Miami Marlins draft pick J.T. Riddle talks to Wildcat Blue Nation

Former Kentucky Wildcat baseball player J.T. Riddle took some time on Wednesday to speak with Wildcat Blue Nation.

Daniel Solzman: J.T., thanks for joining Wildcat Blue Nation today. How are things treating you in Batavia?

J.T. Riddle: So good so far. I finally got settled in up here with a host family and everything. I’m just trying to learn the ropes and everything of a new organization, being the new guy and everything. Other than that, baseball-wise, everything is going good. I finally got to start playing again a couple days ago. It’s so great to be back on the field.

Daniel Solzman: When did you know that the Miami Marlins were interested in drafting you?

J.T. Riddle: I got a text on that Saturday morning, that last day of the draft. I really hadn’t heard anything from the Marlins on the first two days and then they kind of dropped me a text and then I got a phone call saying they were interested. They asked me what my number was and before you know it, they were picking me in the 13th round.

Daniel Solzman: You were assigned to the Batavia Muckdogs of the New York-Penn League. How does the Batavia area differ that of Lexington?

J.T. Riddle: Actually, it’s about the same. Of course, it’s New York and people are a little different up here. The area is a little kind of a country town. It’s not bad up here. The weather is pretty nice. It’s not too hot. It’s just about right for baseball.

Daniel Solzman: How honored were you to have been named Mr. Baseball coming out of high school?

J.T. Riddle: It was a big honor. I was in with a very good class of guys there. Kentucky had Corey down in Louisville and Trevor up in Lexington. I think we all three split the three big awards out in Kentucky and we all end up going to the University of Kentucky there and had 3 great years up there. Now, we’re all in pro ball and looking forward of trying to reach our dreams of playing in the big leagues one day. It was a big honor winning the Kentucky Mr. Baseball award.

Daniel Solzman: How has UK Baseball coach Gary Henderson prepared you for the next level?

J.T. Riddle: He’s been a big help. He’s taught us ever since day one when I was a freshman. He taught us how to carry ourselves right, how to be winners and how to play the game right. It’s helped me a lot the past 3 years at UK. I know I definitely thought that when I went out of high school, I was in a whole new world not knowing what to do and every thing. Just going and playing for him, knowing he’s been in the game for a long time, just teach us how to do it the right way. It was a big help before I made the step to pro ball.

Daniel Solzman: The Miami Marlins A affiliate, Greensboro, plays a few games each season in Lexington. I know your professional career is just getting under way but are you looking forward to the idea of returning to Lexington for a ballgame within the next few seasons?

J.T. Riddle: Oh yeah. I’ve definitely looked at that and that would be fun for sure. I’ve just got to play one game at a time. I’m just getting to that next level. Once I get to Greensboro, I figure it’s a fun place to play and of course, it’s low A ball and I’d like to be higher that that but it will be fun once I get to that level and come back to Lexington to play some games.

Daniel Solzman: Who was your favorite player growing up?

J.T. Riddle: I’ve always been a Chipper Jones fan. I’ve liked him ever since day 1 ever since I started watching baseball. I’ve always been a fan. I wore number 10 and (inaudible) a lefty swing. Of course, he’s a switch hitter and I tried that but it didn’t work out for me.

Daniel Solzman: How awesome does it feel to have a Columbus Day birthday?

J.T. Riddle: It is pretty awesome. I never really thought about it that much. Of course, I actually have a lot of family members that have the same birthday: me, my dad, my aunt, and my cousin. It’s kind of convenient when you get the family around. It’s pretty sweet.

Daniel Solzman: Thanks again for joining Wildcat Blue Nation. Any final words for Big Blue Nation?

J.T. Riddle: I think we’re good. It should be a good team next year.

Topics: Kentucky Wildcats, Miami Marlins

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