The junior infielder has been a key contributor for the three-time Friends’ Schools League baseball champions this spring, batting .401 (as of May 11) with 27 hits, 12 doubles, 29 RBIs and a .536 OBP and 1.198 OPS. Friends’ Central baseball head coach Jon Rubin said, “Pablo is exceptionally explosive in his movement patterns at the plate, in the field and on the bases, which is really fun to watch. What may not be evident from a distance, though, is his tremendous work ethic, and his attention to detail. Not only does he put in the time, but he is incredibly thoughtful about his process. Pablo is extremely resilient and competes day after day — he is a player you want at the plate in big moments.” Off the baseball diamond at Friends’ Central, Spielman-Rodriguez serves as a Principal’s representative, assisting with various events at the school.
Q: As a hitter, after facing a pitcher a couple of times in a game, you probably have a better idea of what he’s going to throw to you late in a game. Can you give us an example of how this has worked in your favor?
A: It has not been too common this season for us to face a pitcher more than 2-3 times in a game, but I can give a pretty solid example of one of the times it did happen. It was against Westtown and we were facing a very capable pitcher. I had a really competitive first at-bat, working a full count with several foul balls, eventually winning the battle with an opposite-field double. My next time up at the plate I knew the pitcher was not going to want to throw me a first-pitch fastball, so I sat on a curveball first pitch and sent it back up the middle for a knock.
Q: As an infielder (mostly third base), tell us a little about your leadership responsibilities in the infield.
A: I think being loud and communicating well is the job of any infielder regardless of position, so I make sure to do my best to do those things well. Another aspect of the responsibility of being an infielder is definitely being able to bounce back quickly. As an infielder, you are going to make mistakes sometimes, it is inevitable. However, for the sake of the team, you have to be able to mentally reset in a matter of seconds so you can be 100 percent ready and locked in for the next pitch. This sort of behavior is contagious on the baseball field.
Q: What do you think has been the most important thing you’ve learned recently regarding hitting?
A: Recently, probably to just not be so stubborn at the dish. I can handle several different pitches in different parts of the zone, so really just looking to attack whatever the pitcher gives me.
Q: What aspect of your game did you work on most during the off-season?
A: Getting strong. The biggest focus of this past off-season for me was just to crush it in the weight room. As I started to see results there, I began to see results in my hitting and throwing as well.
Q: Tell us a little about your start in baseball – have you always been an infielder?
A: As long as I can remember I have been an infielder. I was a second baseman at the beginning of my baseball career, and as I grew and developed some arm strength I moved over to the left side.
Q: Who is your favorite baseball player and why?
A: Alec Bohm is currently my favorite baseball player. That mostly has to do with him being a Phillie and playing the same position as me, but ever since his rookie year I’ve loved his swing and approach at the plate; he’s always a tough out.
Q: You wear uniform jersey No. 26 for Friends’ Central baseball. Was this inspired by the fact that it was Chase Utley’s number with the Phillies?
A: Yes – growing up, Utley was my favorite player to watch on the Phils. He always hustled to first on ground balls, no matter how routine, which had an impact on me as a child and still does today.
Q: Tell us a little about your pre-game preparation the day of a game.
A: My game day preparation begins the moment I wake up. I try to eat the same thing for breakfast; Scrambled eggs with some sausage on the side. I make sure to stay super-hydrated throughout the day, carrying my water bottle with me wherever I go. Once I get to the field I try to stay loose from the get-go, physically and mentally. If we have time, I get some swings in the cage and just try to stay moving until we start our warmup as a team. Once those start, I am locked in and ready to go.
Fun facts – Pablo Spielman-Rodriguez
Favorite book: Down These Mean Streets.
Favorite course at Friends’ Central: Biology.
Favorite TV show: South Park.
Favorite movie: Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith or Get Out.
Favorite athlete: Tyrese Maxey.
Favorite pre-game pump-up song: Superhero by Metro Boomin and No Flockin by Kodak Black
Favorite team: Phillies, Sixers and Eagles.
Favorite place to visit: Puerto Rico.
Family members: parents Darren Spielman and Liza Rodriguez, brother Diego Spielman-Rodriguez.
(To be selected as Main Line Boys Athlete of the Week, a student-athlete must first be nominated by his coach.)
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