Journal: LaPorta outlines keys to success

Stars slugger lends some advice, looks ahead to season's second half

(Tony Farlow/

By Matt LaPorta / Special to | June 19, 2008 7:32 AM ET

Matt LaPorta, the former Florida Gators star, burst onto the scene in his pro debut in 2007 after being drafted seventh overall by the Milwaukee Brewers. He hit 12 homers in only 115 at-bats (30 games) to lead the Minors in HR/AB ratio, then went on to lead the Arizona Fall League with six more roundtrippers in 30 games. He also finished second in the AFL in RBIs and total bases.

Send Matt an email

Welcome everyone to another journal entry by Matt LaPorta.

I hope everybody is enjoying watching the College World Series.... I know I am. It's great to see the teams play so well together and pour out everything they have into each and every game. Again, I want to say best of luck to the teams still left in the series.

We concluded the first half last night against the West Tennessee Diamond Jaxx, Double-A affiliate of the Seattle Mariners. The half came down to a one-game playoff between our team and theirs to see who the first-half winner would be. It was a good ballgame, but we just could not get anything going for us off their pitchers.

That's how baseball is though -- you win some and you lose some. We just happened to lose at the wrong time, but we all gave it our best effort. We just have to focus on the second half and play just as hard as we did the first half of the season.

Quote of the Journal: I got this out of a great motivational book called Whatever It Takes from a chapter called "The Drive."

We all get 24 hours a day. It's the only fair thing; it's the only thing that's equal. It's up to us to determine what we do with those 24 hours. We can waste them, or we can choose to consistently fill them with good. Preparation, practice, hustle, grit, initiative and drive -- these are all old-fashioned words, but they have built the world.

Now for an email.

Hello, my name is James and I've been playing competitive baseball since I was 10. I'm now 15, playing for one of the best teams in the Midwest. Unfortunately, I'm not one of those "standout" players on the team. What I basically lack is strength. I only throw in the low 80s and can rarely hit for power. My goal in life is to pitch in the Majors or even play outfield. Can you tell me what you did in your high school years to become the player you've become today (workouts, drills, etc.)? What did you do to make the University of Florida notice you? Thank you, I'll be looking forward to watch you play in the bigs!

James, I hope you are doing well. I read your email and I was thinking about the fact that you are only 15 years old, which means you still have a lot of time to grow and build up strength. If you want to be a pitcher in the big leagues, you have to work hard to get there and have a great approach day in and day out. Things that you may want to do that could help build your velocity are a lot of running to make sure your legs are strong and you don't wear down while you are in a game.

Work on your core muscles, rotator cuff and scapular muscles. That will help build strength in your shoulder, as well as endurance. Last thing is to work hard and give it all you've got.

Thanks, everyone!

Matt LaPorta is a prospect in the Milwaukee Brewers organization and a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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