As the first player selected by the Boston Red Sox in the 2012 Draft, it was inevitable that Deven Marrero
would find himself confronted with an eager fan base and omnipresent media that wanted to know all about him as soon as he signed his contract and officially became a member of Red Sox Nation.
The 21-year-old shortstop from Miami could be forgiven for growing weary of all the attention that has come his way since he joined the Lowell Spinners on June 24, but that's not how he chooses to approach the situation.
"I have fun with it," said Marrero before Wednesday's game against the Mahoning Valley Scrappers. "People are here because they want to hear my story, and I'm always available. I'm not one of those guys who wants to hide myself. I just like to have fun with it. I mean, how often am I going to get interviewed in my life? It's just fun, really."
The 24th overall pick in the Draft, Marrero credits his time at Arizona State with increasing his comfort level around the media. A career .325 hitter with 12 home runs, 95 RBIs and 32 stolen bases in three collegiate seasons, he was the first of 10 Sun Devils taken in last month's Draft.
"It definitely helped me because I had to grow up at ASU," said Marrero of his college experience. "They do interviews there, we had press conferences there and I was a leader. I was a captain my junior year. I was kind of like that person that everyone talked to for the team, so that definitely prepared me for this."
One thing college didn't prepare him for was the "everyday grind" of professional baseball. Like many players, Marrero cites the change in schedule as the toughest part of the transition.
"In college you practice for three days, then you play a three-game set, then you practice for three days," he said. "You have a week to practice and then you play the games, where here it's every day.
"Also the talent is way higher. These are guys who want to make it to the top level and they're giving it their all."
If that's where the pressure truly lies, Marrero is already getting advice on how to handle it. Soon after he signed, he had the opportunity to visit Fenway Park, where he peppered the Green Monster with balls in batting practice and caught up with another Sun Devil-turned-Sox Draft pick, Dustin Pedroia.
The 2008 American League MVP shared some laughs with Marrero, but also took time at the end of the day to impart some words of wisdom on one of the organization's newest members.
"We had a good time, then before I left he kind of came up to me like, 'Hey, you just gotta go out there and have fun and play your game. Play the game that ASU taught you,'" said Marrero, "Because that's the game that got him to the big leagues and made him an MVP. He does it the right way. No one questions his game because he goes about it the right way."
Marrero has jumped out to a solid start with the Spinners, hitting .282 with a home run and five stolen bases in 17 games. Wednesday's win over Mahoning Valley was his fifth straight game with a hit, a stretch in which he's batting .428. He also committed his first defensive miscue against the Scrappers, a throwing error in his sixth game at shortstop.
On the mend: Jeremy Bleich, the 44th overall pick in the 2008 Draft by the New York Yankees, is currently with Staten Island as he recovers from the torn labrum that kept him out for the entire 2011 season. He's made three starts for the Baby Bombers, allowing four hits and two runs in six innings.
Triples are wild: Williamsport scored seven runs in the first inning against Staten Island last Sunday. The first three batters for the Crosscutters -- Roman Quinn, Chace Numata and Cameron Perkins -- tripled to start the game.
Moniker Madness comes to the NYPL: The Moniker Madness brackets were released Monday with seven NYPLers making the field: Montreal Robinson (Connecticut), Jadd Schmeltzer (Lowell), Danny Oh (Staten Island), M.P. Cokinos (Tri-City), Spencer Kieboom (Auburn), Helpi Reyes (Jamestown) and Jordaneli Carvajal (State College). Lowell's Seth Schwindenhammer won the tournament last season after finishing as the runner-up in 2010.