After baseball careers are over, players have to think about a new lot in life. Nationals outfielder Erik Komatsu already has a jump-start. Or at least he has a hobby that excited him enough to possibly turn into a career post-professional playing.
For now, his addiction to beats and making them is a side project (see his website link at the bottom), and succeeding in the major leagues is the first priority.
The 25-year-old was first drafted in 2007 by the New York Yankees (but didn't sign), then again by the Milwaukee Brewers in 2008 out of California State University Fullerton. The native Californian moved through the levels at a good pace, achieving a career-best year in 2010 with the High-A Brevard County Manatees. In 130 games he hit .323 with 63 RBI. After starting 2011 in Double-A Southern League, he was traded to the Nationals, and finished the season with the Double-A Harrisburg Senators. He hit .234 in 31 games. The Cardinals picked him up in the Rule 5 Draft (pay attention) and he went on to make his MLB debut against his former team, the Brewers. He singled in his first at-bat.
He was Designated For Assignment in May, then claimed off waivers by the Twins (pay attention), where he played in fifteen games and hit .237 with an RBI and worked four walks. He was DFA'ed in May. And returned to the Nationals, where he was assigned to Triple-A Syracuse.
The twisted minor-to-major league tale continues and Komatsu just wants to have a solid season. And maybe put his feet down.
Q. I covered you in the Eastern League and was curious how quickly you were able to pick up the pace . What did you learn there and overall in the minors?
A. When I got traded over there was a bit of an adjustment period. I had a whole new organization, staff, and most importantly new teammates. I ended up sleeping on an air mattress in my teammates living room. The minor leagues is basically about developing the skills you already possessed and it's about putting those skills into play. It's completely different from college, it's a job, it's a business. And without the luxury of resources you have in 'The Show' it's much more difficult.
Q. You've bounced around a bit after being Rule 5ed. Has that been stressful? Were you happy to be returned to the Nationals?
A. Last year was crazy! A lot of new changes. It was hard to get comfortable just because of limited time in each place. I am now just looking for a team to call home.
Q. You've gotten in some major league games, but had limited at-bats. Were you able to get a lot out of that regardless of limited playing time?
A. I was very blessed to have a couple months with the 2011 WS champs. Just watching how they went about their business was incredible. I learned a lot of things from great current/former players. I was especially impressed with how well Mark McGwire was able to relate to every type of hitter and not just guys like him, he is super intelligent and knows hitting! I hit with him in the off-season. Great guy.
Q. About the music career. What gave you the idea to start digitally producing?
A. Producing music was something I kind of just started doing last off-season. I've always had a passion for music and always thought it would a good challenge, so I tried it. At first I was just pressing keys on a piano and now I am damn near Mozart. Just kidding. I am still getting better and better and starting to sell my instrumentals online.
Q. Favorite artists that you maybe consider influences?
A. As far as producers there are a ton! I listen to their beats for reference and to get some inspiration, learn, and put my own creative ideas into what I want to make. Some of my favorite right now would be: Dr. Dre, Cardiak Flatline, Vybe Beatz, Superstar O, David Guetta, Glitch Mob, Johnny Juliano, & Dj Khaled.
Q. What music do you listen to pre-game? Any of your own stuff?
A. My ipod contains about 3,000 songs of straight fire! Ha I usually have a clubhouse mix with hip hop, old school rap, electronic/dance, dubstep. Every once in a while I'll throw in one of my songs/beats. I actually walked up to my own song in St. Louis called "Livin This Life" (www.KomoBeatz.com) it was pretty sweet in a stadium with 45k people.
Q. When all is said and done in baseball, do you see yourself taking this further into a career?
A. I definitely would try it out, I have been in contact with a bunch of artists & producers in LA so it could happen...but right now, baseball and getting back to the big leagues is my main focus.
Q. Finally, what are your off-season goals and your goal looking ahead to 2013?
A. My off-season goal is to be healthy for the season. I had been playing with a broken bone in the ball of my foot since the end of 2010. I finally had that taken care of in July. So now, I am just excited to go into spring 100% healthy and show the Nationals what I can really do with no restrictions and ultimately get back to the big leagues with them or with my 27th team.
You can follow Erik on Twitter at @KomoBeatz.
Purchase his music here- www.KomoBeatz.com