Where are they now: StevenTolleson

Minnesota Twins farmhand, Steven Tolleson, took some time with Diamond Prospects over the Christmas Break to answer some questions for us. “Tolly” hails from Spartanburg, South Carolina and went to Dorman High School. Following graduation, he attended the University of South Carolina and was a three-year starter for the Gamecocks. He concluded a star-studded career in Columbia by being the 5th round draft pick of the Twins following his junior season. Steven, the son of ten-year MLB veteran Wayne Tolleson, was initially sent to Elizabethton (Rookie League). Upon hitting .321 out of the chute, he quickly earned a promotion to Beloit in Single-A. Engaged to his high school sweatheart, Tolly tells us his story.

DP-Please list any college statistics of importance, awards won:

ST-2003: Palmetto State Freshman of the Year, All-Regional (Atlanta).

2004: Pre-season 2nd team All-SEC, Clutch Performer of the Year, MVP of SEC Tournament, All-SEC Academic team.

2005: Clutch Performer of the Year, All-SEC 1st team, All-Southeast team, All-SEC Academic team, 7th rated middle infielder entering the MLB draft, 5th round draft choice by the Minnesota Twins.

DP-Please list any major high school accolades: 

ST-Two-time All-State and three-time All-Region; Gatorade Player of the Year finalist. 18 homeruns and 88-for-89 in stolen bases during career at Dorman.

DP-What is your greatest high school thrill? 

ST-Playing for the state championship, because of the atmosphere that is around a game of that importance. 

DP-What is your greatest thrill beyond high school? 

ST-That is a toss up between getting drafted and fulfilling my dreams or playing at a school like South Carolina where I went to the college world series two years. 

DP-Who are the three toughest pitchers you ever faced?

ST-Number one is Luke Hochevar from Tennessee. He was 92-96 and had a great slider. Two, John Huggins from Stanford, my freshman year in the World Series a.k.a. the Greg Maddux of college baseball. He is now in the big leagues.  Last, but not least, the most painful of all, Jason Windsor for Cal State Fullerton. Low 90’s fastball and great change-up.  He single handily kept up from winning a National Championship.

DP-What was your toughest adjustment after high school? 

ST-The speed of the game is so different.  That is why it is so tough for many freshman to come in and succeed.

DP-What is the biggest crowd you’ve ever performed in front of and where? 

ST-In the College World Series against Cal State Fullerton for a chance to play Texas for the National Championship, there were right at 30,000.

DP-Who has made the greatest impression on you as a person and why? 

ST-My Dad, both on and off the field.  He has taught me how to be the right kind of person and a Godly man.

DP-Who has made the greatest impression on you as a baseball player and why? 

ST-Again, my dad because of the knowledge and experiences that he has had. 

DP-What was it like growing up as the son of a Big Leaguer?

ST- Growing up as the son of a big leaguer was awesome. I was able to do a lot of things that others will never have the chance to do. I got to take BP at Yankee Stadium and spend time with all-time greats like Don Mattingly. It was like I was living in a dream world. I created memories that will never be forgotten. 

DP-Who is your favorite athlete (non-baseball)? 

ST-Tiger Woods just because he really has changed the game of golf.

DP-Who is your favorite MLB pitcher and position player and why? 

ST-Roger Clemens because of his unbelievable drive and work ethic and Derek Jeter because he knows how to win.

DP-Who is your favorite MLB team (optional)?

ST-It better be the Twins.

DP-What is your favorite sport to play other than baseball?

ST-I love Golf, because no matter how old or bad you are you can always play. 

DP-What is your favorite sport to watch other than baseball? 

ST-College Basketball or College Football, for some reason I enjoy watching the college sports more.

DP-What goals do you have for yourself in and out of baseball?

ST-For baseball, get a little better every year and see where it takes me. Out of ball I want to finish my degree at USC and do something in Real Estate.

DP-If you could have dinner with three people in history, who would they be and why? 

ST-Tiger Woods, maybe he would give me some golf tips. The President, that would be something a lot of people don’t get a chance to do. George Steinbrenner, because he seems to be a very interesting person. 

DP-Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

ST-Always have to set your goals high so I see myself not only in the big leagues but making an impact in the big leagues.

DP-Your thoughts on what Diamond Prospects can do for kids in South Carolina versus when you came through the prep ranks? 

ST-It can give you the awareness on what is going on across the state and hopefully motivate you to become a better person and player.

DP-Give a high school player who is reading this article one piece of advice. 

ST-WORK, WORK, WORK, because if you don’t some one else is!

DP-Tolly, Thanks a ton and good luck this spring!