PORT ST. LUCIE FL - FEBRUARY 24: RY 24: RY 24: RY 24: Kai Gronauer #71 of the New York Mets poses for a portrait during the New York Mets Photo Day on February 24 2011 at Digital Domain Park in Port St. Lucie Florida. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Recently I was lucky enough to have a quick chat with Mets minor league catching prospect, Kai Gronauer; emphasis on 'quick' as Kai was in his full catching gear and was awaiting the word to get out and start drills for the day. Either way, 2010 was a big year for Gronauer who pretty much stamped his name as perhaps the top catching prospect in the Mets farm system. Noted for his strong defensive and game-calling abilities, Gronauer also showed a solid offensive approach, batting .324 in his first exposure to Hi-A and the Mets rewarded him with an appearance in the star-studded Arizona Fall League. Gronauer ranked #40 in the 2011 AA Prospect Rankings.
Kai and I talked about his stay in the AFL, catching major leaguers vs. catching minor leaguers, his thoughts about major league camp and more. Click on the 'Play' button below to listen in.
Click past the break for a transcript of our chat:
Rob: We spoke earlier in the offseason, just wanted to catch up a little bit. Since then you were in the Arizona Fall League, what was that experience like?
Gronauer: It was great. Of course a little different, a lot of major league guys there, high prospects from other organizations, different playing level than I was used to. But I think it helped me out a lot and I grew a little bit.
Rob: Now obviously we're in spring training, what's the camp been like for you so far?
Gronauer: It's been a great experience. Like last year, I've learned a lot so far from the pitchers or the catchers that are here. I'm very happy to be here and it's a big honor for me and I want to keep learning.
Rob: So catching the major leaguers, is that a different experience than catching the guys lower in the minors?
Gronauer: Well, it's getting a little easier you know? Yeah, the guys obviously have more control, their stuff is maybe a little better. But I think catching-wise it's a little easier, on the other hand you know I have to think a little more about how to get people out. And I'm very confident that that's one of the things I can control very well.
Rob: Last one, do you have any expectations as far as where you're gonna start this season or goals that you're setting for yourself for 2011?
Gronauer: Well the goal is to of course stay healthy and play as many games as possible. And I want to reach the highest level I can reach. If that's maybe going to the major leagues for a game or two, I'd do whatever they want me to do. If I start in High-A, if I start in Low-A, if I start in Double-A, I don't care. I want to play, I want to stay healthy, I want to get on the field and play at least 100 games at the highest possible level.