|Tyler Carr, image- Jay Floyd|
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Righty pitcher Tyler Carr had an outstanding season in the minor leagues this year. The 23-year-old opened the season with the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws, where he notched a 0.51 ERA in 11 relief appearances before earning a promotion to Class A Advanced Clearwater. As a member of the Threshers' bullpen, Carr sported a 1.54 ERA in 27 outings, including being part of a combined no-hitter in June. Carr was then promoted Double-A Reading, in time for that club's playoff run.
Overall in 39 regular season contests last season, Carr tallied a 5-4 record with six saves, a .180 batting average against along with a 9.8 K/9 mark.
The talented hurler was selected by the Phillies in round 31 of the 2018 draft out of South Alabama.
This week I talked with Tyler about his off-season routine, declining to pitch in off-season ball, his takeaways from 2019 and more. Read ahead for that complete interview.
-Did you attend instructs or was there any winter ball leagues on the table for you to participate in?
I didn't go to instructs. I got asked if I wanted to go play in Australia, in one of the winter ball leagues. I turned it down just because I thought I threw enough innings and just felt good still. I wanted to get back home because you have to get a real job and make money to be able to support yourself and live in the off-season. 'Cause, as you know, you don't get paid a ton and you need to hold up the roof, so...
-I know we spoke and you mentioned you're doing pitching lessons with young players. What age group are your working with, what facility are you using and are you doing anything else work wise?
So, I do give pitching lessons. I live in a real small town, so I don't have access to a big facility. I have some connections at the local public baseball fields, so I have a nice turf mound set up and we work at different distances. I work with mostly nine to 10 (year olds), most of the kids. I do give a couple high schoolers some lessons. But, when I'm not giving lessons, I'm working for a citrus company. One of my best friend's dad, he owns a citrus company and that's just all orange trees and stuff. And I do a lot of care taking in the orange groves and I work 49 hours a week. So, after I get off work- I work from seven to five- and once I get off of work at five, from 5:30 to 6:30, I do a lesson. I do one lesson every day of the week.
-That's pretty awesome. Does working with people that you know and friends of the family, does that make the main gig more enjoyable?
Absolutely, it makes it easier being surrounded by great people at the workplace. The environment's great, so I enjoy it there. And, of course, I like seeing the kids get better as the lessons go by. You see what their flaws are and you work on it and you see them go up hill. That's awesome.
-I wouldn't expect you to have any regrets about choosing to stay stateside and earn some income with the two jobs that you've got, but over these past couple months, are you seeing any posts online from guys like Logan O'Hoppe, Ben Aklinski and the other Phillies guys that are over there living the good life in the summer, down under, and do you have any jealousy for not being there?
(Laughs) No, no. We play enough games for me. But, it's good seeing them. They're over there, having a good time. I've talked to some of the guys and they're actually on the same team as my old-- my junior year, my roommate was from Australia and they're on the same team right now. But I'm good friends with him and he called me and we Facetimed a couple times and he was with some of the guys and Logan and Aklinski and some of those guys.
-What is the Aussie teammate's name?
-Great. Are there any goals or anything you're working on specifically, like adding muscle or weight, this off-season?
You know, last year I tried to gain weight. I put on, like, 10 pounds in the off-season and wanted to see if I weighed more if I'd throw harder and that didn't necessarily work for me. About the 175 range is where I felt the best and I weighed 185 when I came in, but I felt the best at about 175 and I threw my hardest this year at about that weight. The only thing I really need-- and I'm still working out and stuff-- is not so much packing on the pounds, it's more reps and that kind of thing.
My main goal is to get my slider as consistent as my change up. That's really it. I like where I'm at velocity wise. Change up is my best pitch, but I want to get my slider on the change up level and I'll be excited about that.
-I know this year you had a couple big moments. You pitched in a combined no-hitter with Clearwater and you earned a promotion to Double-A Reading. Was there a big takeaway or lesson from your 2019 season for you?
Not only did I meet so many great people and build so many great relationships around the organization this year, but it was super cool to be part of a no-hitter-- that was awesome for sure. I learned a lot baseball wise. You can't name every single thing, but playing 140 games, even if you're not playing, in the bullpen you learn a lot. I think I learned the game of baseball better. I learned how to approach different batters and I wrapped my head around that as best I could and I think I took a big step in the knowledge area. I think I got a lot smarter baseball wise.
-Communication is a big deal with pitchers and catchers. Some guys will work on that during the off-season. Where's your Espanol currently and is it where you want it to be?
No. I could improve on that. I haven't had a Spanish class yet. I have a lot of friends from the Dominican and places like that and we make it work. You understand each other. You find a way, even if you can't speak each other's languages, you figure it out.
-Is it the case for the battery mates, the words you'll use for pitches are universal, so that helps things?
I mean it's a little bit of everything. It's both. They learn some English and you learn some Spanish and you don't forget. You can use your hands and you can do all kinds of stuff to make it work. And especially being around people that speak another language, being around them for six months, you pick up a lot and learn some stuff.