Q&A with Yusuf Carter

Yusuf Carter was primarily a catcher throughout his college and high school days, but since joining the Cubs as the organization's 12th-round draft pick two years ago, he's seen the bulk of his playing time in the outfield.

In 30 games with Class-A Peoria this season, the 22-year-old is batting .267 with a seven-game hitting streak entering Midwest League play Thursday. The former catcher has seen playing time in both center and right field.

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How did the move to the outfield first come about?

I'd always played some outfield in college and in high school so I was kind of going back and forth in extended (spring training) last year. One of the coaches made the suggestion that I should go back to the outfield because I have good enough speed to play there, so I took it under consideration and made the move.

What has the transition been like for you thus far?

I liked catching because I controlled the game a lot more and I felt I could control the winning a lot more if I got the pitchers doing what they were supposed to be doing. But with the outfield now, I think my body is a lot more rested because catching takes a toll on your body after awhile. I feel more rested and able to concentrate a lot more on my at-bats.

How would you rate your throwing arm having done so much work behind the plate?

I believe I have a pretty good arm, but the key to making your arm even better is just trying to be accurate. That's what I'm working on right now: using my arm strength to its full advantage by making the right throws to all the bags.

How about your hitting? What are you working on in that regard?

I'm just working on plate discipline: swinging at good pitches, being short and quick to the ball and just hitting the ball hard. I try not to over-think too much because then you start doing something mechanical, so I try to stay relaxed and loose while having a plan up there.

Is there any one set plan that you carry with you in your at-bats, or does it range from situation to situation like most hitters?

It definitely ranges. If there's a guy on, you want to make sure you're even more disciplined as far as getting a pitch to hit and driving that run in. As far as a set approach, I would say it's just about trying to be patient and getting pitches I can do something with.

Are your strikeouts (33 in 105 at-bats) something that you're overly worried about this early in your career?

I feel that it's not a major thing to worry about right now, but it is something I want to work on. Putting the ball in play gives me a better chance to get a hit. I look at the game at the highest level and most of the guys that hit for some kind of power are usually the guys that strike out the most. I still want to bring that number down and I think that with time, it's going to come down as I get older, wiser and more disciplined.

Do you see yourself as a power hitter?

I've always been a guy that's had above average power, but I guess my power comes when I'm patient and swinging at pitches that I know I can do something with. But yeah, I would say that I'm a guy that could drive the ball out of the park.

What type of power do you possess, per se: "deep" ball power or line drive power?

I would say both, depending on the situation of the AB. It all hinges on what pitch I get and what type of swing I put into it.

Other than your hitting work, is there anything else that you're concentrating on right now?

I'm trying to concentrate on stealing more bases in order to become a threat that way. As far as the outfield goes, I'm working on getting better jumps on the ball and being able to take away more hits this year.

We have to ask you about having Joe Carter as an uncle. Did you and Joe find time to work together any as you were growing up?

We never really got a chance to work together because he was still playing. I got a chance to see him every time he came to New York and also when he was broadcasting. But I talk to him often; any time I feel I'm struggling and having problems. I'll even send him videos of me and he tells me what he sees or what's a good approach or mindset to take with me.


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