With the changes in the Conclave roster, it seemed a good time to let you, our readers, know a little bit more about the guys that you are reading, whether they are coming over from The Redbird Daily or have been a part of the Conclave for a while. So I (Daniel Shoptaw, also known as Cardinal70) thought I’d ask a few questions of these writers. Enjoy!
Blogger: Colin Garner
Blog Name: Prospect Preacher
Daniel: For those that don’t know, who is Colin Garner outside of his blogger life?
Colin: Outside of blogging, I’m a baseball player. I’ll be a senior at Drury this season where I catch. I’ll graduate with a degree in Software Engineering and Mathematics this Spring. Right now, I’m doing an internship at Cerner, which is a company based out of Kansas City that makes healthcare software.
Daniel: Does the mindset that leads you to software engineering also draw you to or help you understand more of the sabermetrics and other advanced baseball thought?
Colin: I would say the same qualities that drew me to software engineering drew me to the analytical side of the game. I wouldn’t say the skills I’ve learned in school translate incredibly well, but there is a bit of overlap. One of the projects I tried to sell my non-baseball peers on last semester was an interface that would use existing projections (ZIPS, Steamer, PECOTA), combine them in some way, and provide a projected points total for each team. Unfortunately, my classmates weren’t interested in helping me win my fantasy league.
Daniel: How was the season for you this year?
Colin: Individually, this past season was a success. I only got a handful of at-bats my first two seasons, but due to an injury I started 18 games, some behind the plate and some at DH. Ultimately, we went 0-2 in postseason play so it’s hard to say the season was a tremendous success.
Daniel: How does being a catcher give you a different perspective on pitching prospects?
Colin: I think it causes me to put an emphasis on a pitcher’s ability to throw off-speed pitches in hitter’s counts or spot a fastball out of the zone in pitcher’s counts. Those are the things that make it easier for me to call a game, so it’s something that stands out to me.
Daniel: What made you get into blogging in the first place?
Colin: The 2015 NLDS. I don’t know what to say. I think everyone reading this remembers the feeling at the end of that series. Before that, NL Central supremacy was something we took for granted. Writing is something I’ve always felt comfortable doing. I wrote one article about Jeremy Hazelbaker for one of Dan Buffa’s old sites. Then, when our old friend CardinalsFarm tweeted that he was looking for writers when he started Redbird Daily, it was a no brainer.
Daniel: Given that initial push, what made you turn your focus to the minors?
Colin: When I joined the Redbird Daily we had two established prospect guys, Kyle Reis and John Nagel, aka CardinalsFarm. John left during the middle of last year and I had yet to really feel comfortable writing about the analytical side of the game. Zach Gifford was still with us and cranking out content regularly. I had always wanted a daily recap of what goes on in the minors and started writing daily minors reports (not knowing that those were already out there). I heard you suggest to Kyle he should do a minors podcast on Meet Me at Musial, and Prospect To Be Named Later was born.
Daniel: What’s the biggest thing you’ve learned about prospects since starting to write about them?
Colin: Two things: one, that the gap between major and minor league production is huge. Second, command and control pitchers get worse a lot faster as the climb the system than a pitcher who is all stuff. Jake Woodford stands out as someone who, even though he hasn’t had a terrible season, he’s not putting up anywhere near the numbers he did last year in Palm Beach.
Daniel: What do you think has been the highlight of your blogging career so far?
Colin: I’d have to say covering the Springfield vs. St. Louis game in March of 2017. Watching Yadier Molina hold court in the Cardinals clubhouse was surreal, and I didn’t embarrass myself talking to Mo. Also, shoutout to BenFred for showing me around the press box that night.
Daniel: What sort of questions did you ask John Mozeliak?
Colin: Not good ones. I tried to ask him about xStats, something the aforementioned Zach Gifford has done a tremendous job writing about over at Birds on the Black. I botched the question though.
Daniel: What do you like most about being a Cardinal fan? What do you like most about the online Cardinal community, which would include Twitter, blogs, podcasts, and the like?
Colin: I’m a sucker for the history of the franchise. After all, how can you not be romantic about baseball? As far as the online Cardinals community goes, I’ve come to appreciate it more since I moved to Kansas City a month ago. Having a virtual community of people that gather together at ~ 7:15 every night is something I enjoy. As far as specific content, BPIB is the only one I listen to regularly, but I’ve listened to just about all of them on or off. It depends on how the team is playing.
Daniel: What’s it like now that you are surrounded by a different fan base?
Colin: Right now, Kansas City is tolerable because the Royals are so bad. I have a lot of teammates from Kansas City, though, and they weren’t terribly fun to deal with in 2015.
Daniel: Is there a particular Cardinal moment that stands out as a favorite?
Colin: The easy one is Game 6, for all the obvious reasons. When the clinched the pennant in 2004 has to be up there. I vividly remember Edmonds’s homer and the game that followed. I’ve been fortunate to go to a few playoff games, one of which was the Obstruction Game in 2013. I saw some great Pujols games as well (three homers against the Pirates in 2006, homered in three consecutive games in Kansas City) as far as the regular season goes, but the 2006 and 2011 World Series have to be tied for first, no?
Daniel: Why the Conclave and what are you looking forward to with the new platform?
Colin: In an online environment where have a half-life of about 15 minutes, there’s something to be said for a site that has hung around. Any writer wants more people to read their content and I’m no different. Most importantly, I’m excited to work with a new group of writers and hopefully improve personally.
Ever since we started the Conclave, I’ve wanted a dedicated minors writer and while folks like Josh Gilliam have done a great job looking at the farm, it’s exciting to have Colin and his knowledge on board!