What started as a single interview with Rick van Dijck, turns out to be a series of interviews with lesser known players from the Netherlands and the Dutch kingdom, who play abroad. This time we pay attention to Phildrick Llewellyn.
For the diehard Dutch baseball fan, the name Phildrick Llewellyn may ring a bell. But likely the name of the ballplayer from Curaçao may sound unfamiliar to the casual baseball fan. Yours truly met him last season in Paderborn and since he is a very kind guy, I thought it was time for an interview.
Phildrick spent the biggest part of his baseball career at the North American continent but he also has spent some time in Europe.
Phildrick started to play baseball at the age of two. He played catch with his dad at the latter’s softball games and at the age of three, he started to play in organized ball in a team for five to eight year olds. His dad, a catcher, had a big influence on Phildrick playing baseball. Besides baseball, he also played tennis and basketball until the age of thirteen. At that age, his father thought that focusing on one sport would be better for his development. So Phildrick became a baseball only person.
At the age of fourteen, Phildrick started to play summer and winter ball at U16 and U18 leagues all over the United States. He attended Trinity Christian Academy in Florida, a school where other players from Curaçao played as well. In those days, he was ranked the number one catcher by Perfect Game and Under Armor. When he played with that school, he was scouted by lots of MLB clubs and eventually ended up with the Arizona Diamondbacks. But after two years the D-Backs released him. Then, Jonathan Schoop talked the Baltimore Orioles into signing Phildrick and he ended up playing in the Dominican Summer League. The next year, he received a visa and was able to play in the farm system of the Baltimore Orioles in the United States.
After being released by the Orioles during the 2016 Spring Training, Phildrick ended up with the Alpine Cowboys of the Pecos League. That was a whole different experience. First of all the pay. Players in that league receive about $200 per month. Players could earn some more money by hitting home runs. In those cases, the fans in the stands, passed a hat in which they put some money for the guy who had hit a homer. In the following years, he played in the Pecos League and the Pacific Association before he was approached by the Rimini Pirates (back then Italian Serie A1) to play for them in 2018. During the 2018 season, it became clear that Rimini wasn’t able to pay its dues and they could not fulfill the promises they made. Eventually Phildrick decided to leave the club and return to the United States.
Once again he joined the Pecos League where he lasted only six days. When he posted some footage about some home runs he hit, on social media, it was picked up by Kalian Sams, who was playing for the Quebec Capitales. The Capitales were in need for a good hitting catcher, so they signed Phildrick for the remainder of the season.
When Jendrick Speer, manager of the Untouchables Paderborn approached Phildrick to join the team as a player and catching instructor, he did not hesitate. So in 2019 Phildrick headed to Germany, where he is still staying. Currently, he is the catching and outfield instructor and also hitting instructor with the club, from the U15 team all up to the German 1. Bundesliga team. But next to being an instructor, which is his actual job, Phildrick is also playing in a utility role, something he really likes. Every game it is a surprise where the head coach needs him to play. But besides being a baseball instructor, he is also a paid coach with the local basketball club the Paderborn Baskets.
On the question if he has settled down in Paderborn, Phildrick answered that he is used to travel around and stay somewhere for only two to six months. For now he wants to finish his contracts with both Paderborn sport clubs after that he will see what the future has in store for him. Since he graduated at Wayne State College in Nebraska and got his bachelor in Criminal Science, he thinks of using his psychological background to grow the mental game in baseball. Instead of focusing on success, he wants to focus on the failure and how to deal with that. Many players focus on reaching the Bigs but most of them never make it that far. According to Phildrick, there is a lot of pain and struggle in sports and no one is ever talking about that to help players out. Because of that deep hole some fall into, Phildrick started to make music. Of course the intention is to start a music career but he also wants to show that there is more than baseball.
Here is Phildrick’s first video:
In March, his first album will come out, which will be a kind of summary of his life so far.
Phildrick has a balanced life. He can do the things he wants and being creative is a part of it. And even if his musical career doesn’t come off the ground, it is a nice way to pass your his time, Phildrick said.
The Dutch Baseball Hangout wants to thank Phildrick for the time he took to answer the questions. Your cooperation is really appreciated.