After logging time at both corner infield positions as well as behind the plate in his first two years as a pro, 21-year-old Seth Conner has been catching exclusively this season with the Lugnuts. As a result, the Missouri native has seen a drop in playing time, sharing the catching duties with teammate Aaron Munoz, but that hasn’t affected Conner’s positive and upbeat personality in the clubhouse.
“I think the way you carry yourself is important. I think actions speak louder than words,” Conner said. “This is my third year in the organization and I hope I can make an impact with this young group of guys. Hopefully we’ll all advance and I can help them learn the ropes along the way. I really pride myself on that; it’s a big part of the game.”
Drafted by the Blue Jays in the 41st round of the 2010 MLB draft, Conner signed in the closing minutes of the signing deadline.
“As a young kid you’re excited to be drafted,” he said. “It was definitely interesting that it was from the Toronto Blue Jays, because I didn’t really watch them or know much about them growing up, but it was still very exciting to be drafted by them!”
Beginning his professional career in 2011, Conner reported to the Blue Jays’ Gulf Coast League club. There, he hit .276 with nine doubles, four home runs and 23 RBI in 174 at bats, while also managing a .395 on-base percentage. In addition to learning the ins and outs of hitting professionally, it was while playing in the Gulf Coast League that year where Conner started becoming a catcher.
“I started the transition to catching my first professional year. I have a lot of respect for catchers,” Conner said. “They have to call a good game and take care of the pitchers, and then they have to get up there and hit as well. A lot of credit goes to those guys.”
Splitting time with the GCL Blue Jays and the Bluefield Blue Jays the following year, Conner continued to hit, as he managed a .291 batting average with nine doubles, two home runs, and 30 RBI in 158 combined at-bats between the two teams. Conner’s .414 on-base percentage last season also stood out, as his eye at the plate helped him string together quality at-bats and help him continue to get on base.
“Bluefield was great. It was my first exposure to playing under some lights,” he said. “After Art Charles was moved up to Vancouver it opened up an opportunity for me to play first base, so I did that every day. I enjoy playing in the infield so it was a great opportunity for me.”
In 15 games with the Lugnuts this season, Conner has managed a .200 average and .524 OPS at the plate. More importantly, though, he has been working with a new pitching staff and been getting accustomed to playing full-season baseball. In the end, Conner just wants to continue to improve his game and do whatever he can to help his team win games.
“I hope to be on a winning team and whatever I can do to help the team be better; that’s really the goal this year,” he said. “I have a few personal goals, which are play well when I’m in there and move up. You always want to move up so that’s what I’m going to work on.”
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