Welcome everyone to another “Project Prospect” interview, in this interview I will be talking with Arizona Diamondbacks 2016 third round selection, Jon Duplantier.
If you are new to what Project Prospect is, it is a full interview segment that tells stories about prospects in Major League Baseball’s minor league system’s. The prospects will join an site reporter and talk about their baseball days growing up, in high school and college as well as talking about their MLB Draft process. This will be an ongoing segment on the website. If you are a Minor League Baseball prospect and would love to get featured in an interview please contact us on Twitter @365SportsNet.
Justin David Kish: Thank you so much for your time Jon, how are things going for you today?
Jon Duplantier: I’m doing great, thanks.
Justin David Kish: Usually I like to start off from the beginning but you have had a hell of a career so far. I want to start off during your High School days at Seven Lakes High School. Tell us about your time at Seven Lakes?
Jon Duplantier: My time at Seven Lakes was awesome. It was a large student body with a ton of intelligent people, so in a way, I feel like Seven Lakes actually prepared me for Rice University.
Justin David Kish: During your time at Seven Lakes you were coached by Coach Chad Payne. How much of an impact has Coach Payne been on your baseball career?
Jon Duplantier: Coach Payne was one of the first coaches who talked to me about respecting the game. He always taught us to play the game hard and for something bigger than ourselves.
Justin David Kish: During your time at Seven Lakes you were a multi-sport athlete. Why did you want to chase a career in baseball rather than any other sports you lettered in high school?
Jon Duplantier: I played football, and the common denominator between the two sports and the positions I played was my arm. I wasn’t necessarily the best QB, but I could sling it and that translated to the diamond.
Justin David Kish: You had a story book career at Seven Lakes in which you finished your career with an 20-13 record, team captain of your team and to cap it off you won the 2013 Regional Championships. To you what was your favorite memory at Seven Lakes?
Jon Duplantier: I would have to say playing in the playoffs my senior year. Even though we didn’t reach our goal of a state championship, playing in critical games with friends I had had since kindergarten was awesome.
Justin David Kish: After High School your recruitment to college began. During this time some players in High School had the chance to be drafted out of High School, did you speak to any teams before the MLB Draft about being potentially drafted?
Jon Duplantier: I spoke to some, but going to college was always the plan.
Justin David Kish: During your college recruitment your decision came down to Rice and Yale. Why did you decide to choose Rice over Yale?
Jon Duplantier: Yale was to play football with the opportunity to continue playing baseball while earning a prestigious degree. Rice was a chance to play high level baseball in my hometown while earning a prestigious degree that few have, and then possibly continue playing at the next level. Playing close to home ended up being a big factor for me.
Justin David Kish: In 2014 you were a true freshman and in your rookie season with Rice you finished the season with 2.29 ERA, 2-3 win-loss ratio and 1 save. Tell us about your freshman year and your transition from high school ball to college ball?
Jon Duplantier: College ball was a lot different than high school. The competition is tougher and more is expected of you. That year I had to determine how bad I wanted it.
Justin David Kish: 2015 was a very scary year as you missed the season due to an arm injury. For the fans who don’t know can you tell us what happened and how you were able to recover from the injury?
Jon Duplantier: I suffered from a shoulder impingement in my throwing arm. I ended up working with Fairchild Sports Performance and got healthy during the summer.
Justin David Kish: In 2016 you came back better than ever and you even made the transition from being an relief pitcher to being a starting pitcher. Why did you decide to make the transition from relief pitcher to starter?
Jon Duplantier: Oh that wasn’t my decision to make, that was all the coaching staff. I was just willing to do whatever the team needed me to do within my capabilities.
Justin David Kish: Your 2016 season was a big year for you. You were an third-team All-American, Conference USA Pitcher of the Year, All-Conference USA (1st Team), Conference USA All-Tournament Team and National Pitcher of the Year. How big of a year was it for you?
Jon Duplantier: Huge. A lot of hard work and preparation went into that year, but I couldn’t have accomplished anything without our pitching coach, defense, and most of all our catcher Hunter Kopycinski.
Justin David Kish: After the conclusion of the 2016 College Baseball Season, you became eligible for the coming MLB Draft. Tell us about your draft experience? Did you throw for teams, who was interested in you?
Jon Duplantier: My draft experience was a normal one for a guy who threw as much as I did. I didn’t throw any extra bullpens or meet with many teams concluding the season. I think most teams were interested in me, but I didn’t know the D-backs were.
Justin David Kish: In the 2016 MLB Draft you were selected by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 3rd round. What was that phone call like when you were drafted by the Diamondbacks?
Jon Duplantier: Mr. Ladnier, our scouting director called, and told me they were excited about drafting me. It didn’t really sink in until I got my travel itinerary to fly to mini-camp.
Justin David Kish: You have came along way to get where you are today, what was it like signing your first ever professional baseball contract with the D-Backs?
Jon Duplantier: I smiled for 2 days straight after signing that contract, but its just the beginning. The fun is just getting started.
Justin David Kish: You are currently on your Road to the Show and you are with the Hillsboro Hops in the minors. How has it been for you so far?
Jon Duplantier: It was fun while I was there. I spent most of the summer in Arizona resting and getting ready to be 100% healthy for Spring Training 2017.
Justin David Kish: Before I let you go I wanna ask you this, you are a top prospect in the Diamondbacks farm system, when do you see yourself making your MLB debut?
Jon Duplantier: That’s a tough spot to put me in, and I can’t worry about that. I just need to keep my nose to the grindstone and I believe everything will work out.
Justin David Kish: Lastly, what are we to expect from Jon Duplantier going down the line?
Jon Duplantier: My goal is to be a big leaguer that parents want to show their kids as someone to emulate.