Welcome to our latest our latest “Road to the Show” interview with OF/3B Willie Holmes.
Holmes was drafted by the Red Sox in the 14th round of the 2009 MLB Draft out of Chaffey College in Rancho Cucamonga, California. Holmes showed an impressive ability to get on base and hit for power while at Chaffey, posting a .453 OBP and hitting 9 HR’s this season in 145 at bats.
Holmes start to his professional career has twice been hampered by injury, however he has still shown that he can get on base, carrying a .378 OBP into today’s action. Holmes has started his Lowell career playing the outfield but also plays third base with a strong arm. Willie sat down with us to answer a few questions.
You went to Chaffey College, can you talk a bit about your college career, your favorite moment, and what positions you played in college?
I played Left Field, third base and then some time as a DH. I don’t prefer one position to another but I enjoy playing the outfield.
Definitely the best moment of my college career was being part of back to back HR’s in the playoffs my freshman year and just the whole experience of winning our conference that same year. I’m hoping we have similar success here in Lowell or wherever I find myself playing.
Why did you choose Chaffey? Did you have offers from other schools?
I had offers from others schools but Chaffey is close to home, a lot of friends went there and it was just where I felt was the best fit. People really don’t know that Chaffey has a great baseball program but I think Darryl Kile and Rollie Fingers went there so we definitely have a real strong program for a JuCo.
Did you ever play any other sports in high school or college? Were you ever recruited for these sports?
I played football in high school but stopped my sophomore year. I played linebacker, I was never recruited for it and never looked at it as something I wanted to continue with. Baseball was always where my heart was.
What would you say is the most impressive thing you’ve seen so far this season? What part of your game are you working on the most?
The one thing that I’ve been impressed most by so far this season is the camaraderie of the team and how all of us have come together in such a short period of time. We all come from different backgrounds and ethnicities and still play together as a team.
The one thing I am working on most is my hitting, the difference between using aluminum in college and wood here in the pros, it’s been a tougher adjustment than I expected but I am starting to really get a feel for things and I have gotten a lot more comfortable as time’s gone along.
How has your season thus far been in Lowell? Your season has been interrupted by injuries; do you feel that has hindered your beginning to your professional career? What has the transition from JuCo to Single A been like?
The whole season has been amazing, I would say watching the other players on my team grow is probably the best part of the season thus far, obviously making my debut was great but I enjoy just watching these guys out there everyday.
Yeah it was tough getting injured twice early on, you want to get out there and play, but you just have to work your way back, and that’s what I did. I’m happy to be out there getting a chance to show everybody what I can do. There is definitely a big adjustment playing here after coming from Chaffey, I know I’m up to the task and I believe in my ability, like I said the biggest things are the difference between aluminum and wooden bats and just adjusting to the increased level of pitching.
Tell us a bit about draft day, what was it like to be drafted, what was the process like to sign?
It was fun, we were watching the draft and I was standing by the phone with my dad, when I got the call my mom was so excited. I got a ton of calls from friends, everyone was excited, and it was definitely the happiest day of my life. Being picked by such a great organization was a dream come true, I didn’t know what to expect but to be here playing for the Red Sox, I really have to count my blessings, even if it is a long way from home (California).
Growing up, who were your favorite baseball team and player? I was a big White sox fan, my favorite player was Frank Thomas, growing up I always wanted to play just like he did.
What is something about Willie Holmes most people don’t know and what is your walk up song and why did you choose it?
I love to ride motorcycles and fish. My walk up song is “Go Getta” by Young Jeezy, besides just loving the beat I like to be someone who goes out and gives my best everyday.