Justin Maxwell has had a busy offseason. The club leader in homeruns in 2012 has spent the last week touring with the Astros CAREavan and was one of the players participating in Saturday’s FanFest. Maxwell also did some modeling work when the Astros unveiled their new uniforms back in November. Obviously, Maxwell is a player that the Astros have chosen to thrust into the spotlight, and Justin is happy to help out.
I had the pleasure of speaking with Justin for a few minutes at yesterday’s FanFest and he told me he was more than happy with his new role as one of the team’s ambassadors. He said he enjoyed his time spent with the fans on the CAREavan tour, giving props to those who turned out in Corpus Christi, Oklahoma City, and Houston.
I think the Astros made a wise choice when they decided on Maxwell as one of the faces of the franchise. Not only is he eloquent and polite, I could tell he actually enjoys what he is doing. He was happy to answer all of my questions and even took the time to pose for a couple of photos.
At 29 years of age, Maxwell is one of the elder statesmen on a young Astros team. When I asked if he was ready to take on more of a leadership role on the field and in the clubhouse, he said “definitely.” Justin added:
I’ve always tried to lead by example, but I’m ready to be more vocal.
And what young player wouldn’t listen to Justin Maxwell? Meeting him in person, the first thing I thought was: Wow, this guy is big! At 6′ 5″ and 235 pounds, Justin is a guy who young players should have no problem listening to.
Still marveling his physique, I asked Maxwell about his offseason training program. He said he started his lifting program in late October. Justin said he feels great and is ready to get back to work, adding he would be traveling to Florida early this year to start doing some defensive drills.
When asked which of the three outfield positions was his favorite, Justin said “centerfield”. He has spent more time in center than either of the corner outfield positions and feels more at home there. I’d have to say it’s beginning to look like Maxwell will be the Opening Day starter at his favorite position.
When asked about the difficulty of being on a team that lost over 100 games last year, Maxwell said it was tough but he believes he will benefit from the experience. He said he is happy to be in Houston and knows that it’s all part of God’s plan for him.
As for his own personal plan to improve his game, Justin says he wants to cut down on his strikeouts and put the ball in play more often. He knows he has enough power to get his share of homeruns, but says trying to hit the ball out of the park is a losing proposition. Adjusting his two-strike approach could be a key factor for Justin to have a breakout season in 2013.