Kings of Kauffman recently spoke with one of the more heralded prospects in the KC Royals organization, catcher Chase Vallot.
The power hitting righty was drafted out of St. Thomas More High School (Lafayette, LA) by the KC Royals in the 2014 MLB Draft with the 40th selection. He now finds himself working his way through the minor leagues, already in High-A at 20 years old.
Shaun Newkirk of Royals Review pointed out how well he has hit for his age.
"Vallot impressed me a lot last year as being one of the few 18 year olds to hit double-digit home runs in full season baseball the past ten years (a list that included names like Giancarlo Stanton, Bryce Harper, Jason Heyward)."
You can find Chase Vallot on Twitter @Chase_Vallot.
We asked Chase 10 questions that he kindly answered.
1. Growing up, what MLB team did you root for?
Growing up I was a fan of the Houston Astros and Cardinals because I live about 4 hours from Houston and Brad Ausmus is one of my favorite players. I attended about 8-10 Astros games a year. One of the most memorable ones was when Albert Pujols hit the game winning home run in the 2005 NLCS. I also liked the Cardinals because of Yadier Molina.
2. Has there been a player of the past or present that you’ve tried to model your play after? If so, why?
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People say I resemble Mike Napoli, since we are kind of the same build and same offensive type player. I admire how he plays the game overall, how he is so calm and relaxed and has a simple swing.
3. With MLB Draft season upon us, take us through what your draft day experience was like.
I was just sitting at home with my family watching the draft on TV and when I was picked I was completely surprised. I got a call from the Royals after I was picked. It was an unforgettable experience.
4. Wilmington has been known as a tough park to hit in. Why do you think this is and what’s your approach?
Yes it is very difficult to hit for power. The wind blows in, gaps are really big, and it’s tough to see sometimes. I just try to kind of use the ball park as an advantage… the gaps are really big so just stay through the ball and work the gaps and try to rack up as many doubles as possible.
5. Who do you feel like has had the biggest influence on your baseball career?
It’s hard to pinpoint one person. All of my coaches that coached me when I was a kid all the way through high school, my family, had a hand in helping me. They taught me to believe in myself. To have fun and learn as much as you can. Try to learn something new each day and continue to learn and have the attitude that you are here to work every single day.
6. Did you always play catcher growing up? What do you like about the position?
Yes, I’ve always caught ever since I was a kid. I love that you are in on every single pitch, it’s where all the action is at. It’s easy to catch guys when they have their best stuff and it’s working but what really is a challenge is when they don’t have their best stuff and you have to work with they to get through their outing. That’s probably my favorite part of catching.
7. What was the jump from high school baseball to professional baseball like? What is different?
In high school I played 36 game in one year… we play that in a month and a half now. Going from playing 36 to 140 games is a huge jump. The level of competition is a whole lot better too; pitching, hitting the whole 9 yards.
8. The use of advanced statistics in baseball has come a long way. What do you like/not like about them?
Pros are when I am calling a game we have a game plan on what we are going to do to the hitters, examining what are their weaknesses are. The cons are when I’m hitting and the other team has a scouting report on me and the rest of the team.
9. Favorite things to do away from the baseball field?
I like to watch movies, play video games, typical minor league player hobbies. I enjoy sports movies as well as Marvel movies such as Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy. Favorite video games are MLB the show, NHL, Madden, and Uncharted which is kind of like a treasure hunting game
10. We saw some great flashes of you in Spring Training games. How do you feel that time with the big league club affected you?
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My time in big league camp was amazing to say the least. The knowledge those guys have is jaw dropping. The one thing I most liked about it how easy everyone is to talk to, from Eric Hosmer to Salvy to Danny Duffy and to Ned Yost and all of his coaching staff and trainers.