Mosley alum JJ Bleday is looking ahead to heading down to South Florida and the start of spring training in a less than a week!
JJ is coming off an unbelievable year of baseball that began with his helping Vanderbilt to SEC and National Championships. He hit a school record 27 homers, hitting .358 with 72 RBI while winning SEC Player of the Year honors, and being named a finalist for the Golden Spikes Award, baseball's version of the Heisman.
He was then taken 4th overall in the M-L-B draft by the Miami Marlins. And after signing his first pro contract, spent half a season with the Marlins single-A team in Jupiter, hitting 257 with 3 homers and 19 ribbies. And then he went into the offseason, spending much of the time in Nashville, which is where he was when we spoke Monday night!
"I think I've moved forward a lot, I've learned a lot with how much down time you get in the offseason." JJ told me. "It's been like what, like four years since I've had an actual off-season. These past four months have been huge growing for me in terms of body and mind. And constantly keeping in contact with the pro guys, and the alumni that come back here at Vanderbilt, you know I'm constantly asking them questions and you know, when you start hitting, when you start throwing. How you should feel going into spring training, and all that."
Bleday is getting two distinct honors from the Marlins organization. The first is being invited to a leadership clinic down in Jupiter that will take him down before spring training even begins.
"I'll be going to captain's camp, which is a leadership camp that Derek Jeter puts on. There's only like, I want to say 8 to 12 people that are invited. So again it's another honor. And that will be about ten days and that will lead right into spring training. So it will be a lot of team building, a lot of character finding. And building foundation. And then, you know you'll be doing your normal routine and then going right into big league camp."
And the other honor, being one of just 23 non-roster invitees to the big league spring training camp.
"First of all it's an honor, a true honor to get invited to big league camp. You're going into first spring training. And second you know it's just one of those things that you can't control it. And when it does happen you've just got to be prepared for it. And you know it shows that they're giving you an opportunity and they have a high level of belief in you and that. It's fun to be a part of and fun to learn from once you get there."
JJ leaves Nashville soon, will swing back home to watch the Super Bowl and then head to Jupiter Monday.
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