Mister-Baseball.com spoke with Trevor Caughey about his experiences in Spanish baseball, and how he spent the offseason prepping for his return to Valencia this year. Caughey has played a big role in the team’s success, going 11-2 last season with a 0.81 ERA, and starting this year off on the right foot with a 7-1 record and a 1.31 ERA.
More info on the Division de Honor is available on the league homepage:
Trevor’s stats can be found here:
Mister-Baseball.com: You’ve been in Spain a couple seasons now, can you give some background as to what brought you to the country, and where you have been playing?
Trevor Caughey: My first experience of European baseball was in the Czech Republic, which I enjoyed very much. The next year I knew I wanted to experience a new country. Spain had always seemed like a desired destination to me. The weather, the culture and all; Spain sounded like an amazing place. I knew for the most part the Spanish league typically brought over imports from Venezuela and the Dominican Republic. Fortunately I came in contact with the Valencia Astros who had brought over a few Americans in the past.
Mister-Baseball.com: Can you provide a perspective of baseball in Spain and of league dynamics and youth programs?
Trevor Caughey: Well first of all, its futbol and more futbol in Spain. The average kid does not grow up playing baseball. At the top level, the competition is high. I do see the youth programs growing, and that is the key to growing the sport
Mister-Baseball.com: The season in Spain is on a little different schedule than the rest of Europe, how does this affect you personally, clubs in general, and national teams with regard to competitions being held later in the summer?
Trevor Caughey: I love it. Each spring I start to get anxious and ready for baseball to start. Spain can start a bit earlier because of the weather, and I guess they feel its too hot in August for baseball. Also our training always starts at 8 pm which is kind of fun.
With the season ending earlier, it gave me a chance after Spain to go play in Poland for 2 months. I enjoyed my time there, and was able to help Warsaw Centaury to 2nd place in Polish Extraleague.
Mister-Baseball.com: How is the current situation with your club, and do you plan on returning to Spain/Europe next season as well?
Trevor Caughey: I am a person who is always looking for a new adventure. In 2011, with the Valencia Astros, it was one of the greatest 6 months of my life. The players really look out for each other. Juan Garcia, our coach, goes out of his way to make sure all is enjoyable. Experiencing the cities we travel to, the team being close like we are, having fun on and off the field are all reasons why I decided to come back to Valencia, Spain in 2012.
Mister-Baseball.com: You’ve had a strong start to the 2012 campaign; to what do you attribute the good start? What did your offseason consist of?
Trevor Caughey: Well that is an interesting question. After I went from Spain to Poland, I flew straight to Australia where for two and half months I played with the Perth Heat in the Australian Baseball League. I was part of the Perth Heat Championship team in 2010, so in 2011 we were invited to play in the Asian Championships in Taiwan against the hosts, Japan, and South Korea.
Unfortunately I had visa issues and from Taiwan I was not allowed to enter back into Australia. Although that was a letdown, it meant I was able to go home to California to see family and friends. After two great months home and much-needed rest from pitching, restlessness to play some baseball started to kick in, and that brings us up to current, here in Spain.
Obviously that is not your typical offseason season. I just attribute 10 years in the pro game to really realizing what it takes to be a complete pitcher both physically and mentally. That, and also the changeup…
Mister-Baseball.com: The Division de Honor has been dominated by a few clubs of late. Do you see any link between the dominance of a few teams, and the recent slide by the senior national team over the same period?
Trevor Caughey: That happens in Europe, where certain teams tend to always dominate leagues. Take a look at Czech: Draci won 16 years in a row, and then my former team Technika won it last year. Also take the Valencia Astros: they went from bottom of the league one year to 16-20, to 24-12, to 11-1 this year. Teams just have to dedicate themselves to a putting a winning team on the field.
I do not know all that much about the senior team, but I know they lost a few tough games in the European Championship in 2009. That can happen to anyone in tournament play.
Mister-Baseball.com: How does the baseball community in Spain view the national team participation in the coming World Baseball Classic Qualifier?
Trevor Caughey: I know the Spain National Team has a quality team. Doing well will promote Spanish baseball, so I wish them the best of luck.
Mister-Baseball.com: Given the long distances between some teams, how do the two clubs you’ve played for travel?
Trevor Caughey: We have done it all; from flying, to buses, to cars, to trains. It´s always a fun adventure… I just wait until someone tells me ¨vamos¨ and I go.
Mister-Baseball.com: At the end of May, Barcelona will be traveling to Rotterdam for the European Cup. How do you think they will stack up against the high level of play? Have you heard why the league declined to fill the qualifier spot?
Trevor Caughey: You want teams from your league to do well in those tournaments. I think Barcelona will do well. As far as sending a team to a qualifier, I do know that the economic crisis has had an effect on some of the teams’ budgets.
Mister-Baseball.com: What are your baseball goals for the rest of the season?
Trevor Caughey: I am just excited for another Spain summer. Nothing beats beisbol on the weekends. Finally they have playoffs in the Spain League this year. It is a necessity to have playoffs in baseball. I hope to help bring a championship to the Valencia Astros, nothing less.
Thanks to Ty Eriksen and Trevor Caughey for the interview.