|Carlos Tocci, image- Jay Floyd|
Signed as an international free agent in 2011 on his 16th birthday, the six-foot-two, 160-pound righty batter has long been a promising player with a high ceiling.
I recently spoke with Carlos about his improvements, his family back home in his troubled home country of Venezuela, and plenty more. Read ahead for that full interview.
-It's been a great year for you. What does it mean to you to get the All-Star nod?
Yeah, I've been working this season very hard. It's exciting to me because, you know, you work for that recognition and I feel really good.
-This week you went two straight games with a home run. These were your first ones of the year. As I mention it, you're smiling. What has been the biggest difference for you lately?
I've been working with my hitting coach (John Mizerock) on some different swings. The park over there in Reading is crazy, but (the goal is to) not get too long and stay short to the ball. You know, it's been good for me and it's good results. (Also, I) don't get out of my plan and I think it's good for me.
-Are there coaches in the system that you've had at other levels that you remain close with?
Yeah, I exchange text messages with (Nelson) Prada from Lakewood. He talks to me not too much, but we always stay in contact.
-You're in this lineup with some talented guys. Mitch Walding, one of those other All-Stars with you, is a big power guy on this team and has busted out. What is it like being in the lineup with him and some of the other guys.
I mean they always seem amazing, you know. And this team can really hit. The pitching is good. We have good defense too. It's good. It's really fun that those guys can hit. The last few weeks since Scotty (Kingery)'s been here, he's been hot all year, but it's been fun that we've kept it up and we can have success.
-Sitting here talking with you, I am impressed with how far your English has come. A couple years ago we did a TV segment on you in Lakewood and there wasn't a lot of your interview footage that got used because it wasn't the best stuff for the piece. We used more quotes from the coaches. Is there anybody that has helped you a lot with the English?
No. I think I really can talk with the American guys here, my teammates and that helps me a lot. The teacher helped from my English class. I graduated, finally. But, I keep talking with those guys and they helped me a lot.
-You seem like you're at a spot in your career that you might be positioned to play in an off-season league this year. Do you have any indication that you could be playing winter ball at all?
No, they don't tell me anything right now. It's too soon. The place over there, Venezuela, is not good right now. You know, it's a lot of trouble. I think it's too soon to know.
-Do you have a lot of family over there still?
Yeah. I try to get them here, but it's really hard.
-Do you feel like this career for you can help your family kind of escape the trouble or just be safe or just help them out?
Yeah. I think I have to work and I can really help my family to come here.
-Do you give that a lot of thought or do you put it out of your mind because it's not that great to think about?
Yeah. I try to don't think about that a lot, but they're safe over there.
-Okay. I don't want to dwell on that too much, so what are you most looking toward for the rest of the year? Are you looking forward to the playoffs at this point?
I mean always that's a thing, we always hope to make the playoffs. It's good to( set your sights on) that kind of goal, and I think it would be good if the team makes the playoffs.