(Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports)
DiNatale is first up as we take a look at ASU baseball's freshman class.
Dalton DiNatale is a 6-foot-4-freshman infielder competing for a starting spot on one of the hot corners. He is the only player on the team from the east coast, as he comes from Parkland, Florida.
We may not have the beaches, but you’ll find out that the baseball program and academics was good enough to lure DiNatale out west.
He was an Under Armour Preseason All-American heading into his senior season of high school and he finished with an impressive .340 batting average. He led his team with 47 runs scored, 43 walks and 40 stolen bases.
He is one of 14 true freshmen on the Sun Devil roster so lets take a chance to learn more about Dalton DiNatale in this installment on “Get to Know Your Sun Devil.”
Number 13 is generally considered an unlucky number, so why do you wear that number on your jersey?
“[The coaches] called me and they only had a couple of numbers left. I wore number 13 in little league and all throughout growing up and playing baseball. I’m not really sure why, but I always liked it.”
Are they any advantages to being in Arizona over Florida?
“Just being at ASU, being close to campus and having the batting cages always open. It’s really easy to get in there and get better every day and work on everything. The weather also is an advantage over Florida because it hardly ever rains here. I’m able to get on the field here and practice more that I would in Florida since it’s really streaky with the weather down there.”
What’s the one thing you miss most about Florida?
“I miss the beach, to be honest, even though I burn pretty easy and I don’t go too often. It’s just nice to hang out there at the beach. Obviously I miss my family and friends, but I really like Arizona so far too. It’s definitely different than Florida. It’s a great experience and I love it out here.”
You’re listed as an all around utility player on ASU’s roster so what position are you competing for this spring?
“I’m trying to compete for third base and first base mostly. Third base is my main position but with Michael Benjamin there, it’ll be tough starting over him this year and he is probably going to be drafted high so I’m really trying to go after first base this year. I’m just trying to get in so I can get my bat in the line-up, but that’s where I see myself.”
What does your weekend typically consist of?
“Lately I’ve been getting sick a lot so my weekends haven’t been too fun. Usually on the weekends, [the team] has an early morning workout on Saturday and then we usually have practices on Saturday as well. Usually I’m just trying to relax and get my rest to get ready for the grind throughout the week.”
Do they give you anytime to have some fun?
(Dalton chuckles) "I’m kind of a bookworm. I kind of like to focus on my studies and get them all knocked out. I don’t have too much time to have a lot of fun, but it is fun hanging out with the guys off the field. Just hanging out, it doesn’t get better than that.”
I can’t say I blame Dalton for not having much free time. Besides being a student athlete, he is studying business communications at the WP Carey School of Business.
Which accomplishment are you more proud of: Hitting three home runs in one game or graduating high school with a 4.09 GPA?
“I would definitely say the 4.0 GPA is more impressive for me just because there are so many different distractions going on in high school. There is always something going on that could tempt you and different parties and everything going on. I was working hard in school to get an academic scholarship.”
Contrary to popular belief, Dalton did admit to liking the WP Carey School after his first semester. His dad is big business guy and he really pushed his son to get into the business school. Dalton said he thought ASU was a perfect fit for him because of the mixture of baseball and getting a top-25 business degree.
What’s something that you have yet to cross off your bucket list?
“I would say skydiving is one that I have yet to cross off. I’ve always wanted to do it, but I also haven’t been able to muster up the courage to do it yet. If anything were to go wrong, I wouldn’t want it to happen now. I’ll wait until later on to do that.” (Dalton giggles)
If you could pick any former or current Major League Baseball Player, who would you want to have a round of batting practice with?
“I’d probably say Josh Hamilton or Ken Griffey Jr., just because I think those two guys have two of the best swings in the game.”
If you had to sing one song in karaoke to impress a girl, what song would you sing?
Ladies, this one stumped him. “I would say it would have to be an Usher song.”
What’s your favorite baseball saying?
“I catch myself saying “atta boy” a lot. I do that without even thinking about it. Other than that I don’t really know if I say too many baseball sayings like that.”
If you were trapped in a room with the U of A mascot, what would you do?
“Well I know the correct answer would be to kill him because we hate U of A around here and that’s very clear. I don’t think I would kill it, I would probably just try to destroy the suit.”
If your house was burning down and you could only take one thing, what would you save?
“Pictures mean a lot to me and I have a lot of meaningful pictures that I have up in my house. I’d want to grab them all, but I would probably grab a picture of my family just to have that from when I was younger.”
Who are your favorite baseball team and player?
“My favorite player has to be Evan Longoria. When I was growing up my favorite team was the Red Sox, but now the whole team thing doesn’t mean much to me anymore. I like following individual players better. If I had to pick a team, I would have to go with the Rays.”