07/1/17 / Padres360.com / @Padres360
By Wayne McBrayer from Lake Elsinore, CA
Drafted by the San Diego Padres in the First Round of the 2016 MLB Draft out of Stanford University, Cal Quantrill quickly signed with the organization and spent the rest of the 2016 Season pitching for Arizona Rookie League, Tri-City Dust Devils and the Fort Wayne TinCaps, the Padres decided to send him to the Lake Elsinore Storm of the California League for the 2017 season.
We had the opportunity to speak to Cal for a few minutes about his career, overcoming an arm injury and his thoughts on what he likes and expects from a manager. We hope you’ll enjoy our interview with Cal.
WAYNE MCBRAYER: We’re here talking to Cal Quantrill. Cal, it’s a pleasure talking to you.
CAL QUANTRILL: Yeah. Thanks for having me.
WAYNE MCBRAYER: Let’s talk a little bit about your early career. Now, I know you grew up in Canada, and I know you played hockey and volleyball. So with, of course, hockey closing out — what’s your favorite team in hockey, and who are you following this year?
CAL QUANTRILL: You know what? I’m a Toronto Maple Leaf fan. I would like to see them win. They haven’t been great for some years now, but they’ve got some young talent, so — actually, I’m not following it as closely anymore. Obviously, being out here is a little — a little tougher. But if I had to pick a team, that’s probably it.
WAYNE MCBRAYER: So now, growing up and having your dad be a former Major Leaguer, I know he played as well with the Padres Did you ever get an opportunity to come down to Petco Park?
Paul Quantrill in 2005 with the Padres
CAL QUANTRILL: Yeah. I actually lived in San Diego for the three or four months that he was with the team, spent quite a bit of time at Petco, maybe not as much time as, you know, some of the other clubs he was on, but I’ve definitely seen the area. Super young, I don’t really remember it that well. I’ve said it before, but — I mean, I remember going to the zoo, and I remember learning how to juggle, and those are, like, the two main things I remember from my time in San Diego.
WAYNE MCBRAYER: Now, what are some of the things that you picked up from your dad as far as having to comport yourself as a Major Leaguer?
CAL QUANTRILL: Yeah. I mean, I think maybe the biggest benefit of my dad playing is you see how one of those locker rooms work, especially a winning team’s locker room works, and you realize that, you know, the best players, obviously, are supremely talented, but they also enjoy the game. I didn’t meet very many big leaguers who didn’t have fun playing baseball. And I know that sounds — it sounds cliché. It sounds like, you know, ha, ha, whatever, but it’s 1 true. I mean, I think the guys who, you know, have the most fun up there and enjoy every day and enjoy being out on the field tend to do better. And so I think that we try to — or I’ve tried to, you know, replicate that. My dad always said the moment baseball wasn’t fun, he’d quit, and the moment baseball wasn’t fun, he retired. So I really — I really believe in that.
WAYNE MCBRAYER: Now, growing up, who were some of the players that you really admired and looked up to and maybe wanted to emulate?
CAL QUANTRILL: I mean, growing up, I didn’t want to be a pitcher, so Sean Green was a guy I really liked. Carlos Delgado was one of my favorite players. I mean, obviously, Derek Jeter. When my dad was on the Yankees, they had a — every single guy on the team was an All Star. So, honestly, there weren’t a ton of pitchers that were my favorite players. If I had to pick one, it would probably be Roy Halladay.
WAYNE MCBRAYER: Roy Halladay, now that’s a stud. That’s a definite stud. Have you had a chance to ever meet him?
CAL QUANTRILL: Yeah. My dad played with him for a little while. I mean, obviously, I was so young back when he was playing that I don’t really remember a ton of my experiences with the guys. But I do remember him being very kind, especially because, you know, I’m just a little guy running around the clubhouse. You know, not everyone loves that, but I think he was pretty good about it, so…
WAYNE MCBRAYER: Now, at Stanford, you had the arm injury. Talk a little bit about the rehab process and what happened? What’s the process like coming back?
CAL QUANTRILL: Yeah. I mean, it’s tough. It’s — I knew it pretty much right away. Like, it happened before the season started, not necessarily like I got hurt and — like, not like there’s necessarily an audible pop, but, you know, I knew there was something wrong. But it was bad. I mean, woke up in the morning, and your arm is almost like — it’s locked in position. I tried to pitch through it for a little while. It wasn’t going to happen. I ended up just deciding surgery was the best route. And kind of from that moment, I decided that, you know, instead of, you know, worrying too much about the draft and, you know, what I could have done in college, we were just going to make the most of it. And I took rehab very seriously. I had — you know, a great doctor do it, Dr. Neal ElAttrache for the Dodgers — the doctor did it. I had tons of professional programs and college programs, and I had a lot of, you know, different guys reaching out with, you know, help, you know, what their experience was going through it. I mean, I had endless resources. I used them all. And I think that’s why, hopefully — and you know, hopefully, it continues to be that way, that I’ve stayed healthy this year.
