Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Interview: WBC Team Israel Pitcher Alex Katz


There are a lot of exciting elements to Team Israel in the World Baseball Classic. The major leaguers who are playing, the notion that Israel baseball is in the top 16 countries in the world, and the returning stars. Probably most exciting is the young players coming through the system that have a chance to shine. For a White Sox fan Alex Katz is one of the shining stars. Katz finished last season in A+ ball but is looking to make a jump this year. The WBC might be the best platform to show his stuff.

 
1) Tell TGR a little bit about yourself.
I grew up on Long Island, went to St. John’s University in Queens, NY and was drafted by the Chicago White Sox as a junior in 2015.

2) What do you expect this season? Where do you hope to be by seasons end?
I expect to build off of my past 2 pro seasons. There's always room for improvement. Most importantly, to stay consistent throughout the long season. I try not to think about each level, instead just focus on pitching my best, getting outs, and the rest will take care of itself.


3) Who is the best hitter you have ever faced and why?
Andrew Benintendi is one of the best hitters that I’ve ever faced. I pitched against him in the NCAA Regionals in 2015 and he ended up winning the Golden Spikes Award that year, and is currently the #1 prospect in baseball.



 
4) Team Israel has a lot of momentum going into the WBC. Can you make a run?
Without a doubt we can. The team is full of veteran players with a ton of experience, as well as young talent. The team we had at the WBC Qualifiers in September gelled together extremely well.

5) Who has been the biggest professional mentor in your young career?
My dad has been the biggest mentor for me throughout my baseball career. He doesn’t miss a game, whether it's through live feed on the internet or at the games. He knows me almost as much as I know myself. 

6) Whats behind your Twitter handle @Kittyelgato12?
It was kind of a joke soon after I signed with the White Sox. A lot of teammates called me Kitty and then some of my Latin teammates started calling me Gato, which means cat in Spanish.
7) What was your Jewish life like growing up? And today?

I was Bar Mitzvahed and went to Temple for the major holidays growing up. Currently, it is difficult to go to Temple as much as I did growing up because baseball takes up so much of my time. 

8) Favorite Jewish food and why?
Potato latkes. That’s one of my mom’s specialties. 

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