Being an organization's top offensive prospect can be a painful proposition both for the player and the pitchers he is facing. Take Diamondback prospect Carlos Quentin for example. An outfielder for the AA El Paso Diablos, Quentin is tearing up Texas League pitching in his first professional season, batting .357 with 6 home runs and 37 RBIs. But there have been some bumps in the road for the six-foot, two-inch, 220 pound right hander from Reno. Especially on his arms, legs and back. "That's where most of them hit me," said Quentin who has been plunked by a pitch a minor league record 43 times this season. In this exclusive interview with FutureBacks.com the 22-year old, first round draft pick (2003) talks about his first professional season, when he might be wearing a D'Backs uniform and of course the record that will make him a permanent fixture in minor league history.
Who were some of your favorite baseball players growing up?
I really didn't follow too many players when I was younger. I just like to play the game, but I do remember Kirk Gibson when he hit that home run off of Dennis Eckersley in the World Series. But my favorite players growing up were Ricky Henderson and Ken Griffey Jr. I just loved watching Ricky steal bases.
You were the Diamondbacks second, first round pick last year. Is there any pressure that comes with being such a high selections?
There's not much pressure I don't think. I was fortunate to be selected pretty high in the draft and Conor (Jackson) was drafted really high so there are high expectations at the beginning of the season but after a little bit you just have to play ball.
You mentioned Conor Jackson and how he was drafted ahead of you last year. Now that your both playing well and sharing the outfield here in El Paso; do you two ever talk about sharing the outfield in Arizona?
I lived with Conor in Lancaster (Lancaster Jethawks, Hi-A) so we definitely thought about it, but it's really something you don't talk about. It would be amazing though but now we are just trying to focus on what we are doing.
Your former teammate Chris Snyder just got moved up to the majors and is doing well. What did you think when you heard the news he was moving up?
I was really excited when he told me, but I thought he was going to triple-A so I was a little surprised when I found out he was going all the way up. He is a good player and a quality catcher and him moving up did give me extra motivation. It showed me that anything is possible and that anything can happen at any time.
So you are getting ready to finish up your first professional season? What are some of the challenges you've faced and how are you working to overcome them?
The biggest challenge was dealing with the length of the season and I realized you just have to cut down on your swings and see how you are feeling that day.
You are also coming off the Tommy John Surgery. How did that injury happen and how have you come back from it so well and so quickly?
The injury happened early in my college season and I just got the ball in the outfield, threw the ball too quickly and my arm just whipped around my body. I played with it for the rest of the season and it actually helped me become a better hitter because I learned not to do too much at the plate. Then I got drafted and two or three days later I was on the operating table. I'm real happy with the progress and I'm just working on getting my arm all the way back.
As mentioned, you've had a great first season especially when it comes to hitting the ball, but the thing you might be remembered most for this season is the ball hitting you. What do you think about your record?
I don't really care about it that much. It's a weird record and I guess it's nice to have my name in the record book
Does it hurt to get hit that much?
If you get hit in the ear it hurts a lot, but a majority of the time I'm fortunate and just get grazed or hit in the back.
Did you ever find yourself leaning in to try and get hit for the record?
No. The record's not that important and it would be silly to try and do it. To me what ever happens happens. It's weird sometimes I get hit five times in five games and sometimes I'll go 10 games and not get hit at all.
How would you rate your professional career up to this point?
I'm happy with the progress I've made so far. I just have high expectations for myself and I want to fulfill them. But I'm right about where I'm supposed to be and maybe I moved up a little earlier than expected but I've put up good numbers.
|Carlos Quentin||Batting Avg||HR||RBI||Runs Scored||Hit by Pitch|
|at Lancaster (Hi-A)||.310||15||51||64||27|
|at El Paso (AA)||.357||6||38||39||16|