Interview with 6th Round Pick Cody Gunter
We were fortunate to get the opportunity to speak with the Nats' 6th round pick of the 2013 draft, 3B/OF Cody Gunter. Gunter played this season at Grayson County College in Texas, hitting .321/.500/.541 and putting up an 0.60 ERA in 15 innings on the mound as well. Gunter was a 19th round pick by the Miami Marlins coming out of high school in 2012 but did not sign.
You were drafted in the 19th round last year by theMarlins and in the 6th this year. What has changed in your game in the last year?
I feel like I have become more advanced offensively and defensively. I believe I can hit for a lot more power than last year. I have become very confident in myself as a player and I try to carry that into the way I play.
From what I've seen, you were pretty close to ending up with the Marlins last year. What went into your decision not to sign? Do you regret any part of the process?
I do not regret anything. I believe I made the right decision. My main reason for not signing was the money. Being a 19th rounder I believe I would have needed the right money to really feel like I was valued in the organization. The Marlins came up a little short on the offer so I decided not to sign. But I still do appreciate the Marlins drafting me and trying.
I read on Baseball America that you want to be a 3B and not a pitcher. Is that the case? If so, do you keep in the back of your mind that if you don't succeed as a hitter, you can fall back on pitching?
Well, all I really want to do is hit and play every day. I love to play 3B but I also love the outfield. I've pitched my entire life so I know what I can do on the mound. If I do not succeed as I hitter I do believe that I can fall back on pitching, but I know I can prove myself with the bat.
Did the Nationals scout you much last year, or do you think they honed in on you during the 2013 season?
I'm not really sure where the Nationals were with me last year. I know that teams all turned me in as pitcher. I guess when I was drafted as a hitter last year the Nationals reevaluated me and ended up liking me as a hitter this year.
What went into your decision to forgo your commitment to Kansas State and go to Grayson County College?
The main thing is that I really wanted to be draft eligible again. Kansas State is a great program and I probably would have had an awesome time there but I didn't want to wait 3 years to be draft eligible again. Grayson allowed me to focus more on hitting (even though I still threw some innings on the mound) and really become comfortable at the plate.
What MLB player, past or present, do you consider yourself to play like?
I would like to think I hit a little like Josh Hamilton. I love to get that first pitch most of the time but I try to limit my zone a little more.
What was it like to suit up for your first professional game? How cool was it to score a run?
It was awesome! And it was pretty cool scoring my first run but it would have felt better if I wasn't walked in!
What aspect of your game do you need to work on the most to become a big leaguer?
I think I need to hit for more power consistently and be able to really have the same approach every day.
The Nats are placing you very aggressively at Auburn (in recent memory, almost all junior college players have started in the Gulf Coast League). Does it bring added pressure that you're playing with and against guys that are 2-3 years older than you?
I’m very happy that the Nationals decided to be aggressive with me. It shows that they have a lot of confidence in me. And even though I'm the young guy I don't think it adds more pressure. I do think that I will be able to succeed at this level and I will continue to work hard.
What do you think is going to be the most difficult part of your first season of being a professional baseball player?
Definitely the competition and the atmosphere. It's a whole different life style then what I'm used to. It is going to take a little time to get use to but I trust in God and myself that I will be able to succeed!
Thanks again to Cody for being willing to speak with us. Best of luck to him and the Auburn Doubledays as they get their season started up. If you'd like more information on Cody, I did a full draft recap with video.