The College Baseball Blog recently had a chance to ask Sawyer Carroll who is the top hitter on the Kentucky Wildcat baseball team and among the best players in the SEC. The Wildcats are currently 21-2 overall with a conference mark of 4-2 in the tough SEC. Carroll is leading the team in many offensive categories including a .481 average, seven homers, and 33 RBI. Carroll was an 18th round pick in the 2007 MLB Draft by the Washington Nationals but decided to return for his senior season which has been a great decision based on the numbers he has put up during the early portion of the season.
1. Why have you become a much better power hitter this season with already 7 homers when compared to last year when you hit 3?
I worked this summer to change my approach at the plate a little bit, trying to get more lift and to pull more balls than I had in the past. Also, Coach Riney, our strength coach has helped me tremendously to get bigger and stronger since last season.
2. What coach/person has been the biggest influence on your baseball career?
I’ve had tons of great coaches in my career. James Martin, my hitting coach in junior college really taught me how to hit, but the person who influenced my career the most was my big brother. He had a lot of talent and was way better than I was out of high school, but he decided to quit playing and just go to school. When I graduated I wasn’t really recruited by anyone and I was pretty set on just going to school also. He told me how much he missed it and talked me out of quitting. I haven’t thought about hanging up the cleats since and don’t plan on it for a while.
3. Who is the toughest pitcher you have ever faced? David Price?
Price was tough but I had some success against him. Casey Weathers was throwing harder the Friday night we faced him than anyone I’ve ever seen. That at-bat against him was the only time in my life I can ever remember getting dominated by a fastball even when I knew a fastball was coming. The ball looked like it was rising after it got about halfway to the plate.
4. Why you attend Kentucky over other schools?
UK is a great fit for me. I really didn’t have many other schools to choose from. I didn’t get recruited a lot coming out of junior college and Coach [Brad] Bohannon called me one day in June after they had lost some players due to the draft and I pretty much made my mind up during our conversation. They had never seen me play and I had never been to Kentucky, but they got my name from somebody and gave me a chance. I called Coach Bo back the next day and committed. The first time I met any of the coaches was when I showed up for classes last August. It’s a weird set of circumstances but it has worked out better than I could’ve imagined.
The only advice I can think of is that if you’re going to play then you should go to a school where you’re going to get a shot to actually play. Don’t rule out junior colleges if you’re not going to get much playing time at a bigger school. The only way to get better is if you’re actually playing. Also, some of the best players I’ve ever played with or against was when I was at Seminole [Community College].
6. What is your biggest challenge day in and day out on the field? Off the field?
On the field, I think the toughest thing is to do all the things necessary every day to stay healthy. Baseball can definitely be a grind and if you don’t take care of your body, it just makes it worse. Off the field, would probably be school. It’s tough to stay on top of things when you have to travel and miss class all the time.
The College Baseball Blog would like to thank Sawyer Carroll for answering some questions. Brent Ingram of Kentucky Media Relations was key in setting up this interview and forwarding us some pictures of Sawyer in action. The CBB would like to wish Sawyer Carroll good luck during the rest of the season and in the 2008 MLB draft. If any other schools would be interested in setting up an interview with a player feel free to contact us by clicking here.