JUPITER, Fla. -- As part of MLBPipeline.com's visit to all 30 Spring Training facilities this month, we will be sitting down with prospects and getting to know them a little better. At Cardinals camp, it was No. 6 prospect Nick Plummer. Plummer was the first-round pick of the Cardinals in
JUPITER, Fla. -- As part of MLBPipeline.com's visit to all 30 Spring Training facilities this month, we will be sitting down with prospects and getting to know them a little better. At Cardinals camp, it was No. 6 prospect Nick Plummer.
Plummer was the first-round pick of the Cardinals in the 2015 Draft, taken No. 23 overall last June. A very strong summer showcase circuit performance helped offset the limited looks scouts could get at him during his senior season of high school in Michigan. He struggled a bit during his pro debut, though he did show good plate discipline at times.
MLBPipeline.com: It's always a tough jump to go from high school to the pro game, maybe even more so for someone like you from a cold-weather state like Michigan. What was the biggest difficulty in making that jump last summer?
Plummer: I think the biggest thing was just playing every day, having practices before your games, going out in 97-degree weather. You had to make sure you're taking care of your body and you get all the work you need to get in. You focus on the quality of the reps you're doing and not the quantity. It was a great learning experience. I'm just trying to get going here and I'm excited for 2016.
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MLBPipeline.com: Numbers-wise, it looks like you did some things well during your debut, like work counts and take walks. Some things didn't go as well, like with your strikeout rate. What are some of the things you realized worked and some of the things that didn't?
MLB Pipeline Spring Training reports
Plummer: Overall, what I took is that I have good plate discipline, but hitting those pitches earlier in the count that you have to hit is important. Being more aggressive earlier in the count, too, is good. I have the eye and the overall plate discipline to know if it's going to be there and if it's a good pitch to swing at. I want to stay the same player, but maybe be a little bit more aggressive earlier in the count.
MLBPipeline.com: The Cardinals are committed to and believe in your ability to play center field. How much does that mean to you and how much do you want to show them you have the skills to stay there?
Plummer: It means a lot. I still have to go out and do what I need to do, at the plate and defensively. That's a great thing about going into pro baseball right away. It's your job, you go out, pick a few things to work on, you hone in on them, you work on your skills each and every day. Then you come back and do it again. It's nice that they think I can do it, but I just need to get better day in and day out.
MLBPipeline.com: People make a big deal about coming from a cold-weather state. Do you think it's a disadvantage?
Plummer: For me at least, it's been an advantage. Today, we went out to stretch and everyone was complaining that it was cold. I'm telling them, 'Guys, I'm out in shorts right now if this was Michigan.' Yes, you get snow on the ground, but we have good facilities. We played a few games where we probably shouldn't have played because of the cold weather, but it makes you tough. I'm proud to be from Michigan.
MLBPipeline.com: Your stepfather, Scott Leonard, has had a huge impact on your life. What kind of influence has he been after times earlier in your life when things weren't going so well?
Plummer: Between him and my mom, they've done a lot for me personally. My mom pretty much raised me as a single mother. She went through a pretty bad divorce. Scott came into my life and I truly don't think I'd be in the position I'm in without Scott and, for sure, without my mom. On the baseball side, Scott did a lot. He's really good at talking to people and got me hooked up with the right people when I needed to be. I've been growing from it ever since. They're lucky enough that they run their own business, so they can come down and watch me. It's been surreal, kind of fairy-tale like. When everything went down when it did, days kind of got longer and you dreaded it. But you just work through it and my mom and I are very strong people. For Scott to come in our lives when he did, it shows that everything happens for a reason. I really don't believe I'd be here without Scott coming into my life.
Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com. Follow @JonathanMayo on Twitter.