WAYNE MCBRAYER: So it’s felt good so far?
CAL QUANTRILL: It’s felt great. I’m really, really happy with where it’s at. Obviously, I don’t make the decisions on pitch count and everything. But I think that, you know, we took it easy coming into the year, and now we’re starting to get extended. And it still feels — you know, it still feels good. I mean, yesterday I was throwing probably my hardest all year. So while I feel is not, you know, always good indicator of how you’re feeling, I really do feel strong right now, and I’m happy with that.
WAYNE MCBRAYER: I’ve usually heard, like, 12 to 18 months seems like where you kind of get back to where you were at.
CAL QUANTRILL: Yeah. A lot of guys talk about how, you know, it’s more like the second-year mark — like, that 18 and 24 months is when you really start feeling like, “Hey, I’m” — like, “I’m back.” And I would tend to agree. I mean, at 12 to 17 months, like I felt really good, but, you know, you’re still working out little kinks, like, “Why is the ball sailing to the right today?” or “Why did I cut that one?” And a lot of it’s, really, the only reason is you just haven’t thrown that much. Like, you know, people forget. Like, you take that long off. Then try and go up against the best guys in the world doing your craft, it’s not always going to feel great. But, you know, as the more — you know, at my thousandth pitch of the year, whatever it is, you know, it just feels like every time it’s going closer and closer to feeling really consistent and really consistent arm slot, you know, all the intricacies of being a pitcher.
WAYNE MCBRAYER: What have you thought of the Cal League so far and playing here in Lake Elsinore?
CAL QUANTRILL: They can hit! The Cal League is not a pitcher’s place. No. It’s been good. I love California. Obviously, I came across the continent to go to school here. I’m happy to be here. It’s a little warmer now than I remember it in Northern California, but we’re making the most of it. And like I said, it’s — it’s — a lot of people talk about it being a hitters league, and it very well might be, but I think that we’re proving that you can pitch in this league. You’ve got to keep the ball down and throw a lot of strikes and give your team a chance to feel — you know, play baseball, but I think we’re doing pretty good.
WAYNE MCBRAYER: If Cal Quantrill’s on his game, what pitch is working?
CAL QUANTRILL: I mean, I don’t think you’ll find very many pitchers who the answer is not the fastball Everything works off the fastball. If I’m throwing my fastball to both sides of the plate, commanding up and down in the zone, then every other pitcher looks better than it is. It might change up average or above average, it looks super above average if my fastball is working. So, for me, it’s all about establishing fastball command and establishing what my zone is going to be that day and working off that.
WAYNE MCBRAYER: One last question for you — this has to do with the manager. What is the one thing that you as a player really appreciate or expect from a manager?
CAL QUANTRILL: I think that there’s — well, okay. Well, what Skip does here so well — the reason (Edwin Rodriguez) is the best manager I’ve ever had is there’s a certain amount of respect that it’s not fake respect. It’s not talking to you. It’s not talking to the media. It’s not talking to others. It’s that you genuinely –like, genuinely know that he cares about your well-being and you wanting to move up and what your, you know, goals are and having that mutual respect. Like, if he needs me to do whatever I’ve got to do — if I’ve got to be on bucket two days in a row, that’s fine. He’ll hook me up, you know, next time. And having that respect between a player and a coach, it can be hard. It doesn’t always work like that. Sometimes it gets a little, you know, “dictatorish” or whatever you — whatever you want to call — whatever that word is. But I think Skip does a great job here of just recognizing that we’re all young men. We want to play in the big leagues. And the best way to do that is, you know, get along and respect the game, respect the process. And I think that’s probably what — what makes a guy a good manager.
WAYNE MCBRAYER: You’ve really been blessed with a good one here in Lake Elsinore.
CAL QUANTRILL: I do think so.
WAYNE MCBRAYER: Cal, I want to thank you for your time..
CAL QUANTRILL: Yeah, absolutely
Cal Quantrill & Wayne McBrayer at Lake Elsinore Storm – Photo by Craig Martin for Padres 360