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Blue Jays first-round pick Logan Warmoth adjusting to pro ball

Logan Warmoth speaks about his college days, draft day, and his start of his professional career

For weeks leading up to the draft, the Blue Jays were linked to University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s shortstop Logan Warmoth. Living up to the prognostications from baseball draft experts, Warmoth did get drafted by the Jays at pick #22 and he is now playing with the Vancouver Canadians after a brief assignment in the Gulf Coast League.

Before North Carolina, Warmoth attended the Lake Brantley High School in Florida and was a very good high school player. He was ranked as the second best middle infielder in Florida and the number six middle infielder in the nation by Perfect Game. With that Warmoth had a lot of college interest, and picked North Carolina over Clemson and Florida State.

Draft discussions after his North Carolina commitment centred around signability issues so he went undrafted out of high school. But for Warmoth, it wasn’t about draft bonuses.

“I don’t think I was ready for pro ball yet. I was smaller and I needed to work on my game and develop as a player—I just needed to be a little more mature I guess. I don’t think my commitment scared anyone away, I just think I wasn’t ready to be a professional yet,” Warmoth told me in a recent telephone interview.

Warmoth was an interesting player out of high school to say the least, as he was a very good shortstop, and was a switch hitter. Warmoth, however, found a lot more success from the right side and eventually just gave up switch hitting in college and is now a right-handed hitter.

“[In] my freshman year I just wanted to focus on one side of the plate and put all my energy and effort into hitting on the right side, because I was better at it obviously. I think it ended up working out.”

During his time in North Carolina, Warmoth also played in the Cape Cod League, a wooden bat college league. And there his hitting started to improve every year, and using wooden bats was pegged as the main reason why.

Warmoth agrees with that analysis, saying that he had been using wooden bats his whole life in summer ball, and that metal bats have a different feeling.

Despite being named as the nation’s top college shortstop the day after his draft, analysts think of Warmoth as an eventuall second baseman in the majors as his arm strength may not be there. However, he’s not focusing on what the analysts have to say.

“I believe in my skills at shortstop. I’m just focusing on myself getting better each day, and learning and taking it all in as a pro. And learning how to recover, and be the best player I can and learn and improve every day.”

Although some may worry about his fielding, Warmoth’s bat was not often questioned. In his final year at North Carolina, he finished the year batting .336 with a .554 slugging percentage, along with 10 home runs and 60 RBI. A major improvement from each season, as compared to his freshman year at North Carolina he started all 58 games and had a .246 batting average. He prides at being able to hit for average and having that as his best tool.

At the start of his final season at North Carolina, Warmoth thought that he was a third- or a fourth-round pick, but as he built up better and better results, teams slated to pick in the mid-20’s overall were showing more and more interest. So there was little drama around draft day.

“Around pick 20-24 I thought I was going to go, and I’m happy to be a Blue Jay. I’m just fortunate and blessed to be picked by them.”

For many players adjusting to professional baseball is a tough one but it is a bit easier for college players. It seems Warmoth is adjusting very well, as of August 7, he is hitting .358 with one home run and 12 RBI along with a .389 on base percentage. For Warmoth, the most difficult adjustment is the schedule of play.

“It’s tough, it’s a grind, we are playing six to seven games a week. We are travelling six or seven hours on bus rides and it is new and something you have to learn to take care of your body and how to manage your lifestyle accordingly.”

The Vancouver Canadians give recent draftees the time to really just adjust professional baseball to work on their game before starting their first full season the following year.

The Blue Jays haven’t badgered him with too much advice yet. When asked what the Jays management have told him, Warmoth said they just wanted him to come out everyday and play the game, to have fun, and to be the player he wants to be.

“So, no, the Jays haven’t told me what to work on, just try to show my talents here.”

Warmoth, an American, is learning to adjust playing in a different country. The part that seems to fascinate him most are Canada’s coins.

“I haven’t had a poutine yet, but I do have some Canadian coins like some loonies and toonies, so that is kind of cool.”