Pitching his tent
Letson misses Alabama, but is enjoying the minor leagues
Justin Schuver, Hartselle Enquirer
The Myrtle Beach Pelicans' Wes Letson played baseball for the Hartselle High School program from 1997-2000. He played college ball at Birmingham Southern and was drafted by the Atlanta Braves in the 11th round of the 2004 MLB Draft.
Letson was assigned to single-A affiliate Myrtle Beach, where he is currently 2-3 with a 4.04 ERA for the Pelicans. He agreed to a phone interview with the Enquirer recently.
How would you describe the minor league lifestyle?: "Pretty much always on the go; it's very stressful. It's not the glamorous lifestyle that a lot of people might think it is. I usually get to the ballpark around 1 p.m. to do warmups, and don't get back to my apartment until 11 or so at night."
How exciting was it to be drafted by the Braves?: "I grew up being a big Braves fan, so it was very cool. Getting to play baseball, and especially for the Atlanta organization, has always been a big dream of mine."
What makes you a good pitcher?: "I'm a pretty big competitor, and I think that gives me an advantage. I try to outwork everybody else and give it my best effort day in and day out."
Letson describes his arsenal of pitches as a two-seam fastball, a four-seam fastball, a changeup and a curveball.
Have you developed any new pitches in the minors?: "Our pitching coach here in Myrtle Beach has really helped a lot with my changeup. It's definitely becoming a good pitch for me."
Letson has had the opportunity to meet several current members of the Braves, including Jeff Francoeur, Brian McCann and Macay McBride.
How cool is it to know that some of your old Myrtle Beach teammates are now in the major leagues?: "It's really amazing and just shows the depth that Atlanta has in the minor leagues. They're all really great guys."
Have you been the team's pitching workhorse this year?: "I'd say yes, especially in the first half. The second half I've struggled a little bit, probably because I'm not used to pitching in a 120-game season. The guys here said they see a lot of college kids hit a wall at this point in the season, and that's probably happening to me. I feel like I'm still there physically, but mentally I'm a little tired and have to really work through this."
How does Myrtle Beach compare to Hartselle?: "They're total opposites. It's always packed here because it's a tourist town, so it takes 15 minutes to get to the grocery store. It seems to be a real party place with visitors all the time, and it's pretty much the opposite of what I like.
"I probably prefer the laidback atmosphere in a place like Hartselle, but I have to play baseball here, so I deal with it."
Do you sense that the Braves put more of an emphasis on player development than on W/L record?: "Definitely. They put a lot of work in the minor league system at all levels. Their coaches are unbelievable and really teach you a lot. The proof of that can be seen this season, with all the rookies they've called up to contribute to the major league team. They really want to develop their players at the minor league level, and don't put as much of an emphasis on winning."
What are your immediate goals for the season?: "I want to finish this year healthy and be able to go into spring training healthy and ready to go."