The first thing I noticed about Jeimer Candelario was his affable humility. He walked into the Mayfair Room at the Sheraton Grand (that’s where all the minor league affiliates had set up shop) and signed autographs for all the kids who approached him. Then he came over to the Pelicans’ booth and hugged the employees he knew from his time in Myrtle Beach, shaking the hands of everyone else. He was totally at ease, just having fun. When we started talking about the game we were going to play at the end of the interview, however, Candelario seemed a little nervous.
Technical difficulties caused us to delay the start of our conversation a few minutes, which was too bad because I could listen to this kid talk all day. As it was, I only got to do so for about 18 minutes. Having a father who operated a baseball clinic meant growing up in the sport, but it was obvious that Candelario absolutely loves baseball and working to develop his skills. Hearing about that was great, but my favorite part of the interview was when I asked him about a play he made behind Rob Zastryzny back in low-A ball. Seeing his face light up as he recounted his attempt to prevent a bunt single was awesome.
As quiet and reserved as he was in person, Candelario is aggressive as hell when it comes to improving his game. I do not envy the PCL pitchers who have to face this young man in the coming season.