Catching Up With the 2010 Keys – 1B/OF Jacob Julius

Earlier this week, Tim Murray had a chance to catch up with 2010 Frederick Key, Jacob Julius. Julius had a breakout season last year in Frederick. In 65 games, he hit .285 with 15 2B, 12 HR, and 50 RBI (all new career-highs).

Off the Field, Julius was honored by the Frederick Keys, the Carolina League, and the Baltimore Orioles for his involvement in the community in 2010.

Drafted by the Orioles in 33rd round of the 2007 draft out of the University of Arkansas, Julius is currently in Sarasota, Florida preparing for his fifth professional season in the Baltimore Orioles organization.

Tim Murray: Before we get into the baseball side of things, how was your offseason?

Jacob Julius: I actually went back to Arkansas and worked out down there. I originally planned to finish up school but after we made the playoffs I figured I’d missed too much time but I still wanted to get down there and lift.

My big focus was to gain strength and put on some weight. At the last weigh-in of the [2010] season I was 199 and just before spring training I was 209. My goal was to be around 215 so I was a little disappointed but it was still good because my body fat went down and my weight went up.

The biggest thing for this year is to stay healthy no matter what my weight is just so I can play a full season.

TM: You mentioned health. The final game of your season last year came on July 19th because of injuries. How are you health wise right now?

JJ: I feel good. It was weird, I got down [to Florida] early and was working out with Kyle [Hudson] and Buck [Britton] just because it’s cold in Indiana and you can’t really do anything outside. Then they told us we were going to dress for the big league game. So obviously we were excited but at the same time I said ‘this should be interesting’ because I haven’t played in a game or seen any live pitching since I got hurt back in July.

TM: What was that experience of suiting up for the Orioles in Spring Training like?

JJ: It was awesome. The atmosphere was the coolest thing. Especially the first game I dressed for, the night game against the Yankees. You look out at the infield and there’s Jeter, A Rod, Cano, Teixeira and I just thought this is what you work for. This is what you strive for.

I know it was spring training but just getting that little taste made me want to work that much harder than I already am to get there.

It was also a reassurance that this where I want to be and this is what I want to do.

TM: Everyone has been raving about the renovated and remodeled Spring Training facility in Sarasota. How is it?

JJ: It’s really nice. It’s nice to have air conditioning in the clubhouse (laughing). To come in after you workout and not still be sweating after you get out of the shower.

The weight room is unbelievable; there’s a nice cage where you can go out and work before. Everything is different. You can tell the attitude around here is changing. Everyone is more serious and it’s just a different feel. It’s a fun thing to be apart of.

TM: Looking back to last year in Frederick, you set new career highs in almost every offensive category. What do you think led to your big offensive season?

JJ: Last year was a great year. Honestly, I finally felt like I played up to my capabilities. Every year before last I had some good moments but always felt like I fell off but last year everything just kind of fell into place. One hit leads to another hit that leads to two hits and I started to build on that and my confidence started to go up. I was kind of like ‘you know what, I can do this’ and it kind of carried through.

We had a great team and a great coaching staff. [Field Coach] Denny [Hocking] was a tremendous help and I learned a lot from him.

All in all, it was a really fun year. I was really disappointed that I got hurt and wasn’t able to finish the season but hopefully now that is in the past and I’m looking forward to this year wherever that may be.

TM: Is there any one memory that sticks out in your mind about the 2010 season in Frederick?

JJ: I just remember that whole first half of the season and how much fun we had. We were so good that it was not acceptable if we lost. We knew coming in that we were going to beat people. It was the probably the best team I’ve ever played with.

Winning makes everything easier and more fun.

TM: To go along with your great season the field, you were honored by the Keys, the Carolina League, and the Orioles for your community service. The Orioles even brought you out to Camden Yards and gave you the Eldrod Hendricks Prize in an on-field pre-game presentation. What was that night like for you?

JJ: That was a pretty unbelievable experience. The Yankees were in town, the atmosphere was awesome, and there was a ton of people in the crowd.

I really enjoy going out and helping the community and to get rewarded for doing something that I enjoy doing was a great feeling.

Also, that was really the first time I got a chance to check out Camden Yards and kind of like spring training it made want to work that much harder and keep doing the things that I’m doing. It motivated me to keep working and striving for that ultimate goal.

A special thanks to 1B/OF Jacob Julius for spending a couple minutes with us earlier this week. Part V of the 2011 Frederick Keys Preview will be posted on Monday; Stay tuned to frederickkeys.com and frederickkeys.mlblogs.com as opening day in only two weeks away!

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