Q&A With Eckerd Commit Justin Carrillo

By Matt Huck
Area Scout

2016 RHP Justin Carrillo of Everglades High School recently committed to Eckerd College. Carrillo is currently ranked No. 165 in the Florida Class of 2016. Carrillo recently participated in the Florida Top Prospect Games, here is a scouting report from the event.

6/28/15 Uncommitted rising senior. 5-foot-11, 165-pound right hander with an athletic strong body on a medium sized frame. Has a quick arm with some effort in delivery at an over hand slot. Ball jumps out of his hand. Hides ball in back. Fast ball is 85-86 mph and has good tilt for a guy his size. Curve ball is above average at 77-78 mph. It’s a tight downer with depth. He had the best breaking ball in the showcase. Has feel for the change up at 75-76 mph. Appears to have a tumbling action to it, much like a split finger fast ball. Is an aggressive guy that attacks the zone. Will be a good college arm.  

PBR: What were your expectations about the recruiting process? Was it as expected? Easy/Difficult? 

Carrillo: Going in I wasn't sure what to expect, I had never really been to any showcases or major tournaments before this summer. The process wasn't so bad once I was in it, I was active in sending emails to coaches and programs I was interested in and they all responded back for the most part with a questionnaire and my summer schedule. My coach Jorge Miranda was extremely helpful, talking to coaches and getting them out to watch us as ball players. I was lucky to have very knowledgeable people around me including the hard workers at the NCSA recruiting service who really helped get my name out there.

PBR: What were you looking for out of a college program to continue your baseball career at?

Carrillo: I wanted to go somewhere I was wanted. I've never been the biggest kid but I like to think that I play like I’m 6'5 and for a coach to see that in me and really believe in it and believe in me was huge. Location played a big part as well, I’ve always felt like Florida is where the best baseball is played and I knew that I wanted to stay in that competitive area.

PBR: Did location or distance from home play a factor in your decision?

Carrillo: Not so much the distance from home but more staying in Florida where i feel the best baseball is played, when thinking about places I could potentially play distance from home never really popped into my head, I knew that no matter where I went my family and friends would support me.

PBR: When did the recruiting process really start to heat up for you? Was there a particular game or event that you feel turned the corner for you?

Carrillo: The recruiting process in general started and ended fairly quickly for me, my freshman and sophomore years in high school I cant remember even once thinking about getting in touch with a college coach or having them be interested in me, it was a world I was practically oblivious to at the time. However at the start of my junior year a new dialogue was created and the word college began to appear more frequently. I was fortunate to be selected to play for Elite Squad baseball this past summer and I think that’s what really propelled me forward.

PBR: Where did the college you chose first see you? How did your relationship develop with them?

Carrillo: I was informed by my coach after a game against the Palm Beach Shockers that a coach from Eckerd College saw me pitch and wanted to get in contact and talk about baseball and my future, after that we emailed back and forth and I spoke with Coach Smolenski and Coach Ranero many times on the phone.

PBR: What do you like most about the college you committed to and what were the key factors in making your decision?

Carrillo: There are a lot of things I really love about Eckerd but when I looked up and read about the coaching staff and then spoke with Coach Ranero on the phone I knew that i wanted to play for him and that school. The entire staff over there has a lot of experience and a great vision and I know that they can help me elevate my game and put me in a position to get to the next level.

PBR: What other schools were on your short list before you made your final decision?

Carrillo: I didn't have too many schools that showed enough interest to make a serious offer but I was fortunate and am very grateful to have had Flagler College, Winthrop University, and the University of Montevallo all contact me and open up a recruiting dialogue and although I decided to go with Eckerd these schools hold a special place in my heart because of the fact that they wanted to give me a chance.

PBR: Who is the best player you have faced in your state, and why?  

Carrillo: Eric Rivera of Flanagan High School without a doubt. Although I didn't get to face him this summer our paths have crossed many times during the high school season, I have a lot of respect for him as a ball player and a person, I enjoy every time he steps up to the plate, he's a great hitter and he plays the game the right way. 

PBR: At what point in your career did you realize you were a college caliber player and became serious about taking your game to the next level? 

Carrillo: It's always been a dream of mine to play college baseball ever since my dad coached when I was five. It really hit me my Junior year of high school however when I was fortunate to have a successful season, my teammates would joke when we would face kids who were already committed to schools they would tell me that I was slacking and wonder why I wasn't committed. I really have some of my best friends to thank, Cecilio, Nico, and Bryan those guys really opened up my eyes and helped me believe in myself, we all worked really hard together and I appreciate them more than they will ever know.

PBR: What advice would you give to young baseball players striving to get where you are? 

Carrillo: DO WELL IN SCHOOL, I know they might not think its that important at the time but it is everything. It just makes life so much easier and makes you that much more attractive to coaches and schools. Other than that though it's all about how bad you want it and hard you are willing to work. Don't let anybody tell you that you can't or that you're too small, nothing is impossible and don't ever give up because there are people who are unable to play the game anymore that wish they could be in your position so don't take anything for granted. 

PBR: What is the most memorable moment in your baseball career to this point?

Carrillo: I've had tons of fun this past year playing baseball and have been extremely fortunate to have success doing so, specifically though I can think back to the end of my summer season with Elite Squad baseball and closing out the last three games of the Perfect Game 17U BCS Championship in Fort Meyers, being able to close those games and help my team win it all was something special that I was fortunate to be apart of. I had great teammates; a great coach and we all had a great time.

PBR: Preview your high school season for us. How do you feel your team will be? What are your expectations and goals? 

Carrillo: This season coming up should be interesting with the addition of Western and Cypress Bay to our district it's looking to be extremely competitive. Our team is young and hungry to make some noise. Personally I hope to improve on the season I had last year and do whatever it takes to help my team win, even if that means picking up a bat and stepping up to the plate (which I did sparingly last year)

PBR: Where do you play in the summer? And what has been your most memorable experience with them?

Carrillo: This past summer I played with Elite Squad, and although we've had a lot of great memories being able to win the Perfect Game 17U BCS Championship was a moment that I will never forget.

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