Edit: Re-promoted for the Monday morning crowd.
Earlier this week, we reached out to Brandon Guyer to conduct an email-based interview with the hottest hitter in the Rays' farm system. Many of you had commented on him in game day threads and in Kevin Gengler's articles, so we thought it would be a good idea for our readers to get to know him before his call-up to the big leagues in the coming weeks. Little did we know that Guyer would get that call-up less than 24 hours after we sent him the questions.
To his credit, he found the time in this hectic weekend to tell us he would get the answers back to us ASAP, and he did exactly that after the Rays' 8-2 win yesterday in Baltimore. Please keep in mind, the questions we sent Guyer went out Wednesday morning when he was still in the minor leagues as DRaysBay may be able to predict Buehrle perfect games and the Rays signing Joaquin Benoit, but predicting when the Rays will promote players to the big leagues is at best a complete crap-shoot. A huge thanks to Brandon Guyer for the interview and getting back to us so quickly under the unique circumstances.
DRB: What are some of the differences that you have noticed between the Cubs organization and the Rays organization?
Guyer: Honestly, baseball is baseball. Both organizations are run very well and pretty similarly. When it comes down to it, each individual player has to put the work in so that they can succeed. I think that no matter what organization your with that applies. Since the Cubs were the only organization I knew in pro ball I didnt know what to expect switching to a different one, but it really is not much different.
DRB: Compare "The Cubs Way" of running spring training to "The Rays Way" of doing things.
Guyer: There were two big differences between spring training with the Cubs and with the Rays. First, with the Rays the minor leaguers and major leaguers all share one facility, where with the Cubs the big league facility is a drive down the road. I like the feeling of having everyone at one facility because it gives you the opportunity to interact with each other and you get a sense of closeness within the whole organization. Second, there was a lot more early work and team fundamental work with the Cubs. The reason for that is because the drive to other teams facilities in AZ were very short and we had more time to do work. With the Rays since every opposing team is a far drive, we are limited in the amount of work we can do if we are on the road that day
DRB: You are playing for a Durham Bulls team that has been a model of success in Triple-A as they have won four straight Southern Division titles and won the league title just two seasons ago. What does it mean to you to play for a team that is accustomed to that kind of success?
It's really cool to be able to play for a team with the reputation and success that they've had. To have that kind of success shows the kind of players that have came through here and that are still here. Knowing that, my goal was just to be me and do what I have done my whole career so that I can do my part in helping this team hopefully win another division title and league title. So far it has been great. Playing at Bulls stadium is awesome and I definitely feel that we have the players to make another run.
DRB: Charlie Montoya has been managing in this organization's minor league system for fifteen years and every home grown talent on the 25 man roster has worked with him in some way, shape, or form. What are your early impressions of him?
Guyer: It has been great playing for Charlie. One of the best things about him is that he is a big time competitor. He wants to win just as badly as his players and that definitely rubs off on us. Just playing for him for this short time I can already see how so many great players have succeeded under him and how he has had a lot of great teams. He demands that the game is played the right way and he gets the most out of all his players.
DRB: You are coming off a monster year in the Southern League and the Cubs voted you Minor League Player of the Year. This year, you are already pacing the Bulls offensively with a .370 batting average, 14 extra base hits, 21 runs, and 18 RBI. The ultimate team goal is to win the championship, but what are some of your individual goals for this season?
Guyer: Coming into this season, like I said earlier I just wanted to be me. Not to try and do too much, but just bring to the table what I know I am capable of doing. My goals were to build off of my season last year and give it my all on the field everyday. I feel like I became a much smarter player and put together everything that I knew I could do last season. I know that my numbers will be where I want them to be at the end of the year as long as I play the game hard and smart every single time I step onto the field.
DRB: You've played over 100 games at each one of the outfield positions - do you prefer any one of them over the other?
If I had a choice, I would play center field every single day. I love all the ground there is to cover and feel great there. So far I have played in right and left field the most this year, which is great for me too. I feel the most comfortable playing center, so being able to get a lot of time in the other spots will only benefit me in the future.
DRB: What were your initial emotions upon learning you had been traded to the Rays?
It was bittersweet for me. I had formed a lot of great relationships with many players and coaches in the Cubs system that I knew I would miss. At the same time, I realized that it would be a good opportunity for me to come to the Rays and show them what I can do. Baseball is a business, so players know that trades can happen at anytime. I just wanted to make sure I worked my butt everyday off so I could make the most of the opportunity.
DRB: When you were sent down during Spring Training, what kind of feedback did the coaching staff give you in terms of your performance and what you needed to work on in Durham?
Guyer: I feel that I made a great impression on the Rays in the short period of time that I had before my groin injury in spring training. They just told me to continue to work on all aspects of my game and to keep playing the game how I do. Talking with them when I got sent down only motivated me that much more to work my hardest and play my hardest. I know that if I continue to listen to the coaches and play the way I am capable of, my dream will get that much closer.
DRB: It's said that your first date with your now wife came out of a bet with your teammates. What is another unique story that you have from your days in the minors so far?
Guyer: Back in 2008 when I was playing for the Peoria Chiefs and our team got into a bench clearing brawl. I ran in from the outfield to help out my teammates and before you know it am right in the middle of it. After about 10-15 minutes of mayhem, everyone gets separated and I find out I am one of the players ejected from the game. So I go in and start to shower and all the sudden a player runs in to tell me and the others that we have to come back and play because they did not want pitchers playing the outfield. So I hurry up and throw my uniform back on and go back and play the last 5 innings of the game. It was one of the craziest experiences that I have ever been apart of in baseball. Only second to getting interviewed and asking out my now wife in college!
DRB: You have a Twitter account (@BrandonGuyer) and several members of the Rays 40 man roster do as well with David Price and Reid Brignac being the most interactive. What are your thoughts about social media in regards to interacting with fans and friends?
Guyer: I think social media nowadays is great for fans interacting with players. It gives fans a great perspective of what the players life is like and lets them get to know players like never before. I finally created a twitter account in spring training this year hoping to become more interactive but have not been a very good tweeter so far. I definitely need to step my game up in that aspect!