MLB reports: First question: Favorite team growing up?
Cade Kreuter: My favorite team growing up was always the team my dad was playing for at the time, but with that said, really my favorite team has always been the Yankees. They are the best and everyone knows it. Many of my favorite players have played on the Yankees at some point in time also. It is a dream to be a big leaguer, but it is an entire different dream to be a Yankee. I see it as one of the highest honors in baseball to have an opportunity to be a Yankee.
MLB reports: You were drafted by the Dbacks in 2009 but chose to attend the University of Southern California instead. How close were you to signing with the Dbacks, what were the negotiations like?
Cade Kreuter: Being drafted by the Diamondbacks was a very exciting moment of time in my life, I did not expect to be drafted at all actually. I had missed my entire season senior year after I dislocated my shoulder the first game of the year. So there really were not any negotiations with the Diamondbacks after I was drafted. I was contacted the morning of the draft by the Diamondbacks, about 15 minutes before I was drafted, and I was told to turn on my computer and listen to the draft and for my name to be called out. After I was drafted it was explained to me that I would be a “draft and follow” and I would now be in their system.
MLB reports: How have you enjoyed your time in University so far (what has your experience been like)? Do you feel you made the right choice in picking school over pro ball? (if you could go back in a time machine- would you have still made the same choice?)
Cade Kreuter: No doubt about it that I made the right choice to go to college for a few years before signing professional. I do always think about what if I signed out of high school, I could be three years ahead into pro ball and who knows where I could be. But I really do think I made the right choice by going to school. I have matured in so many different ways, as a ballplayer, and as a person. My shoulder injury was able to heal during my time in college, and now I am healthy and throwing again. I have met so many people who I may have missed out on if I had skipped college. On top of all that I have put at least 3 years of education in my pocket, from 2 of the top Universities in the country.
MLB reports: Number 19- how did you pick that number?
Cade Kreuter: Number 19 has become a family number, and my grandfather, Mike Gillespie, started it all when he was playing at the University of Southern California. My grandfather continued to wear the number while he was coaching at USC and still continues to wear it now at UC Irvine. My dad wore it when he could while he was playing. I have always worn the number 19 when it is available, and my little brother, Cole, who is a sophomore at Columbus High School also wears 19. We are both very proud to keep the number in the family, and hope to pass it on.
MLB reports: At 6’5″ – did you ever consider other sports instead of baseball?
Cade Kreuter: Growing up I played baseball, basketball and football. In high school I played both baseball and football. I only played football my freshman and sophomore year, but I really do regret not playing football the rest of the way through high school. I have not ruled out walking on as a quarterback in football for my senior season at The U if I decide to stay for my senior year.
MLB reports: Did you have a favorite player growing up?
Cade Kreuter: I have had so many different favorite players from Ken Griffey Jr. to Frank Thomas, and to Mike Sweeney. But really my favorite player growing up was Gary Sheffield. I loved everything about Gary, his batting stance, his swing, his cleats. I could go on. But his locker was right next to my dads when they played on the Dodgers together, and I always looked up to him.
MLB reports: Which current MLB star do you most admire and why? Any current players that you pattern your game after?
Cade Kreuter: Right now I look at players in the MLB a little bit differently than I did as a kid growing up. Now I look at guys who have similar size and height to me, and I like to see how they do specific things in their swing and their batting stance. Being so tall it is difficult to keep my swing in tune since I am not fully filled into my body. So I like to look at players like Alex Rodriguez, Josh Hamilton, and Matt Kemp. They’re all such big hitters at the plate I can see how they use their bodies throughout their swing and relate to that.
MLB reports: What are your goals going into the 2012 season?
Cade Kreuter: My biggest goal for this upcoming season is to get to Omaha and win it. There is nothing else on my mind right now, and I know that with a national championship in my sights and putting my team first that my personal statistics will take care of themselves. That is my goal right now.
MLB reports: What has your offseason been like? What are you up to? What are you doing to prepare for the season?
Cade Kreuter: Well I consider my fall semester and winter break my offseason really. Fall semester here at The U consist of a lot of intra-squad games, a lot of weight training, and running. That is all done with the team. During my winter break I go two-a-days with the weight training, once in the morning and once at night. When I was not in the weight room I was in the cages taking as many swings I could. I would long toss 3 times a week and keep my throwing short distance on the other days.
MLB reports: At what age did you know that you would be a baseball player? Do you see yourself long-term as an outfielder or infielder?
