Ep. #018- Anthony Santiago- White Sox Latin Cultural Development Coordinator
Join Evan and Anthony Santiago as Anthony shares his baseball journey from Catcher to Pitcher to Coach. Anthony shares pitching and hitting tips with youth baseball players as well as the value of perseverance, character, and work ethic.
What You’ll Learn:
01:11 Anthony’s youth baseball journey
09:36 Being signed by the White Sox
11:34 On having an older brother in the MLB
18:59 Transitioning from Catcher to Pitcher
24:54 His first professional pitching experience
28:54 On becoming a coach
37:57 His experience as Latin Cultural Development Coordinator with Yoan Moncada and Luis Robert
41:36 Importance of coaches building trust with their players
55:35 Getting on plane early
1:03:46 The grind and trusting the process
Thank you for being here with us! Evan and the Born To Baseball Team are looking forward to celebrating your success and sharing this journey together.
If you enjoyed this episode we’d be really grateful if you’d rate the show and leave a review on Apple or wherever you’re listening here. This will help other ballplayers find the Born To Baseball Podcast and give us more chances to shout out our listeners!
Now, let’s play ball!
Read show notes here.
Anthony’s Instagram @santiagosoldiers
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Episode 018_ANTHONY SANTIAGO_WHITE SOX LATIN CULTURAL DEVELOPMENT COORDINATOR
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Unknown Speaker 0:23
Calling all ball players. Are you ready to take your game to the next level? Were you born to baseball? Then bring it in, it's game time.
Hey, guys, and welcome to the born to baseball podcast. I'm Evan. And today we have Anthony Santiago joining us. Anthony signed with the White Sox in 2012. He later became a coach for the White Sox organization in 2015. and is now their Latin cultural coordinator. Anthony, thank you so much for joining me today.
Thanks for having me. It's a pleasure.
I'd like to start with your baseball journey. So how old were you when you first started playing baseball? And what was your youth baseball experience? Like,
um, when I first started, I was very young, somewhere, somewhere around four or five years old. You know, and it started off obviously, just as having fun. You know, being a kid. You know, at the time, I was too young to think too big and think, you know, I want to make the Major Leagues but I started off playing baseball and for the Ironbound Little League in North New Jersey, and eventually ended up moving north a little bit going to the north north side to the north Ward and continue playing there and so forth. My journey in baseball is very long, there's a lot of different routes that I took, and, you know, a lot of steps and obstacles that I had to overcome. So we'll get there little by little, but yeah, you know, it all started at a playing for the Ironbound Little League.
What was high school baseball like for you?
Yeah, I went to Bloomfield tech, vocational school in Bloomfield, New Jersey, and high school, you know, I was I was a pretty good ballplayer. You know, I was always I was always on different teams, travel teams, playing for North project pride and, you know, different travel ball teams and just staying active constantly at, you know, at the park with friends, just staying active, whether it was with an organized team, or just with friends. So going to Bloomfield tech I originally made that decision because my brother was there had some other friends that played at the same school. And, you know, we were trying to put together a pretty good ball program. And so we all came together and kind of decided, you know, let's all play together, stick together make make something out of a program. And at the time, it wasn't, you know, that school wasn't really known for baseball. So we kind of turned it around a little bit. And you know, now it's, it's still it's they changed the school. And now they've combined a few schools and made one big one. But eventually, after the few years that I was there, and my brother ended up getting some pretty good ballplayers that came through there as well, because of kind of the history and the culture, that we created there. So it was pretty awesome to see, you know, other guys want to follow in our footsteps and choose Bloomfield tech to play baseball there because of the program as opposed to just what the school had to offer. So yeah,
just like you said, That's awesome. And being there with your brother, as well as yourself. And that's just a really cool experience being able to play with your brother and sort of help each other out.
What was your college baseball experience like? And do you feel like it really prepared you for the next level?
Unknown Speaker 3:59
So getting to my college experience, this is where it got really long and complicated. So I ended up going through, I ended up going to five different colleges, throughout my college career. You know, I was kind of on and off, coming out of high school, you know, I watch, I watched my brother get drafted. Another friend of mine that we played together get drafted as well the same year as my brother in 2006, out of bloomfield tech. So that kind of, you know, gave me that push to want to work harder to want to get better. So I wanted to really make the correct decision. When I was going to college. I didn't want it to just be about academics. I also didn't want it to just be about baseball. But at the time, like all I saw was my one goal and I said you know what i want to follow in their footsteps. I want to play professional baseball. And originally My plan was to go to William Paterson University, which is in New Jersey, Wayne, New Jersey, and things kind of changed. I was playing in the summer at a tournament and a college coach approached me and some of my friends. And at the time, he didn't think I would decide to go with them. Being that he knew I was probably going to have more offers. But it was a community college in Baltimore, I decided to, to go that route. I knew that the coach at the time had worked for Cal Ripken Jr. So I know there was some background there. So I figured, you know, that sounds like a good choice, you know, I'm going to be around the right people. And I decided to go there. I won't get into too many details about all these schools, because we can be on this call for two days. But anyway, so I went there for a little while, it kind of things didn't work out with, you know, recruiting and other players. And it was just a tough atmosphere to be in. So I eventually decided to leave. I went to another school, I transferred over to NJCU, which is College in New Jersey, was there I kind of had some issues with the coach and we just kind of didn't see eye to eye so I decided, you know, it wasn't for me. At that time, I made the choice to go to Dominican Republic. So I ended up going overseas and trying to you know, try to try to take the fast route and sign professionally. in Dominican Republic was there for a few months, you know, had a lot a lot of scouts watch me. It didn't work out and I came back. I ended up going to William Paterson University, which was going to be my original choice finally finally went there. I finished up a semester, I played with them in the fall, I didn't get a chance to play spring. I ended up leaving, there going. I believe I went back to Dominican Republic again, after William Paterson went out there for a few more months, got some looks, you know how to how to do some had some offers. Nothing that I ended up deciding to take afterwards came back and at this point was kind of was probably the most important point in my college career. I was kind of at the point where I'm like, you know what, maybe it's not for me, it hasn't happened yet. I've kind of went through a you know, I've had a lot of obstacles, a lot of negative, you know, things going on a lot of no's. And someone actually the agent, my brother's agent at the time kind of saw me catching a bullpen for my brother. You know, he was in the offseason, he was already with the White Sox. And he saw me and he's like, hey, why aren't you in college, you know what's going on. And he saw something in me said you should be playing Listen, I'm gonna make a call. And I have a friend who would love to have you. And the friend of his was a he had just got a head coaching job at Mitchell college, which is a division three College in Connecticut. And, you know, we we talked, he saw me play he loved me. I you know, I thought it was an amazing coach. He was a great person, you know, he really seemed like he was interested in making me a better player and helping me get to the next level. So I made the decision to to go to that college. So now I'm in Mitchell college in Connecticut. You know, we had a great baseball program, we had, you know, great players, we had an amazing coaching staff. We ended up winning a championship there, I was ready to stay there. You know, I had some scouts watch. Had some scouts watch me I had some offers, you know, possibly getting drafted. It didn't work out, didn't get drafted, I was ready to repeat. And my coach lost his job at that school, which kinda, you know, broke me because I was very comfortable Finally, after so many different schools and being all over, so I ended up having to leave again, which is where I finally ended up going to Florida, Community College in Florida College of Central Florida. Finally played another season there had some scouts see me didn't get drafted. But after the draft about I believe, a week or two after get a phone call, and they offer me to sign with the Chicago White Sox.
