Jonah Heim is a catching prospect in the Baltimore Orioles organization, currently playing for the GCL Orioles, and was drafted in the fourth round of the 2013 MLB June Amateur Draft.
Orioles Nation: What was the leading reason behind choosing to sign with the Orioles over going to college?
Jonah Heim: The reason I signed was because I love the game of baseball and becoming a pro and doing it as a job has been a dream of mine ever since I was a kid. Growing up playing in the big leagues was something I dreamed about everyday like many other kids and I wanted to start my career as soon as possible.
ON: Since being drafted and beginning your professional career, what has been the biggest ‘culture’ shock for you in terms of adjusting to the differences between pro-ball and playing in High School?
JH: The biggest adjustment I had to make coming into pro ball was just being away from home and being able to focus everyday on baseball and my job at hand and not worry about anything else around me. In high school I had to worry about my school work and baseball and now it’s baseball 100% of the time and I also had to learn to have fun when baseball is done for the day because if all you think about is baseball it will just eat you up.
ON: When did you have the epiphany that there was still much for you to learn, in regards to being a professional baseball player and the things you needed to continue to work on to advance your career?
JH: I knew there was much more to learn in the game before I signed. In my mind there is always something new to learn and every day I am working to get better and trying to be better than the next guy. There is always something to work on even if you are the best that should be motivation to get even better. So with me I am trying to get better every day and just improve all aspects of my game as much as I can.
ON: Is there one specific thing you are working to get better on right now?
JH: I have just been working on getting my swings from both sides to be more consistent and to not over think my at bats and just let my abilities take over
ON: Talk to us about what you feel your greatest strength is as a ball player.
JH: I feel the best part of my game is giving the pitchers confidence in me to call a good game and give them a big target to throw to. I have a great relationship with all the pitchers. I feel catching is my best attribute.
ON: Do you have any specific goals in mind for this season?
JH: One goal is to break extended and go up to Aberdeen. In Aberdeen my goals are just to stay healthy and play the best baseball I can and hopeful help and win a championship for the Ironbirds.
ON: What kind of relationship do you have with the coaches? Has there been one specific coach that has helped you the most with your transition to professional ball?
JH: I have a good relationship with all the coaches and all of them has had a part in my transition. If I had to say one or two it would probably be Scott Thomas and Donny Warner. We have a great relationship and can go to them with anything I need.
ON: How often do you check out your batting line, if at all?
JH: I don’t look at it often. At this level I’m just worried about having good, consistent at bats and feeling good at the plate.
ON: If you had to take a guess at how long you think it will be before you crack the majors, what time frame are we looking at?
JH: If everything goes to plan and I perform like I know I can perform I would like to be in the big leagues in 3 to 4 years but there is no way of knowing and there is so much that can happen that I and taking it one year at a time and trying to have the best year I can.
ON: What advice would you give to high school players deciding between college or signing with the team that drafts them?
JH: Advice I would give to high school players is to have fun with the process and know what they really want to do. There are some kids that really want to go to school and there are other kids that just want to go out and play as soon as possible. I would tell them know what kind of kid they are.