Nathan Mikolas was drafted out of high school by the Yankees in the third round of the 2012 MLB Draft. The left-handed hitting outfielder is currently hitting .242/.351/.379 in his second season in the Gulf Coast League. Mikolas was nice enough to answer a few questions for me about his career.
What is the thing you do best on the field?
The thing I do best on the field would probably be my understanding of the game and how hard I play. I try to be a good competitor, teammate, and always give 110%. I'm a blue collar player and my effort is all that I can control.
What was the biggest challenge in making the transition from high school to pro ball?
There were many adjustments transitioning from high school to pro ball. First, learning a new routine that worked for me, was challenging. There were also physical challenges, in that there are long hours spent in practice and playing. Other physical challenges were proper offensive and defensive skills, which I am still continuing to learn. The emotional challenges were learning how to accept failure which, in baseball, is a given.
What lessons did you learn in 2012 that you have applied in 2013?
The best lessons I've learned is that in baseball you need to do two things: have confidence and believe in yourself. If you want to be successful in this game you can't believe in yourself and not have confidence, or vise versa. They both go hand and hand.
What are you still looking to improve on?
I'm still working on improving all parts of my game. I'm here to learn and take everything in in order to improve. I'm working on becoming a better teammate, outfielder, baserunner, and having a repeatable swing to become more consistent. There's always something to work on in baseball. Whenever you feel like you start to figure this game out, the game has a way of humbling you, and bringing you back to the grind. I try my best everyday to get everything out of myself so I can become the best player I can be.
What do you focus on when you work on your defense?
I have really been focusing on getting to the ball quickly on ground balls and then getting rid of it quickly to the cut off. Professional baseball is played much faster than high school baseball and the base runners now are always trying to take that extra base. So the quicker I can get the ball in, the more it will prevent players from taking extra bases.
Do you have a specific goal in 2013 and how do you determine if you've reached that goal?
Obviously I have my own personal goals I made for myself before the season, but my main goals are to hit the ball hard and to help the team win. I want to wake up everyday and be ready to compete. I am in control of how I think and how I prepare myself for the day. Everyday is a clean slate and I'm trying to forget about the day before even if I was 4-4 or 0-4 because that pitcher doesn't care what I did the day before.
I want to thank Nathan for taking the time to answer my questions and be sure to follow him through the Yankee system and on Twitter @NathanMikolas.