Top pick credits gymnastics for athleticism

Top pick credits gymnastics for athleticism

Top pick credits gymnastics for athleticism
HOUSTON -- George Springer, taken No. 11 overall by the Astros in Monday's First-Year Player Draft, credited his involvement with gymnastics in helping him grow into an elite baseball player. A junior at the University of Connecticut, Springer impressed the Astros with his speed-power combination.

"My mom had me involved with gymnastics until I was about 10, and it helped me tremendously with body control and body awareness," Springer said during Tuesday's conference call with reporters. "It taught me to understand my own strength."

In fact, Springer has been known to do an Ozzie Smith-like back flip when he takes the field before Huskies games.

Springer attended an all-boys private school, Avon Old Farm, just west of Hartford, Conn., where students wear a coat and tie. Bob Dowling, Springer's high school coach, said he was extremely undersized as a freshman, but he could do everything the best varsity players can do.

"His body caught up to his skills," Dowling said.

Considering the type of athletic family Springer came from, Dowling said there was no doubt he would be successful.

"He comes from an unbelievable family," he said. "His dad is one of the best guys I've ever met. His dad is a lawyer and a very bright, articulate guy. He loves his kids. George has two sisters and both are extremely athletic, very gifted softball players. His father played football at UConn back in the day, and his mother was a gifted gymnast."