Erik Ostberg -Hudson Valley Renegades Class A Short Season (photo via Erik Ostberg)
Erik Ostberg is a product of Division 1 Hartford and was selected by Tampa Bay in the 13th round of the 2017 MLB Draft. Ostberg bats from the left side and throws from the right. He catches and DH’s along with seeing some innings at 1st base. He is currently slashing .304/.363/.413/.776, which is positive improvement from his first year in the minor leagues. I recently had the pleasure to speak with Ostberg about his approach at the plate, things he’s continually working on to improve, his hobbies outside of baseball, and his thoughts on playing multiple sports in school.
Q: When you face a big time arm, as a hitter, what is the key to putting together a productive at bat?
A: The biggest thing is that I am looking for a first pitch fastball. I want to stay in go mode so if I get that fastball on pitch one, I will take a cut at it. I also try to tunnel my approach to left centerfield as well. Another important key for me is to stay focused on the situation with each pitch as opposed to mechanics.
Q: What does Erik Ostberg the hitter need to work on to be successful at the next level of pro ball?
A: For me personally, it is all about the process, developing routines and sticking to those routines every day. For example, I go through a 10-15 swing progression every day that allows me to look over all my checkpoints in my swing. Then once I take BP, I focus on carrying that over into the game. Also during BP I am looking to work up and out to left center. That gives me the most optimum path and adjustability. My mentor Pete Fatse of AP Academy and a former member of the Brewers minor league system has trained me meticulously to have the most adjustability in my swing which has positively changed my career without a doubt.
Q: Has your approach at the plate changed since becoming a pro? If so, what are you doing differently now?
A: I am not so sure that it has changed drastically. I want to stay in a good reactive state and I want to recognize and adapt. Hartford gave us so much information on opposing pitchers. It was detailed to the point that we knew or had a very good idea what pitch was going to be thrown on any count. We are not getting that information in Class A short season ball. So I am constantly reaching back on what I learned while in college and applying what I can to pro ball. After every game I go back at what the pitcher threw to me on every count. This helps me prepare for all my future at bats against opposing pitchers we will see.
Q: What are some things you do to help slow the pace of the game down?
A: There has not been a huge change in pace of the game. As you move up through the minors different elements of the game will have a change of pace. So far the I think there is a better quality of arms that come out of the pen. From a defensive perspective when catching, the Rays have a specific way they want every catcher in their organization to catch. That has been an adjustment in terms of pace that I am continuing to develop.
Q: Who was your favorite team and player growing up?
Q: Do you have any game day superstitions?
A: No superstitions. I just make sure I am always prepared for every game and situation.
Q: What are your hobbies outside of baseball?
A: Lifting weights is a big hobby of mine. I also enjoy go-karting and I have joined some go-kart leagues in the office. After baseball I would like to join an amateur race car league.
Q: Did you play any other sports in high school and growing up?
A: In high school I played football (had football scholarship offers), soccer and basketball. My private school required us to be a part of a sport for each season. In football I played linebacker and running back.
Q: What are your thoughts on playing multiple sports growing up?
A: I definitely think kids need to be active and play as many sports as possible growing up. When you get to about the age of 16 is when I think kids should focus on a single sport if they want to play at the next level.
Featured image of Erik Ostberg – via his Twitter @ErikOstberg21
I'm Aaron Schuck, covering all things about the Tampa Bay Rays minor league system. I currently live in Monticello, GA where I teach high school and coach basketball. Even though I coach basketball, please do not let that fool you that I'm only a basketball guy. My love for baseball is very strong. I will watch or attend a baseball game over a basketball game any day of the week. My goal is to provide our readers with interesting and informative information that involves everything in the Rays minor league system. Give me a follow on Twitter @bbbaseball101 and don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions, comments or ideas on the Rays.