Jon Duplantier attended Seven Lakes High School in Katy, Texas and played college baseball at Rice University. After missing the 2015 season due to a shoulder injury, he returned in 2016, and was named the Conference USA Pitcher of the Year.
Duplantier was drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the third round of the 2016 Major League Baseball Draft. He made his professional debut with the Hillsboro Hops in June of 2016, and struck out the side in his one inning there. He started 2017 with the Kane County Cougars and was later promoted to the Visalia Rawhide. Between the two, he posted a combined 12-3 record with a 1.39 ERA in 25 games, including 24 starts between both teams.
After suffering a hamstring injury in Spring Training, Duplantier started the season late, but has come back strong in his first two starts in 2018. In his two starts he’s pitched ten innings and given up just two earned runs on eight hits, and has struck out 14 batters.
I contacted Jon Duplantier on Instagram (@Dup_ThereItis) and conducted a short and informal interview, covering a range of topics. I’ve transcribed and edited the interview to make it easier to read, and a much more coherent order.
Wesley Baier(WB): What is it like being named a top prospect for a team and being named a top 100 prospect overall? I’d imagine the pressure is intense.
Jon Duplantier(JD): Being named a top prospect is really cool. It’s nice to know that people are recognizing what they believe you can do. I’m not sure sure if I’d say I feel a lot of pressure. I think it’s definitely possible if I worried about the future or gave too much weight to what I have done in the past. But every day I’m just me, and if that earns the label prospect, that’s all it is to me.
WB: How did your time pitching for Rice University influence your game today?
JD: At Rice, I learned how to deal with adversity. I struggled at times there, and in the end, figured out how I get myself back on track.
WB: What motivates you through the grind of the season?
JD: I don’t really need motivation to get through the grind of the season. I don’t really see it as a grind. I truly enjoy it, so I feel blessed to have that opportunity. And that’s what gives me my juice.
WB: What is your mental approach as you prepare for a start? Do you have any weird rituals or habits before game day?
JD: I try to stay loose before a start. I used to try and be one of those super intense, “It’s game day, so I need to lock in” guys, but that’s not really me.
I always listen to the same couple of songs at some point before I start warming up, and that’s what “locks me in”.
I say a prayer before I start working back in during catch play, and before my warm up pitches the first inning.
Kiss my glove before taking the rubber each inning.
WB: I wear glasses, and I used to pitch a little before my body fell apart, but wearing glasses or goggles totally sucks, how do you do it? lol
JD: It hasn’t been too bad. I used to fog up really bad, but the new Nike goggles I have vent really well and fit tight to my head. The occassional sweat on the lens is combatted with tons of cloths. haha
WB: What do you to in between starts, when you are not pitching?
JD: In between starts, I like to fish and go see movies
WB: What’s the best advice you’ve been given?
JD: The best advice I’ve been given is live in the moment. Don’t worry about the past, and don’t focus on the future. Just be where you are and tackle that moment.
WB: Who were your sports idols growing up?
JD: Growing up I loved Michael Jordan. Didn’t really get to see him play in his prime, but Space Jam is my favorite movie, so I felt like I got my fix.
WB: When passing back through your home town of Katy, Texas, what’s the one place you gotta go to stop at and eat?
JD: My favorite spot in Katy is Atami. Hibachi Spot.
WB: Finally I have to ask the general what’s your favorite food, musical artist/band, movie, and television show?
JD: Favorite food: Momma Dup’s Chicken and Sausage Gumbo (His mom’s gumbo, just to be clear)
Music: J. Cole is a staple, but I vibe to just about anything.
Movie: Space Jam, and all of the Fast and Furious movies.
Tv Show: Planet Earth series
Outside of the confines of the interview, I had a very pleasant interaction with Jon Duplantier. We both thanked each other multiple times, and we ended the interview from there.