2016
01.15

Kieran Powell with New York Mets captain David Wright (Photo via Twitter)

On Wednesday, 14 teams showed up to scout the left-hander during a showcase workout in Bradenton, Fla., and Powell said he’s currently in negotiations with a few clubs.

Powell took some time to speak with NJ Advance Media over the phone Thursday and discussed his foray into baseball, meeting David Wright and his expectations for spring training. The interview has been condensed and lightly edited for clarity.

NJAM: What led you to take a break from cricket and pursue opportunities in major league baseball?

KP: I just wanted a break personally from cricket and then the opportunity came up when my managers started sending some footage of me off to some major league teams and they seemed interested in it. So since then, we’ve just been full on ahead with the baseball.

NJAM: How familiar were you with baseball? Were you a fan of the sport growing up?

KP: I watched it a bit when I was younger. Obviously being a professional in cricket I didn’t have much time to watch many other things, but I’d still watch it here and there. I watched it when I was younger — I used to watch a lot of Ken Griffey Jr. when I was smaller.

NJAM: What’s been the most difficult part of transitioning from cricket to baseball?

KP: I would say just keeping the bat on plane. Obviously cricket, the swing is low to high and baseball it’s just staying level through, going through the strike zone, so you have as great as possible a chance of hitting the ball.

NJAM: Which position do you think would be the best fit for you?

KP: I think I could be anywhere in the outfield. If it were left to me, I would pick center field. But left field, right field, center field — it doesn’t bother me.

NJAM: I know you spent some time working out at the Mets’ training facility in Port St. Lucie, Fla., last week — what was that experience like?

KP: It was good. It’s a really nice facility. Very good people over there as well. Great, great experience. I really enjoyed it. Got to see the full facility. I had a nice workout. All in all, it went well.

NJAM: What was it like meeting David Wright?

KP: It was interesting. I knew that they’d bring somebody up, but I didn’t expect it to be the leader of the team. It was nice meeting him. He’s a very cool guy, very humble. Enjoyed the experience.

NJAM: I believe you held a showcase for major league scouts Wednesday. How’d it go?

KP: It was good. It was a bit colder than I expected. Took me a bit longer than I would have liked to get warm, but I think it ended well. To have 14 teams come out yesterday, that says a lot.

NJAM: What kind of feedback have you been receiving from scouts and talent evaluators?

KP: I’ve been told I have good hand speed, good arm strength from the outfield. So that’s good. We’re currently in negotiations at the moment, so we’re looking forward to it. It’s going well.

NJAM: Have you received any offers from any major league teams?

KP: Yeah, I was just referring to it. We’re negotiating some things at the moment with a few teams. I don’t want to really let loose which teams are in negotiations at the moment. But yeah, it’s been going well.


NJAM: Have you been surprised by the amount of media attention your story has been getting?

KP: I’m not really surprised because I’m obviously coming from international cricket, so that’s a story in itself. Obviously that will gather around lots of traction. But to have 14 teams there, that says a lot as well. I’m not really surprised by the amount of attention it’s been getting.

NJAM: Despite the similarities between baseball and cricket, there hasn’t been a lot of crossover between the two sports. How confident are you that you’ll be able to break that barrier and make a successful transition to professional baseball?

KP: I’m very confident. The amount of teams that were there [Wednesday], that says a lot in itself. I think it’s been a good process so far, I think that it will continue to go well. We’re in negotiations with a few teams and we’ll take it from there. We’ll make really good progress with any opportunity that is presented to me in terms of playing time

NJAM: Do you expect to be at spring training with some team next month?

KP: Absolutely. That’s the goal. I’m trying to get signed as soon as possible. Head off to spring training, get some work in and then see where it goes from there.

-nj.com

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