Yeah, that's awesome. And really, I know, you mentioned that at a point there was almost like you almost wanted to give up and say, maybe this isn't for me, but you persevered and you kept trying, and eventually things worked out for you. That's awersome.
Unknown Speaker 9:01
Absolutely, absolutely. And you know, that that's why I like to share my journey with a lot of, you know, players, I train along with just you know, through Instagram and, you know, people who follow me and just trying to kind of send out that message so that, you know, if it helps one other player, kind of just just keep pushing through after, you know, a lot of obstacles they have to overcome or persevere and might kind of just give them that one little push, they need to get forward and keep going to that next step and hopefully, you know, it can help them get to their, to their next level, whatever it may be.
Yeah definitely. You were signed out of the College of Central Florida by the White Sox, how did it feel to get signed by a major league organization and say, I'm here I made it to the next level and now I got to keep grinding.
Unknown Speaker 9:52
Um, no, it was it was it was obviously it was amazing. You know, it was it was the moment that every kid dreams of you know, for me it was, I just felt like it was even, it was even better than, you know me being drafted out of high school, you know, because I always enjoy my story and how I got to where I got to, because of all the failure that I had to had to go through first to get it. So it just made it so, so much more sweet. When the moment actually happened. You know, I always say, I, you know, being a coach now for for so many years, with the White Sox seeing so many players drafted and, you know, I can see all the different personalities between first rounders and free agents, you know, or late round draft picks, you kind of see how players act based on, you know, what round they're selected in or how much money they get. And it actually, you know, it makes a big difference. And, you know, how far they go in their career. And I believe everything that I went through really humbled me. So in that moment, you know, I just I broke down, I cried, and I'll be honest, you know, I was in tears. I was I was amazed. I, you know, I didn't, I didn't think it was gonna happen. You know, we all hope it does. So when it did happen, it was just, you know, that much more awesome
A mix of emotions.
Unknown Speaker 11:10
Absolutely, absolutely. But you know, once, once I did, finally sign that contract, that was all right now, onto onto what's next, you know, we are here now, what's the next goal?
That's a great success story and being able to go through some of the failure that you did, but then you you achieved one of your goals, and it's just makes it all the more better?
At the time you were assigned, actually, your brother was playing in the MLB. For the White Sox. having that connection to the organization? Did that make signing with the White Sox any more special?
Unknown Speaker 11:47
Oh, yeah. 100%. And it's funny too, because at the time, when I was playing for the College of Central Florida, you know, I had, I had a lot of a lot of scouts watching me, you know, more for my defense, I was a very, very good defensive catcher, I had a strong arm. And, um, at the time, though, there was two main teams that we're watching, that were constantly communicating with me, you know, I built a good relationship with those two scouts, it was the White Sox, and it was the Angels. So obviously, you know, I was hoping it would go that route with the White Sox, just because of the you know, the history, the background. But at the same time, if it was the Angels, you know, would have been just as great. And then eventually, my brother ends up playing for the Angels as well. You know, so who knows, if I had signed with the angels at the time, it could have ended up being to where we ended up being on the same organization, as well. But yeah, I think it worked out for the best. Once I did get to the White Sox, I tried not to. And it's funny, because my brother actually was the first one to tell me, I try not to tell people who I was, you know, because he didn't, he didn't want anyone to treat me differently, because of the fact that they knew we were brothers, we were related. He kind of wanted me to earn everything, you know, and everyone's respect, based on who I was, as opposed to them respect me just because they knew who my brother was. Ultimately, they would see the last name on the jersey and asked me anyway, any any chance you're related to Hector. So, you know, people found out but it was after a few months of me being with the organization, and after, they kind of got to know me a little bit, which was much better because then I got a chance to build my own relationships with everyone, as opposed to just everyone knowing me because of being Hector's brother.
It's also a great job by your brother too, just because he had some success at the time, he made sure that you you earned some stuff, and you didn't have to have people Oh, you're his brother. Oh, that's, that's cool. It's like you made them respect you for who you were.
Exactly. And that was the idea. Yeah.
So I know you you've shared with me a story about when he faced Miggy, Miguel Cabrera. Can you share that story with our listeners and sort of what went on?
Yeah, so um, I forget exactly what year it was, but it was during his time with the twins and we were in Minnesota, I went out to go watch him play. And they were facing the Tigers. Yes, they were facing the Tigers. So he's up against Miggy. They had previous at bats. You know, my brother had bested him a few times with a few strikeouts. Miggy had a few hits off of him. So they kind of knew each other and respected each other. So Miggy being the professional he is he knew already, you know, my brother's game plan. He kind of knew how he would pitch to him. And the reason I brought that story up to you was to kind of talk about, you know, having a plan and sticking with it. And I know my brother, so I knew what he wanted to do. And I'm watching Miggy, just as a hitter and you know, obviously seeing him, his previous at bats and his career, knowing what type of hitter he is and being a coach Now I, what I like to do is I like to watch hitters I like to watch how they react to certain at bats, how they react to, you know, certain pitchers, how they how they change from one pitch to another. And the best of the best they usually stick to their game plan. Miggy is obviously one of the best hitters in the major leagues, he's been one of the best hitters. So I'm watching them. And I already know my brother, he loves throwing fast balls to righties. So he's coming in, you know, Miggy's fouling some balls off, he gets the two strikes, and I can just watch Miggy every time he steps out, you know, after foul ball, he would step out, and he'd, you know, he'd stick to his approach either, you know. He'd get his feel of his swing, before stepping back in and every one was staying inside the ball, you know, looking, looking to go the other way. And obviously, it's the opposite of what my brother is trying to do. He's trying to pound him in, you know, hoping he obviously swings and miss or tries to pull the ball and break his bat, whatever it may be. And every timehe would foul the ball off. Miggy would step out and do the same thing. Try to go the other way, with his swing to go the other way. My brother eventually ended up throwing him something that Miggy was just sitting there fighting pitches off hoping he would do. And I'm in my head, I'm sitting in the stands like don't throw him an off speed. Don't throw him anything over the plate, he slips in a curveball, Miggy sits back and drives it the other way hits a double, I believe it was either one hopper off the wall, he gets a double. But in that moment, it was funny just to see, you know, I'm watching. I obviously know my brother, I know his game plan. I'm watching Miggy, I know his game plan. And just to see, you know, such a professional hitter, stick to his game plan, no matter what the pitcher was doing. And as hitters you know, we tend to make adjustments based on what the pitcher is doing. But the best, they know what they do well, and they stick to it.
