“He’s very intense,” one scout tells us. “He comes to the
plate hacking; he just wants to hit.”
And hit he has. In this, his Junior season, Joey led the
Bulldogs in hits (110), and was second in both batting average (.352) and homers
(13). Opposing teams do not want to see him at bat in clutch situations.
Despite playing in a tough conference, he managed to hit .350 in Conference
play. In four Regional round playoff games, Joey hit .455 with three homers and
12 RBI, earning him the Most Outstanding Player Award. Side continued to
perform well in the Super Regionals, and he will lead Georgia in the College
World Series beginning this weekend.
Side’s intensity doesn’t let up once he’s swung the bat,
either. “He’s super aggressive after he hits the ball,” describes our scout.
“He’s automatically thinking two, maybe even three, off the bat.” This mindset
helped him lead his team in doubles, with 19, and in triples, with seven. He’s
been able to achieve these numbers not so much from his speed, which is good,
but not outstanding. Rather, Joey makes it on hustle.
Defensively, it’s the same story. Side has made ESPN Web
Gems for his defensive play ever since he was a Freshman in 2004.
“Very good on defense,” the scout continues. “He has a
good arm and covers a lot of ground. [Side] loves diving after balls; a big
time hustler out there as well. He’s got a motor running at all times.”
In fact, Side often crashes into the outfield wall in his
relentless pursuit of the ball. He missed about a week with a shoulder injury
this year in one such instance. If you think his total numbers look good, you
should have seen them before the injury.
This hard-nosed style of play has made Side a fan favorite
at Georgia, and it’s sure to do the same in Arizona. Side’s a dying breed, a
guy who plays baseball for the love of baseball, the thrill of competition, and
the drive to be a winner. He makes a welcome addition to the Diamondbacks
To hear the full audio interview with Joey Side, premium
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