Blue Jays: Exclusive Interview with Prospect Joshua Palacios – Part 1

ARLINGTON, TX - MAY 18: Toronto Blue Jays' players Wilson baseball gloves lay in the dugout during a baseball game against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park on May 18, 2014 in Arlington, Texas. Texas won 6-2. (Photo by Brandon Wade/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - MAY 18: Toronto Blue Jays' players Wilson baseball gloves lay in the dugout during a baseball game against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park on May 18, 2014 in Arlington, Texas. Texas won 6-2. (Photo by Brandon Wade/Getty Images) /

Recently, Jays Journal was granted the exciting opportunity to have a chat with exciting young prospect Joshua Palacios of the Dunedin Blue Jays. Below is a transcription of the interview.

Hayden Godfrey: Thank you so much for joining me, Joshua. You are playing for a very diverse and exciting organization. Do you get the chance to watch the big club often? If so, do you have a favourite player? Or are you still tied to a childhood team?

Joshua Palacios: I’m really proud and excited to be playing for such a diverse and exciting organization, there is so much going on right now and the future’s so bright. In terms of watching the big league club, unfortunately, I don’t get to watch them too often because we’re usually playing when they’re playing, so we may catch the last two innings when we get on the bus. I do love the Jays and I’ve grown to love the Jays more, I was always a Yankees fan growing up though, but experiencing the culture of Toronto and the Blue Jays, and how they do things has really drawn me towards the Jays. As of right now, my favourite player is Josh Donaldson, because we both went to the same school and I just love the way he plays the game and the energy he brings to every game.

HG: You were drafted in a fantastically talented draft class. The first overall pick your year was Mickey Moniak of the Phillies, also drafted around your position was fellow Blue Jays minor leaguer Cavan Biggio. Your current Dunedin teammate Bradley Jones was taken later on as well.  What was it like being drafted in such an exciting and interesting draft class, and being taken rather early no less?

JP: It’s amazing, we take a lot of pride in our draft class and the guys are all doing really well, over the years we’ve grown closer together and we’ve been helping each other and assisting each other and it’s become more of like a family atmosphere between the draft class and the organization.

HG: Moving on to your progression through the Blue Jays minor league system, you had tremendous success during a stint with the Vancouver Canadians, posting a .355 average, posting excellent strikeout and walk ratios. What was it like playing at Nat Bailey Stadium out west? And how did it impact your development as a player?

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JP: Nat Bailey stadium was amazing, that was probably one of the best minor league experiences I’ve had. Having so many fans at every game and having the fans being so passionate, it didn’t matter if we were down 10 runs or we were up 10 runs, the fans were always into the game. It was a beautiful thing to see that the Canadian fans being so passionate about the game, it really gave me a lot of energy to go out there and play every day.

HG: It was also during that time spent in Vancouver that you were able to develop some quietly effective gap to gap power, which is currently a very prominent part of your scouting report. When did you start to work on hitting all over the field? Was it something that you’d been working on since your time in Brooklyn (Joshua’s hometown) or at San Jacinto (where Joshua went to high school)?

JP: It’s actually something I’ve been working on since back in Brooklyn, it was one of the first things my father was on me about – being able to hit to all fields. He would always bring up the best hitters that played the game like Rod Carew and Pete Rose, these great hitters were always able to hit to all fields. Gap to gap, you can go to left field, you can go to right field, down the line, either way, he would always illustrate that the best hitters could hit the ball anywhere. It’s really difficult for a pitcher to be able to pitch to a guy who can hit the ball to all fields.

HG: Speaking of Brooklyn and San Jacinto, you put up some video game numbers as a senior in New York, .667 average, six doubles… was that a difficult transition for you, moving from the Big Apple to the Lone Star state?

JP: It was an extremely difficult transition, but thankfully I had a lot of help from my Uncle and my father, and a lot of knowledge from their experiences playing professional baseball *. Going to the Lone Star state, there’s a lot of great pitchers, guys throw a lot harder, it is one of the best pitching states I’ve seen thus far and just everyday working and having the will to want to get better helped me transition to that type of baseball.

* Note: Joshua’s uncle, Rey Palacios, was a catcher who spent three years in the major leagues for the Kansas City Royals. His father, Richard, spent time in the Detroit Tigers minor league system.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of this interview, which includes a more detailed account of Joshua’s progression through the Blue Jays minor league system, and his goals for the rest of this season.

Next: Blue Jays face an important nine-game stretch in May