Yeah, staying within yourself. That's a big key.
Yes, big time.
Who would you say, are the people who've had the biggest influence on you as a ballplayer?
Um, I've had a lot in my career, to be honest. Um, but by far the most would have to be my brother and my father. My father, obviously, you know, he was always there for us. You know, he was the one who had us at the ballpark, all the time, not just because he was trying to force us into, you know, playing baseball professionally, but more because he loved the sport. And he knew that there was something in us that would eventually turn into something better. So he made sure that we were there, he also made sure that we always needed all the equipment, you know, that we always had all the equipment we needed. You know, whatever it was, whether whether it was showcases, he was always there to support us, there was never... We never got a no from my father. And one thing that he taught us was always to work hard. You know, he made us, He made us go to work with him from a very young age, just to kind of teach us, you know, what it was to earn something, you know, to work hard to earn something. So he kind of put that into us. So we knew that, whatever we were going to achieve in our life that we were going to have to earn, it wasn't gonna be handed to us. So definitely my father for that, and my brother just for you know, just for always being a positive influence and being able to watch him grow as a player and be a professional. And watch other people respect him for his work ethic, kind of taught me, you know, to follow in his footsteps. And just kind of gave me something to, you know, look up to and to want to try to be as good as or even better.
Fathers play a big role. They really help us out and help us ultimately achieve our goal. You were a catcher pretty much your whole life. And like you mentioned earlier you transitioned to a pitcher. So you're a pitcher in the pros, but a catcher through college. So how did you make that transition from catcher to pitcher as a pro baseball player?
Yeah, so this is another funny story. So obviously, my scout that was watching me through college, watched me as a catcher. You know, I did a little bit of pitching in high school, but not much because I was our, I was our best catcher. So a lot of the times that we played on fields, they had big backstops, and we wanted to make sure that we weren't giving away runs so I didn't get too many times too many opportunities to pitch because I had to be the one catching the, you know, to make sure we weren't just giving up runs. So I did you know, when I did pitch it was more of just throwing so I wasn't really a pitcher, but I did have a strong arm. And as I was getting scouted in college, you know, I was told that there would always be a possibility that I would be converted to a pitcher. And I was okay with it. You know, and in my mind, I just wanted to play professional. I wanted to get get the chance to prove to myself you know that I could compete at that level. And I was, I was ready for it. But I didn't know because when my scout called me You know, it also could have been the fact that there was so much emotion going on. But I remember our conversation and my scout says, Yeah, you know, you're gonna be headed to Bristol, Virginia, which is where the rookie, rookie ball affiliate is for the White Sox. So he's like, you know, pack up your gear. They're gonna they're gonna send you your your plane ticket. And, you know, you'll go from there. So, in my head, when I was told to pack up your gear, I'm assuming my catchers gear, you know, but I wasn't, I guess I probably should have asked a little more questions. But anyway, so I show up, I show up to the field. And I remember signing my contract with with our trainer, he pulls out my contract. And when I'm reading my contract, I see believe it was RHP, like, right handed pitcher, or right handed reliever or something like that. And I'm reading and I'm like, I told my trainer like, hey, but um, I'm a catcher. He looks at me and he goes, not anymore. So at that moment, I'm like, alright, I sign the contract. And I didn't even have a pitchers glove with me. I had all my catching, all my catching equipment, my trunk was full of bats. So I literally had to borrow a pitching glove from from another teammate. At the time, there was a player who was, who had played at a higher level. And he's like, Hey, I got you, man, I got an extra glove. You know, so I went out and played catch as a pitcher for the first time. And I remember thinking, like my arm is not gonna be able to hold up. I'm like, I hope I hope I can. Because as a catcher, I had a lot of bicep pain when I threw, and it ended up working out. I ended up becoming a pitcher and my arm held up, I never really had, you know, thankfully, never had any arm issues. And then at that point, it was just all about, alright, you know, I got to put that in the past and I have to teach myself. I have to listen, I have to become a pitcher now.
That's a pretty cool story. Being able to know, and it's last minute, but I got it, whatever it takes.
Yeah, exactly. Whatever it takes.
So do you think catching almost helped you transition to a pitcher? Because just because you're working with pitchers a lot, and you're sort of in their head?
Oh, no, definitely 100%. Um, and it's tough. Because as a pitcher, you're on the mound and you know, things go so fast, the game speeds up on you, especially at the professional level, you know, when you're just starting off. So you don't even have the time to think to yourself, you know, about the catching process about, you know, what, what pitch you would call at the time. It just becomes, you know, just competing. So I think it did help me in the sense of being able to kind of stay calm a little bit and realize that hitting isn't easy. You know, obviously, as a catcher you have to hit. So, you know, I knew that. It's difficult being a hitter, you know, whether you have a great swing, and we always talked about this. You can have the best swing, but if your timing is off, you're not going to hit. So I knew when I was on the mound, I said, Listen, I may not be a pitcher right now but as long as I throw strikes, I have a chance at getting outs. So that that I would say was the biggest helper for me kind of transitioning, just trusting that if I get the ball over the plate, hitters are bound to get themselves out.
That's a great mindset to take into it. Hitting is one of if not the hardest thing to do in sports.
Unknown Speaker 23:30
In all of sports. Yes. 100%
So I heard that you had a very interesting first pitching appearance. Can you share that story with us?
Absolutely. So um, you know, I become a pitcher. And obviously in professional baseball, everyone's an investment. So they can't just throw you out there right away. They have to kind of transition you into it. So you know, everyone, we started our season and everyone's pitching except me because I had to you know, I had to throw bullpens and get my rest. I'd go into the bullpen get my rest, you know, work on my mechanics work on my pitches. Then I got into throwing live batting practices to our own hitters, you know, so I'd go out and face our own hitters. So I was at the time I was more of a high three quarter pitcher with a you know, fastball curveball, very simple threw a changeup here and there. So when I was facing our own hitters, I did really well you know, I was striking out some of our guys you know, guys were telling me a throwing pretty hard. You know, so the results were there. You know, I was I was getting getting outs. But then obviously sitting in a bullpen Finally I was told, hey, today is going to be the first day you're active about halfway through the season. So obviously my adrenaline's going, I'm in the bullpen.
