interview from last year:
Lastings Milledge is a center field prospect in the New York Mets organization. The 2003 first-round pick played at two levels in 2005, starting in the Florida State League and ending in the Double-A Eastern League. Combined, he hit .318 with 29 steals. He also represented the United States in international competition, playing in the IBAF World Cup in the Netherlands. Now the 20-year-old is a member of the Grand Canyon Rafters and will be chronicling his experiences in an AFL journal for MiLB.com. In 13 games, Milledge has hit .302 with two homers, nine RBIs and five stolen bases.
• Send Lastings an email.
Hey everyone. It's been a pretty good week. I hit a walk-off homer in the ninth inning the other day. It's cool, especially when your team needs you. It's exciting when everyone comes together to meet you at home plate. That's how everyone wants to play the game, and it's a great way to end the game. I get an extra charge when something like that happens. It gives me and my team an extra spark, even into the next day. It carries over. It gives you more confidence going into the next day.
I can't seem to get the multi-hit games coming regularly, but I'm staying within striking range. One day, I'll have that breakout game when I can get the average up to the mid threes or high threes. The average isn't that important though. That's not the thing I'm worried about. There are other aspects of the game I want to compete better at. If I don't get the average way up there, it's alright.
I'm more concerned with walks, on-base percentage, stolen bases, stuff like that. Those are more important to me than average, right now. Taking pitches and drawing walks is something I'm going to have to get a better feel for over time. It's not going to happen overnight. I need to get better with that if I want to be a complete leadoff hitter.
Off the field, we didn't go anywhere. We were just chilling. This week was kind of the get-over-the-hump week. I think people are looking to the end of the season a little bit at this point. It's a couple weeks away, but we'll keep working hard, and I'll keep answering your emails.
Lastings' Mailbag / Send Lastings an email >
How did you like your time with the Binghamton Mets? Did you try Spedies, a local barbecue favorite? Do you think you will start next year at Binghamton? -- Paul
Paul, I don't know where I'm going to start. You never know. People can get hurt, or there can be a backlog, so you never know. Spedies was pretty good. I enjoyed it after every game. Binghamton was a cool place to play.
I'm curious about the approach you use at the plate. Are the Mets asking you to slap the ball on the ground and use your speed to get on base? Or are they asking you to drive the ball? You have been leading off for most of your professional career, so I would think they are asking you to use your speed. Does it depend on the situation in the game (runners on base, late inning situations, etc.)? -- Derek
Derek, you have to play to the situation. There can't be a guy on third and you're looking to drive the ball out of the ballpark. When a guy's in scoring position, you're just trying to find a hole and get the run in. There are times when you can be aggressive and try to drive the ball in the gaps, like if there's a runner on first. It depends on how many outs there are, if you have to get the guy over ... it really depends on the situation.
From an athlete to an athlete, how do you handle competition? When you see another baseball player who, in your opinion, is better in general than you are, how do you react? -- Stephen G.
Stephen, you do things that they don't do. There are not many guys who can do well in every aspect of the game. When a guy does something better than you, you try to find something they don't have. Speed is one of the biggest things. Not too many people have the speed and power combo. Or the ability to make plays in the field. When you see a player who does something better than you do, you can dig for something they don't have. Maybe you just do things differently than that player does.
I had the opportunity to see you play in a few games down in Florida this year. I noticed that your dad attended a lot of games. Do you miss not being able to play in front of your family? -- Carol, NJ
Carol, I'm actually pretty lucky. I get to play in front of my family all the time. They're always there. Even when I was in New York, they came. They go where I go.
Lastings Milledge is a New York Mets outfield prospect and an MLB.com contributor. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.
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