July 26, 2007

Interview: Brian Duensing

Brian Duensing was drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the third round of the 2005 amateur draft. Since then, he has been a huge success and surprise for the Twins rising through five levels of the Twins farm system in just over two years. These levels include Elizabethton, Beloit (Low-A), Fort Myers (High-A), New Britain (AA) and now Rochester (AAA). What makes Duensing's story even more interesting is the fact that he once pitched for the University of Nebraska, and pitched in two College World Series.

Brian was kind enough to take time and answer some of our question regarding both his quick rise through the system and even some questions about his college days. Before we get started with the interview, you can check his college numbers and minor league numbers out here.

Now on with the questions....

Twins Territory: Growing up, what was your favorite baseball team, and who were some of your favorite players?

Brian Duensing: My favorite team was the Cubs just because they were on television so much. Then, some of my favorite players were George Brett and Tom Glavine.

Twins Territory: What baseball player would you say that you’re most like and why?

Brian Duensing: I would say I am the most like Tom Glavine. I feel like I have the same type of mechanics and although I'm not as sharp as he is when it comes to hitting spots, I feel like I have the same approach.

Twins Territory: What do you feel is the best part about your game?

Brian Duensing: I would say that my work ethic and my ability to compete is the best part. I feel like my stuff is average but I do what I can with it to the best of my ability.

Twins Territory: What was the experience like for you at the University of Nebraska?

Brian Duensing: It was awesome playing there. I got to play in front of all of my friends and family, I was close to home and we were pretty good as well so it was really exciting. Everyday we would have 7,000 to 8,000 people in the stands, we had an awesome weight room, top notch facilities and our field was extremely nice. Everything that you needed was there. Also I did get hurt for two years but it was still a great experience and they took really good care of me.

Twins Territory: Speaking of Nebraska, you participated in two College World Series with them. What kind of experience is that event, and how much did that help you?

Brian Duensing: The atmosphere of the College World Series is incredible. But when we were there as a team it was even better. There were 28,000 people in red screaming for you and all pulling for you. It was just incredible. Personally, I wish I would have performed better but there are not a lot of people that get to say they played in it. It was truly amazing.

Twins Territory: You were drafted in 2005, and you are already up at AAA Rochester. How big of a jump has it been, and what has it been like?

Brian Duensing: I feel like playing college ball where I did has helped tremendously, especially with the work ethic aspect. But, it has been a big jump from each level just to figure out how to pitch and how to trust your stuff. It's the same game everywhere maybe a little faster here but I feel like I'm starting to find myself as a pitcher.

Twins Territory: Speaking of making a big jump, you went through three different levels just last season (Low-A, High-A and AA) was that difficult to adjust to?

Brian Duensing: I don't feel like the adjustments from A-ball to A-ball was tough but the jump to AA ball was the hardest. Once you get there you can see all the experience the hitters have. They are all older and they hit mistakes pretty well. Once I found out how to hit the inside part of the plate to a right hander I felt like I could compete.

Twins Territory: What is your favorite part about professional baseball, and your least favorite part?

Brian Duensing: I love my teammates and the fact that we get paid for playing a game. I used to hate the travel but I'm getting used to it and am finding ways to make it fun. The least favorite part is being away from home for so long. I'm big on being around friends and family so the seven months kind of start taking a toll towards the end of a season.

Twins Territory: What’s your best baseball memory, in professional or any other level?

Brian Duensing: I would have to say that starting a College World Series game as a freshman is way up there and so is actually getting drafted where I did. I was expecting eighth or ninth round so when I went in the third I felt extremely fortunate.

Twins Territory: If you weren’t playing baseball, what would you have liked to do for your career?

Brian Duensing: I would have been a high school English teacher and a high school baseball coach. I love to teach the game to younger people.

Twins Territory: What are a few things that you would like fans to know about you?

Brian Duensing: I'm a hard worker, humble, and someone that loves the game. I try to never take anything for granted.

Twins Territory: What is your main goal for the rest of this season, and for next season going into Spring Training?

Brian Duensing: I just want to have a very consistent year, end on a good and strong note and hopefully maybe get a big league spring training invite. That would nice.

Twins Territory: You’ve already made a huge jump through the system, and it wouldn’t be a stretch to say you might see time this September or next season, what would it be like to be called up and get the uniform?

Brian Duensing: I cant even imagine. I know that when you are in AAA you are just a sprained ankle away so to speak but I just don't know. It would amazing and probably rack up my phone bill with everyone I would need to call.

A couple fun questions….

Twins Territory: What’s the weirdest thing a fan has ever said to you?

Brian Duensing: I had a fan tell me to not worry about my average and that I should keep swinging cause I will get hot with the bat soon. I think he thought my ERA was a batting average or something.

Twins Territory: Favorite movie (baseball of other)?

Brian Duensing: Baseball is The Natural and other would be The Burbs.

Twins Territory: Favorite MLB or Minor League stadium?

Brian Duensing: My favorite minor league stadium is Louisville and MLB I really like Kaufman Stadium.

Twins Territory: Thanks for taking your time for this interview Brian, there’s always a need for lefties in the majors, and we think you’ve got a great shot in the near future. Best of luck for the rest of this season, and keep up the great work in Rochester.

Well, as I mentioned, Brian has already made a big jump through the system in the last few years, and it wouldn't be weird to see him up here sometime soon. It was a fun interview, and I really enjoyed the part about the ERA comment.