Cal Quantrill is a righthander from Trinity College School in Port Hope, Ont. His father, Paul, spent 14 years in the big leagues. Cal is committed to Stanford and, aside from his prowess on the mound and in the classroom, he is also skilled in finding the best games for his iPhone. You can read a scouting report on Quantrill here. He spent a few minutes on the phone with Conor Glassey on May 20, while he was at home spending time with friends and family before he leaves for a trip to the Dominican Republic with the Canadian Junior National Team.
I’d like to start off just asking you about the Canadian Junior National Team. That’s certainly a unique experience, that’s something you’ve been doing for a couple years now. How did that help you develop as a pitcher?
First of all, it’s an honor to play for your country and I just try to respect that every time I’m on the mound for Team Canada. And then as far as helping me become a better pitcher, Chris Reitsma is the pitching coach on that team and he’s just an unbelievable person and a great pitching coach, and Greg Hamilton is really who turned me into who I am now. So, from a personal level, but also from a baseball level, it’s made a big difference in my life with the opportunity to play against the best in the world. It’s an incredible experience and you can’t help but to get better.
Yeah, that’s not something you’re going to get anywhere else. You were recently down in Florida pitching against some professional players in extended spring training. What was that like?
Again, that’s another pretty unique experience that Team Canada offers us. Not a lot of people get the opportunity to pitch against professional ballplayers before they play professional baseball. It’s a really cool thing because it gives you a little taste of what it might be like. Obviously you’re not the highest level, but it’s professional baseball. They’re very good baseball players, so it’s definitely a cool experience and one that I’m trying to take advantage of, especially if I go play pro baseball because it’s an advantage on the rest of the guys.
Yeah, for sure. You guys are getting ready to head to the Dominican Republic soon and the one thing I’ve always wondered is how does it all work out with regard to your school. Being a member of the Canadian Junior National Team is a big time commitment. It seems like you guys are gone quite a bit.
Yep. There’s no getting around the fact that we miss a lot of school days. But, it’s one of those things—you have to recognize it, you have to plan early and you just have to really have teachers that are willing to help you. For instance, all my teachers this year were willing to do classes with me online, if I needed help when I was gone, and that was huge for me. I just tried to stay on top of things because there’s nothing worse than getting home and realizing you have two days of homework to do. For me, it’s working on the road and making sure I’m staying in touch with my teachers, but yeah there’s no getting around the fact that we do miss a ton of days.
I’ve had the opportunity to see you pitch, but I always like asking pitchers about their pitches. So, tell me about the different pitches you throw and how you like to use each pitch.
OK, well I guess I would start with . . . the most important pitch that I have is my fastball and I think it should be like that for pretty much every pitcher. For me, I’m not going to blow ‘em away with 97 (mph), that’s just not me, but I am going to hit my spots. When I’ve got my stuff, I can split the plate into thirds and I can hit whichever third I need to hit to get the guy out. So, I’m throwing that somewhere between 89-93 most days and putting it right where I want it, and I can work off that pitch. I feel like my changeup is what I’m known for, but really the most important pitch for the changeup is the fastball. If I can’t locate my fastball, the changeup’s not effective. But, when I’m locating my fastball, the changeup can be a very effective pitch, especially low and in to righties and low and away to lefties. That just seems what’s been working in the last year or two and that can be a very effective pitch for me, so they can’t just time me up, no matter where I put it. And then both my breaking balls—a slider and a curveball—are in progress. Some days, it’s like, ‘Wow, that’s a devastating slider.’ And other days, ‘Ooh, that’s just not breaking at all.’ They’re coming around. The slider can be very effective for me—especially to righties, throwing it away from them. But it needs work and I am working on it, so hopefully it will come around.
Obviously your father spent a lot of time in the big leagues. What advantage do you think that’s given you as a pitcher yourself?
Well, I mean it’s like basically having a pitching coach 24/7. He’s very busy doing his thing, but just the depth of knowledge he has is unlike anyone else, really. And I think I take advantage of that, really. There isn’t a time when I get in the car after a game that my dad’s at, where we can’t talk about one pitch to that three-hole righty. ‘You struck him out, but was it the right pitch? Was that the pitch you should be using there, or did it just work because you’re better than him?’ So, really, it’s turned me into a pitcher, not just a thrower. I think that it’s something that I’m ahead of a lot of my peers in the fact that I know how to challenge hitters and I know exactly what I want to do with them. I want to work them into this count, I want to work them into this hole, and then they can’t hit this pitch, and a lot of that comes from my dad—talking about his games, talking about my games, watching games on TV. He’s been a huge help to me in my development throughout my baseball life.
Sure. Did you get to tag along with him at all as a kid?
That was actually the coolest part about him playing baseball is that I would go to school for half the year and then spend the summer wherever he was playing. So, I went to L.A., New York, San Diego. It was a pretty special thing to do. I mean, I got to play catch with Derek Jeter, which was incredible. Nobody gets to do that. I wish I took advantage of it more when I had the chance, but I definitely I had a lot of fun.
With the Stanford commitment and your S.A.T. scores and everything, you’re obviously talented in the classroom as well as on the mound. If pitching wasn’t an option, what career might you get into?
That’s something I’ve never really thought about. I’m interested in the math and sciences, so it’d probably be something related to that. But, I was just hoping that if I do end up going to University, that something will hit me there. Being a pitcher is all I’ve wanted to do. I want to be the best pitcher in the big leagues.
What do you like to do when your’e not playing baseball?
Well, just before I got on the phone with you, I was out four-wheeling with some friends. We have a nice trail in the back yard, so we went down to the river and were doing some swimming in there and then came ripping back up here.
Oh, nice. How cold was that?
It wasn’t too bad!