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Prospect Interview: P Salvador Justo – Rockies

 
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Salvador Justo – Image Source: MLB Pipeline Twitter 

Salvador Justo started playing baseball at the age of 14 in the Dominican Republic.  As an overweight teen he started off as a designated hitter.  When he was 16 ½ he was moved to the mound.  Currently, at the age of 22, Justo is signed with the Colorado Rockies and he’s looking to work his way up the Minor League ladder.  His nickname is “EL Feo”, meaning “ugly” in Spanish, and his claim to fame is his 100 mph fastball.  Here is a transcript of a recent conversation that I had with him:

Mark: “Why do they call you El Feo?”

Justo: “(starts to chuckle) When I was practicing for baseball as a teenager, my trainer used to push me very hard because I was fat.  He would always tell me to ‘run hard’ and to do extra work. So I would look over at him with an ugly look on my face.  People then started to call me EL Feo.”

Mark: “So how do you throw a baseball 100 mph?”

Justo:“(again starts to chuckle) You have to work hard everyday and you have to focus.  Also, I’m 6’6, so having long arms helps a lot.”

Mark: “Okay, we know you can throw some serious heat.  Have you been working on any other pitches besides your fastball?”

Justo: “Yes, I’m practicing my slider right now.  It’s a new pitch for me.  I’ve been working on it for about two years.  My change-up is getting better as well.”

Mark: “That’s awesome!”

Justo: “(eager to speak more) Yeah, Mark Brewer was my pitching coach in Asheville last season and he has helped me a lot.  He made me understand the importance of having a secondary pitch and my slider has improved thanks to him.  Edison Lora is my pitching coach in the Dominican Republic and he’s the one that helped me develop my fastball.”

Mark: “Nice.  From what I can see online, you have a strong relationship with your family.  Is this true?”

Justo: “Yes, I’m very closely connected with my family: my mother, my brother, my daughter and my wife.  My father died in 2008 when I was 13 years old.”

Mark:  “Sorry to hear about your father.  Can you tell me more about your mother, Maribel Feliz?”

Justo:  “My mom is a school teacher in Santo Domingo.  She teaches English and French there. She has always been around for me throughout my entire life and I love her dearly.  My goal is to be able to buy her a new home one day.”

Mark:  “It seems like you have surrounded yourself with the right people and that you have a bright future in the Rockies organization.  Keep up the good work.  I’ll now be rooting for “EL Feo.”

Justo:  “Thank you (after some more laughter).”

My overall impression of Salvador Justo is that of a nice young man with a good sense of humor. However, there are times when he can’t afford to be nice.  One thing that we spoke about that I didn’t include in our conversation is how fearful batters can get when they step into the box to face him.  I haven’t seen Justo pitch yet, but when I get the chance I expect to see at least one reaction similar to that of John Kruk’s when he faced Randy Johnson in the 1993 All Star Game (for further interest check out this video www.youtube.com).  The Colorado Rockies, on the other hand, have nothing to fear so long as Justo keeps throwing gas.

Please follow Salvador on Twitter here @ELFeoJusto and press this link – REALMcCOY to visit my online baseball card store.

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Mark Nikolov

Mark is passionate about all things baseball, especially the Minor Leagues. He has recently joined us here at Legends On Deck to help write player profiles and interviews. Also an avid baseball card collector, Mark has been collecting MiLB team sets since 1998 and he just recently opened an online store. You can check it out at www.realmccoysportscards.com