least they did last year – a lot of young arms. I know UCLA will be pretty good too, they’re a good pitching team. There are a lot of teams that can win the Pac this year.
Your team dealt with a lot of injuries last year, and obviously A.J. Balta is already out for the season. How is that going to affect the team?
One thing we say, and I know the football team does too, is ‘next man up.’ What happened with Balta is frustrating and I feel really bad for him because he was probably going to be one of our big hitters this year. We have other guys coming in, though, and have shown they can play and it will be exciting to watch other guys get an opportunity and help contribute to a Pac-12 Championship this year.
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