The 30-year old switch-hitting second baseman Chase Lambin from Houston, Texas is having his best season as a minor leaguer for the Syracuse Chiefs.
Lambin is batting .311 through 33 games with 8 doubles, 2 triples, 5 homers and 18 RBI.
He says having Stephen Strasburg in Syracuse has changed the feeling in the stadium and the clubhouse.
"When Strasburg pitches there is a whole other buzz to the stadium. It is fun to play in that environment. With a big hit the crowd reacts with a loud roar. It is great."
Lambin has been playing pro baseball since 2002 and has logged eight seasons at Double-A or the Triple-A level. This is his first season with the Chiefs and hitting coach Jerry Browne.
"J.B. helps me out when I need it. He lets me do my own thing. I am doing pretty good, off to a good start, just had a very good series versus Pawtucket."
So with big league talent, this Syracuse team is pretty good this season, right?
"We have a pretty good team, especially with Stephen Strasburg and Drew Storen spending some time in Syracuse this season."
You feel good about your chances in the Nats organization?
"I think there is a good opportunity to reach the bigs with the Nationals. If a player struggles, I hope they look my way. I kind of take care of my business and hope for the call.
Lambin is pretty versatile on the field, having played third base, second base and a lot of outfield with the Chiefs.
With the mix of big leaguers and guys trying to punch their first ticket to the majors, does everyone have the same attitude?
"We all talk to each other. It is the best clubhouse I have ever been a part of in Triple-A. Every player has the right attitude and we pull for each other. We help each other out. It is great being around these guys. We don't have selfish guys. Everybody here has a good head on their shoulders."
Who are some of the coaches who have made an impact on you since you started playing?
"I have always had great coaches around me, but its been awhile to look back that far. My junior college coach always told me to keep it simple and of course, University of Texas coach Augie Garrido is really a baseball genius."
So what are you looking to do each game to improve?
"My goals continue to be to stay consistent. I hate to give away at bats. Getting a good pitch to hit is never that easy. The mental game is very important to master as well. You have to come to the park focused every day.
What do you do to pass the time during rainouts or those long bus rides?
"We play a lot of card games: poker, hearts, pluck. The guys have been into the horse races the last few Saturdays and March Madness was big during college basketball season."
Did you follow a lot of football growing up in Texas?
"I was an Oilers fan growing up in Houston. So once they left for Tennessee, I kind of got off the NFL. I am a diehard UT fan, the Longhorns kind of turned into my NFL team."
Speaking of the Longhorns, do you talk to Adam Dunn a lot?
"Yes, Dunn and I work out together in the offseason, but we don't talk as much during the season."
Besides Strasburg, who is the best pitcher you have faced this year?
"Scranton's Boone Logan has been one of the more impressive pitchers I have faced this season in Triple-A. He is pretty solid."
So have you faced Strasburg at all this season and what did you think?
"I got to face Strasburg in the intrasquad games during spring training. I walked, grounded out and struck out in three at-bats. His repertoire is pretty nasty."