I get I get the call down to the bullpen, you know, they they give me my sign and my adrenalin You know, starts starts going, my bloods pumping. I warm up and I get out on the field, you know, I get loose, I'm looking around, it's such a different feel, you know, when you're in a game on the mound, especially at the professional level compared to being a catcher looking at a completely different view. So I get out there and, you know, I'm obviously new to professional baseball, so I'm not really sure how it works. But all I knew in my head was that I wanted to throw strikes. So I said, Listen, don't try to overthrow I'm talking to myself, don't try to overthrow you know, just throw strikes, get ahead, you don't want to be the guy that's out here walking everybody and become, it becomes an embarrassment. So in my head, I say, you know, I'm just gonna throw, I just want to get my first pitch over. This guy is probably not going to swing. And you know, I'm sure they know that it's my first time pitching, which I don't know why I thought that. Like, he's probably just gonna let me get the first pitch ahead. So I'll just throw it over. So I throw a fastball probably at 87 miles an hour, who knows. And it's up and away to a left handed hitter, lefty. He goes and swings at the first pitch, Yanks a homerun over the fence. And it was such a crazy moment because immediately my,my mind went to negativity and I go, I'm not a pitcher, I just thought I'm like, Wow, my first pitch, they hit a homerun off me like, that's what's going to keep happening. I'm like, I'm not a pitcher I'm a catcher. But then, you know, just being a competitive person, a competitive player. You know, I shook it off fast. I looked at the umpire and said give me the next ball. I get the ball. You know, I didn't even watch the guy round the bases. I was just focused on the next hitter. I go in, and I didn't think as opposed to my first pitch, I was just overthinking. When I break the next guy's bat and a ground ball. Next guy comes up, I get a pop up. Last hitter, broken bat ground ball, and I get out of the inning. I get three quick outs after they're given up a first pitch home run. And as I'm coming into dugout, you know, everyone's kind of laughing joking about it, like oh, you know, welcome to the league, you know, welcome to the pro ball, or welcome to pitching. And I it's funny, because in my in my head, I'm just I'm thinking like, wow, I just sucked, you know, I gave up a home run. It's terrible. Like, they're probably going to release me and just immediately just all the negative stuff. And everyone's coming up to me like, Hey, nice job, nice job, good job. I'm just wondering, like, why they're telling me good job. But they obviously knew that it was my first time out and I give up a home run and next thing you know, I go and get three outs. And my manager at the time was Pete Rose, Jr. who was an awesome, awesome manager, great person. And the next day, you know, we always meet up and talk about the game. And he's having a meeting, we lost a lot at the time. So he yelled a lot. But during his meeting to us, He used me as an example. And he goes, um, this guy went out there yesterday and on his first professional pitch gives up a homerun. And guess what he goes in right after, you know, and he gets three quick, quick outs. He's like, that's the kind of pitcher that I want on the mound every day. Like, I don't want anyone going up there scared. He's like, I'm gonna, he's I'm gonna ask for this pitcher every day. Because that's the guy went out there. And it kind of motivated me. And I was like, wow, you know, in my head, I was like, That was terrible. And in his eyes, you know, it was, it was something that he felt he could use to motivate the other players. And from there on out, you know, I use that as motivation. And it kind of pushed me to think you know, it's possible I can do this.
Yeah, bouncing back is huge. And that's, that's a really cool and really special first pitching appearance. And that story is awesome.
Definitely, definitely. Thank you.
After 2014, you signed your very first coaching contract with the Chicago White Sox. What was it like going from player to coach?
Um, it was it was interesting. At the time, you know, I was still young. I, you know, I still technically was in my prime as a player. And I had never thought about becoming a coach at the time. You know, it was all about playing. And until I was released by the White Sox, I was in winter ball playing in Puerto Rico at the time, they called me to release me. And it wasn't, it was just a few months later that they called me right back. And I remember getting the call and I was pitching really well in Puerto Rico, facing, you know, high level competition. And I was performing. I was probably at the time one of the best relievers that we had out there. And so I was thinking, you know, I'm gonna get a call by somebody, hopefully, the next day and I get a call from the White Sox and I'm kind of confused. I'm like, these guys just released me and they call me kind of asking You know, how I was doing and what I was doing? And if I was still playing or if I had signed with another team? And my answer was like, No, you know, I'm still waiting. I'm in Puerto Rico, I'm performing well, kind of just waiting for the call. And then Okay, well, good, you know, we got some got some good news, we have a position here for you. And my first thought was, okay, well, as a player, obviously, I'm just thinking like, Oh, I guess you know that something must have happened, they need more pitching, and I'm pitching well, so they noticed that, and he goes, Well, it's a coaching position. And I was kind of shocked, I'm like, okay, because, you know, typically coaches go, and they'll apply for these jobs, if they have the experience. And I did no such thing. But it was, it was just more of the fact that they saw something in me as a player, you know, going, you know, going about my business and my work ethic, and also helping other players along the way. Just things you know, the ins and outs, that people notice, you know, personality traits, things like that. They noticed this in me, and they had a position available. And, you know, I remember them telling me, they're like, Hey, listen, you're the first one on our list. The job is yours. If you want it, you know, think about it. Talk to your brother, talk to your family. And let us know. We're not going to make any other moves until you give us you know, your decision. And yeah, I was like, Alright, well, yeah, let me let me think about it. I'm going to talk to my brother and stuff. And I talked to my brother right after and he was like, so shocked, like, it's not easy to get into professional coaching. He's like, you have to take it, you know, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. And obviously, it was a tough decision because I was pitching well, you know, I was at the peak of my career doing very well. And, you know, facing big league hitters, and AAA hitters and AA hitters were, at the time had only faced rookie ball level guys or A ball guys. And I was doing well. So I really thought I could compete at higher levels. But then I thought to myself, like, you know what, you know, if I become a coach, I'm gonna, I'm going to be around a lot of people who have a lot of knowledge, I'm going to get the ins and outs of how things work, I'm going to learn, not just, you know, I didn't think of it as I'm going to go and teach people. In my mind, I was like, Alright, I'm going to go in, and I'm going to learn, I'm going to listen, take advantage of, you know, this opportunity, and try to become a good coach. So that one day, I can come back home. And I can share all this knowledge that I knew a lot of the players from the inner cities are getting this information, you know, as opposed to people that are in professional baseball, you know, they're able to get all this information, and a lot of people aren't as privileged. So I thought to myself, like, you know what, this, this can be something where I can make a difference somewhere else, not just about becoming a professional coach, but more about helping others. So I told them, You know, I called them back within probably 10 minutes. And I told them that, you know, that was that was gonna agree, and I was going to agree, and I was gonna sign the contract.
Yeah, it's awesome to be recognized and say, okay, we, we think you'd be perfect for this. And, like, let me know what you think you're the first on our list, and we're not going to do anything until we really get you because we really want.
Yeah, and that was, that was, that was a big thing for me. You know, I figured, alright, if they see something in me, then, you know, they obviously know what they're doing. So, you know, let's, let's, let's see it out. And let's see what happens.
10 minutes, only 10 minutes.
That's it. That's it. It was really a really quick decision
in 2017. Now, I'm going to skip ahead here, but you were promoted to the Latin cultural coordinator for the White Sox. Can you talk more about what this role is? And what made you want to help players in this way?
