The Chicago Cubs are known for their World Series futility and having fallen on particularly hard times of late. But better days are ahead, as boy-wonder Theo Epstein was brought in as President and the team has a number of intriguing prospects making their way through the minors. Although not a high draft pick, one of those prospects, Dustin Geiger, is starting to make a name for himself.
Geiger, a third baseman, was taken in the 24th round of the 2010 MLB Draft by the Cubs out of Merritt Island High School in Florida. He had contemplated attending college, but decided the opportunity to play professional ball was too good to pass up. The right-handed hitter was solid but unspectacular during his first two seasons. Despite battling injuries, he broke out in a major way in 2012, hitting 17 home runs and driving in 53 runs in just 75 games with A-level Peoria. More information on his statistics is available at http://www.baseball-reference.com/minors/player.cgi?id=geiger001dus.
The Cubs still have a big hole at the hot corner, so the 20 year old Geiger may have a great opportunity in front of him if he continues developing at a rapid pace. I recently caught up with Geiger, who just wrapped up his season, and found out a little more about the Cubs prospect.
Who was your favorite player when you were growing up, and why?
Derek Jeter. My first major league game was a Marlins/Yankees game in spring training, and I was a big Yankees fan growing up. I loved, and still love, the way he plays the game and is active with his foundation, giving back to others.
How did you know that the Cubs were interested in you?
I had talked with my area scout Lukas McKnight and attended a pre-draft workout in Clearwater, Florida.
Can you describe what your draft day experience was like?
A dream come true. All of my hard work over the years paid off and helped me reach a big goal.
How difficult was the decision to sign with Chicago rather than attending the University of Central Florida?
It was a tough decision for sure. But in the end I chose to sign because of the opportunity that was in front of me, and I didn’t have a crystal ball telling me I would be blessed with another opportunity like it.
Besides the travel, what was the most difficult thing to become accustomed to during your first professional season?
Being away from family and friends. My first season, I was 18 and living 2,000 miles away with a 3 hour time difference.
You had a broken hamate bone earlier this year. Can you describe how that injury and subsequent rehab impacts a ballplayer?
The hamate bone is more a hassle than anything. You don’t need the bone, so they just went in there and took it out. Any player who has been on rehab will tell you they can’t stand it. Watching your teammates head out to the field everyday makes you want to get out there even more and you learn your true love for the game.
Not being a higher draft pick, what drives you to compete with and against other prospects who may be more well known?
My goal to make it to the big leagues. Worrying that someone got drafted higher or signed for more money is negative energy. You can only control so many things and that’s not one of them. I have to give 110% day in and day out to show others, as well as prove to myself that I’m good enough to play in the big leagues and help the Chicago Cubs win a World Series.
Have you noticed anything different organizationally since Theo Epstein was hired?
There’s a lot of positive energy. Everyone is buying into the program to be the last team standing at the end of the season. I’m excited for the future!