With Baseball leagues from little to big starting up around the country, we caught up with several former Little Leaguers who are now in the Majors. Here’s what they had to say:
Devon Travis, Toronto Blue Jays 2B
“Treat it like a game. As you get older it will get more serious on its own anyway, so have fun and it can take you all the way.”
Jonathan Schoop, Baltimore Orioles IF
“Play hard, and compete no matter if you win or lose. When you finish playing, you should feel like you did all you could do to play hard.”
Jeremy Hellickson, Philadelphia Phillies P
“The biggest thing is not to throw curveballs until you are developed enough and strong enough to do it. Especially nowadays, kids are playing all year long and not getting any rest or recovery time. To put that kind of stress on your elbow that early in your career – there’s nothing good that can come out of it. Work on the changeup instead of the curveball at a young age and, like I said, have as much fun as you can.”
Michael Conforto, New York Mets OF
“I definitely didn’t specialize in baseball. I [also] played basketball, soccer, and football. You learn things from different sports and I think it makes you a better baseball player. Find what you like and work hard.
Quality over quantity is a big thing now, too – I’ve heard some stories about some kids getting burnt out. Maybe the intent is there, but you’ve got to do things the right way and not overdo it. You get more out of 10 good reps rather than 100 when you’re exhausted.”
You obviously want to work hard, but be open to learn – you have to do what works for you because everyone is different. Try to take the things that work for you, and grow with those things. The things that don’t work, you have to let them go.
Ryan Howard, Philadelphia Phillies 1B
“I just tried to keep it simple – see ball, hit ball, for the most part. I just played the game and tried not to get too much into it.”