Todd Coffey was drafted in the 41st round out of Forest City, North Carolina in the 1998 amateur draft. The Reds have been patient with Coffey, and their patience has paid off in spades. After coming back better than ever from Tommy John surgery in 2000, Todd posted a 2.38 ERA at AA Chattanooga last season, striking out 10.5 batters per nine innings, and only walking .79 batters per nine. Coffey is a great bet to see time with the Reds in 2005, possibly for good.
1) Could you talk a little bit about playing baseball in Forest City? Did you play other positions, or were you primarily a pitcher? Did you play any other sports?
Playing in Forest City was a great time for me because I love playing in front of my family and friends. My grandfather is my biggest fan and playing in front of him is great. No I didn't play any other positions, I even got Dh'd for in high school, so you can say I've been a pitcher for life. I played football for one season, then I started to focus on baseball year round.
2) What was it like being drafted by the Reds? Could you tell us a little about draft day?
It was like waiting for an egg to hatch. I was waiting by the phone all day but I had a baseball game that night so I had to go. My brother was on the internet and saw when I was drafted and came to the game and told me. I was happy.
3) I read recently in the Dayton Daily News that you've lost something like 80 pounds since being drafted. What was your motivation to lose that weight? Did the Reds encourage you to slim down?
Yes, I was 305 and I came in the next spring at 212, and now I'm at 230. It was a lot of hard work but worth it. The reds were like "lose the weight or go play football".
4) Tell us a little about your Tommy John surgery and your rehab. What do you think of the Reds medical staff? How tough was your recovery?
The surgery was hard on me and if I didn't have my wife I couldn't have gotten past it. The reds medical staff was great, Dock was great, the rehab was hard, but the staff made it easy. They know what they're doing.
5) Have you noticed changes in the organization since Jim Bowden left and Dan O'Brien was hired?
Yes the team has changed. The pitch to contact is a great thing.
6) Did you enjoy your Arizona Fall League experience? Do you think it helped you as a pitcher?
Yes, the fall league was great and it made me a better pitcher. I was facing the top hitters, the 3 and 4 hitters, every time.
7) What baseball players did you admire growing up? What team did you root for?
John Smoltz and the Braves.
8) You have great control, only walking six batters last year in 59 innings. Would you say you focus the most on going after hitters and trying to avoid walks?
Two of those walks were intentional walks. I focus on getting the hitter out, going right at them. The pitch to contact is a great thing.
9) I know that your brother posts on RedsZone. Do you ever check out message boards or baseball websites?
I do sometimes, but not much. I try not to look at baseball sites I just try to focus on the game and what I have to do to be a better player.
10) What is your biggest motivation to make it to the major leagues?
Just playing the game is motivation.
Best of luck to you Todd and thank you for your time. We'll be rooting for you.