12. MILB Interview: Graham Taylor (Jacksonville Suns, Miami Marlins)
Greeting: Welcome back to On The Hot Seat, Today I had the opportunity to interview Miami Marlins prospect Graham Taylor. Taylor is currently playing at the Double-A level of the Marlins organization he plays for the Jacksonville Suns. Graham started playing baseball when his dad introduced him to the sport when he was a young kid and since then he has played baseball all through out his childhood, playing through High School, College and now even in the Pro Leagues. Please enjoy the interview Graham Taylor please follow Graham on Twitter at @GrahamTaylor34.
Justin Godsey: Tell us how you stay connected with your fellow fans ?
Graham Taylor: In order to stay connected with my fans I do my best to sign autographs before and after every game as well sign all cards that are sent to me via throughout the year. I do my best to answer all questions that they might have as well as make appearances at camps and what not.
Justin Godsey: Growing up in Kentukey what Major League Club and Player did you grow up wanting to play for and be ?
Graham Taylor: My favorite team growing up was the Cincinnati Reds. Living within 10 minutes of the ball park I went to as many games as possible growing up as long as they didn’t conflict with my baseball schedule. I loved watching Ken Griffey Jr play for the Mariners and when he was trade to the Reds I was especially excited to get the opportunity to watch hime play in person.
Justin Godsey: Who introduced you to the sport of Baseball ?
Graham Taylor: I would have to say that my Dad introduced me to baseball at a young age. My Dad wasn’t a big baseball fan but he said that I always showed interest in the game even at a young age. So he signed me up for tee ball when I was 5.
Justin Godsey: Tell us about your High School Baseball Career ?
Graham Taylor: I made the Dixie Heights High School baseball team as an 8th grader and went on to have a very successful career. I was all state both my junior and senior years leading our team 3 district championships and 1 regional championship in 2001 which hadn’t happened since 1991. My number has since been retired at Dixie Heights and a banner hangs from the outfield fence with my name and number on it.
Justin Godsey: Tell us about your College Baseball career ?
Graham Taylor: I was recruited by a number of schools including Miami University, University of Kentucky, University of Cincinnati, Indiana university, West Virginia University as well as others. I always dreamed of playing for the UK since I grew a huge UK fan but once I started visiting schools I fell in love with Miami University and decided it was the right place for me. As a freshman at Miami I started of as a reliever for the first few games and quickly moved into the rotation as the Saturday started for conference play. That year was ver successful, I was name a Freshman All-American as well as 2nd Team All-MAC. Miami awarded me with the teams Pitcher of the year as well as Rookie of the year. My career at Miami only got better from there, I went on the Cape Cod baseball league for 2 consecutive summers where I did well and also to help lead our Miami team to both MAC regular season and tournament champions in 2005. I finished my career at Miami holding a few conference records including career innings pitched and by getting drafted by the Florida Marlins in the 10th round.
Justin Godsey: In 2006 your dreams came true when the Florida Marlins drafted you tell us about the phone call and how excited were you to join the Marlins ?
Graham Taylor: When I got drafted I was sitting at home with my Mom watching the draft live on the internet when my name popped up on the screen. We both jumped up in joy and I immediately called my Dad who was out of town for work. Everyone was thrilled and then about 10 minutes late Matt Anderson (the Marlins scout who drafted me) called to give me the news as well and to start negotiating a contract.
Justin Godsey: When you 1st arrived to a Marlins minor league team what team was it that you reported and tell us about your time with the squad ?
Graham Taylor: I first reported to our Marlins spring training complex in Jupiter as well as the other draft picks to receive physicals and to sign contracts. From there I flew to Jamestown, NY to play for the Jamestown Jammers. Jamestown was a very small town and I was thrilled to be there. It was interesting at first be adapting to the pro ball life style of being on the road alot and having a game almost every day but once I got use to it everything felt right. I started playing well and felt comfortable. That season a set a Jamestown record of consecutive innings pitched with out a walk. (40 2\3 innings, i think) and was named Jamestown Pitcher of the Year.
Justin Godsey: Lets jump a few years into your career in 2009 you are a member of the Jacksonville Sun Baseball Team how has the staff help you prepare for your 1st major league apperance in 2009 ?
Graham Taylor: In 2008 and 2009 I was very blessed to be with Manager Brandon Hyde and Pitching coach Reid Corneilus. They both were extremely professional and did a great job helping prepare everyone for the next level. Being a able to work with Reid one on one those two seasons were great he taught me the ins and outs of pitching and what I needed to do to be successfull. My first Two years of pro ball I was under the instruction of John Duffy who was excellent as well. With out those two helping me through out the way I dont think I would have been able to excel as much as i did.
Justin Godsey: You were called up to the Majors from AA ball how excited were to jump from AA to the Bigs ?
Graham Taylor: Being called up in 2009 was very exciting. I was in Birmingham, AL playing when after a game Reid called me into the office with Hyde and the gave me the news that I would be flying out in the morning heading to Miami to face the Phillies. I was shocked. Everything I had been working towards my whole life had finally paid off and my dream of being a big leaguer had come true.
Justin Godsey: You debuted against the Philadelphia Phillies how nervous were you to pitch against such a power house of a team ?
Graham Taylor: I was very nervous leading up to the game knowing how good the Phillies were and just for the fact that it was my debut. But as the game started the nerves went away. I’m not sure how I controlled them but I think it was just the fact of being on the field and pitching (doing something that I had been doing my whole life which was able to calm me down).
Justin Godsey: In your debut what player really tested your pitching mechanics ?
Graham Taylor: I was my own worst enemy in my debut. Not one player tested my mechanics. I had been working on some mechanical issues before I got called up. When I got called up I was focused on trying to be mechanically correct instead of enjoying the moment and competing like I had always done which is probably the main reason to why I wasnt very successful in my first start.
Justin Godsey: After your time in the majors you spent 2010 and 2011 in the minors and you are currently in AA ball what are you currently working on to take your talents back up to the major league ?
Graham Taylor: I missed all of the 2010 season due to Tommy John surgery. I complained of pain late in the 2009 season but was told that it was a minor strain in my elbow and time off would heal it. When I returned to spring training in 2010 I still had pain and was finally allowed to get an MRI revealing a tear in my UCL and thus requiring surgery. I came back from Tommy John in late April of 2011 and battled throughout the whole year trying to regain everything I had lost with a year in rehab. I had some very poor outings as well as some very successful ones. 2011 was a rebuilding year for me I was learning how to pitch again and making strides to regain form from 2009.
Justin Godsey: What are we to expect from you in 2012 ?
Graham Taylor: 2012 is going to be a promising year for me. My arm feels great and very strong. Im very excited to return to camp this spring and begin competing. Hopefully I’ll be able to reprove my worth and have a successful season.