Thursday, February 25, 2010

Interview with Carlos Gutierrez

With the beginning of the 2010 Major League Baseball season nearing, I thought it would be good to hear from a Minnesota Twins prospect. So, I had the opportunity to ask Carlos Gutierrez some questions about his life and baseball career thus far. For those of you who don't know much about Carlos, he was drafted in the 2008 MLB Amateur Draft with the 27th overall pick.

Kevin Lewis: Carlos, thank you for taking time to answer a few questions today.

Carlos Gutierrez: No problem, thanks for having me on.

KL: Carlos, before we dive into the specifics about your first two seasons as a member of the Minnesota Twins organization, why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself. What made you decide to become a baseball athlete?

CG: I have been playing baseball since I was about four years old. My dad always signed us ( my brother David) up in different baseball and basketball leagues. Baseball was something we were both good at and we just kept playing.

KL: Growing up in Florida, more specifically, the Miami area, who were some of your baseball idols that you looked up to and followed? Do you have someone in your life that was by your side while becoming a baseball player?

CG: I never had one person in specific I followed, but I always loved going to the University of Miami baseball games. My dad would take us to a couple of games a week there and we became really big fans.

KL: You were drafted 27th overall in the 2008 MLB First-Year Player Entry Draft. A lot of people were wondering why the Twins would pick a pitcher just coming off Tommy John surgery. When you talked to the Twins, what did they tell you about choosing you?

CG: They never told me anything about choosing me, talking with scouts before from all teams the main thing everyone wanted to know was how I felt. I told everyone it felt better then ever.

KL: You have had a pretty good career so far in the minor leagues. It appears as though you will be starting at New Britain, the Twins Double-A affiliate. What do you feel you will need to work on this season to appear ready to jump to the next level at Rochester?

CG: There is always something any player can work on to get better. Something I thought needed to be addressed in my case was better feel for a change-up. I have been working on it almost daily every time I play catch and in my pens. It is something that still needs work and should come the more I use it in games.

KL: Some people have you as a future set-up man for the Twins, while others have you as possibly becoming a starter down the road. Have the Twins talked to you on how they plan to utilize you as a pitcher once you reach the 25-man roster?

CG: I have not heard exactly what they want but again there is still work that needs to be done. Whenever they feel I am ready I will do whatever is asked of me, whether that be coming out of the pen or as a starter. The Twins have a pretty good track record with this type of thing so I'm not too worried.

KL: How did your off-season go? Did you participate in any winter leagues or train with any other Twins players?

CG: I did not go to any winter leagues this off-season. I am currently training at the University of Miami with Adan Severino (Twins outfielder).

KL: As an avid baseball fan, what is life like as a minor league player? What is the typical routine for you during a day?

CG: I enjoy what I do everyday. Doing what we do traveling around being away from home away from your family for so long is not easy. It is something that you really have to love in order to put yourself through that every year, which I do. Typical off-season day is pretty much working out, throwing, and cardio. Not in any specific order, just to make sure you are getting stuff done and staying in shape.

KL: Playing at the University of Miami (FL) must have been such a thrill for you. Not only because they are one of the biggest powerhouse teams in college baseball, but also because you were born and raised Miami. Tell us a little bit about your experience at the “U”. Do you still remain in touch with your teammates?

CG: Playing at the "U" was a dream come true right from the beginning. As I said earlier, I would always go to games with my family. To put on that uniform for the first time was a great feeling. Then to have my brother join me on the team for a few years was also a great experience. We had great teams while I was there. Many friendships were formed in my time at UM and yes we do keep in touch. We all check up on one another, making sure we are doing okay.

KL: If you aren’t working out or on the road, what do you like to do in your free time?

CG: I pretty much do anything and everything just to get out and do something. I like to stay active. But on my down time I'll play video games or watch a movie.

KL: For all the current baseball players who have a wish to play in the majors, let alone get drafted, what advice would you give them?

CG: I would say to put in the work. Hard work pays off.

KL: Carlos, thank you for taking time, especially as Spring Training nears, to answer a few questions about your career as a minor league player for the Minnesota Twins. Good luck this season and hope to see you in the Twin Cities in a year or two.

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