With today being opening day, we had the chance to catch-up with former Diamond Dukes who are now playing professionally. The alumni gave advice, talked about what made JMU’s program unique and their upcoming season. Here is what 2011 draft pick David Herbek had to say.
What advice would you give to a college baseball player looking to go professional?
The advice I would give a college player looking to go pro would be to work as hard as you can and be realistic about your prospects of being drafted. Many players do not look objectively at their draft stock and instead just hope it is something that happens for them. You need to take an inventory of your physical tools, your productivity (stats), and your attitude and improve them to the best of your ability.
What has been the biggest challenge and reward while playing professional?
The biggest challenge for me in pro ball has been enduring the grind of playing every single day and not taking any days off in my focus and effort.
How did playing at JMU influence your baseball career?
Playing at JMU truly helped me reach the professional level. I learned more in the four years I was at JMU about hitting and fielding under Coach Jay Sullenger than I had my entire life before college. He was an outstanding mentor for me and a great man as well.
What made the JMU program unique while you were there?
While I was at JMU, our teams were unique in the fact that we were so great offensively. Not to say we were bad in the other areas of the game such as pitching and defense, which we were also very good at, but our offense was commonly in the top five in the country for many of the important categories such as batting average, home runs, doubles, etc. There were many special players on those teams and Coach Sullenger did a great job developing those players into exceptional hitters.
What is your favorite memory from JMU baseball?
My favorite memory from JMU was playing in the regional as a freshman. It was an intense mix of nervousness and excitement and our team greatly overachieved that year.
What is your favorite memory from professional baseball?
My favorite memory from pro ball was simply being able to play in front of my family for the first time this past season. It was exciting for me to see about 10 relatives in the stands when we traveled up to northern Virginia, where I'm from, this summer for a series.
What are your goals for the upcoming professional season?
My goal for this year is to simply continue to improve in consistency. There are so many variables working against you in baseball, especially professional baseball, that it is very difficult to sustain consistency over a long period of time. The hardest part about playing every day is being mentally focused and giving you all day after day, but when you are able to do that consistently, you will surely have success.