their selection in the 22nd round of the 2007 MLB First-Year Player
Draft, the St. Louis Cardinals when to the bayou of Louisiana to select
outfielder Charlie Kingrey. He led his
native Louisianan was a late sign with the Cardinals due to a wrist injury he
suffered while playing at
Flash forward to 2008 where Kingrey established himself as one of the top outfielders in the Midwest League. Over 249 at bats with Quad Cities, he hit .289/.355/.442 with six home runs and 40 RBIs. For his performance with the River Bandits, he was named an All-Star Game starter. During the game, the left-handed swinger collected two hits, including a triple, and drove in a run.
July 2, the organization decided to test the 23-year-old with a promotion to the
pitcher-friendly Florida State League.
Kingrey was kind enough to take time out of his off-season to share his thoughts on his first full season as a pro as well as the experience of witnessing the effects of Hurricane Katrina firsthand.
Dustin Mattison: How is your off season going?
Charlie Kingrey: So far, it is really good. I am working right now and taking some time off to relax. I am about to get back into the swing of things by hitting the weights and getting into the cages.
DM: In your first season as a professional
you were named a
CK: That is as good of a first season as it could have been. Making the All-Star team in the first half of my first full season was incredible. Plus, I was able to do well in the All-Star Game made it a really fun year.
DM: After your early success with the Quad
Cities, you and Matt Arburr were promoted to
CK: It was a tougher league to hit in, for sure. The ballparks were bigger and the pitching was much tougher. It is definitely a step up. We made the adjustments.
DM: You mention the pitching, how is the pitching different?
CK: The pitchers are more mature. They command more pitches. They are able to get their off-speed pitches over for strikes. The pitchers will throw any pitch in any count. But you have to make the adjustments and keep moving forward.
DM: How enjoyable was it to get to play with
your college teammate, Brian Cartie, at
CK: It was great to see a familiar face. Not knowing many guys after moving up a level, it was really nice to know somebody there.
DM: You got a late start on your pro career due to a wrist injury. Did that injury have any affect on you this past season?
CK: None at all. I don't even think about it. It is like it never even happened.
DM: Where is your focus this winter? What part of your game are you looking to improve?
CK: There is really no one certain area. I am focused on getting better in every aspect of my game. I am going to work hard just like I did last off-season and be in shape and ready to go for spring training.
DM: What was draft day like for you? Were there other teams in the mix?
CK: It was a total surprise to be drafted by
the Cardinals. I was expecting to
be picked by
DM: How much did you know about the Cardinals before they drafted you?
CK: A little bit. I was a big Pujols fan and a Cardinal
fan. I was always a Braves fan
growing up here in
DM: You played quarterback in high school. Do you miss that at all?
CK: No, I only played two years of it and I really didn't like it. I don't miss it and I am glad I chose baseball.
DM: Was it a difficult choice? I understand several family members played football in college including your father and brother. Was there pressure on you to go that route?
CK: They weren't too happy. I also had uncles and cousins who played football in college. A couple of them made it to the pros. I was the only baseball player so they weren't too happy when I chose baseball.
DM: So do you watch a lot of college football this time of the year?
CK: Definitely. Everyone went to a different school so there are a lot of different games being watched.
DM: You attended McNeese State, which is
located in Lake Charles,
CK: That was one of the worse things anyone
could ever go through. I didn't get
DM: So where did you go before the storm hit?
CK: We went to my hometown, Kinder. We lucked out because we didn't get any
damage up there. Like I said, we
didn't get to return to
DM: What do you like to do when you are not playing baseball?
CK: A lot of hunting and a lot of fishing. Deer hunting is going on right now.
DM: You have lived for a while in
DM: What should Cardinal fans know about Charlie Kingrey that they probably don't already know?
CK: That is a tough one. I am doing what I have dreamed about since I was a little kid and there is not a better organization to do it with than the St. Louis Cardinals.
I appreciate Charlie's time and wish him continued success in 2009.
Dustin Mattison can be reached via email at email@example.com.
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