With their 16th selection in 2017 MLB Draft, the Mets selected outfielder Raphael Gladu out of Louisiana Tech University.
The Quebec native transferred to Louisiana Tech for his junior year from Galveston College in Texas. While at Louisiana Tech, he won the Conference USA batting title his senior year after hitting .378/.439/.579.
A line drive hitter with speed, Gladu doesn’t hit for much power but can flash it at times. However, he has a knack for working counts and hitting for average.
Recently, I got a chance to catch up with Raphael where we talked about what it was like to be drafted, win the Conference USA batting title in college, and growing up liking the Montreal Expos.
Piersall: Talk to me about what it was like to be drafted last year. Where were you and how did you find out the Mets took you?
Gladu: It was awesome, I talked with the Mets during my college season. One day before the draft a scout told me that they are interested. [For the draft] I was at my house listening to the draft radio and that’s how I found out.
Piersall: What was it like winning the Conference USA batting title your senior year of college?
Gladu: Again that was something great, a good way to finish my college career and something I won’t forget.
Piersall: What has been the biggest difference between college and pro ball for you? Did it take adjusting to?
Gladu: Yeah a little bit. The game feels different in a way. In college, you play more to win, like bunting at the beginning of the game, pinch running and stuff like that. Also, everybody here throws harder with better command.
Piersall: In college, you always had a knack for hitting for a high average and working the count. Has your approach changed at all since becoming a professional?
Gladu: My approach is the same. The pitcher is better, so it’s normal that the battles are a little bit harder here. Not many guys hit over 300 here, and there’s better pitching and better defense.
Piersall: Congratulations on your recent promotion to St. Lucie by the way. Has there been a big difference between playing there over Kingsport?
Gladu: The game is faster! Players have more experience.
Gladu: I feel like at this level they should keep their eyes on everybody.
Piersall: For the fans who will be reading this, can you give me a little scouting report on yourself? What are your biggest strengths offensively and defensively?
Gladu: I am a line drive hitter that can hit the ball pull side and the other way. I’m also fast so I can get extra base hits with my speed. Defensively, I’m fast so I can track the ball more effectively.
Piersall: Being born in Quebec, did you have a favorite team growing up?
Gladu: The Blue Jays and the Expos, haha.
Piersall: Did you follow them at all when they relocated to Washington?
Gladu: Not really, because I was too young. But I went to a couple games when I was little.
Piersall: Did you have any favorite players growing up, or guys you model your game after?
Gladu: My favorite player was Derek Jeter when I was younger because I was also an infielder.
Piersall: Who have been your biggest influences during your baseball career and throughout your life?
Gladu: My parents. They have always been cheering me on.
Piersall: What are your goals the rest of the season?
Gladu: Just making the most of my at bats and playing good defense, as well as helping the team.
Piersall: I know you’re newer to St. Lucie, but what does hitting coach Joel Fuentes try to instill in you guys?
Gladu: Just stay with the approach depending on the pitcher.
Piersall: How about your manager Chad Kreuter. He played many years in the bigs. What’s it like playing under him?
Gladu: It’s great. He’s a good coach that really cares about his players.
Piersall: What has it been like for you playing predominantly outfield now as opposed to infield?
Gladu: I feel more comfortable in the outfield, also I can use my speed a little more out there.
Make sure to give Raphael a follow on Twitter: @RaphaelGladu.