Yeah, so my, when I first signed my contract, was as an assistant coach. When I got to spring training, they started talking to me about talking to me about my job responsibilities. I had a few different responsibilities. One obviously was on on field coaching, you know, coaching, first base, and obviously throwing batting practice and hitting fungos, and all the all that kind of stuff. Being an instructor, as well as I had to help out with the Latin American players, younger Latin American players, so I was doing some translating. I was handling some paperwork stuff outside of the field, there was a lot of a lot of things going, going into that position. So I did it for two years. After my first year, I remember my boss talking to me telling me that you know that I was overqualified for the position. So I kind of knew that eventually it was going to transition into something bigger. And the way the way, the way that I am the person that I am I no matter what I'm doing, I'm going to want to do it the right way. And there are there are people out there who, who aren't that way. So, in the position that I was in, typically that role, people didn't last long in that role, you know, they'd be in for a year or two and out, they'd find someone new, get them in and get them out. Because people, certain guys would take advantage of situations. But for me, I was like, you know, I wanted to make sure I did everything that I could, especially with the position that I was in. The position was helping younger players, younger Latin American players, who were coming into a country where they didn't know the language, you know, they didn't know the culture, they didn't know how to order food, you know, so everything was completely different for them, and they're trying to live out their dream. So if I could be there to help them, I wanted to do it. So I went above and beyond, you know, outside of the field, I made sure that I helped these guys, and I made them feel at home. You know, I had to find them apartments, I had to keep them, you know, comfortable making sure that you know that they weren't homesick that they were that they were going to be able to perform on the field at their, you know, optimal level. And I took, you know, I took a lot of pride in that. So eventually, they, you know, they took notice to it, and my boss, they actually created this position for me at the time, they didn't have this role. So I remember in that offseason, I got a call. And my boss at the time Buddy Bell, he said, listen, you know, we're gonna, we're going to promote you, we're going to give you a promotion, you're going to become a coordinator now. And a coordinator and professional baseball is basically there's there's many, they all have their own specific, you know, jobs, for example, hitting coordinator, pitching coordinator catching coordinator, they all work specifically at certain positions. So what they do is they travel from affiliate, affiliate. So as opposed, instead of just being at the triple A level, or double A level or A ball level, they throughout the season, they, they hop from one team to another, they're in one place for a few weeks or a few days, they'll go to A ball for a few days, triple A double A, all over. So when they he told me about this, you're going to be a coordinator. You're This is going to be your title, it's the latin cultural coordinator. We kind of spoke a little bit about about the responsibilities but I had already knew at the time that I didn't have to change anything that I was doing that obviously what I was doing was what made them give me that promotion or what made them create that position for me. And I actually didn't get a full opportunity to or haven't yet got an opportunity to do that position to the full extent. Because in 2017, when I was actually given that position.
In the offseason, we made a trade with Boston for for Chris Sale. When we made that when we made that trade, we obviously we got Yoan Moncada was a high profile, you know, Cuban player, and a huge investment. So before that spring training, before I got a chance to actually start that position, the way it was supposed to go. I get a call from my boss again. And they had spoken to our general manager at the time. And they wanted to make sure that Yoan Moncada was going to be taken care of, they wanted to make sure that they had somebody that was going to travel with him to make sure that everything was going the right way, you know, on and off the field. So obviously, they thought highly of me. So they decided like, Hey, listen, we're going to have you specifically with Yoan Moncada. You're going to go to major league camp, you're going to go to AAA until he gets to the major leagues. And, you know, basically you're gonna, you're going to be the guy that that makes sure everything goes smoothly. So that was the kind of transition to transition into that role. Once Moncada got to the major leagues, I fell back into my role and I started to travel. You know, I went to Dominican Republic, watch our players out there to kind of oversee everything with the young Latin American players. You know, I was roving around all the lower levels. I did that for a few months until the season ended. And then we signed Luis Robert, who was the next high profile guy, and then obviously transitioned back into that. So he became my next responsibility.
That's awesome. Luis Robert, he's a star in the making right now. And Yoan Moncada a big name in baseball. So it's awesome how you got to sort of help them and guide them a little bit and really make sure they were well taken care of. I read that when you played in the Dominican Republic, you didn't know any Spanish but your teammates would help you out and correct you if you said anything wrong in Spanish. Did that make you any more passionate about Coming into this role just because you've been helped before, so you want to give back and help others.
Definitely, definitely. And that that was, that was the big reason why when I was a player, I took it upon myself to help these players, you know, without it having to be my job. You know, I was constantly I actually lived with all of the Dominican and Venezuelan players, you know, we all we all stayed together. Obviously, the minor leagues, you don't make a lot of money. So you kind of have to grind it out and get by so we used to live in apartments, you know, 6,7,8 players altogether, you know, there'll be three to four of us in a room. So I made sure you know, I had a car at the time. These guys didn't, I made sure that, you know, I was helping out, helping them out, open up bank accounts, you know, help them buy their groceries and help them order food, a little bit of everything, without it having to be my, my job. And I did it just because I understood, you know, what it is to be in a place to be in a different, different country where you're, you're not comfortable, you don't know the language, you don't know anyone, and to have other people help you out. So I took it upon myself to make sure that I was doing that. And that was, you know, some of the reason why they decided to add me on as a coach, not just because of, you know, my knowledge of the game, or you know, from my work ethic, but as well as being a just being a good person. And, you know, having a big heart
What advice could you give to coaches to help them build trust quickly with their players?
Now, I'm actually glad that you bring that up, you know, trust. That's, that's a very, very important word in baseball, especially in coaching. And it was kind of why, why a lot of the players respected me, because they trusted me. They knew they knew. And it happens all the time in professional baseball, in college, or in high school. A lot of times players don't, they don't trust their coaches enough to listen to whether it be advice or listen to, you know, mechanics, whatever, whatever it is. So to give other coaches advice, I'd say just, you know, just to be honest, I know, I know, there's a lot of a lot of times where coaches like to put their egos first. They want to make sure that people feel like they know it all, or they have all the answers. No coach has all the answers, I definitely don't have all the answers. Especially the way baseball is. The game constantly changes, there's always new ways to teach it. There's new ways to play it. So you just basically have to continue being a student of the game, even though you're the teacher, you're the coach, you still have to learn. And just just be real with your players. Make sure that you guys have you know, build the relationship, not just, you know, it's not just coaching, you got to make sure that you know, these guys on and off the field. And just to make sure that, you know, you show them that you actually care about them.
Yeah, that's, that's awesome advice for the coaches, they might not know everything. And a lot of it is just adapting and adjusting to new information, whether it's whether you're a hitting coach, and you're trying to learn a new method, or there's a new philosophy out there, maybe a more efficient swing, whether it's pitching, how to throw harder how to hit your spots, like nine out of 10 times, everything's adapting.
