AquaSox shortstop Marcus Littlewood became the highest position player drafted out of the state of Utah when the Mariners took him with the 67th pick in the second round of the 2010 Draft. He spent the first portion of the 2011 season with the Clinton Lumberkings, where he he collected 15 hits and a homer in 27 games. Since he has been with the Frogs he has started 17 of the first 20 games of the season at shortstop, where he has recorded the second most hits (17) and runs batted in (8) on the team. The Frog Blog sat down with Littlewood to see what drives the captain of the infield.
What has been the biggest adjustment since being drafted and playing in the minor leagues from high school?
I would say playing every day, and also living on your own. I was fortunate to have experience kind of living on my own living with my grandma in Salt Lake City last couple summers to play up there. But the biggest thing is playing everyday and having to forget the day before. In high school and even in summer ball you could dwell on the last week and you would be fine, but this is a totally different mental game. That has been a big adjustment for me.
You decided to go straight to the majors out of high school instead of going to the University of San Diego. What was the deciding factor in that decision?
That was a really tough decision because education is really important to me. But the deciding factor would really have to be the signing bonus offer that was made to me on draft day. It was kind of a no-brainer, kind of had to do it. From there I haven’t been happier with the decision that I made.
What was your initial reaction when you saw you were drafted? Take us through that day.
I was hoping to go with the first pick with the Mariners, so that was sort of a rollercoaster of emotions not being picked the first day. I was kind of down, but if I had to go through it again I would go through it with no expectations. That is the advice I would give to any player that is getting drafted. The next day me and my family were all sitting around the computer and the picks were going, it seemed like a blink of an eye they were going really fast. So the Mariners came up and they call my named. There were hugs going around the room, and it was such a relief. I knew it was big when it happened because it was the highest position player picked out of Utah, so I felt really good about that like I was setting a bar high for the future.
What would you say your biggest strengths are as a player? What are some things about your game that need to be improved while in the minors?
I would say my biggest strength is probably on the mental side and being even-keeled. Everybody has ability and everybody has strengths, but it is the mental side that really sets you apart. Things I need to improve on, I would say my overall game. I think everything can improve and I know it will improve as I mature and I get stronger and get older. I can already see how I have improved since I signed.
What is your proudest achievement in baseball outside of being drafted?
Winning the gold medal with Team USA’s 16 and under team in Mexico. That was my first time ever going away from my family, which was only like three or four weeks, but that was a long time when I was 16 years old. That experience with USA baseball was awesome. We got to play in front of a couple thousand, which was huge for me at the time. Being stuck under the bottom of that dogpile when we won and being suffocated was awesome.
Do you feel any added pressure being the highest draft pick on the AquaSox roster?
It doesn’t really matter to me because nobody on our team really cares. We are all on this team for the same reasons which are to win a ring, get better and move on to the big leagues. So it doesn’t matter where you got picked.
What is your favorite non-baseall activity you like to do to unwind and take your mind off baseball?
After the games I usually have a TV show that I watch on my computer. I watch “The Office” before I go to bed every single night, I have done that for the last eight months probably. It is my favorite TV show, because it brings me back down to Earth. That may sound weird, but it is the truth.
What are your goals for your first full season in the minor leagues?
Just to get better every day. I have never been a guy who has stats set in stone that I want to achieve because if I put together quality at-bats the numbers will take care of themselves. So my goal is to simply feeling like I am getting better every day, and hopefully I will put together some good numbers.