I’ve been waiting on pins and needles for Kyle Crick to return to the active roster on the San Jose Giants so I could talk to this young talent. Though he has spent the majority of the 2013 season on the DL with an oblique strain, he has been a force to be reckoned with in his first 3 starts since his return.
With the trade deadline looming and the Giants looking for help somewhere (ANYWHERE), I can’t help but feel some dread in the pit of my stomach that Kyle Crick will be the target of discussions. Crick is our most promising pitcher in the system, and I still harbor some PTSD from the Zack Wheeler/Carlos Beltran trade. Nonetheless, it’s helpful to take a look at what Crick has done so far in San Jose.
The 20-year old right-handed pitcher has been dominating in High-A ball. He’s resting on an impressive 1.46 ERA (it was 0.48 prior to his start on July 3rd) in 24.2 innings with 20 hits, 14 walks, and 40 strike outs (!!!). We’ll get to this in the interview portion, but he can be extremely Matt Cain-esque with great control and a similar physique to our current ace (Crick: 6’4″, 220 lbs/Cain: 6’3″, 230 lbs).
Can’t you just feel him channeling The Horse?
Crick certainly has what it takes to be a potential top of the rotation starter when he reaches the majors. Not only is he showing swing-and-miss stuff, but he is also displaying incredible maturity and has proven to be an extremely fast learner. I would imagine if he keeps this up, he won’t be in San Jose much longer …
Kyle was kind enough to sit down with me for a few minutes to talk about the Futures game, his approach to pitching and who he looks up to in the big leagues. The “Minor Inquisition” portion is also at the bottom (no video this time, unfortunately) for a fun and casual Q&A session on his guilty pleasures, clubhouse pranks, and more.
First of all, congratulations on making the Futures All-Star Game. Are you excited and what are your thoughts on getting to go to New York? Have you ever been there?
I’ve actually never been to New York. It’ll be my first time, so it’ll be pretty fun. It’s an honor just to go, and I’m glad the Giants are letting me do it.
Is your family going to go out there?
I think my family is actually headed here. So when I get back, they’re going to be in San Jose.
Do you have any personal goals for the Futures game?
Not really, just pitch well. Represent the Giants – they’re the best.
I know you just came back from your oblique strain. Just wondering how you’ve ramped up since you’re doing so great and your first two starts have been amazing.
When I was in Arizona, I kind of took some time off and realized baseball’s not everything in the world. I got a little calmer on the mound. A sense of ease came over me and that’s what I try to think about when I’m pitching. So I basically let the ball go and hopefully it goes where it’s supposed to.
So you’re basically just mentally refocusing?
What’s your go-to pitch you’ve been using to get guys to strike out or get out of a jam with?
I’ve been using my fastball quite a bit. But I guess with two strikes, I’ll throw a breaking pitch – either a slider or a curve ball, something to get them out front. If I’m ahead of the count, I can waste a bit. But I would say mostly I’m just sticking with the fast ball.
Now I don’t want to lead you into this, but you’ve gotten a lot of comparisons to Matt Cain – is that who you’re the most similar to in the organization?
You know, I don’t feel like I can compare myself to him since he’s a major leaguer, but he’s definitely someone I look up to. The things he’s done since he’s been there — he’s already got 6-8 years in the big leagues and he’s only 28, something like that. Yeah, young guys always look up to guys like that.
Is there anyone else you look up to as you’re crafting your career?
I mean, not really. Guys that I’ve watched this year… I watch Matt Harvey a lot, he’s awesome. And everyone watches Verlander. But for the Giants, I stick with Cain and Bum.
Any personal goals you have for this season or anything you want to work on?
Not particularly. Just throw strikes. Keep my walks down and stay healthy the whole year.
And finally, since you’ve been throwing so well, have you noticed any of the scouts coming by to try to take you from us? Any rumors there?
No, I haven’t. I haven’t heard anything there.
Well, that’s good! We want to keep you.
Yeah, that would be great.
A Minor Inquisition - 7 Fun Facts about Kyle Crick
1. Who’s your favorite person to follow on Twitter?
Oh that’s a tough one. I follow Bill Murray. I don’t really know if it’s Bill Murray but the Twitter account is pretty awesome. Lots of sarcasm. Umm.. Uber Facts is a good one. Other than that, baseball guys, I follow Kershaw. He’s a Dodger but I follow him a little bit. And Affeldt for the Giants always has good motivational stuff.
2. What’s your favorite clubhouse prank you’ve seen this year?
I haven’t really seen any this year. There’s one where [Clayton] Blackburn doesn’t really like cotton and they put cotton in his glove – that’s the only one I’ve ever seen.
Like, in his glove?
Yeah, he doesn’t like the feel of cotton so they’ll mess with him and put cotton inside his glove and he has to take it out or get someone to take it out for him.
3. What’s your guilty pleasure? I talked to Clayton a few weeks back and he said Katy Perry… what’s yours?
Hmm… it’s not a girl. I would say mine is Jamba Juice. I love it. I love Jamba Juice. I usually have one every other day. It’s something I enjoy.
Oh white gummy bear! It’s on the secret list.
There’s a secret list?
Yeah it’s on the secret list! You gotta check it out.
4. If you could hang out with any current giants player, who would it be and what would you guys do?
I’d hang out with Cain for sure, and I’d want to go play golf with him. I could probably learn some stuff from him.
5. Whats your favorite meal or pre-game meal?
Anything home cooked – if I can get a home cooked meal from my host mom or my actual mom, that would be my favorite.
And whats a home cooked meal to you?
I guess steak, mashed potatoes, or corn on the cob.
6. Giants fans love to give nicknames to their players – do you have one or did you have one in high school?
Nah, I don’t really have a nickname. All I’ve heard is Cricky. I feel like in baseball nicknames come about when you add a “Y” to someone’s last name. It happens quite a bit. Carl, the strength guy out there, started calling me Cricky and it stuck.
7. If you didn’t play baseball what would you do?
I would play football.
Did you do that in high school?
Yeah, I did.
And what made you choose baseball as a career?
I started getting on the mound and scouts started coming around. I figured I got a lot more looks with baseball than football so I stuck with it.