As we wrap our 2014 Major League Baseball draft coverage here at Puckett’s Pond, we’d like to round out the top 10 draft picks for the Minnesota Twins. While the front of the Twins draft was filled with pitchers, the organization as a whole has seen a surplus of talented young arms in the recent year.
In the 10th round of the 2014 Major League Baseball draft, the Minnesota Twins selected Randy LeBlanc, a senior out of Tulane. The widely respected baseball program that the Green Wave has developed into, has consistently produced draftable talent.
Though Randy has undergone Tommy John surgery already, he has an electric fastball resting in the mid 90’s. Hitting 94 in high school, LeBlanc has long been on scouts radar’s, and should he continue to develop, the Twins found themselves something good to round out their top 10.
Recently, I caught up with LeBlanc, and now it is time for him to be introduced to Twins Territory.
Puckett’s Pond: With a large family of siblings, was baseball a large part of your family’s life growing up?
Randy LeBlanc: For the most part, I was the one in the family that was most involved in sports. I played baseball, football, and basketball when I was growing up. My brother played football in high school, and a couple of my sisters enjoyed softball, but I was definitely more active with athletics then any of my other siblings. But baseball was easily above anything else throughout my life, and I would like to remain in the game in some form when my playing career is over.
PP: A 3.76 ERA at a baseball school as well-respected as Tulane is more than impressive, what was your favorite college pitching experience?
RL: In my college career I had many ups and downs with having surgery and such, but I wouldn’t change a thing. I know that comes off as a cliché thing to say, but I truly mean it. I’m a firm believer in “everything happens for a reason,” and I really enjoyed my time at Tulane. I made and played with some of my best friends at Tulane, and that is probably my favorite experience. If I had to pick a pitching experience, I would probably say my last career start in this past season. Going into the game I knew it would probably be my last game, so my emotions were running high the entire time. I threw well and our fans gave me a standing ovation when I came out to pitch the 9th inning, and another as I was pulled and walking off the field for my last time. That was something I will never forget and greatly appreciated. I was very fortunate to play for Coach Jones and such a great program for 4 years.
PP: Having experienced Tommy John surgery early on at Tulane, what are your thoughts on the surgery and what do you believe contributes to it?
RL: I was heartbroken when the doctor told me my season was over because I needed Tommy John surgery. It was early in my freshman year, and I wanted to continue playing with our team. As far as the surgery and my thoughts on it, I think it can be attributed mostly to pitching mechanics and simply luck. Some guys are fortunate to play for a long time without ever having an injury and others battle them throughout their careers. I didn’t have the cleanest mechanics in high school, and I believe the stress caused by my mechanics is what led to me tearing my ligament. I take a lot of positives from having the surgery though. Overcoming that adversity helped me mature more as a man, and become a better pitcher.
PP: When on the mound, what is your approach to pitching?
RL: I’m a very, very competitive person. It doesn’t matter if it’s a card game or the World Series, I’m gonna do everything I can to win. I definitely take that on the mound with me, as well as being very aggressive. I try to get ahead early, and throw a ton of strikes. That would be my main approach to pitching, aggressiveness and competing.
PP: Did you have expectations going into the Major League Baseball Draft and how did the Draft live up to them?
RL: As most people know, the draft is a crap shoot. Projections, for the most part, are never accurate and crazy things happen on draft day. I am very happy and honored to be in such a respected organization as the Twins have. I am extremely blessed just to have been given this opportunity, and I was ecstatic when I saw my name come across the screen on draft day.
PP: Being from Louisiana, have you watched much of the Twins or ever been to Target Field?
RL: I’ve always followed Major League baseball, so I’m familiar with many of the Twins players and watched some games. I enjoy watching Joe Mauer and those other big leaguers play. Before this past week I had never been to Target field. When I went up there to sign, it was actually the farthest north I had ever been. I still have yet to see real snow. But the field and facilities up there were amazing, and I enjoyed being around such a great place for a few days.
PP: Finally, past or present, who is your favorite major league and why?
RL: I have a few players I like watching the most. Adam Wainwright is one of my favorite pitchers. I like the way he competes, and it seems like he goes deep into every game he pitches, which is something I admire. Derek Jeter and Dustin Pedroia are two of my other favorites. I like Derek Jeter for the same reasons everyone else does. He plays the game the right way, and seems to be a genuine person on and off the field. I love Dustin Pedroia’s scrappiness. He proved so many people wrong by what he is doing in the big leagues, as people questioned his size. He is tiny but he hits for power, in the three hole, for a very good team. All three of these players lead their teams the right way, and I have a ton of respect for each of them.
As Randy LeBlanc heads out to the Minnesota Twins farm system, and continues to progress on his path to the big leagues, it is no doubt there are big things in store. For a kid with such a strong head on his shoulders, a competitive drive that seems unrivaled, and knowledge of the game that goes far beyond the Twins, the sky is the limit.
In the coming years, Twins fans can expect to be hearing Ron Gardenhire calling on Randy LeBlanc to lead the Twins and have his name ring throughout Target Field.