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Prospect Interview: SS Galli Cribbs Jr, AA Jackson

Wesley Baier has a chat with AA Shortstop Galli Cribbs, who has quietly broken out with a 1.022 OPS

Jackson Generals Shortstop has quietly broken out this year, with 1.022 OPS nearly twice his career .584 OPS

Cribbs, Jr had a very interesting journey as a professional baseball player. Cribbs played ball in highschool in Sugarland, Texas outside of Houston. He went on to play for three colleges, Bellevue University in Nebraska, Clarendon College in Clarendon Texas, and San Jacinto College North Campus in Houston. In addition he played two years in the Cape Cod League, and won the championship while he was there. Cribbs’ team in junior college also got 2nd in the Junior College World Series. Cribbs went undrafted in the 2014 draft, and signed as a minor league free agent with the Diamondbacks.

Until 2018, the best season that Cribbs had posted was in his second go around at A Bal in 2016, when he posted a .252/.320/.293 line good for 86 wRC+. This year he’s playing completely different players. He’s hitting 356/.478/.589 and has already matched or surpassed his career highs from seasons past. He only had one home run in his professional career prior this year, and he already has two only a month into the season. His four triples is only one short of his career high of five as well. Cribbs also is walking at a career high rate (12.2%) and he’s striking out at the lowest rate (21.2%) of his career. In his two best prior season, Cribbs best was a .137 and .088 Isolated slugging percentage, and he’s generally been under .050 in the past. This year he’s posting a .233 ISO, which is leaps and bounds above what he’s done in the past. He’s also gone from hitting the ball a ton on the ground, with a Groundball/Flyball ratio over two in some years, to a 0.68 GB/FB ratio this year.

Intrigued by his very good stats this year and the significant changes as a player he’s made this year, I decided to reach out to Galli Cribbs on Instagram. I conducted a brief interview with him, covering a range of topics, which I’ve edited for readability, clarity, and length.

Wesley Baier: So from what I understand, you’ve had an interesting journey as a baseball player, playing for three different colleges, and signing with the Dbacks as an undrafted minor league free agent, and not really finding success until this year. So what has motivated you throughout this journey? What motivates you to get up and play 150+ game seasons?

Galli Cribbs: Baseball is all I’ve ever really known. So getting up everyday and being able to what Iove is enough. Whether playing good or bad, it’s always a blessing to strap on a uniform and go out and complete with my teammates day after day.

Wesley Baier: You really caught my eye as a prospect after hitting for the cycle, how was that game? Have you a had a better game in your career?

Galli Cribbs: That game was really cool, and a lot of fun too. My fiance was in town for her last day, so having someone in the stands was really cool too. So having someone in the stands was really cool too. I have not had a better game than that. Everything kind of went my way. Just getting four hit salone is a good feeling, but doing that was very special.

Wesley Baier: The real reason why I picked you for the interview, is that your numbers this year versus years past makes you like two different players. In years past you were hitting the ball on the ground a lot, while this year you have done the exact opposite. Has your approached changed as to how you approach the game offensively?

Galli Cribbs: Yeah, I just have a different mindset now than in the past. I feel very confident and know I put a lot of work into what I’m trying to do this year. Just kind of trusting the process. Trying to control what I can control, and let the rest work itself out.

Wesley Baier: What’s the best advice you’ve been given?

Galli Cribbs: Just to work hard everyday. Embrace everything going on around you and just be in the moment. Be aware of everything happening in the present.

Wesley Baier: Randy Johnson and Michael Jordan were my two sports idols growing up, who were yours? Which athletes have you emulated in playing the game?

Galli Cribbs: Derek Jeter was my favorite player growing up Doug Flutie was a guy I watched playing football. I was always a smaller guy growing up, so I looked up to what he did with how small he was.

Wesley Baier: How do you mentally approach the game as a batter, and how do you approach it as a defender? Is there a difference in approach?

Galli Cribbs: As a hitter and defender the biggest key is focus. Being 100% locked in isn’t the easiest thing to do, but it is very important. As a hitter, you just have to go up with a plan and stick to it. As a defender, you never know when you could make the best play of your life. So I always think of that if I ever start to lose focus in the field. You’d be surprised how many times I’ve said that to myself and then something crazy happens.

Wesley Baier: What are your non-baseball interests? What’s your favorite food that you can always eat? Favorite musician/band?

Galli Cribbs: I like playing video games a lot. It’s a way to wind down, relax, and being able to get on with friends back home is really cool. My favorite food is spaghetti. My great grandma actually had a spaghetti house in Houston, so we have a family recipe that I can eat all day, every day. When I was a baby my parents would give me bowls of spaghetti sauce. From pictures I can tell I liked it then too. Quite the mess. I like rap music. Travis Scott is probably my favorite artist, who’s from right where I am.

Wesley Baier: Follow up to that answer, what’s your favorite video game?

Galli Cribbs: My favorite video right now is Fortnite, mostly because that’s what all my friends are playing. I don’t care much for it but it’s fun to play with friends.

Wesley Baier: Yeah, I’ve been there with that one. I’m a not a huge fan of first person shooters, but I always get roped into playing them with friends.

Galli Cribbs: I liked Rainbow Six Siege a lot too. That was a game I played for the last year. Got really good at that one.

Wesley Baier: Favorite television show? Movie?

Galli Cribbs: I don’t really have a favorite. I kind of watch whatever. Anything I like is probably inappropriate. I like Family Guy, Rick and Morty, and I pretty much watch MLB Network all day. I can watch baseball whenever, and it doesn’t matter who it is. I like baseball movies. John Wick 1&2.

Wesley Baier: When passing through your hometown (Sugarland, Texas, a suburb of Houston), what is the one place you gotta go eat at?

Galli Cribbs: Houston is very diverse. So you can find any kind of food you want, and it will probably be good. There is a great taco shop though called Soliz Casa De Tacos, right across from my neighborhood that is amazing. Grew up eating there quite a bit eating there quite a bit. Helped that the owner’s son is a huge baseball fan. Always had something to talk about.

Wesley Baier: Finally, I have a bonus question from Snakepit poster, Edbigghead: “Who do you think is the best shortstop currently in the game?”

Galli Cribbs: Best shortstop right now in my opinion is Brandon Crawford. He plays the game hard and I really admire his defense.

In our off the record coversations, I found Galli to be a very pleasant and nice guy, and I was very impressed with his overall demeanor, candor, and his intelligence. Definitely a cool guy, and someone who’d I’d expect to be a fan favorite.

NEXT WEEK: Wesley interviews the other guy up the middle for the Jackson Generals, Second Baseman Jamie Westbrook.