Daniel Poncedeleon, a ninth round selection by the St. Louis Cardinals during the 2014 MLB Draft, spoke to Redbirds on Tuesday.
Daniel Solzman: Thanks for joining Redbird Rants today. How are things treating you?
Daniel Poncedeleon: Things are well. Just arrived at State College, PA. Just trying to settle in and get things organized quickly so I can start competing.
Daniel Solzman: Can you describe what it felt like when you were drafted during the ninth round of the draft?
Daniel Poncedeleon: It was joy and relief. I was expecting to go top 10 this year and I was more than happy to get drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals.
Daniel Solzman: When did you find out that the Cardinals were interested in selecting you?
Daniel Poncedeleon: I started getting an idea that the Cardinals were interested when the scout Charlie Gonzalez came to just about every game/intrasquad towards the end of my season at Embry-Riddle. When a scout spends that much time on you, you know the team has interest.
Daniel Solzman: What’s the reaction been like on Twitter and social media since the Cardinals drafted you?
Daniel Poncedeleon: I have had a lot of St. Louis faithfuls follow me on twitter and a hoard of congratulations from many people I rarely talk to. It was nice to see that people still cared and followed your career. It is pretty cool that many St. Louis fans have contacted me and wanted to speak to me. It makes you feel wanted.
Daniel Solzman: What did you do during the last week to take your mind off the draft?
Daniel Poncedeleon: During this last week, I spent it at home with friends and family and other loved ones. I went hiking on a few trails that took some courage, spent many days at the beach, and even went cliff jumping once into the ocean. Also spent some time working out; it makes your body feel good.
Daniel Solzman: Friday marked the fourth time you have been drafted and the third year in a row by a team in the National League Central.
Daniel Poncedeleon: I had never connected those dots before. Not something I honestly paid attention to.
Daniel Solzman: How have the coaches at Arizona, Cypress JC, Houston, and Embry-Riddle, helped get you ready for the next level?
Daniel Poncedeleon: I would say every school has taught me important things in my career that I now apply today. I so thankful and blessed that God has put me under these coaches because I feel they have prepared me for what I need to use in my career.
Daniel Solzman: What made you transfer from either Arizona or Houston?
Daniel Poncedeleon: I didn’t play much at Arizona and wasn’t a place I saw myself growing as a baseball player so I decided to transfer from there.
It wasn’t my decision to transfer from Houston. The deal where I signed a term paper for the Cubs then failed the physical put me in trouble with the NCAA and they considered me a professional athlete and therefore I lost my amateurism. This forced me to transfer to an NAIA school so I can play my senior season of baseball.
Daniel Solzman: Have you reached out to Kurt Heyer, a teammate of yours with the Arizona Wildcats, since the draft?
Daniel Poncedeleon: No I have not.
Daniel Solzman: Seeing how the Cardinals have developed pitchers over the last few seasons, are you looking forward to working with the coaches and veterans during Spring Training next year?
Daniel Poncedeleon: I am beyond excited to be part of this organization. I love learning from the older guys because I feel the best way to learn is through experience or someone else’s experience.
Daniel Solzman: The Hall of Famers always make a visit in Jupiter during Spring Training. Is there anyone in particular that you are really looking forward to meeting?
Daniel Poncedeleon: I am not too fond of the Cardinal’s Hall of Famers but I always look forward to meeting one.
Daniel Solzman: Who was your favorite player growing up?
Daniel Poncedeleon: Mike Piazza was one of my favorite players for a while when I was a kid.
Daniel Solzman: What is something that Cardinals fans should know about you?
Daniel Poncedeleon: I am a high level competitor. I grew up in competition. I compete even at the smallest things like trying to see who could skip a rock further in the sea. So I think everyone should know that I respect the sport of baseball and I will compete in every single pitch I throw in my career. I HATE LOSING.
Daniel Solzman: Thanks again for joining us and best of luck as your make your way up through the organization. Any words for the best fans in baseball?
Daniel Poncedeleon: Thank you. And also I would like to thank all the fans for the support so early on and I do appreciate everyone involved in supporting the Cardinals. I will do my best efforts to communicate with fans.