Matt Fields has had a fascinating minor league career. He was originally a 44th round draft pick by the Tampa Bay Rays back in 2005, reaching the AA level before being released after the 2010 season. He then toiled for a year and a half in the independent Frontier League before joining the KC Royals, when he began to captivate Royals fans with his prodigious power.
Recently, we reached out to Matt Fields to see if he would answer a few questions for us, and he was kind enough to oblige.
Dave Hill: You began your career as a 44th round draft choice of the Tampa Bay Rays, a spot where most players do not get much of an opportunity. How were you able to grab their attention, and continue to move up the ladder in their organization?
Matt Fields: I believed I grab their attention because of my power!!! I was told that my power was big league caliber and that there weren’t to many people that could do what I do. I also believe my work ethic was another thing that caught their attention.
DH: After reaching the AA level, you were released by the Rays and spent a year and a half in the Frontier League for the Southern Illinois Miners. Was there ever a time when you were tempted to give up your dreams of reaching the majors, and what drove you to press on?
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MF:ÂYes there was plenty of times where I was tempted to give up. I actually did give up and actually took a job working at sea-tac airport as a baggage handler which was a huge difference from playing professional baseball. I strongly believe everything happens for a reason and by me doing this it helped me realized that I wasn’t yet done with my dreams and that I had to press on not only for myself but for my family and friends who believed in me.
DH: Since signing with the Royals, you have hit 76 home runs in the past two and a half seasons. While you were always a solid power hitter, did you change anything to become the slugger you have developed into?
MF: Truthfully, I haven’t changed anything at all. I believe it’s just the fact that I’m more mature and I know exactly what type of player I am now. I have a plan and I stick to it but of course in baseball your never going to be perfect but the goal is to be good 3 out of 10.
DH: Was there any particular part of your game that you were looking to work on this offseason, and into Spring Training?
MF: Yes I was looking to work on my plate discipline and making more contact. I worked a lot over this off season on shortening my swing and staying in the zone longer to give me a better chance at success.
DH: Have there been times when you got frustrated with being a successful power hitter in the minors, yet having not received a chance at the major league level thus far?
MF: Yes there have been times when I have gotten frustrated but God is very strategic about what he does with those who follow him. I believe my time is coming but until then I will have faith in his plan and will continue to work and get better.
DH: Have there been any veterans or former players that you have been working closely with in camp?
MF: Yes, I’ve been working with a mix of guys. Everyone on the team has been giving advice and I greatly appreciate it. It was a very great experience and very motivating. That group of guys have some much positive energy and love to have fun and that’s how it is supposed to be.
DH: Finally, what would you want Royals fans to know about you as they follow your career?
MF: That I look forward to getting the chance to know them and that when I do finally make it to Kauffman I will give them 110%. I believe very strongly in fan appreciation and if it wasn’t for the fans we wouldn’t be where we are today. So I try my best to make it the best experience possible.
Our thanks again to Matt Feilds for taking the time to answer these questions for us, and the best of luck to him during the upcoming season!