By Austin Owens
Canadian Baseball Network
Shortstop Daniel Carinci, of Ontario Black, is one of the brightest talents coming out of Ontario in the Class of 2018.
According to Prep Baseball Report, Carinci (Pickering, Ont.) is the top ranked infielder and the sixth best prospect overall in the province.
Although Carinci patrols the middle of the infield now, that’s not where he started out.
“I actually started as a catcher, but I wasn’t really growing to the size of a catcher, so one of my coaches decided to try me out at shortstop,” said Carinci, on Friday after a workout in front of pro scouts and college recruiters. “Now, there’s nowhere else on the field that I’d rather be.”
The shortstop, in most situations, is the captain of the infield, telling the other fielders where to be positioned. While this could be difficult for some, Carinci enjoys the challenge.
“I don’t really see it as pressure,” he said. “I take it as something I like to do, I like having another thing on my back that I’m staying on task of.”
This is Carinci’s second time representing Ontario at Tournament 12, having played last year at the annual showcase. He has taken the chance to learn more about his craft, especially from Blue Jays great and tournament commissioner Roberto Alomar.
“Robbie is awesome,” he said. “I’ve had a couple of chances to talk to him and he’s given me some pointers and some small tips that I’ve taken throughout.”
Carinci says he tries to model his game after Cubs’ infielder Javier Baez because of the confidence the Chicago star exudes on the field.
He also believes that out of any aspect of his game, it’s his defence - something he’s been working to improve - that has come around the most over the last year.
“I know the hitting will come eventually, but defence is something I feel I can control. Fielding percentages are higher than batting averages so I feel like I have more control over that,” Carinci said.
The Pickering, Ont. native has yet to commit to a college. Academics will play a big factor in his decision as the honour roll student covets that as much as a top-tier baseball program. For now, however, Carinci is soaking in the moment under the lights in a major league ballpark.
“It’s unreal! I’m out there and I’m standing where Derek Jeter and Troy Tulowitzki have played. It’s nice to get that feeling and think you might be there someday.”