Former major league pitcher and Kyle Glogoski's coach DJ Carrasco thinks the Auckland teen has the x-factor to make it to the majors.

Glogoski signed a professional contract with the Philadelphia Phillies on Thursday and will head to the United States for his rookie season in the Gulf Coast League starting in April.

Carrasco, who spent 10 years pitching for numerous MLB clubs in the 2000s, has worked with Glogoski and other leading Kiwi pitchers in a number of different coaching roles with Baseball New Zealand over the past few seasons, including the 2016 World Baseball Classic qualifiers.

"It couldn't happen to a better person," he told The Herald. "When I first met Kyle a few years ago, a young kid aspiring to be a professional baseball player, he had a curious mind and was willing to be coached – all really good qualities for somebody in life let alone athletics.


"Early on he was able to recognize the ability to spin the ball and create movement on the ball. He had a few plus pitches - that was not normal for a kid that age.

"Then working with him on the WBC team he really opened some eyes and matured. You could just see with the short time we had him there, the way he got better is a testament to how hard he works and what he does with the information he gets and how he applies it on the mound."

Carrasco knows first-hand how hard it is to take the next step from being a professional pitcher to working your way through the minor leagues into the majors. He bounced around between the various levels and from one club to another while chasing his dream.

The journey can often wear players down – living out of a suitcase, travelling by bus from one small town to another and being away from friends and family for months at a time.
But Carrasco thinks Glogoski is prepared for what lies ahead.

"I think he has put himself in a good position by getting into these academies, going to Australia and getting away from the comforts of home and preparing himself for that home sickness," the 40-year-old said.

"That is what separates some people from being a big leaguer to a career minor leaguer – that culture, the hurdle of being away from home, the different diet – but I don't see why he would have a hard time getting past that from everything I have seen."

Glogoski turns 19 today (Saturday) and is still growing at six foot two. He has been clocked at 92mph on the radar gun but Carrasco thinks any improvement in velocity will be a bonus for him.

"The things that turn me on about him is his 'pitchability' – his three plus pitches, the movement he has on his fastball and the ability to locate in and out. The physique is all good but Pedro Martinez never had a great physique and he is one of the great pitchers.

"It is what I see come out of his hands and the way that it comes out and that it doesn't look like he will get hurt."