John Mollicone about his time in the Rays organization. See Part 1 and Part 2.
RaysProspects: You played catcher and first base professionally (plus that one inning on the mound in Princeton), which was your favorite position?
John Mollicone: I was always a catcher, that's what I grew up doing. I always had a passion for my defense, especially working with pitchers through out the game. It's true that the catcher is the leader on the field because he is the only one facing the rest of the field and sees everything.
RP: As a catcher you worked with some of the Rays top pitching prospects including Chris Andujar, Nick Barnese, Joseph Cruz, Frank De Los Santos, Shane Dyer, Marquis Fleming, Matt Gorgen, Jeremy Hall, Tyree Hayes, Michael Jarman, Matt Moore, Josh Satow, and Neil Schenk. What can you tell us about them?
JM: All of those guys are good, each in there own way. I'll try to break it down as much as I can, unfortunately I don't have too much experience with each one of them though.
Chris Andujar - I caught Andy a bunch of times. He always has a lot of life on his fastball, and improved dramatically from when we played in Princeton together. He started spotting up and his off speed stuff was sharp.
Nick Barnese - A caught Barney a couple of times, he has a quick arm. He can locate his fastball and his change and curve are accurate as well. The best thing about him is his mound presence and his confidence I think.
Joe Cruz - Cruz can bring it pretty good too. He had a great year this past year. He can pump it up when he wants to and his off speed stuff is good.
Frank De Los Santos - Frankey was one of the harder people I have caught, along with Moore. I don't know if it was because they were both lefty's but that probably had something to do with it. He is a great athlete with a quick arm. His ball moves and is on you fast. Great pickoff move as well.
Shane Dyer - Shane had a great year this year as well. I caught him a few times in NY and Bowling Green. He had a slow paced motion when he first signed. I definitely remember that, but he has a nasty knuckle curve and gets movement on his fastball.
Marquis Fleming - Nasty change up. I remember the first time I caught Marquis in the pen I thought he was going to throw smoke. I told him too, but he just kept throwing change ups. But its nasty and he can spot up with the fastball and slider too.
Matt Gorgen - I didn't have to much experience with Matt, just a couple of bullpens. He pumps it though and always knew what he wanted to do on the mound.
Jeremy Hall - Same with Jeremy, didn't really catch him much. But he can throw any pitch for a strike and dominate by locating.
Michael Jarman - Jar is similar to that as well. He spots up really well and has a handful of pitches to mix it up. One of the best games I caught in pro ball, Jar started in Bowling Green and everything just clicked that night.
Matt Moore - He has nasty stuff. He throws effortlessly and the ball explodes out of his hand. There is a reason he racks up so many strikeouts.
Josh Satow - Nasty change up. Not only that though he can throw all 4 pitches for strikes. He is really impressive.
Neil Schenk - Schenky has good stuff too. I wish I could have seen him throw this year. He can throw to both sides of the plate with his fastball and has a good curveball and change up as well.
All these guys are good pitchers, I hope they can keep excelling next year.
RP: You also played against some of the top prospects in the game, do any of them stand out?
JM: I'm probably the worst person to ask, I really don't know, I never paid too much attention to that.
RP: Do you have a favorite memory from your minor league career, on or off the field?
JM: I'd have to say playing at Fenway and being named player of the week. Those two will always be up there for me. I think my fondest memories will be off the field and the friendships I made. I only played three years with the Rays, but even going back to Fordham some of my best friends were on that team. I think baseball is a sport that brings people together unlike anything else.
RP: What are your plans for the future?
JM: Right now I am working to get my apparel business off the ground. My goals are to get my shirts into a retail store or a few of them for that matter. At the same time I see myself going back to school in the next five years to pursue an MBA degree.
We thank John very much for taking the time to answer all of our questions and we wish him the best of luck in all of his future endeavors! Make sure to check out John's online store.
For past RP interviews please see:
Interview With John Mollicone - Part 2
Interview With John Mollicone - Part 1
Ex-Rays: Catching Up With John Mollicone
John Sickels On The Rays
Questions and Answers: Stephen Vogt
Very nice interview. Thank you John. I wish him all the best.ReplyDelete
Glad you liked it Anon, it was nice of him to do. In the past I've always declined doing interviews with players because they were still in the Rays org and I didn't want to ask the wrong thing or have them say something that would get them in trouble. But since John is an ex-Ray and doesn't have an axe to grind I did it.ReplyDelete
Plus, I find most player interviews boring, right out of Bull Durham. John wasn't boring at all, he had some nice insight. In fact, he has a standing offer to write about minor league ball, being a catcher (to me the most interesting position on the field, most managers were), batting, fielding, game calling, etc. Whatever he wants basically. He's a busy guy, so we'll have to see if he takes me up on the offer. I hope so because his insight would only improve our site.
If anyone else is interested in writing or being interviewed, just drop me a line at email@example.com or contact Kevin or Jim. Lots of other ex-Rays out there, we'd love to hear from you. And fan/writers too, we have lots of coverage of the Bulls, Biscuits, Stone Crabs, but it would be nice to have more about Bowling Green, Hudson Valley, and Princeton too. Even the VSL and DSL would be nice. Just understand it's purely volunteer work, we haven't made a nickel off the site in three years. :)
Off to shovel snow now and hope all of you are safe.