The College Baseball Blog recently had the opportunity to talk with Jordan Wyckoff who just completed his second season with the Franklin and Marshall College Diplomats. He just finished his summer coaching in the Alaskan Baseball League where he served as an assistant coach for the Mat-Su Miners. This is our second opportunity to speak with Coach Wyckoff this fall as we focus this time on his Alaskan League experience. You can check out Part 1 of our interview with Jordan by clicking here.
1. Jordan, This was your first year working with the Mat-Su Miners of the Alaskan League. The team ended up finishing in second place with a 21-14 record. What would a typical daily schedule for an assistant coach in the Alaskan League?
As the 3rd assistant, I had some unique duties that required me to be at the ballpark more than anyone else. Aside from my coaching responsibilities, I was also in charge of the uniforms and some field maintence. My day would usually start by getting all of the laundry out of the dryer and into the player’s lockers. I would then mow the infield. By then, the team would arrive. I would be in charge of throwing batting practice. After we took batting practice, I would go back to the office and get the scouting reports, charts, and lineup organized. During the game, I would coach 1B. After the game, I would open the clubhouse and organize the laundry. I would get that started, grab some dinner in town, come back, water the grass on the infield and put the rest of the uniforms in the washer, lock the field, and come back and do it all over the next day.
2. The Alaskan League is a non-profit entity which relies heavily on volunteers to keep the team running throughout the season and off-seasons. How much involved is the general community in working with the players and coaches on getting housing?
The community does a great job of opening up their homes to players for the summer. The arrangements are made before the players arrive and they are often placed with a teammate or two in a house. As a coaching staff, we were lucky to get a house to use for the summer since a family had gone on an extended vacation. The players really developed very strong bonds to the host families. I actually got to move in with a host family for my last week in Palmer and it was a great experience. I got to spend a lot of time around the house with our catcher, Steve Domecus, (UC-Santa Barbara) and it was neat to see it from his point of view.
3. The Alaskan League is considered the second best summer collegiate league in the country only behind the Cape Cod Baseball League. Did you find the adjustment from coaching D-3 athletes to some of the top D-1 players difficult?
It was a very easy transition. Baseball players are baseball players. Whether they come from a small DIII school or a big time D1 program, if you can relate to the kids and earn their respect, they will play hard for you. Once I got settled in to the community and had the opportunity to spend some time with the players, they became a very easy group to coach. From a baseball standpoint, I was impressed with how athletic the position players we had on our squad were. It was really impressive to watch such a talented group on the field day in and day out.
4. Who were some of the better pro prospects on the Miners? And who was the top pitcher and the top position player you faced on the opposition?
The Miners were given a very talented group of players who I consider outstanding pro prospects. Garrett Richards (Oklahoma) emerged as an ace towards the end of the season, he threw 93-98 and was dominate for us. Kyle Jensen (St. Mary’s) was an outfielder who had a great mix of tools. He could run, hit for power and average, and had a plus arm. Steve Fischback (Cal Poly SLO) was another one of our top arms who had a great mix of plus pitchers. Troy Scott (Washington) was our first basemen. He had a beautiful swing from the left-hand side and generated a ton of leverage in his swing. Blake Newalu (Henry County HS, McDonough GA) is going to be a player to keep an eye on. He was the only high school player on our team and he won the Gold Glove award for the entire league, which was very impressive. In terms of players from other teams, I thought that Ross Humes (Washington State) from the Oilers was a very tough pitcher to face, he was a very funky lefty who dominated us when we faced him. The top position player was Joey Terdoslavich (Miami FL) from the Glacier Pilots. He could flat out swing it, from both sides of the plate. He hit throughout the entire summer, which was very impressive considering how much of a grind the season can become.
Thanks to CBB Senior Writer NYDore for helping out by setting up the interview with Jordan. We hope that we can provide more insights with head coaches and assistants during the off-season. Once fall ball is over we will be doing interviews with Division 1 head coaches and maybe even have a weekly article by an assistant or even a player. If you know of a coach that is interested in doing an interview feel free to email me by clicking here.