Zach was selected by the Tigers in the 29th round of this years first year player draft out of Ole Miss. He hails from West Monroe, Louisiana where he went to West Monroe High School. For his High School career he hit .415 with 16 home runs and 72 RBI. He also was a letterman in football there as well. In his final year at Ole Miss, Zach hit .286 with 13 home runs and 46 RBI. He currently plays for the Class-A New York-Penn League Connecticut Tigers. Where he’s posting a .233 with 5 home runs and 21 RBI. He’s also stole 8 bags.
Zach was nice enough to take sometime to answer some questions for the readers of the Country Strong Tigers. Here are the questions with his answers applied:
CST: When were you first exposed to the game of baseball?
ZK: My older brother played before me, so when he would practice or have lessons I would go to. Whenever I was old enough to pick up a ball and bat I was at it.
CST: What was it like playing in the NCAA Tournament?
ZK: It was a neat experience. We were really close to making it to the Super Regional against UCLA, and with the three starters we had: Bobby Wahl, for sure first rounder next year, Mike Mayers, who I think will be a really high pick next year in the draft, and RJ Hively who was picked up by the Arizona DiamondBacks this year, I think we could have won that SR and went to Omaha. Unfortunately, we lost twice to TCU at College Station and that’s where it ended.
CST: How would you describe your game?
ZK: I’m a power guy at the plate, who’s going to drive in runs. I can also run a little bit and swipe some bags. Every now and then I’ll lay a drag bunt down to open up some holes in the infield and keep the defense honest so they can’t put a shift on. I’m not a guy who’s going to hit for a high average but I’m definitely a better hitter than I’ve shown so far in the NY Penn league. Defensively, I need to get a lot better to be where I want to be. I’ve been working a lot on getting my arm stronger and getting better on my jumps (routes) in the outfield.
CST: In 2008, you were drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 41st round straight out of Junior College (LSU-E). What made you decide to go to Ole Miss instead?
ZK: I was a walk on there, and that’s where I was moved from the corner infield to the outfield. As a highschool baseball player I never saw myself as a professional baseball player, probably because I had never gotten any attention from scouts or many colleges. I knew I had a lot of talent, but I never went out and showcased them through summer ball. I went to a highschool football power house and baseball was secondary. My summers were usually spent doing summer workouts and two-a-days with the football team. I was was trying to move to the next level. So when I showed up at LSUE, I ran a good 60 in front of scouts and had a good batting practice and it took off from there. I decided to come back because I felt that I could play baseball in the SEC which was my initial goal on going to junior college as a stepping stone.
CST: You were drafted in the 29th round by the Tigers this year, did that surprise you at all? Or, were you just happy to be drafted?
ZK: I had a really good year at the plate this year as a senior, but I was mainly a DH and had hardly any at bats against left handed pitchers. I only had 140 at bats and put up some good numbers, but I wasn’t sure it would be enough to get picked up. I had a lot of scout meetings, so I knew I had a chance.
CST: What were your first initial thoughts when you heard your named called?
ZK: It was a relief. I just wanted to get a shot to play some more baseball.
CST: Where we’re you when you heard the news?
ZK: I was actually at home working on some first base drills. I had a couple teams that wanted to see of I could play first.
CST: Turning things away from baseball a bit, what are some of your favorite things to do in your free time?
ZK: I love working out, it’s been a lifestyle for me since I was in middle school. So staying in shape and staying strong is something I’m always working on. It’s been a challenge with playing every day. My first month I was working out a little too hard and I realized that I was playing tired a lot. I had to back off the weights a little bit so I could be my best on the field. I also like to hunt, fish, and I used to be a pretty good golfer but I haven’t played in awhile. My hitting coach at Ole Miss made me quit. HaHa.
CST: Couldn’t help but notice that we both share the same birthday with the G.O.A.T Michael Jordan. How cool is that?
ZK: It’s one of the greatest days in history, you’re welcome MJ!
CST: Person you looked up to growing up?
ZK: I look up to my Dad a lot. It’s where I get my work ethic.
CST: Favorite baseball player? Then and now?
ZK: I loved watching Griffey Jr when I was younger. Sweetest swing in baseball. But I like a lot of guys, Gary Sheffield stands out. I dont know how he hit with all that movement in his swing. Today I love watching Albert Pujols. The way his swing is so simple but with so much power and torque is pretty incredible.
CST: Favorite sports teams? Professional and collegiate?
ZK: I really don’t have a favorite baseball team. There’s not a pro team in Louisiana so I never really kept up with a team, but I like the Texas Rangers a lot. They play gorilla ball, I love it.
CST: Any pre-game rituals?
ZK: Not really, hit off the tee a bit before stretch and get after it.
CST: Favorite music to listen to and or artists?
ZK: I like a lot of different music but my favorite artist is Led Zeppelin.
CST: Why did you choose the number you chose, any special reason or was it just given to you?
ZK: I didn’t have much of an option. I think it was 27 or 56.
CST: If not for being a pro baseball player, what would your profession be?
ZK: I’d probably be working with my Dad, or doing something self employed. I don’t really want to work for anyone else other than myself.
CST: Final question, where do you see yourself in 30 years?
ZK: In thirty years….hopefully retired with a nice MLB pension!
You can follow Zach on Twitter.