Cade Kreuter: I have been playing ball since I can remember. Since I was a little kid I knew that I would be playing baseball as long as it allows me to. Right now I am playing the corners in the outfield and I like it a lot out there, but I can play any position and if somebody moves me back to the infield I would be more than happy and then they can move me back to the outfield if they wanted. As long as I am playing baseball I’m ok. But, long-term I do see myself in the outfield because of my body size, and my tools go well in the outfield. I love to throw people out, so beware.
MLB reports: Ever consider catching (wink)?
Cade Kreuter: I use to catch when I was young! But I guess the last time I caught was when I probably 13 years old, before my freshman year in high school. I did some catching drills at USC for a little too and I had a decent pop time. If I was told to get back behind the plate I wouldn’t argue, I think catching is a great position to play. I might have trouble with the signs. I would for sure need to practice that a lot.
MLB reports: What’s the keys to your game- power, speed, patience- or a combination?
Cade Kreuter: Right now I am focusing on staying aggressive at the plate and letting my natural power take over. So instead of just looking for my pitch to hit I’m starting to drive anything thrown in the zone. My power is a big part of the game, but it is difficult to not get caught up in my power sometimes. So I just need to stay smooth and quick through the zone instead of trying to jack the ball all the time. When I do that, my power really shows. I can turn the running turbo on too, if I think there can be another bag in there for myself I’ll take it.
MLB reports: What facets of your game do you most wish to improve upon?
Cade Kreuter: Right now I strike out a lot, and that is what I want to improve upon the most right now. If you asked me this question a few months ago I would have told you my number thing to do would be get my shoulder healthy and back in game shape. But I know as I continue to learn my body, learn my swing, and become a better hitter mentally at the plate that my strike out numbers will be cut down. That comes with repetition also, I have missed out on a lot of at bats and games since my senior year in high school because of this injury.
MLB reports: Who were the strongest baseball influences growing up? Any particular coaches that had a deep impact on your game?
Cade Kreuter: I have had so many great coaches and I have had a lot of awful coaches. First major influences that I have had in baseball are my dad and grandfather, Mike Gillespie. They both have so much knowledge about the game and understand that even the tiniest of things can make the biggest difference to a baseball player. That is why they have both been so successful in their careers, and they have taught me in very advanced ways that a lot of other coaches and players I have had or played with can’t even comprehend. I have had coaches that thought I was an awful baseball player because I was tall and lanky, and I have had teammates tell me that too. A lot of that is just plain jealousy, but you learn to use that negative stuff as fuel after a while.
MLB reports: Three years of school and then going back to the draft. Is that the plan? Where do you see yourself being drafted the next time around and what do you need to do to get there?
Cade Kreuter: The plan for me right now is to play as hard and as good as I can play for my team every game. My plan is to go to Omaha and win. Whatever happens with the draft happens. The draft is not going to make me a better or worse player in pro ball because I went high or low in the draft. The situation does need to be right for me to sign and there is a lot of different things that go with that. But I know when I play for my team and not for myself is when I will get the best out of me, so everything will fall into place when the draft comes.
MLB reports: Tell us about your dad, Chad Kreuter. What was he like as a dad? What is your relationship like?
Cade Kreuter: My dad is everything to me. When he was playing he brought me to the ballpark with him as much as possible, which is something a lot of players shy away from doing and worry about having their kid there for different reasons. Looking back it seems I spent every minute with him even while he was doing his work at the park. But he has given me the best life that he could ever give me and I couldn’t ask him for anything more.
MLB reports: Any pressure to become a ballplayer? Did you ever consider another career path? Is having a famous baseball dad any hinderance to you?
Cade Kreuter: I don’t feel pressure to be a ballplayer ever, it’s just what I have always done. It’s what I have always been good at. I did feel I needed to prove myself as a player to my teammates at USC when I was playing under my dad there. Really I’ve always wanted to be a Big Leaguer, so I’m just a kid dreaming still. Another career path? No, not really. I guess my backup plan would be something with science and wildlife, which people find shocking and weird. I just know a lot about nature for some reason, probably because I watch more Animal Planet than ESPN.
MLB reports: Favorite baseball movie of all-time and why?
Cade Kreuter: My favorite baseball movie has to be “Moneyball” now since I helped Chris Pratt “Scott Hatteberg” and Stephen Bishop “David Justice” with their hitting and defense for the movie. My dad and grandpa also worked on set while they were filming and they were both actually in the movie. It doesn’t get better than “Sandlot” though.
MLB reports: Final thoughts?
Cade Kreuter: Thank you for the interview! Go Canes! Cade.