Welcome everyone to another “Project Prospect” interview.
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 a site reporter and talk about their baseball days growing up, in high school and college as well as talk 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 me via email at JustinKish@365SportsNetwork.com.
In today’s interview. I am being joined by former Cal Poly Pomona and current Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher, Peter Bayer. Peter was drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays in the 9th round of the 2016 MLB Draft. After getting drafted, Peter as sent straight to the Princeton Rays where he will be promoted to his current team the Bowling Green Hot Rods. Enjoy the interview with Peter Bayer.
Justin David Kish: Thank you so much for your time Peter. How are things going for you today?
Peter Bayer: No problem, I am currently on the bus from West Michigan to Dayton, Ohio. We are on a week long road trip right now.
Justin David Kish: Growing up in Parker, Colorado how was baseball first introduced to you as a child?
Peter Bayer: I started playing baseball when I was 5-6 years old, it’s always been part of my life. I always wanted to play sports and I played football, baseball and basketball up until junior year of high school.
Justin David Kish: Tell us about your little league baseball experience?
Peter Bayer: I still talk about my youth baseball experience with all my friends who I played with back then. We had a team called the Parker SkySox and played in a ton of USSA and Triple Crown tournaments. We traveled everywhere, most notably Cooperstown, NY at the Dreams Park which was still probably my favorite baseball experience.
Justin David Kish: Like I mentioned before you grew up in Parker, Colorado were you Rockies fan growing up or was their another team you grew up watching?
Peter Bayer: I grew up going to a lot of Rockies games, but I was primarily a Cubs fan. I grew up loving them because my first game was at Wrigley Field, and I loved Sammy Sosa. I was a die hard fan as a kid through all the struggles, I still watched almost all their games.
Justin David Kish: Some players like to model their game after some of their favorite baseball players growing and even through high school and college. Who was your favorite baseball player growing up and do you model your game after them?
Peter Bayer: My favorite pitcher to watch growing up was Felix Hernandez, but I didn’t really try to model my game after his, I just loved watching him pitch. I don’t really try to model my game after anyone because all pitchers are extremely different.
Justin David Kish: You are not the only player to come out of Regis Jesuit. San Francisco Giants pitcher Ty Blach also attended the same high school. Do you and Ty still keep in contact with each other to this day and has he given you any advice since coming to pro baseball?
Peter Bayer: I talk to Ty every now and then. I used to watch him pitch in high school and I always knew that he would be something special. I mostly model the way he carries himself as a person and his attitude. Ty is just a really nice guy and puts others above himself. Watching him pitch in the playoffs for the Giants last year was crazy. It makes you feel like the dream is possible if you keep working hard, carry yourself the right way and respect the game.
Justin David Kish: It is said that you were a member of the Colorado Rockies scout team. Is this true and if it is tell us about being part of the scout team?
Peter Bayer: Yeah I was. I played with a lot of great players, some who are either in pro baseball right now or will be soon. But almost all of us on that team had at least a successful college season. So it was a pretty cool honor to play for them in the one fall that I did.
Justin David Kish: Following high school came your college recruitment. You committed to Richmond University why did you choose Richmond?
Peter Bayer: At the time it was because it was a really good academic school, but it was also one of the only Division 1 schools where I had an offer and that weighed into my decision. I think going the Division 1 route is unnecessary, you should go where you will develop and be able to play a lot. So if I had to give some advice to younger guys reading this, I’d say to not commit somewhere just because it’s D1. There’s tons of guys who go JUCO, D2, even D3 that get a chance to play at the pro level.
Justin David Kish: You spent a few years at Richmond before deciding to transfer out of the program and join Cal Poly. Why did you decide to transfer to Cal Poly?
Peter Bayer: There were a number of things. I wasn’t really in the best spot for me to develop and do my training. I had some disagreements with the coaching staff and thought it would be in my best interest to transfer. So I made the choice to go across the country and walk into a brand new situation where I didn’t know anyone, but it paid off in the end.
Justin David Kish: Making the transition from Richmond to Cal Poly you will go through a number of changes. Was their anything that changed for you playing wise?
Peter Bayer: I think I was more confident, I also was just in a positive environment where the coaches were very open to my training and they were also very supportive. Also I really worked hard that summer/fall and made some minor mechanical changes that helped out.
Justin David Kish: Before we jump into your pro career. What are some memories you have in college that you can share with us?
Peter Bayer: The best memory from college was going to the D2 College World Series in Cary, NC with Cal Poly Pomona. We almost won the championship and were only a game or two from getting there. We had a crazy run through regional’s and I just had a great time with my teammates during that.
Justin David Kish: After a solid college career at Cal Poly and Richmond, your next journey is the professional baseball. After college what teams had interest in you and did you do any workouts for teams?
Peter Bayer: I had filled out questionnaires and talked to almost every team but I knew the couple that were the most interested. I didn’t actually do any workouts even though I was invited because our college season went up until a week before the draft because we were playing up until one of the last days.
Justin David Kish: In the 9th round of the 2016 MLB Draft the Tampa Bay Rays drafted you. Tell us about your draft day experience?
Peter Bayer: It was honestly pretty low key. I was with my family and with one of my best friends, Pat. And we just watched it on the laptop and hooked it up to the TV. To hear my name called was a pretty surreal experience, I was more of just in a loss for words more than emotional about it. But then after the draft I had some of my close friends over and we had a good time.
Justin David Kish: It is now 2017 and you currently see yourself with the Bowling Green Hot Rods after a short stint with the Princeton Rays. How is this season going for you so far?
Peter Bayer: It’s going pretty well. It’s definitely a step up but I’ve been handling it fine. I actually just went from a starter to a reliever now and I’m excited because that’s what I’ve always wanted to do. So we’ll see what happens now throughout the rest of this season.
Justin David Kish: Before we let you go, is their any advice you can give to the younger players who want to have a career in professional baseball?
Peter Bayer: That they are going to have to make a ton of sacrifices for it. And when people laugh at your dreams, just ignore it and keep pushing yourself. However, It’s cliche to say just hard work because it’s more than just that. Yes, you have to work harder than most people when you train and practice, but it’s more of the off the field stuff. Sleep, recovery, nutrition are all huge parts of it. For college athletes it’s staying away from the parties, skipping out on drinks and going out. So just staying away from distractions. For the really young kids it’s just about having fun and enjoying yourself up until you decide to start taking it seriously.