Stefen Romero had a phenomenal season in 2012 and was rewarded with the Mariners Minor League Player of the Year Award following the year as well as playing in the Arizona Fall League with many of the top prospects in all of baseball.
Romero -- who was invited to FanFest to be introduced again to the Seattle fan base -- took some time between his responsibilities at the event to talk with SeattleClubhouse's Josh Dobner about his defensive versatility, his approach and work ethic and the zip line.
SeattleClubhouse: Thanks for talking with me here at FanFest, Stefen.
Stefen Romero: No problem Josh.
SC: What does it mean to be here in Seattle so quickly this weekend for FanFest, being recognized as part of the future of this organization?
SR: It’s definitely an honor to be here. This is a lot of fun and there are a lot of great players here. It's good to be a part of it.
SC: Speaking of great players, congratulations on being recognized as the Organization’s Player of the Year for your performance during the 2012 season. What did that honor mean to you?
SR: I think it just shows that I played on really talented teams, both in High Desert and in Jackson with a great core of guys -- guys like Brad Miller. Personally you can’t produce at a high level as a player unless you have guys around you on your team making you better and giving you those opportunities.
SC: You had the opportunity to play in the Arizona Fall League with several teammates in October and got to test yourself against some of the best prospects in the game there. Did that experience teach you anything about yourself or your game?
SR: Just being with really highly rated prospects -- you hear about those prospects all the time -- but actually being on the same field with them and putting a name to a face and hanging out with those guys gives me even more confidence that I’m a big league caliber player. Being around those guys that are big league caliber players puts that in perspective and just helps to build my confidence even more.
SC: You were a third baseman in college, while you have played predominantly second so far in the minor leagues. There has been a lot of talk regarding getting you acclimated at the outfield corners as well as first base. Is it harder to learn and become comfortable at a new position or to maintain your focus on the offensive side of your game during those changes?
SR: I don’t think it is tough to acclimate because I’ve moved around already -- I played third base in college, I played shortstop in high school, played some first base in college and played some outfield in Clinton. So, to me, it doesn’t affect too much on either side, offensively or defensively. If you’re learning a new position you just have to work fundamentally to get sound at each position and get better every time. Offensively, I don’t see it as affecting that side of my game so I don’t give that part of the matter any concern.
SC: Pat Casey, your skipper at Oregon State, recalls seeing you in junior college with a sound approach to the game and an exceptional work ethic. How far did his belief in your ability go in allowing you to be successful in college and beyond?
SR: Coming out of Junior College I wasn’t really recruited by many schools; I wasn’t even recruited in state from Arizona or Arizona State. So getting calls from Oregon and Oregon State -- especially Oregon State -- just going by word of mouth based on my work ethic and my approach to the game coach Casey showed the belief in me and told me that he thought that I could have a very successful career there. That’s the biggest thing that stood out with them to me and what I respect about them was that their coaching staff really goes after hard working guys.
SC: You experienced success in both Advanced-A and Double-A during the 2012 season. With the level of talent associated with both, what adjustments did you have to make to maintain such a level of success?
SR: I honestly didn’t make too many adjustments. I knew that there were going to be stretches at times when I would fail -- it is inevitable that you’re going to run into failure. I think that it is just a matter of how you react to and how you learn from those failures and push through them to your success that helps build your continued success.
SC: What is your biggest emphasis in your personal Player Development Plan for the upcoming year?
SR: My biggest emphasis is to get really good and sound at every defensive position that they ask me to play so that I can be ready no matter what they throw at me in the year ahead.
SC: What are your goals for the 2013 season and beyond?
SR: My goal is to be up here in Seattle with the big league club, definitely. To be up here and to help the club out in any way that I can in a playoff push would be great.
SC: Finally, did you get to try out the Zip Line here at FanFest?
SR: I haven’t. I really don’t think that we’re allowed to. It looks like a lot of fun, but I don’t think that the club would even let us.
SC: Makes sense. Thanks for talking with me today and good luck in 2013, Stefen.
SR: Thank you Josh.
Looking for more Mariners player interviews, news and articles? Want to keep up with which prospects are hot and cold for the M's? "Like" SeattleClubhouse on Facebook and follow SeattleClubhouse Contributing Writer Josh Dobner on Twitter at @JPDobner and site Editor Rick Randall at @randallball.