Q&A with Mike Carp

GCL Mets' 1B Mike Carp, drafted by the Mets in the 9th round of the 2004 MLB Draft, sits down with NYfansonly.com to give us his thoughts on his professional debut, who he was most impressed with on the Gulf Coast League team last season, where he sees himself playing in 2005, and much more.

NYF: Mike, tell us a little bit about your baseball career in high school. Give us all the stats, career marks, that type of thing to give us a little insight into your accomplishments in high school.

Mike Carp: I had lots of fun. I made the varsity team as a sophomore in high school and hold a few records for my school. I have the career record in RBI (156), career record in homeruns (12), the season record for homeruns (11), and several other records. I was the Moore League MVP two years in a row and an All-CIS selection two years in a row.

NYF: Wait, you hold the career record with twelve home runs but eleven of them came in the same year?

Carp: You have no idea about the dimensions of our ballpark. It was huge. It's 490' to dead center, about 440' in the alleys, and 360' down the lines. And there was the "Chain Link Monster" in the outfield. That was the nickname given to the outfield wall. It was a chain link fence that stood somewhere between 30-40' tall. Hitting it out of our ballpark was not easy. I think I had four homeruns at home. The rest were on the road.

NYF: Did you ever hit one over the center field wall?

Carp: No, but I did hit one to right center that went about 460' or so. That's the longest homerun I've ever hit.

NYF: What was it like when you heard you were drafted by the Mets last June?

Carp: Wow, it was like my dreams came true. That was something I had been waiting for my whole life. I always wanted to be a professional baseball player. That day was amazing.

NYF: Which team were you a fan of growing up? And do you have a favorite player?

Carp: Coming from Southern California, I was always an Angels fan. But honestly, I loved watching any baseball game so it didn't matter to me too much who I was watching. I grew up a Darin Erstad fan and I've tried to become just like him. I've tried to have the same work ethic as him.

NYF: After you signed with the Mets, did you have any goals in mind for your professional debut? How do you think you did?

Carp: I was pretty much just trying to compete and keep my head above water, so to speak. I think I did pretty well overall. Brett Butler, who was our manager, was great. We would listen to Butler's stories about baseball for hours and he gave us a good look at what we could expect down the road.

NYF: Have you thought about where you might be playing next year?

Carp: It's really up in the air. I was told we should know by the middle of Spring Training where we'll be playing next year. I'll go wherever they send me. As long as I'm in the lineup everyday, I'll be good to go. Obviously the faster I move up the happier I'll be.

NYF: Which of your fellow GCL teammates, among the positional players, stood out in your mind as players that could be very good down the road?

Carp: Nick Evans, Jesuse Flores, and Carlos Gomez for sure. Actually, we could go position by position and I could wind up naming the whole team (laughing). We had some pretty good ballplayers there last year.

NYF: OK, let's get your thoughts on a few of those players. Give us your impressions of Nick Evans.

Carp: Actually, we are so much alike. We even look like brothers and the guys would give us a hard time, especially since we were roommates last year. I've been told he's the right-handed version of me. We both play first base and third base, and we both dabble in the outfield. Nick works real hard and has a lot of pop in his bat. He's very versatile and can play a few different positions. Baseball is a game of adjustments so its really hard to figure out what some guys will be capable of down the road. But I can see him hitting about .290 with 30+ homeruns in the Bigs someday. I know he's a guy the Mets would like to keep around.

NYF: What blew me away when talking with Nick was that, despite his great power, he's never lifted weights before he signed with the Mets. I just found that amazing!

Carp: Well, like I said, we are like twins. I never lifted weights either until I came to the Mets. "Nitro", that's what our fitness instructor is called, has gotten us both on a strength and conditioning program and he mentioned just how much more powerful we're going to be when we put on 20 or 30 lbs of muscle. It's really exciting.

NYF: Give us your thoughts on Jesus Flores.

Carp: Flores looks like a Major Leaguer right now! He's built like a stud. He can do a lot of things on a baseball field. He's really good defensively and can absolutely crush the ball. He was our team MVP last year and is going to be a real good player quickly.

NYF: How about Carlos Gomez? What are your impressions of him?

Carp: The more I think about it, these guys are unbelievable. He's a Vlad (Vladmir Guerero) type. He has a cannon for an arm. I saw him throw a guy out at home plate from the warning track in right field on a rope. He got the guy out by about fifteen feet! Like Vlad, he swings at everything, gets a hold of everything, and hits the ball hard. He just crushes the ball.

NYF: Is there anyone else that comes to mind that stands out as a really good ballplayer?

Carp: He's not a positional player, but Gaby Hernandez was awesome for us. His stuff is just hard and dirty. I know I wouldn't like to face him at the plate.

NYF: You were at the Instructs this past fall. What one player stood out in your mind as the cream of the crop? The guy that you think is a special player?

Carp: Definitely Lastings Milledge. He can pretty much do whatever he wants, when he wants. Has such great raw power and is a very good hitter. He makes pitchers look silly when he gets a hold of their pitch. He can hit anywhere in the lineup. He could hit for a high average as a leadoff hitter and then burn you on the bases with his speed, or he could hit third in a lineup and hit 30+ homeruns with his power. Lastings can do whatever he wants on a baseball field.

NYF: Was there another player that you took notice of at the Instructs?

Carp: Ambiorix Concepcion and Jamar Hill. Concepcion can turn it on at any time. I mean, really, he's 21-years old and on the 40-man roster already. You know he's special. And Hill makes everything look so easy. Whatever he wants to do, he too can do it.

NYF: What would you say is the strongest part of your game?

Carp: I'd say my hitting ablities above my defense. I can hit for power and average, but I still have a long way to go. Dave Hollins and some of the other coaches were working with me at the Instructs on my pitch recognition. Dave even said I remind him of a mini-Erstad (laughing). They are having Nick and I working on our footwork and agility. My speed is something else I'd like to improve.

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