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MLB Draft 2018: Get to know potential first round draft pick Greyson Jenista

Jenista did a Q&A with MLBDD in advance of the MLB Draft, which begins on June 4th.

Outfielder/first baseman Greyson Jenista of Wichita State already looks like he’s ready to take the field for a major league team. Only a junior, Jenista slashed .301/.446/.493 this past season, with nine homers. The 6-foot-4, 220lb draft prospect is known for his raw power at the plate and overall hustle when playing the game.

Current mock drafts are predicting Jenista to go towards the end of the first round, with Baseball America predicting a 29th pick to the Cleveland Indians, Be sure to check out Jenista’s full scouting report over at Minor League Ball.

How did you get into baseball as a kid?

I have cousin that’s actually 16-days younger than me, so my uncle started a team of just local kids and we started playing that way.

Did you start off in a different position than you play now?

I kinda played all over the place. Since it wasn’t that serious you just put kids where they wanted to play and just have fun. That’s what it’s about at that age.

Who was your team growing up?

I don’t really remember having a team but I’ll tell you the Royals since I’m a Kansas City kid.

What about a favorite player or someone you tried to mimic in your game?

Probably David Ortiz—Big Papi—I loved the way he played the game and how he was fun with it, he was loose, I liked that about him. And obviously he’s a left handed hitter.

So you’re a lefty hitter but you throw righty. Did you make a decision to switch off like that or did it come naturally?

Honestly I don’t remember how or when it happened. I’ve always been playing like that from as far back as I can remember. I was just naturally throwing right and hitting left.

What made you pick Wichita State?

They’re really the only school who recruited me. Coach Butler and Coach Walker, was with the team at the time, they’re great, plus the pitching staff was awesome. The facilities are second to none in the county. Plus the historic presence of the program is hard to beat—there’s a huge expectation to win and perform and I thought that was one of the coolest things. Just knowing that you’re playing in the legacy of all those players before you is a great feeling.

What’s your favorite thing about playing there?

You can give me a top three, in no particular order.

Okay, one would be the stadium, because our stadium is unbelievable. Just getting to practice in it everyday, play games in it. Two would be “The Hill”. So we have a hill in outfield and a lot of the fans take their beverages out there and will talk to you during the game or chirp at other team’s players, so it’s a good time. I would say three would be the memories of playing with the guys, of the people who’ve been on the team and the relationships that you build that you’ll remember.

Both you and your teammate Alec Bohm are predicted to have pretty good draft nights. What was it like to have someone around who really understands the pressures of the draft?

Bohm and I have roomed together in the dorms, you know we shared a bathroom, slept right next to each other, so he and I are pretty lucky to be going through this together with someone we know well. He has me, I have him to just bounce stuff off of if we need to, or if something is bothering us about it. And honestly, people will ask us about the draft and we don’t really talk about it too much. We just kind of talk about what we do hitting and what we do for our team. We can’t control the draft and I think we both understand that, we’re mature enough to swallow that—whatever it may be—but in terms of the draft, we just have fun with it. We go out, perform, and at the end of the day are both guys who just love to play. If you ever get to watch us play, I think you see that. It’s pure passion for the game and it’s what we love to do.

Have you two shared any anxieties or excitement about draft night?

He’s a pretty mellow guy to be honest with you, really levelheaded, and doesn’t get too high or too low about anything. It’s out of sight, out of mind right now. I’m sure the nerves and the anxiety and excitement are about to ramp up, especially Monday morning. That’s really when it will all probably hit and be a roller coaster of emotions.

Are you guys going to watch the draft together?

No, Bohm went home today, I’m going home pretty soon, and we’re just going to spend it with our families. We haven’t seen our families in a while, so it’s important for the both of us to go home and just enjoy the time and process.

Did you consider going to be at the draft in person?

No, not even a consideration. It’d be an awesome experience but I’d much rather be at home, that’d mean more to me.

What’s the biggest strength you’d bring to a major league team?

I’m versatile. I play a lot of different positions, in terms of size and athleticism I’m flexible. I’m a left hand hitter, high in the order, hitting for power. Whatever needs to be done, I’ll do it.

If you weren’t pursuing a career in baseball, what would you be doing?

I probably want to go to law school.

What’s your perfect walk up song?

It’s gotta get you going, and be a song that you like while getting the fans into it. I’ve done the hip-hop country vibe. I like country but it doesn’t work well as a good walk up. So I usually go with older hip-hop, R&B. I have one for each day, but Chance the Rapper, “Juice,” was what I used my freshman year and I loved it. “Fruit Punch”, by Kaiydo was one of my most recent ones too. So was “Diamond in my Pocket”, by Cody Johnson too.

What’s the best advice a coach has ever given you?

“Baseball isn’t who you are, it’s what you do.” It’s cliche but at the same time, there’s a lot of truth to it. That and, “Live life like a 3-1 count”, is another cliche but something I believe.

Any expectations going into draft night?

Obviously you want to go as high as you can, but at the end of the day I have no control as much as I’d like to. That’s also part of the excitement, not knowing where you’ll end up. You sit around and you wait until you get that call. That’s the beauty of this draft—you never know until you really know. I try not to look at the mock drafts or predictions. It’s hard to avoid with social media always in our faces. I hear about it, but I don’t want to know anything until my name is called.