Friday, December 14, 2012

Player Interview: Mark Donato, 1B, AZ Royals (Rookie Level, Arizona League)

Now that the Legends are affiliated with the Kansas City Royals (at least for the next 4 years), I've been getting to know the KC system. And let me tell you: there's a TON of talent in this organization. Newly-drafted 1B Mark Donato is one of their most recent draftees, and he definitely fits the Kansas City mold. Despite what the record states in terms of wins and losses in recent years (ahem!), this is one team that knows real talent when they see it. I had a chance to speak with Mark for a moment about his experiences in this, his first year as a pro, and I'd like to share it with my fellow Legends fans as the first of what I hope will be many "getting to know your minor league organization" type entries here at TGOG.

Mark Donato
Bats: Left, Throws: Left
Height: 6' 2", Weight: 225 lb.
Born: November 18, 1991 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, US (Age 21)
Drafted by the Kansas City Royals in the 26th round of the 2012 MLB June Amateur Draft from Indian River Community College (Fort Pierce, FL).

Minors Batting

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(Thank you, Baseball Reference. You rock.)

1. Had you any thoughts as to who would be drafting you? Was it surprising to go when and where you did?

I knew there were a few teams interested in drafting me; I just didn't know who wanted me the most. I was expecting to go somewhere (between) 10th through 20th rounds, but when I heard my name called in the 26th round by the Royals it was the best feeling ever.

2. After starring as both a first baseman and a pitcher for Ss. Neumann-Goretti High, were you happy with becoming exclusively a position player after turning pro?

I stopped pitching when I got to college; that was the coach's choice, he wanted me at 1st base to supply some power to the team.

3. You're now part of an organization which has had a very strong talent pool in the minors in recent years. How do you see yourself matching up against other prospects in the KC system?

I always thought I was able to compete with the best ever since I was a little kid (emphasis added-ed.), now that I'm able to do that in the minor leagues it's a dream come true.

4. You were thrown right into the thick of it when you got to the Arizona League. What was the toughest part of being such a vital part of a pro lineup?

At first it was shocking that I was batting 3rd and playing 1st in my first pro baseball game, but I knew I worked for that spot and earned my chance to do that.

5. What is your impression of the differences between pro ball and your time as an amateur, thus far?

I noticed that only the great players on your high school team make it to play college ball, and only the best players on your college team make it to play pro ball, so as of now it's gonna take great dedication and motivation to make it to the big leagues. I noticed as a hitter how the holes in the infield and outfield got smaller as I moved from college to the professional level.

6. What would you say is your greatest strength as a player? Greatest weakness?

I would say power is my greatest strength as a player and speed would be my weakness.

7. Do you have a specific routine on game days? How do you prep for game time?

I like to make sure I'm fully prepared hitting-wise with getting enough swings in before the game.

8. Lexington, KY is KC's newest affiliate, a team who had been in the Astros system for 12 years, and so the fans are just becoming accustomed to rooting for a new team and a new league altogether. How do you feel about the prospect of being a big part of Legends fans' indoctrination into the Royals family?

I hope to play in Lexington soon and maybe entertain them with some long balls (laughs).

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