Could you share some of the cooler moments you've had with guys like Yoan Moncada and Luis Robert,
um, I mean, there's a lot, obviously, you know, it's funny now, you know, watching and watching these games, and watching this Robert play now. And, you know, I saw this, I saw this kid kind of grow and mature over the last few years, coming into professional baseball, now I'm gonna get an opportunity to watch him perform at the highest level. So it's just funny, you know, just just to kind of meet and me being able to know these, these, these kids and these players, you know, personally, I kind of know, I know how they think. So I'm, as I'm watching them, I can already imagine, you know, what he's saying, when he gets back to the dugout, and, you know, for example, like Robert he still he doesn't realize how much of a, you know, high profile guy he is. And he forgets that, that people read, you know, people can read and they, they know who he is, and they know how good he is. So I remember his, his first spring training in the major leagues. I think he he faced one of his first at bats he faced like Kelly Jensen, and he goes up right away and he hits a double down the line. And I remember thinking in my head, I'm like, he has no idea what pitch he just hit. Like he's that good that he didn't, he doesn't know what pitch he just hit, he just he saw the ball, he hit the ball. But he's so raw,he's just that talent that he can get away with it. Typically guys are gonna go in saying, oh, it's Kelly Jensen, like, I know he's gonna throw me either a fastball or cutter, most likely, nine out of 10 times he's gonna throw me 95,96 mile per hour cutter. And that's what the pitch was. And I remember asking, asking him, when he got back in the dugout, like a will pitch what pitches to hit? And he's like, fastball, I think. And I'm like, No, I'm like, it's a cutter. And he goes, and he tells me he's like, what's a cutter? Didn't know what the pitch was, you know, cuz he's coming from Cuba. And out there. It's you know, they're, they're not facing anybody throwing that hard. They're facing a lot of curveballs, they don't see you know, splitters and all these different kind of pitches. So I had to, like, explain to him what what a cutter was, and like, what kind of movement it you know, it had, but it was just funny to see, like, you know, how good he actually is. And he doesn't even realize it, he had another experience where he went up the hit, and he's looking for a fastball, and they would not throw it. Thgey wouldn't throw him a fastball and mind you he is in Major League camp, but he would get upset because he's like, I don't know why they're throwing me breaking balls, like, I'm not even in the major leagues yet. They should be throwing fast balls. And I'm like, No, you got to understand that, you know, you're obviously like a super prospect. They're not gonna want you to, you know, to do damage, it doesn't matter if you're not there yet. They know you will be. So these guys already, respect you. And being able to watch him now, you know, on TV and watch his games. You know, I see certain pitches, I already know, I'm like, I already know what he's thinking. So you know, and with Moncada you know, kind of the same stuff. But from with Moncada it's pretty cool, you know, he's, he's actually become more of a leader now. You know, when when I was with him, he was still coming up. And, you know, he only had a little bit of big time with Boston. So he didn't really, he was still learning, but now he's at that point where, you know, within the last two years, he's become more of a leader. So that's, that's been pretty cool to watch.
Now, I want to move more into the technical side. So I'm gonna start off with pitching and then we'll, we'll get into hitting.
I've asked former professional pitchers before, whether they think velocity or location is more important. So far, everyone has said location? Do you agree with them? Or do you think velocity is more important?
To be honest, for me, it's gonna depend on the pitcher. You know, I, and this is this is, you know, something that I teach to all my players, I just make sure that they know what kind of player they are, whether it's hitting or pitching, I know we're on the pitching topic right now. So, as a pitcher, I make sure that they know what you know, what they have, what they, what their arsenal is, what pitches they have, how fast they throw, what movement they have, if they can command the zone, or if they have good pitches, if they can command those pitches. So to me, it's all about knowing who you are, and, you know, pitching to your strengths. So for example, if you have somebody throwing 86, and they have a lot of movement on their on their fastballs, a lot of sink, you know, and they can throw strikes, then it's gonna, it's gonna come down to command. But if you have somebody who can throw 95 Plus, and they can throw strikes with it, then obviously, I'm going to say velocity, you know, because that's what's that's what's going to help them is being able to blow by guys. But there are people out there, there are guys who were in college and throw 90 miles an hour. And in their head, they're just like, you know, I throw 90 I throw hard. And nowadays, 90 is not that hard. So you know, it's all about, it's all about, you know, forgetting about the ego, and knowing your strengths. And, you know, using it to your advantage. So if your hard thrower it's going to be velocity, you know, blow it by guys, yeah, keep the fastball up in the zone. You know, make sure you're throwing 95. Don't hold back and throw 92 or 90 because now you're going to be more in the hitting speed. But if your ball has a lot of movement, don't try to blow by guys, you know, live down in the zone, get ground balls, forget about strikeouts, you know, throw, get deep into the game.
That's great advice. Sometimes as pitchers, we tip our pitches. So what tips would you give to pitchers on helping them disguise their pitches?
Yeah I mean, I guess you know, to keep it simple as just making everything the same, you know, especially with grips. The thing with with pitchers is we have certain pitches. For example, if you have a fastball slider, and a changeup, you grab all of them differently, and the good hitters you know or good coaches can pick up on, you know how pitchers start the ball in their glove. Most guys start with a fastball grip They're holding a fastball in their glove. And when they go to a change up, they end up you know, even though they wiggle their fingers, they wiggle them more than they would when they go to the slider because from the fastball to the slider, you might not move too much, you know you're closer, you're closer to that grip, as opposed to being having a grab a circle change or split change, whatever it is. So finding what pitch what grip, you should start, you should start with in your glove, all the time. So a lot of guys, if they have a changeup or they have a splitter, they'll start with a splitter, so that when they get to that pitch, they don't have to, you know, manipulate the ball and dig in, and do all this extra stuff just to get that grip, they'll start with it so they're already there. And even if they have to fakeit kind of, you know, they just make sure they're consistent on every single pitch.
It's definitely super helpful for a guy like me who I do pitch and guys for, even at the higher level, who pitch a lot. Now, as a hitter, how do you pick up on these tendencies?
Now this this part's tough, because you don't want to do it while you're hitting obviously. So a lot of times, it comes down to paying attention to the game. And a lot of guys forget about this because, you know, we're with our teammates or with our friends and, you know, we forget about watching pay attention, paying attention to the game, but the best players, you know, they know how to focus on the pitchers, and watch the pitchers in the in the bullpen. You know, watch them as they're throwing their warmup pitches, they you know, they pay attention, all the little things, they pay attention to all the details, or even just communicating with with other teammates, you know, if somebody, if you're hitting fifth in the lineup, and the leadoff guy gets up, and he sees you know, hopefully he sees a few pitches, he can go and you can ask him questions, hey, what do you see, you know, whatever he's doing, his fastball, whatever it may be, but making sure that it's actually something that you notice, as opposed to, you know, just seeing something and saying, Oh, I got him, I know he's doing this, and you go up there guessing and you're wrong. So it's a matter of, you know, doing your homework, making sure that they're actually tipping the pitches, you know, if you pick up on something, make sure he goes through a few more hitters and make sure he does it the same to those hitters before you go in. And say, you know, I'm going all in and I'm going to watch him tip his pitch, so I can know what's coming and sit on that pitch. And it was actually something I did in college a lot. Not with everybody because not every pitcher tips his pitches. And sometimes from the dugout view, you can see things that it's not the same when you get in the box. So it's tougher, but um, you know, it's not for everybody. Because a lot of guys who know what, they can know what's coming. And because they know what's coming, they think too big, like I'm getting this fastball right here, I'm gonna hit it 900 feet, and you know, they over swing and they pop it up, or, you know, their timing is off. So it's a matter of, you know, if you can, if you can handle it, and you're good at seeing it and use it, if not, you know, go up and have a plan and see the ball hit the ball.
