2007 MLB Draft Q&A: Robert Stock

"I use expectations as a fuel to drive the fire."

Robert Stock has long been considered one of the top talents in the 2007 draft class. Long touted for his incredible two-way talent, Stock has been one of the most closely followed prospects in recent memory. We recently sat down with Robert for an in depth Q&A session.

Scout.com: First of all, how do you feel about your high school baseball season? Do you feel you performed well and what are your overall thoughts?

Robert Stock: This season has been my favorite baseball experience. I've gone to "cooler" places and played with better teams talent-wise, but playing for this team was what made it so special. Many of the players on the team I've been playing with since we were in little league so it was really a culmination of our amateur careers together. We came three outs short of our goal, and I'm not sure that I'll ever be totally over it, but for now I'll live.

Scout.com: What do you feel is your strongest attribute as a player and why?

Stock: My greatest physical tool is my arm, but I think what helps me the most is the work that I put in off the field. I always know that I've done everything I can, so that succeed or fail there's nothing I could have done. It would keep eating at me if I knew that had I practiced a little harder that one day, or taken those extra swings, I might have done better.

Scout.com: What is one improvement you made this year that you feel was very helpful to your development as a player?

Stock: My greatest improvement this year has been to become a better pitcher. I've always been able to throw, but towards the end of the season I figured out how to throw and pitch at the same time. So instead of going out there, throwing 150 fastballs and getting 10 strikeouts and 10 walks, I learned how to mix it up and throw a couple different pitches for strikes.

Scout.com: Which of the big top prospect events will you be playing in this summer? What do you feel is the best way to go about handling playing in such events?

Stock: As of now, I'll be attending the Area Code Games at Blair Field and the AFLAC Game at San Diego State University. Obviously, these are important events concerning next year's upcoming draft, but the best way to go about it is to realize that baseball is a game of averages, so if I go 0-4 one day, it just means I'll go 3-4 a different day.

Scout.com: You've been talked about as a pitching and catching prospect. Where do you feel you fit the best? And, were you a pitcher or a catcher first in your career?

Stock: I first came to the spotlight as a pitcher when I was a freshman that threw hard. But, over time I've developed more as a catcher and that's where I think and am told I would fit best at. To tell the truth, I don't like one over the other, I just like the one that I'm doing at the moment. I think that I could succeed at both in the future, so I continue to work hard at both.

Scout.com: Please describe your repertoire. What are your pitches, their velocities, and what is your best pitch?

Stock: In the fall when I was playing with scout teams and I only had to throw one inning, I was getting up to 95 MPH on the fastball, but I've had to tone it down in order to throw seven innings during the season. I'm equally comfortable throwing a curveball and a changeup, but I feel like the changeup has more promise.

Scout.com: Talk about your defense by behind the plate. What are your strengths, weaknesses and what would you like to improve on?

Stock: Behind the plate, my best aspect is my arm strength. I don't feel that I have a glaring weakness, I just need to improve in general at blocking, receiving, and overall being quick.

Scout.com: What is one improvement you'd like to make in the coming months?

Stock: Behind the plate is where I have the most room to improve, and this summer and next year I plan to really work on that.

Scout.com: How would you describe your approach at the plate?

Stock: At the plate I like to consider myself patient and not so much a free swing as a smart swinger. However, when I do swing I'm trying to crush the ball, not just get a base hit.

Scout.com: What MLB player would you best compare yourself to in terms of style? And, is there a player you've idolized or modeled yourself after?

Stock: I don' think there's a major leaguer that I compare myself to, although I do strive to swing like Barry Bonds and throw like Nolan Ryan. People think that the only thing to Bonds is his strength, but to me, he has the best swing in the game. Arnold Schwarzenegger in his prime wasn't going to go out and hit any homeruns. As for Nolan Ryan, his mound presence and mentality mean just as much for me as his blazing fastball.

Scout.com: What is the most important lesson you've learned as a player and who taught you that lesson?

Stock: I think the most important lesson for me has been the knowledge that if you want to do anything especially well it takes a special amount of hard work. No one ever sat down and told this to me, but my father taught by example in that when I was young, he was always practicing with my brother and I, until we were mature enough to do it by ourselves.

Scout.com: If there was one thing you'd like a scout or coach to know about you or your game, what would it be and why?

Stock: If there's one thing I'm proud of that I'd like a scout or coach to know it is that I value my baseball mentality. I don't throw my bat when I strike out or sulk when the calls don't go my way on the mound. I'd like scouts or coaches to see that I handle myself with composure.

Scout.com: Obviously, scouts and coaches will ultimately make the decision about where you will play, pitcher, or catcher. Has anyone given you any type of indication as to where they feel you fit the best?

Stock: People have been telling me that I would fit best at catcher more because of logistics than me being better at one that another. Left-handed hitting catchers are rarer than 6' 1" right-handed high school pitchers.

Scout.com: You've been on the prospect radar for a couple years now and are known as one of the nation's elite prospects. Is it ever difficult not to get caught up in all the attention you get and how do you try to handle it?

Stock: I use expectations as a fuel to drive the fire. If I don't want to let myself and others down, then I'd better work hard to make sure that it doesn't happen. And, if I work hard and I still fail, I haven't let myself down because I did everything I could.

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