The Mets signed catching prospect Cam Maron in the 34th round of the 2009 Amateur Draft from Hicksville High School, in Hicksville, NY. Maron, who is entering his sixth season in the Mets farm system, continues to make progress towards his dream of one day playing major league baseball.
The anticipation that a player feels prior to being drafted is sometimes filled with so much anxiety just knowing that they have been working the majority of their lives to reach that point. When the day finally arrives, it’s a moment of joy and celebration for the athlete as well as for their entire family.
Maron shared with me how his special day unfolded, “I’ll never forget it was the last day of classes in high school. It was day three of the draft and I was very anxious and excited, and I didn’t sleep much that entire week.”
“I didn’t say anything to anyone, but I was getting phone calls and texts messages from family members and friends for the rest of the day. I remember the school announcing everything over the PA system. I was humbled, grateful and very thankful for the love and support that I received on that day.”
The Long Island native was taught the game of baseball by his father and he shares how one decision he made would change the way he would approach the game, “I remember my dad teaching me how to hit; he used to set me up right-handed and I would secretly switch my hands to left-handed as he turned his back and walked away. He would ask, ‘Why are you holding your hands like that?’, I used to say that it was comfortable, and he wouldn’t buy it. After some while, he said, ‘All right, hold your hands like that but lets stand on this side of the plate’ (which was the left-handed side). The first swing I smoked a line drive right past him and he said this kid is a lefty. The rest is history.”
The lefty hitting catcher starred at Hicksville high school and felt he made the right choice to pick pro ball over college to follow after his dream, “Looking back on it, I don’t remember it being a tough decision because I just wanted to play baseball, especially professional, since I was an early teenager. At the time, I think it was pretty tough because the normal teenage progression is going to college after high school, but I felt like I was prepared and I was going to put 100% of my effort into playing ball and getting better every day.”
“College will always be there and I will eventually go back to class at some point, but the time to play baseball is a very small window and I wanted to take advantage of that opportunity as soon as it presented itself.”
In 2009, Maron was sent to the Gulf Coast Rookie league and played two seasons and combined he batted .303/.409/.427, with two home runs and 14 RBIs. He was then promoted to Kingsport (Rk) for the 2011 season and batted .318/.434/.413 with three home runs and 24 RBIs in 201 at bats.
The ideal promotion would have been to go to Brooklyn and not just because it was the next level up, but because it would mean that Maron would play baseball in his own backyard. “Playing in Brooklyn was something that I thought about as soon as I became a player in the organization. It would have been a really cool and amazing experience to be able to play so close to home,” says the catching prospect.
But that was not in the plans as he jumped a level and was sent to Savannah to finish the 2011 season and appeared in just one game.
In 2012, he remained with Savannah and batted .300/.403/.408, with five home runs and 47 RBI’s in 343 at bats.
Each season in played pro ball, he continued to make the right adjustments and progress and he shared with me how he has been able to stay focused and on the right path, “I think the adjustments were more off the field than on the field. Getting used to the area and the routine each different manager had were the biggest things I remember.”
“Most of the teams we play throughout the minor league levels are the same, so their players are advancing at a similar rate as we are, most of the time. The pitchers I faced and the hitters I studied at lower levels are appearing again as I move up the ladder, and I have notes and reports on most of them, and that helps to formulate my plan for each game in the present.”
After his big season with the Sand Gnats, the Mets promoted Maron once again and he was sent to Class A Advanced St. Lucie for the 2013 season and it was the first time in pro ball that he experienced some adversity, “2013 was a great learning experience for me. I learned a lot about myself and how to handle myself when things aren’t going right. I took a lot of those situations and stored them in my mind for the future and ways to avoid them.”
With St. Lucie, he batted .235/.327/.295, with no home runs and 29 RBI’s in 285 at bats, “I think I was pressing too hard and trying to do too much at the plate and that attributed to my struggles. I was much less consistent and that was all on me. I looked in the mirror at the end of 2013 and said it was over now, time to flush all that out, and start on a new season.”
When the season was over the Mets sent him to participate in the Arizona Fall League and he felt honored to represent the organization, “I want to thank the Mets for the opportunity to play in the AFL, it really was an incredible experience that only a handful of players get to do.”
Maron continues, “The competition is really second-to-none, the best of the best in the minor leagues, all in one place. I learned a lot of things about game-calling and sequences, against higher-level players, on both sides of the ball. I wish that it was longer than six weeks, but the experience is invaluable and it is something that I will carry with me for the rest of my career.”
In the AFL, the catcher batted .216/.365/.255, five runs, two doubles, and 12 walks in 17 games and when it was over, he was not done getting ready for the 2014 season, “I resumed my usual winter workout routine back home on Long Island to do my strength and conditioning training at Professional Athletic Performance Center in Garden City, under strength coach Dean Maddalone.”
“We had a great group of guys that worked out, including major leaguers Jose Reyes, Pedro Beato, Adam Ottavino, along with fellow minor leaguers Steven Matz , Willie Carmona, Keith Couch, and a few independent-ball guys. Its a great atmosphere and we all push each other to get better, I would never train anywhere else.”
“I do all of my baseball activity, both hitting and defensive drills, at Performance Factory in Farmingdale under head hitting specialist Joe Francisco. I have been hitting with Joe since I was a sophomore in high school and I can go to him for anything, he is like a second father to me, especially when it comes to anything baseball related.”
Now with the new season upon us, he will soon find out what team he will suit up for in 2014, and the hope is that he continues to move up the levels and continues to produce. “I am really looking forward to getting back out on the field with all my teammates and competing. No matter how much you try to simulate a game situation, there is nothing like being in the heat of the battle with all your teammates, all pulling together for the same thing.”
Cam answered a few more questions for me; enjoy his responses.
David – Was there a coach/manager that you feel has helped you with your growth and development throughout the years in the minors?
Cam - There have been so many great coaches and managers throughout my minor league career, I can’t really say there has been one specific coach that stands out more than the others. Our minor league catching coordinator, Bob Natal, has taught me a handful of things in each aspect of catching, whether it be mental, receiving, blocking, etc. He is really a wealth of information, and there is rarely a question that he does not have an answer to. All of my coaches have been very helpful and resourceful when it comes to growth and development on the field. I am a firm believer that we are a combination of all the experiences we have endured throughout our lives, and that there is something to be learned every day. I try to take a handful of useful information from each coach each year and put it all together with everything else I have learned.
David – What part of your game do you feel has improved over the past season?
Cam - I feel that my overall defensive game, especially my game-calling, has taken tremendous strides forward in the past year. Although I did not feel great at the plate on most nights last year, I took it upon myself to still make a difference and help our team win by calling a solid game and helping to guide our pitchers along whatever plan we had in place. I also feel that my exchange and throwing has come a long way in the past year and I have a lot more confidence during games now.
David – Anything you would like to share with the Mets fans?
Cam - Regardless of where I have played, there have always been Mets fans, whether it be in Scottsdale, Kingsport, Savannah, or St. Lucie, and sometimes even on the road. Being a native New Yorker, and a Met fan growing up, I know how strong and well spread out the fans are. I would just like to thank everyone that has supported the Mets, and specifically myself, throughout our careers. We would not be anywhere without all of you, and I look forward to seeing you guys at the ballpark supporting us!
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Thank you Cam for taking the time to share your journey with MMO and all our great readers. We look forward to another great Mets baseball season. LGM!
Watch Cam participate in a batting instruction video with Performance Factory: