Meet Mariner minor league prospect, Troy Cate

No minor leaguer in the Mariners' organization had more success a season ago than left-handed pitcher, Troy Cate. Heading into 2003, Cate has moved up the charts as one of the team's top prospects.

ITP.com: Is being a major league baseball player something you have always dreamed of?

TC: Yes, in one word. It is something that I still dream about it's just now it is a little more of a reality. Ever since I can remember baseball has been my love of all sports. I grew up eating, sleeping, dreaming, and playing baseball. It was my life.

ITP.com: When did you get your start in baseball and who was a big influence to you?

TC: I started playing baseball when I was five-years-old. It wasn't until I was eight that I started pitching. I met a man named Dave Hedenz who was a coach at the local little league and also attended the same church as me and my family. He started working with me twice a week for nine years. It contintued all the way until the time I went to college. I continued to communicate with him by phone whenever I had a problem with pitching. Even to this very day I recieve counsel from him. Dave Hedenz is the man who started me on my trek to pitching in the big leagues.

ITP.com: From high school, you went to Ricks College, now BYU-Idaho, and went on a two-year mission. Where did you go, what was that like, and did it change your perspective on things?

TC: On my two-year mission I went to the England London South Mission. It was an amazing experience. I was there representing The Church oh Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. In those two years I talked to thousands of people of different nationalities and denominations. I had many wonderful (and some scary) experiences. Serving a mission for my church has opened my eyes to many things. I had to do a lot of growing up while I was in England. I am a person who has a strong religious background. I know there is a God. God has a hand in all good that happens in the world.

ITP.com: You broke the BYU-Idaho single-season strikeout record. What was going through your mind when you got the record breaking strikeout?

TC: I went into the last game of the regular season needing six strike-outs to break the record. We were playing against a weaker team so I knew that if I just pitched my game then I would be able to do it. It was in the fifth inning and I threw a fastball on the outside corner and the hitter swung and missed. That was only the second out of the innng so I took a couple of seconds to enjoy the moment and then moved on. After the game a couple of guys on my team joked about digging up the pitching rubber and giving it to me as a token of what I had done. The record will forever stand because the athletics at Ricks College (BYU-Idaho) has been dropped.

ITP.com: Where were you when you got the word that you were being drafted by the Mariners in the 6th-round of the 2002 MLB amateur draft?

TC: When draft day came I had planned to stay at home and BBQ some food for lunch. My mom took the morning off work so she could be there to celebrate with me. I logged onto the internet and set up the draft so I could hear it live. When the sixth round came and I heard my name being called. I was so happy and excited to know that everything I had dreamed of was slowly starting to come to pass.

ITP.com: What was your reaction?

TC: I was overwhelmed with every good feeling I could think of. I wanted to leave right then and now to start my professional career. Everything I had worked so hard for was finally coming to pass.

ITP.com: How was your first professional season at class A Everett? What memories stand out in your mind?

TC: My first professional season at Class A Everett was awesome. It was a perfect way to start out my professioal career. The atmosphere was great, the fans were outstanding (you know who you are), and my teammates were a good bunch of guys. Professional baseball was nothing like I thought it would be like. It was so much better. To be able to do something I love so much for a living, I am a lucky man and would never take this opportunity for granted. I would like to take this time to thank my teammates that were with me up in Everett. I learned a lot from each of them and I have a great deal of respect for them and each of their individual talents. The memory that stands out in my mind the most would have to be my last start of the year. We went into the last series against the Eugene Emeralds and we were in first-place by two games. All we needed to do was win one game and we were in the playoffs. Eugene won the first game and I was due to pitch the second game. It happened to be the best game of the season. I pitched a three-hit, complete-game shut out. I walked one and struck out 10. It was the only complete-game shutout in the whole league that year. We were going to the playoffs.

ITP.com: What pitches do you have in your arsenal? Any favorites?

TC: I have four pitches that I use at this time. Having had the same pitching coach for my whole life I have learned many different pitches. The four i use now are: fastball, changeup, curveball, and slider/cutter. My favorite pitch is my fastball. My changeup is getting better. My curveball is my big out pitch and my slider/cutter is a bat breaker.

ITP.com: Is there anything else Insidethepark.com should know about Troy Cate? Hobbies? Superstitions?

TC: My pitching style has been compared to that of Jarrod Washburn. Before the draft Baseball America tries to find a big leaguer that compares to each prospect. Washburn was chosen for me, and the more I watch him the more I can see it. I am happily married to wife, Holly Elizabeth. We are due to have a little girl on May 1st. Most of my free time is taken up with taking care of my family. The only real superstition I consistently do is, after my warm-up pitches in between innings I always get the ball from the third baseman and then check all my fielders behind me, then clean off the pitching rubber with my glove and then tap my cleats on the rubber and go to work.


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