I recently had a chance to talk with Nationals prospect Randolph Oduber. We discussed topics such as his coming to America, his blazing speed, and what he’s looking to improve on in this coming season.
Michael Natelli: How old were you when you moved to the US from Aruba? If it was later in your life, what was it like coming here to play ball and pursue a professional career?
Randolph Oduber: I was 19 years old when I came to the state. It was a dream come true for me. I always wanted to play ball in the state.
After coming to the United States at age 19, 23-year old Randolph Oduber now finds himself in the Nationals minor-league system pursuing a career in the big leagues. Mandatory Credit: Randolph Oduber
MN: After being drafted in June of 2010, you made a name for yourself quickly by winning the 2010 GCL League MVP award. What was it like winning such a prestigious award just months into your professional career?
RO: It felt great winning that award but most importantly it was a great start for my professional career.
MN: Who was your biggest baseball influence growing up, and what ballplayer do you model yourself after most?
RO: My dad was my biggest influence growing up. He played catch with me probably everyday when I was young. I don’t really have one specific ballplayer that I model my self after. I just pick little things from different players that I like.
MN: How difficult was it to adjust to professional pitching after coming from the JuCo ranks back in 2010? What allowed you to so quickly?
RO: It wasn’t really hard to adjust because the pitching in GCL wasn’t that much [different] than JUCO. I just had to get used hitting with wood bat.
MN: You stole an equivalent of 29 Major League stolen bases this year in Potomac, and you were safe in 82% of your attempts. What makes you such an effective base stealer?
RO: My speed is one of my biggest tools in the game and that is what I work the most on. I work a lot on my base running and my jumps. during games I just try to pick up something from the pitcher that would help me steal the base and my speed will take over.
MN: What do you feel the strengths of your game are, and what are you working to improve on?
RO: [The] strengths of my game are my speed and hitting. I’m working a lot to get my arm stronger and get selective with my pitches that I want to hit and make sure I always have a plan when I get to bat.
MN: Minor-league clubhouses are known for having a light-hearted, college-like atmosphere. What’s the best story you can share of your experiences in pro ball thus far?
RO: The biggest experience I feel is getting to know players from everywhere and seeing them everyday towards the season. It’s fun being in the clubhouse with the guys and knowing that all of us is doing something that we all dream of and we all want to make it.
You can follow Randolph on Twitter @Randolph00.