Q&A with Mets 5th Round Pick Jared King

King had two hits in his Brooklyn debut Thursday

With their selection in the 5th round of the 2013 First-Year Player Draft, the Mets selected outfielder Jared King out of Kansas State University. In this exclusive Draft Day Q&A, the current Brooklyn Cyclone talks about what went through his mind after he was picked, what kind of player he is, who he would compare himself to style-wise at the big league level, and more.

InsidePitchMagazine.com: How did it feel to be selected by the Mets?

Jared King: It was an awesome feeling and a dream come true. Being drafted is something I've been working towards my whole life and it's another step towards my dream of playing in the big leagues so I'm very thankful and fortunate. It was a good day.

InsidePitchMagazine.com: Talk about your game a little bit. What type of player are you and how do you see yourself fitting in with the Mets?

King: I think that I can bring a little bit of everything to the table. I don't really have any one huge stand out tool but I feel like I do most of the things pretty well. I think my biggest asset is consistency and I think that giving the Met's a good consistent outfielder is something that they are looking for and is what I am willing to bring to the table.

InsidePitchMagazine.com: What are your strengths and weaknesses as a ballplayer at this point? Is there any tool you feel like needs extra attention or development?

King: Strengths…like I said being consistent and trying to remain as physically and mentally consistent on the field as possible. There are always places to improve your game. Better routes in the outfield, you can always improve your speed. That's all stuff I try to work on when I have free time.

InsidePitchMagazine.com: How do you feel about your defensive game overall?

King: It's gotten a lot better this year. I dropped some weight in the offseason to try and increase my agility in the outfield and it's really paid off. I feel like I've gotten better. I worked on my routes in the offseason as well.

InsidePitchMagazine.com: Who would you compare your game to at the Major League level so the Mets' fans have an idea of what your game is like?

King: I would say looking at body type and all-around game my player would be Nick Swisher. We are kind of like the same body type; he's a switch-hitter and pretty consistent from both sides and can play the corner outfield spots.

InsidePitchMagazine.com: As a switch hitter, is your approach similar on both sides of the plate?

King: Yeah I try to keep it as similar and simple as possible. I'm extremely comfortable from both sides. I've been switch-hitting since I could walk. I'm a little more natural left-handed but I would say I'm equally comfortable from both sides.

InsidePitchMagazine.com: You won the Big 12 batting title in 2012 with a .378 average and your approach at the plate is very compact and short through the zone. Is that approach something you've worked on and do you think it has played a part in your improvement as a hitter during your years at Kansas State?

King: My dad taught me how to hit being short to the ball. It helps you not get around balls and hit them where they are pitched and that's how you stay consistent offensively. And I think that mentally maturing and going up to the Cape Cod every summer has helped too. Facing the best pitchers in the country throwing 95 every day you're going to develop some plate discipline.

InsidePitchMagazine.com: You stole a lot of bases at Kansas State. Do you hope to hold on to your speed game in the minors?

King: A big part of my game is being able to be strong and quick. Trying to keep both of those is definitely essential to me.

InsidePitchMagazine.com: Were you expecting to be drafted by the Mets or were you surprised when they selected you?

King: Honestly I was a little surprised. They contacted me probably a week before the draft to get my information so I wasn't too familiar with them. But it's a great organization and I'm really excited to get out there and play.

InsidePitchMagazine.com: You played centerfield in college. Do you hope to remain there in professional ball? Or do the Met's have another position in mind?

King: Centerfield is where I am most comfortable. I can play all three outfield positions. They drafted me as a left fielder, whatever that entails, but I'll play wherever they need me obviously. Center is where I'm most comfortable but it won't take long for me to get used to the corners again.

InsidePitchMagazine.com: Your brother played with you at Kansas State your freshman year and was drafted by the Tigers in the 4th round in 2011. Has he influenced you in your baseball career?

King: Absolutely, he paved the path to where I am. He did all of it first and I've been following in his footsteps as much as I could. This is all for him and my dad and everyone else who has helped me along the way. Jason's been a huge influence on who I am today.

InsidePitchMagazine.com: What would you say is your best moment in baseball and why?

King: It's tough but playing with my brother my freshman year…just that whole season was probably my favorite thing. Then again this year how far we went as a team winning the Big 12 and our regional was just an unbelievable ride. I can't compare both those things but this year's experience was just awesome.

InsidePitchMagazine.com: How do you feel about the legacy that you're leaving at Kansas State? You participated and were a critical part in a lot of great achievements that were the first in the history of the baseball program.

King: This year was a huge step for our program. We won our first Big 12 championship and had never been to a super-regional. We keep paving that path for future kids to come through and continue on the success. That's the goal and now it's realistic.

InsidePitchMagazine.com: Who was your favorite player growing up?

King: My favorite player growing up was probably Ken Griffey Jr. Just a sweet left-handed swing.

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