Emmanuel Quiles: Yes, I have. I have gained 10 pounds. I feel stronger now. It will help me with hitting and catching – everything.
Your hitting improved this year. What did you change to make that happen?
Emmanuel Quiles: I have been working hard every day. Last year, I was swinging at the first pitch nearly every time. This year, I am taking the first pitch. That is a better plan for me. I am now selecting a pitch – looking for one pitch that I can drive.
How tough is it to lay off the breaking balls away that you may have been swinging at in the past?
Emmanuel Quiles: Last year, I felt like I was swinging at everything and wasn't seeing the ball well. I just felt like I was swinging at balls a lot of the time.
This year, I am looking for a good pitch to hit and being patient with my selection. Take the first pitch where last year I would swing at a breaking ball on the ground. It is experience.
Talk about playing baseball as a kid in Puerto Rico.
Emmanuel Quiles: When I was a kid, I played in the Little Leagues. I was a pitcher and never a catcher. When I was 15 years old, my coach asked if I liked catching. I said, ‘yeah, I like it but have never tried.'
When I started catching, all the scouts told me I was a good catcher. From there is was, ‘OK, lets go.'
What have you been working on defensively?
Emmanuel Quiles: I have been working on balls in the ground on both sides of the glove. On the other side of my glove hand I have had problems. I am working hard everyday. Sometimes I keep my glove pointed down and it takes me longer to get my hand out to catch the ball.
This is your second year in the United States. Why is it easier for you now?
Emmanuel Quiles: The first year, I didn't speak any English. Now, I speak better English and that is better for me. I can speak to the pitchers and coaches. Last year, I didn't speak any English. It was a big problem. This year, I understand more. I like speaking to the pitchers. They can tell me, ‘The target is good.' I can tell them the curveball or slider is good. It is very important.
You have been better as a hitter with runners on base this year.
Emmanuel Quiles: Rid (manager Greg Riddoch) says that with men on base you have a two-strike approach. Wait for a good pitch, hit a line drive, runner scores. Last year, I was swinging hard and would strikeout or hit popups. I was trying for homers last year. A single is good.
What have you seen out of Chris Fetter?
Emmanuel Quiles: That guy is good. I like him. He throws his changeup down. He uses all of his pitches. His two-seam fastball is really good.
Nick Greenwood led the Northwest League in ERA. What does he do well?
Emmanuel Quiles: His two-seamer is really good. He throws strikes and I like catching him. He hits the mitt wherever I put it.
During some bullpens, you sit in front of the plate. Why is that?
Emmanuel Quiles: For the starters, it is in front of the plate in the first bullpen and helps them work on keeping the ball down.
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