Interview with Catching Prospect, Carson Kelly

Dennis Sievers/Peoria Chiefs

Carson Kelly, newly-converted catching prospect, graced Viva El Birdos with an interview before he left for big league Spring Training. We thank him and wish him the best in 2014.

There is a lot to be excited about when discussing the Cardinals' newly-converted catching prospect, Carson Kelly. He may not have had those headliner hitting statistics in his first two minor league seasons, but I wouldn't get too hung up on the numbers just yet—especially with how he closed out 2013 with the State College Spikes. Kelly is still just 19 years old, and as you will see in the interview, he knows what he has to do in order to be successful at the next level. His tools are there, and it appears that his mindset is in place. With an MLB Spring Training invite, I expect him to "soak in" as much knowledge as possible from the big-leaguers, especially Yadier Molina. I wouldn't be surprised if we end up seeing a breakout season from Kelly in 2014.

Player Profile:

  • Bats: Right
  • Height: 6'2"
  • Weight: 215
  • Born: July 14, 1994 (19 years old)
  • High School: Westview HS (Portland, OR)
  • Acquired: 2nd round of 2012 MLB Draft
Minor League Statistics:

Year

Level

Team

G

PA

BA

OBP

SLG

OPS

ISO

wOBA

LD%

2012

Rk

JC

56

225

.225

.263

.399

.662

.174

.307

7.7%

2013

A

Peoria

43

168

.219

.288

.301

.590

.082

.289

6.3%

2013

A-

SC

70

299

.277

.340

.387

.728

.110

.363

15.7%

Interview:

Viva El Birdos: What is the best game in the Mario Brothers series?

Carson Kelly: It has to be Mario Kart or the Nintendo 64 Super Smash Bros.

VEB: What is the air-speed velocity of an unladen swallow?

CK: If you really want to know, it’s just this one simple formula. Vi=Ao √5[(Qc/Po +1)^(2/7)-1]

VEB: We saw your tweet to Sam Tuivailala. Have you set a new Flappy Bird record yet?

CK: As a matter of fact, I am falling behind him and some of the other Flappy Bird players. Good thing there are long bus rides during the season because that is what it will consist of.

VEB: What is the best pizza topping that isn’t good as the only topping?

CK: Cheese because it goes on every one but by itself it doesn’t fit the picture of a pizza.

VEB: Do you ever wish you could helicopter into your catching gear like Dr. Robotnik?

CK: If I had the capability to do that, it would be a must.

VEB: You must do karaoke. Don't question why. What song do you pick?

CK: Don’t Stop Believing by Journey

VEB: What’s the most embarrassing thing your parents ever did to you?

CK: Dressing me in all yellow when I was a kid so they could always find me wherever I was.

VEB: Name one place that you’ve been to and vow to never go to again:

CK: RV park on the Las Vegas strip sharing the upper bunk with my brother in 150-degree weather.

VEB: If you didn’t play professional baseball, which sport would you have wanted to play? Racquetball?

CK: I used to play football before entering high school so that would be my first choice. I like to play racquetball and ping pong as well, but my first choice would have to be football. Golf is another sport that I am getting into now.

VEB: We’ve read somewhere that your family is full of Cubs fans. When is that going to change?

CK: When I got drafted by the Cardinals, they were a little surprised, but as time has passed they have converted. My Dad and Mom are from Chicago, but they are wearing Cardinals stuff now, mostly with Bears & Blackhawks mashup.

VEB: In your own words, what does the Cardinal Way mean to you?

CK: The Cardinal Way is a way we go about our business. It’s playing the right way and having respect for the game, on and off field. This is a separator because it requires you to be on your best at all times.

VEB: What are the specific things you've been working on this off-season to prepare for catching a full season of games?

CK: I have changed up my workout regimen a little to focus more on the strength and endurance of my legs. When it comes to the technique side I have been watching video of other catchers, especially Yadier Molina. I take notes and try to implement some of the stuff I see into my own style of catching.

VEB: Who did you have the conversation about converting to catcher with? What was the gist of what was said?

CK: It was during Instructional League where I was given the opportunity to become a catcher. Gary LaRocque was in the room along with a good size of the coaching staff. What inspired me to pursue this opportunity was knowing that the whole organization from the top to bottom was behind me on it.

VEB: Have you had any instructions on calling pitches or is it all technique so far?

CK: I have talked a little about calling pitches but at this time it is more technique. Once camp begins, I imagine calling pitches will be talked about on a daily basis. I plan to take it all in. I also think it will make me a better hitter too.

VEB: If there was one thing you could improve on as a hitter immediately, what would it be?

CK: Sticking to the process. The worst thing a baseball player can do is try to do too much. What I mean by this is over swinging trying to hit the ball over the fence or making hard contact. I would want to improve on sticking with the process and not getting greedy and wanting to do more. I think in my first season of pro ball, I tried to adjust too much, especially early on in the Spring.

VEB: Piggybacking off that, what are your specific goals as a hitter for the upcoming season?

CK: My specific goal for this year would be to be as consistent as possible. The only way to do that is by sticking with my process. Last year, at times I would become result-oriented instead of process-oriented. It happens to everyone but the players who can adjust back to process-oriented faster play the game longer. I have tried to drive a formula my whole life that means low strikeouts and lots of productivity, anyway to help us win games.

VEB: I've seen you recently trading tweets with Casey Rasmus about your catching future. Do you find other players helpful when trying to learn or is there competitive streak that prevents that kind of camaraderie among teammates?

CK: It is very helpful to ask questions among other players, especially with a position change. Of course it is going to be competitive but at the same time each and every one of us is trying to become the best player we can be. By bouncing ideas and thoughts off each other might trigger something that will take someone to that next level.

VEB: When do you plan on reaching out to Yadi in regards to catching advice/tips?

CK: Having the opportunity to get the invite to Spring Training is extremely special. Being able to work with the best of the best on a daily basis is going to be a tremendous experience. I can’t wait for an opportunity to sit down and talk with the best in the game about catching and some of the things that helped him when he was younger going through the minor leagues.

Viva El Birdos is grateful for the time Kelly put into completing this interview. We wish him the best in 2014 as he transitions over to the catching position and look forward to tracking his progress which will likely start in Peoria.

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