That's, that's important. And I've actually had one of those experiences recently where I've caught a pitcher they, they were taking their pitches, and it was simple. They were just, you could see them sort of manipulating the grip and the glove from the on deck circle. But it still can give away and I like how you said sometimes it can make hitters overthink?
When it comes to hitting How do you coach your players on really feeling what they're doing, as well as making sure the mechanics are right.
It's for me, it's it's it's different. You know, because every every player is a little bit different. Every player has their their tendencies that they've done since they were since they first picked up a bat. So it's a matter of getting to know the player really, before you just say, you know, alright, this is the drill we're doing. You know, I like to, I like to talk a lot as you know, you know, we communicate a lot when we're having our sessions. You know, so I like to like to get to know the player. You know, I love video, I always give video and so we can slow things down and talk about it. And then just finding different ways that they can feel it. And that's the big, that's the biggest way using different different examples, whether it be a verbal cue or a physical cue. But one thing that I do like to keep up with, if I am doing any drills with my players, I like to make sure that I do them myself first. So that I'm not just telling them what to do that I can actually go and show them. A lot of players are visual learners as well. You know, I'm big time into feel but visual as well. So, you know, sometimes it's not just saying it or feeling it, it's actually seeing somebody do it. You know, I'm sure you watch a lot of Major League games. And I'm sure there's things that your you know, your batting stance, you might have gotten picked up from a player just by watching them play and you didn't realize Next, you know, you're doing something like oh, I'm kind of doing this, like, you know, Josh Donaldson or, you know, or Albert Pujols, whatever it may be. But you do it without realizing just by watching. So making sure that they're, the hitters can actually visually see what you're trying to get them to do.
I like how you, you say you do the drills before you have them do it, just so you're able to show them. And for those guys who are more of visual learners, it can sort of come to them easier just being able to help all your players and think, okay, maybe this might not work for you. But let's try this and see if this does.
I've often heard the phrase get on playing early used, can you talk about what that means and why it's so important in the swing?
Yeah, for me, um, you know, getting on plane, it's not so much about the, you know, the hitting plane or the strike zone. For me, it's all about the pitch angle, you know, and got a lot of guys talk about, you know, launch angle, and, you know, the degree that the ball goes out on, for me, it's just a matter of, you know, the the line, you can say, or the angle that the ball has, when it's coming from the pitchers hand, into the catcher's glove. You know, and I like to visually show hitters, like, you know, what that angle is, you know, so I'll put the ball on a tee, you know, give them the visual of the ball coming out of the pitchers hand up on top of the mound, so that they can know the difference between a low fastball and a high fastball, they're not coming in at the same, you know, at the same plane at the same angle. So it's a matter of being able to match that as early as you possibly can, giving yourself the best chance to have room for error. You know, like we spoke about already hitting is very hard. You want to give yourself a chance to be late, to be early to be on time and to have success. You don't want to just have success, when you're perfectly on time, if you have success only when you're perfectly on time, you're not going to have that much success. It's not that easy, especially at the higher level where you have all these big high velocity pitchers, a lot of movement, multiple pitches, there's a lot that goes on. So we have to give ourselves the best chance to succeed, whether it be late, early or on time. So just matching that plane as early as possible, just gives you the best chance to not be that great and still get away with things.
Getting on plane early, huge key to being able to be successful. that's helped me and I'm still working on it. But getting on plane early and as as really as early as possible. And like you said, low fastball is not going to be the same as a high fastball. So when it comes to a curveball and getting on plane, it's more up and down, let's say 12, six, curveball, that's a steeper plane. And if you do match the plane, you're most likely going to hit a pop up or fly ball. So how would you get on plane with that without sort of getting on plane?
Yeah, you know, that's, that's actually a really good question. And, you know, kind of like I spoke about earlier, not everyone has the answer. So for me, that can that can vary depending on on the on the hitter, there's guys who are naturally gifted, and just they're better at that talented to have good hand eye coordination, that they're able to make that adjustment, you know, that they're able to, you know, get their timing to the point where they can still stay in the zone and adjust based on the movement of the ball. Because when you when you see a ball, you know, a breaking ball, curveball slider, whatever it may be, you're not immediately going to calculate, you know, how much movement this ball has, how much spin it has, and you know, where the ball is going to be when it gets to you, but we just naturally as as ballplayers, which is why repetition is so important. You know, we go through, we see so many curveballs that we start to realize more or less, we have an idea, without being a computer having to be a computer that we can, we can tell more or less where the ball is going to be. So yeah, it's a matter of I like to teach it as you know, just having one consistent, consistent swing, so we're not going to adjust our swing just because it's a breakable where no one is going to be that that good. So it's a matter of approaching everything like it's a fastball and then just being able to trust that your hand eye coordination is going to help you be able to barrel it up as as well as you can.
Hand eye it's a skill that you to have. It doesn't come to everyone. I know there's training for it. But some guys, they are just super talented and they have that aspect already. They don't have to work on it as much. Are there certain drills that you would recommend for youth players to do when it comes to getting on plane early.
There's different ways to kind of you know, to think about it, but for me, it's all about getting guys to not think about going directly to the ball. first instinct, you know, and, you know, as a young player you have coaches tell you, you know, be short to the ball, be quick to the ball, you know, get them out to the ball. And you know, those cues typically get guys to go directly to the ball, you see the ball and you get there with your hands, which typically leads to the barrel following and downward action, which, as we spoke about, most fastballs are coming downward, if our bat's coming downward, it's gonna be very hard to get on plane. So just a matter of thinking, you know, whether it be getting the barrel off the back, the back shoulder, coming behind the ball, you know, I know I've done this drill with you using the deep Tee. You know, setting up the Tee deep in your swing, so that you can try to naturally just find a way to get the barrel on the ball without having to manipulate our bodies. And, you know, as you've you've seen, if you come down to the ball, or your, your too direct to it, you're not going to be able to hit that pitch, you know, on the barrel. And going back to what we talked about with being able to give yourself a chance to be late to be early to be on time and still hit the barrel. You know, I really love that drill to be able to feel the swing, get in the zone early, to get on path early, you know, plain, get behind the ball and just let the natural, you know, bat path you know, give the ball and bat a chance to meet up
That drill has helped me and it's it really is an awesome drill. And for our listeners, if you want to do it, you can just set the tee up somewhere around your back foot, I would say, and you try to hit it, but just really without I know you've talked me about not compensating with another part not staying back, super back, or not really manipulating your body too much. I like that drill tip. What hitter in the MLB right now do you recommend use players that you work with to really study and why?
