Before making plays on a nightly basis for the Columbia Fireflies Michael Paez won a national championship last season with Coastal Carolina. That experience has made him the kind of player that continues to produce for the his current team.
"Being at Coastal and being a part of that whole run, I played in a lot of big games in front of a lot of people and I think being a part of that experience and kind of channeling it has helped me be more even keeled," Paez said.
Developing that mindset has helped the infielder's approach to the minor league game.
"Everybody has lows and everybody has highs so kind of dealing with all of that at Coastal and bringing it here it keeps me more consistent with what I'm doing no matter how well or how bad I'm doing."
What's helped Mike be great is that he is fiery competitor. The word in the clubhouse is don't mess with this guy on the ping pong table.
"I play a lot and yeah I definitely don't like to lose. It's the same on the field to I mean I hate losing."
The 22-year-old just recently watched Forest Gump and now the Tom Hanks character is his spirit animal when it comes to ping pong. But Mike has funneled all of that competitiveness into his game.
Mike is now an all-star in his first full season of minor league baseball. He's hitting 291 which leads Columbia He's also second on the team in home runs (6), rbis (38) and stolen bases (7). His small frame produces big numbers and big plays and there's a reason for that.
"I think it comes from having a chip on my shoulder knowing I'm not the biggest guy. People see me and they kind of look down and look passed me so I've always wanted to prove something. So that competitive nature I think comes from that, like trying to tell them I'm here. Don't look passed me."
The Miami, Fl native desires to keep his MVP level season going for the Fireflies.
"My goal really is to make an impact on the team. We're only a couple of games away from first place so I just want to make sure I'm a key component in us winning games."
Paez and the Fireflies are just a half game out of first place in the South Atlantic Southern Division behind the Greenville Drive. Columbia will wrap up their series against Charleston tonight at 7 pm inside Spirit Communications Park.