*Interview with Anthony Ray (plus signed batting gloves giveaway!)

Game-used Nike Diamond Elite, dual-signed batting gloves. Heaven. - Anthony Ray's iPhone

Anthony Ray is determined to become "Sir Hits-A-Lot."

With the team's 36th round pick of the 2013 MLB Draft, the St. Louis Cardinals selected speedy outfielder Anthony Ray out of Chicago, Illinois. Ray's hitting numbers from 2013 showed that it was going to take time for him to adjust to the pitching of professional baseball. At 18 years old and less than one year out of high school, this is not necessarily unexpected. Well, he is starting the year in extended Spring Training with an increased focus on becoming more consistent at the plate, especially going the other way. Once on the base paths, Ray's speed can be quite a nuisance for opponents, and I would not be surprised if we see gaudy stolen base numbers from him as he progresses his way through the minor leagues.

Player Profile:

  • Bats: Left
  • Throws: Right
  • Height: 6'
  • Weight: 163 pounds
  • Born: 3/3/1995 (19 years old)
  • High School: St. Rita HS (Chicago, IL)

2013 Statistics:

Year

Level

Team

League

G

PA

BA

OBP

SLG

SB

CS

wOBA

wRC+

2013

Rk

CAR

GCL

43

140

.233

.281

.287

6

3

.276

71

Interview:

Viva El Birdos: Do you anticipate problems with people trying to Google you and coming up with results for Sir Mix-A-Lot (birth name Anthony Ray) instead?

AR: Hahaha! I actually never knew that until now. Wow, it's kind of crazy because back in the day he had a hit record that everybody knew about, and still to this day knows about. It's not really a problem to me.

VEB: Following up to the first question, have you and your agent identified any marketing opportunities that this may create? (i.e. Sir Hits-A-Lot)

AR: No, not really, but maybe in the near future.

VEB: What is your favorite baseball movie and why?

AR: I will have to say the Sandlot. That was the first baseball movie I watched when I was a kid. It was cool seeing how they did anything and everything just to play the game they love. I still to this day want to see if I can out run The Beast.

VEB: What kind of routines or superstitions do you have on game day?

AR: Before every game, I say a prayer to myself. I will do the same thing I did the day I got a hit to see if I can keep it going. If I don't get a hit that day, I will switch something up the next game.

VEB: What is one unique thing that not many people know about you?

AR: I’m a pretty good dancer. To be honest, I would like to challenge Joe Kelly in a dance off someday.

VEB: If you were forced to change one thing about the game of baseball, what would it be?

AR: To tell you the truth, I would not change anything. I love how it is right now.

VEB: What drill or workout do you dislike the most, either currently or growing up?

AR: Growing up, I disliked hitting off the tee because I used to think, "I'm not in tee ball anymore, so why do I need to do this?" But once I got to high school and especially now, I noticed it's one of the best ways to help your hitting.

VEB: Which MLB player, past or present, did you look up to most as a kid? Is there a player you emulate your game after currently? Any you talk to on a regular basis?

AR: Growing up, Derek Jeter was the one I looked up to most. He is the reason why my favorite number is 2. I model my game after Curtis Granderson. This offseason, I had the honor to work out with Curtis, Jason Kipnis, and Gordon Beckham. I talk to Curtis almost every single day. He is a real mentor for me.

VEB: As a 19 year old, what has been the biggest adjustment you have had to make in pro ball?

AR: It has to be playing on a team where everybody has talent. In pro ball, you really have to be mentally tough and ready for a grind every single day.

VEB: What is one of your biggest strengths on the ball-field? And what is one area you would like to improve most?

AR: My speed is my biggest strength. An area I will have to improve is hitting the ball the other way a little better.

VEB: Along those lines, what is one area the Cardinals organization has asked you to focus on most?

AR: Hitting the ball more consistently, and I have been putting in the work to do this.

VEB: What is the best piece of baseball advice you have received so far in your young professional career?

AR: Some of the greatest advice I have received was from Willie McGee. He once told me, "The first rule of being a great base stealer is to be FEARLESS."

VEB: At the end of this season, what would you like to have achieved?

AR: I would like to have a championship ring. I would like to be an All-Star, but most importantly, I will want to have had a better season than I did my first year so I know I have improved.

You can find Anthony on Twitter: @X_Ray2.

I thank Anthony for his time with this interview. I am especially grateful for his donation of a game-used, dual-signed item for us to give away to one lucky reader.

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