Tim Federowicz, 22, was drafted in the seventh round of the 2008 draft. He made his debut in low-A Lowell last year before splitting time between mid-A Greenville and high-A Salem this year.
For Greenville, Federowicz hit .345/.393/.562 in 226 at-bats. Moving up the ladder, Federowicz struggled when tasked with splitting playing time. In 187 at-bats, he hit .257/.276/.390. All told, he cranked 14 home runs.
SoxProspects.com likes Federowicz’s build as catcher and sees him as a very good major league defensive catcher. The one knock on him to date is poor plate discipline. It hasn’t prevented catchers from getting big league jobs, namely Miguel Olivo.
Federowicz sat down to answer some questions with Fire Brand about his experiences in his first full professional season and what the road ahead looks like.
How did you hold up physically and mentally in your first professional year? Did you wear down at the end?
I feel like I held up pretty good for my first full season. There were a couple times towards the end of the season that I didn’t feel as good as the day before or just wasn’t up for the game but I feel like that happens with everyone.
To what do you attribute your success to in Greenville? You got off to a great start.
I feel my success down in Greenville came from my preparation throughout the offseason and spring training just never taking a day off and listening to the instruction I was given.
How did the promotion to Salem affect you? Putting aside the numbers you put up, were there any struggles — adjusting to a new environment, etc. or was it smooth?
The promotion to Salem was great. I went and played in the South Atlantic League All-Star Game and then drove from WV to VA. I think as far as adjusting it was really smooth just because at every level through out the Red Sox organization they do everything the same.
About the numbers: While I’m sure you would have preferred better numbers, are you happy with your production in Salem?
I’m definitely happy with my production in Salem. I had to experience something that Ive never had to do with splitting time for the month of July. But now that I have been able to experience that, I feel like the next time I will have to do that I will be able to handle it a lot better.
What do you think you need to improve most on in order to continue moving up the ladder?
The biggest improvement that I need to make is just my consistency day in and day out. I had a couple games throughout the season that I was either tired or just not up for the game, and I just need to learn how to grind those days out and still get something out of them. No more days off.
What have the Red Sox asked you to work on this offseason?
They want me to continue to get stronger and take my offseason workout program serious so I can come back to spring training ready to play another long season behind the plate. [Ed. note: Very interesting to me that Federowicz and the Sox are both concerned more with holding up over a full season than plate discipline. At this point, it makes sense. First worry about getting a player prepared for the long haul behind the plate, then worry about nitpicking aspects of his game.]
Has catching been more rigorous professionally for you? Anything change from your college years?
It’s definitely an adjustment to make from catching in college to catching in pro ball, but I feel like it is still the same position in the same game. I mean, catching five days a week is tough but that’s why I need to take my offseason serious and make sure I am in better shape than I was the year before.
What style of catching do you prefer? Do you like to go over scouting reports, statistics, video and things of that like or are you more of a “gut feel” kind of person?
I feel like catching has a lot to do with “feel”. Scouting reports are a good thing to look at, but the best resource you have as a catcher comes from your experience with different hitters you face or pitchers you catch. You see tendencies that may not have been around when the scouting report was made, and hitters go through slumps so you will be able to get away with a lot more in those situations. [Ed. note: Jason Varitek, as you may have gathered, goes off scouting reports and video extensively. I’ve also learned that Victor Martinez is more of a “gut” feel player. There’s no wrong answers, just different methods.]
What pitch and location do you think is the most effective to get a batter out? Do you try to call that pitch often?
I think the best pitch in the game is a well-placed fastball because it is a pitch that can be used to get ahead and finish batters. Every pitcher needs to learn how to control their fastball or they will not be able to progress through the minor leagues. [Ed. note: I asked this because of Papelbon’s seeming over-reliance on the fastball and ‘Tek’s propensity to call fastballs constantly. Interesting to me that a fellow catcher would agree on the importance of a well-placed fastball, despite it being the most common pitch in the majors.]
Give us a scouting report of yourself — both offensively, defensively and “off the field.”
I feel like right now I am a good defensive catcher that has a decent arm and has a good “feel” for the game. Offensively I am progressing as far as my pitch selection and patience at the plate. I don’t strike out much and make a good amount of contact. Off the field I’m not a very vocal guy, I like to lead by example and I feel like everyone respects me both as a player and a person.
SoxProspects.com has an ETA of 2012 for Federowicz, who is expected to open 2010 as the starting catcher for Salem.