The first one I'm going to go to is Nolan Arenado. And it's it's really not just about you know, if you just watch a not just in game swings, but if you watch his, you know, his highlight videos, whether it be you know, hitting in the cage or hitting off a tee, the way he goes about his you know, his work, it just goes to show you that it's it's not easy to hit. And it takes time. And it takes effort to become a good hitter. And it seems like he's constantly making adjustments, and constantly, you know, trying to find different ways to consistently get better. But the biggest reason why I bring him up is because, you know, I'm sure you've heard it 1000 times or more. But you know, when you're in games, our head pulls off and naturally wants to pull off, we want to see where the ball is going right away. And he's a major league hitter who's had very, you know, so much success, and he's an all star. And if he's able to make contact with the ball, and keep his eyes, his head at contact point and not look up immediately, which most guys do, and it they don't realize what it takes their body out of the zone, it takes their swing out of the zone too soon. And every young player should be able to do it. So yeah, the way he the way he goes about two things, you know, keeping his eyes on the ball, keeping his head at contact point, even through through contact and getting extension are the biggest two things. And I really love watching him mainly for that reason, whether it's a ball that he pulls and hits 400 feet to left, or a ball that he slices the other way for a base hit. He's he's keeping his head there, as long as he can. His eyes are at contact point even through extension. Yeah,
he's he's a great example. Youth players were often told to trust the process and grind every day. What's some advice that you would give to youth players on really trusting the process, even when they're not seeing the results yet?
Um, yeah, I mean, it's, it's tough. You know, it's tough as a young player, because you want to see results right away. But if you if you think about it this way, and just see, you know, Major League players go, you know, go about their business and how they approach everything. You'll realize that they didn't get there, you know, just in just in a few days or a month, you know, it doesn't, it takes repetition, you know, you have to constantly work at it, even when you perfect it, you know, the game throws you a curveball, and now you're trying to find another way out of a slump. You see major leaguers do it all the time, even even some of the best, you know, they're they're at the peak of their careers. And next thing you know, they have an off season. So they have to find another way to be successful, whether it's the change in the velocities or you know, the change in the way pitchers are approaching hitters. It could be anything, but it takes time and I was able to watch a lot of players over the last few years come up through the minors and, you know, are currently playing in the major leagues. And when they first got the professional baseball, they weren't the same players that they were, that they currently are. It took, it took repetition. And the big thing is, in professional baseball, there's not that many days off, these guys are out there every day, they're practicing for a few hours before playing every day, for seven months straight, eight months straight, and then they, they get home. And guess what they have to continue working to get ready for the next season. So it takes a lot of time, a lot of a lot of repetitions to start feeling things, and especially as you know, youth players younger, you guys are still growing into your bodies, you guys are still figuring out how your body works, or you know what kind of player you're going to be in the future. So you got to give it time, you got to be patient, you know, just enjoy the game, while you're playing it. And, you know, just let let your work ethic and let the amount of time and work that you put in, do its job on its own. Just make sure that you're actually you know, going about your business the right way, and, you know, practicing with a purpose, as opposed to just going through the motions waiting for the day, for you to get big and strong and hit all these homeruns it's not that simple. You know, you got to really, really put the time and effort in
you got to grind to get achieve your goals and get where you want to be. That's, that's really helpful advice. In your opinion,
What are some of the qualities that successful players should all have?
For one being humble, I think that goes a long way, being a good person, you know, being a caring person, you know, to where you become a good teammate. And a good listener, there's a lot of coaches out there, who, who have a lot of a lot of knowledge, a lot of information. And some players take it for granted. You know, and and I, you know, I'm a, I'm an example of that I've, I've been in professional baseball, I've been into certain meetings where you know, I'm just tired, and you really don't want to listen to too much talking, you know, you kind of just like, I'd rather just get out there and hit batting practice. So just being you know, being a good listener, and actually making sure that you know, that you're you're thanking everybody along the way who has helped you out, it'll go a long way, trust me. You know, I'm, I'm an example of that. Because, you know, I tried to pride myself on being a good person and being a good teammate. And eventually, it helped me out to the point where, you know, people were to, were able to see something in me that gave me an opportunity to become, you know, the person that I am today.
I want to wrap this up with some rapid fire questions. So you're ready
I think so, here we go.
Who's your favorite pitcher in the big leagues right now?
Oh, I was gonna say Hector Santiago, but he's currently not there right now. Um, but a fun one to watch for me is Lucas Giolito. He's been the White Sox. And you know, I was able to see him in triple A Charlotte before he got to the majors. And he's made some some adjustments and his mechanics. And it's been interesting to see how much success he's had by making those adjustments.
if you could have one person in baseball history, mentor you who would it be?
tough one. I'd say probably I know. I know. This is a different position. But probably Ivan Rodriguez, Pudge. He was, he was somebody you know, I watched a lot when I was a catcher. Obviously, he's Puerto Rican as well. So if I could have somebody mentor me, you know, when I was a catcher would definitely be him.
Last, but definitely not least, you grew up in New Jersey, if I was visiting for the very first time in my life, what's one place that I would just have to go check out?
That's a good question. Maybe the Jersey Shore just because it's such a, you know, such a big name. And obviously, I you know, when I was younger, I grew up, you know, going there and enjoying Memorial weekends there and certain holidays and, you know, I always had a blast that or Wildwood
Okay, two great suggestions. Anthony, do you have any projects that you're currently working on? or places that people can reach you and learn more about you?
Oh, yeah, I actually am um, you know, I was kind of waiting around because obviously, this this year has been a, you know, a very different year for everyone. But, uh, you know, our minor league season was canceled, which is the reason why I've been home, excuse me for the last few months. And I obviously recently just started doing given baseball lessons again, but um, I am planning on this winter depending on how everything you know, is going with the virus. I am planning on doing a few big clinics, getting some some pro guys as well to come in and help me out with that. No dates are set yet but that is one thing and I'm also open Putting together a, a pitching velocity program that I'll be doing this winter as well. For some, you know, some of the high school, older high school, college guys who are interested in building some velocity, we're going to do some strength and conditioning stuff as well as, you know, pitching mechanics a little bit, a little bit of everything to kind of help these guys get them themselves ready for the next level.
Are there some places that our listeners can reach you or learn a little bit more about you.
Yeah, I mean, obviously, I'm constantly posting on my social media. My my Instagram is ant_santiago6. And I have two Instagrams, but that's my my baseball page. And, you know, I constantly put posts up, you know, I post some of my sessions with my players, our training sessions, as well as just motivational, you know, quotes or, you know, just just anything that kind of pops in that I feel might help a player out.
Anthony, thank you so much for joining me today.
Thanks for having me over the pleasure.
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