Young Catcher Adds (Arm) Strength to MSU

Carlos Leal, a catcher who played his high school ball at Colegio San Ignacio de Loyola in San Juan, Puerto Rico, talks about committing to Mississippi State, how it came about and what catching talents he brings to the table.

"I have a friend - his name is Robert Calvesbert and he is committed to MSU (golf) - who told me to check out the (baseball) program because it was very good," said Carlos.

Carlos got the process started by sending a video to head baseball coach John Cohen.

"I sent a video to (Mississippi State) Coach (John) Cohen, but he told me he couldn't sign me just from the video, that he needed to see me." said the 5-11, 175-pounder.

The Bulldog coaches got a first-hand look at Carlos this past winter. And it appears they liked what they saw.

"I went to a (Mississippi State) camp and everything went great," said Carlos. "The coaches said they liked my arm strength. I impressed them when I threw to second base."

Considering his pop time to second base, I think impressed might be a tad of an understatement.

"I threw 1.8 (seconds) to second," said Carlos. "That is normal for me. I've had it timed before and threw 1.8, 1.8, 1.9, and 1.8."

And when you consider that the vast majority of Major League Baseball catchers throw in the 1.80 to 1.98 average, you can understand the Mississippi State coaches immediate interest in him after seeing him throw.

"The Mississippi State coaches told me they were interested, and I knew I wanted to go there," said Carlos, who also considered San Diego, Rhode Island, Boston College and Rider. "I liked all the coaches. I really liked all the facilities. And I don't like cold. I really like hot weather like we have here in Puerto Rico. It had everything that I wanted in a college."

Carlos is not just a catcher with an outstanding arm, though. He's also a pretty fair hitter, hitting .595 (25-for-42) with 7 doubles, 2 triples and 5 home runs in his just-completed 14-game high school season.

"I'm a switch-hitter but I prefer hitting from the left side because I have more power from that side and I feel more comfortable," said Carlos, who has hit lefthanded all his life and righthanded the past two years. "All of my home runs were from the left side."

Considering he's a great defensive catcher who hits the ball well, what are the chances he might decide to bypass college and take a possible offer from a Major League Baseball team?

"They say here (in Puerto Rico) if you have an opportunity to sign (with a) pro (team), just sign, but that's not like me because my goal since I was a little kid was to play college baseball," said Carlos Leal, who has a 3.1 grade point average academically. "I don't want to sign (pro), I want to go to Mississippi State. Everybody knows that."


Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by emailing swindoll@genespage.com.


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