Minor League Monday: An Interview with Kellin Deglan
Dan recently had the privilege to interview Rangers catcher, Kellin Deglan.
Deglan was the #22 overall pick in the 2010 MLB draft, out of Langley, British Columbia.
ShutDownInning: Do you sing the Canadian anthem under your breath before games?
Kellin Deglan: Haha. No I do not sing O’Canada under my breath, I just listen to the Star Spangled Banner.
SDI: Your high school had badminton, but no baseball- please explain.
KD: At my High School, we had a lot of foreign students—mostly from Korea and China—who played on our badminton team, and came to R.E. Mountain in the first place because it offered the IB Program (a program for students who wish to jump-start their post secondary education early). There is no HS baseball league in British Columbia. I believe it is a numbers issue because there wouldn’t be enough students who would be capable of playing baseball; my High School had about 850 students and we could barely field a hockey team because we all played on Club teams and could not commit to the High School program.
SDI: Playing for the Langley Blaze you got to play against Dominican Summer League teams and some complex teams. How much did that prepare you for the draft and pro ball?
KD: I was fortunate enough to play in the DSL against Dominican teams. I actually had two trips to the Dominican with the Canadian Junior National Team, coached by Greg Hamilton. We also played against lower level Spring Training Teams in Florida, where I held my own against professional players.
The Langley Blaze was my Baseball Club, based out of Langley BC, and coached by Doug Mathieson and Jamie Bodaly. We played in the B.C. Premier League against quality competition and even traveled to Arizona in the spring and fall every year, as well as to Jupiter Florida for the WWBA Championships every October.
Both programs prepared me for pro ball. Team Canada prepared me because in the spring and fall we lived the life of a Minor Leaguer for 10 days. In the Florida heat we practiced in the morning and played a game in the afternoon.
SDI: What do you say/think about the Joe Mauer comparisons?
KD: I don’t look into that kind of stuff; I just be me, Kellin Deglan, and try emulate the catching mechanics I’m taught by the Rangers catching coaches. I have a lot of work to do to catch up to Joe Mauer, but I do feel like my swing is getting better and better as I’m maturing.
SDI: What’s your best tool?
KD: As for my best tool, I leave that up writers and scouts to determine. I’m not a physical beast or anything; I’m still pretty lean, yet I’ve always had good arm strength.
SDI: What was the defining moment that put you firmly on the map draft-wise? A: With regards to the Rangers, March was maybe my best month because I played against them in front of all their scouts and coaches. But for me, the month of April put me on the map as a top draft pick, playing for Team Canada Junior National. Against extended Spring Training Teams in Florida, I hit great over about a 10-day span, hitting a lot of doubles and a walk-off home run against the Astros.
SDI: Did you anticipate being drafted as high as #22 overall in 2010?
KD: I was pretty sure I was going first round because that’s what everybody was saying.
SDI: You already have two seasons under your belt, and you’re still a teenager. How is it to always play against older players?
KD: I enjoy playing against the older guys. I don’t really care what age or size the other guys are because I always want to win no matter what. I also always want to beat the pitcher and hit him hard, whether he’s 19 or 25, I’ll always want to hit it hard.
SDI: You signed early, and played your first game just two weeks after being drafted. Who did you work the deal out with Nolan, Jon Daniels or was it Thad Levine?
KD: I worked out the deal with Scouting Director, Mr. Kip Fagg. He called with the offer and I accepted without hesitation.
SDI: You’ve worked out with Justin Morneau. What other players do you work out with and try to emulate?
KD: Yes I worked out with Justin Morneau and I’ve also worked out with Adam Loewen, Tyson Gillies, and Michael Crouse. I don’t try to emulate anybody; I just try finding a stance that I’m comfortable with.
SDI: You’ve played with many different teams professionally and in Canada, How do incorporate all the different type of pitchers you’ve caught into your catching style?
KD: Easy, I have one catching style. It works for soft tossers or guys with a lot of velocity. I try not to make it tougher than it is.
SDI: The Rangers drafted you, and with their deep resources in scouting and developing, that’s surely brings some verification of your skills, right?
KD: Well yeah, the Rangers liked my tool set and make-up enough to select me 22nd overall. They obviously see me as a future Big League catcher to help their club.
SDI: Most impressive player to play with?
KD: Jurickson Profar. Whenever the game is on the line, Profar is the guy who came up clutch when we needed him. You want on the field or up to bat to get the job done. Everything I threw to him at second he caught and made the play.
SDI: Most impressive player to play against?
KD: Jorge Soler. I played against him in the 2010 World Juniors in Thunder Bay, Ontario. He played for the Cuban Jr. National Team and is expected to sign this year as a free agent for millions of dollars. From what I remember he is a 5-tool player with incredible plate coverage and power to all fields.
SDI: Lastly, give me the most overused Canadian joke you get from your teammates.
KD: I am so glad you asked this question. I had a few teammates who made a mockery of the saying “eh?” Likewise, on road trips during the year, we would watch episodes of the show “How I Met Your Mother” (a show that often makes fun of Canadian stereotypes) and some teammates thought all of the stereotypes were true.
Kellin, thanks for taking the time for this interview and good luck in 2012. All the guys here at Shutdown Inning will be pulling for you.