Van De Keere has been a solid bat for the Chukars
In June, the Royals selected third baseman Devery Van De Keere out of the University of Louisiana-Lafayette with their 48th round pick in the draft. Van De Keere signed and reported to Idaho Falls, where he's put up some very good numbers thus far in his professional debut. RC recently caught up with Van De Keere to discuss his game, his friendship with Mark Teahen, and his road to pro baseball.
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Royals Corner: How do you feel the season’s going so far for you?
Devery Van De Keere: Well, we’ve got a good group of guys. Of course, winning is a lot of fun. Everything’s been going good this year. Everyone seems to be on the same page. Guys are working hard, guys are trying to get better every day, and the results are showing. We’re playing pretty good baseball.
RC: What was it like being drafted by the Royals? What was your draft day experience like?
DV: I always had a Kansas City Royals T-shirt that I had for I don’t know how many years. Of course, I know Mark Teahen, who’s been in the big leagues for a couple of years. So being drafted by the Royals was definitely a dream come true. It’s a great organization, and I have nothing but good things to say about the people I’ve met. Everybody, again, seems to be on the same page. I just love every day coming to work.
Van De Keere has known Mark Teahen for years
RC: Could you talk a little bit about how you know Mark Teahen?
DV: His dad and my dad actually played on Team Canada together for a couple of years. Mark was born in Barrhead, Alberta, where I was born. He lived there a couple of months of his life, and my dad actually ended up taking his mom’s job. So, throughout the years, the families kept contact.
RC: What was it like growing up in Canada as a baseball player? Obviously, I know hockey is the most popular sport up there, but how did you get enough playing time to improve your game?
DV: Well, I’ve always loved sports. I played all sports growing up, and I knew that at some point I was going to have to choose either baseball or hockey to pursue. And like I said, my dad, being such a baseball mind and a baseball guy, probably provided a bit of the influence of wanting to play. It’s not easy, growing up in Alberta, to play baseball and pursue baseball. There’s just not a lot of recruiting. There are bigger sports, like hockey of course. But it’s what I’ve always wanted to do, and I’m just loving it.
RC: Could you talk a little bit about your collegiate career? For instance, how did you wind up at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette?
DV: Actually, my first two years I walked on to Phoenix College. There’s no recruiting in Alberta, so I had to just find a college on my own. I walked on to Phoenix College, and I had two pretty good years there and played in an All-Star game. Louisiana-Lafayette saw me play in that game, and they recruited me. I had two pretty good years at Lafayette. It was an awesome place to play with some good people, and I learned a lot. And it brought me here to the Royals, so I’m glad it turned out the way it did.
Through 30 games, Van De Keere is hitting .289/.365/.405
RC: You had a great junior season for Lafayette, but you struggled a bit in your senior year. Generally speaking, what was the cause of the falloff?
DV: There were a lot of things going on. Things that I’ve put behind me. I just kind of got caught in the middle of some tough situations, and I kept a strong character through it. It definitely wasn’t easy, with things not going well. I’d been waiting for my senior season for so many years, just looking forward to the draft, and I just battled through the hard times. Everything kind of fell in place from there. I’m very fortunate that Brian Rhees, the scout that saw me play there for two years, had faith in me and saw the potential. So I owe a lot to him.
RC: Let’s shift gears a bit and talk about your game. What type of hitter do you see yourself developing into?
DV: I see myself developing into a gap-to-gap hitter. I pride myself on being able to hit the ball to all fields, not just a pull hitter. I used to just be a pull hitter, but working with Patrick Anderson everyday, and all the guys who have come in, I’m trying to be an all-around hitter. And I feel like I’m getting better every day, so it’s pretty exciting.
RC: Defensively, are you strictly a third baseman, or have you ever played any other positions?
DV: My freshman year, I played right field and first base. My sophomore year, third base and first base. Junior year, third and first, and then senior year, again third and first. So I’m kind of versatile. I can play a couple of different positions.
Van De Keere has also played first base and right field in the past
RC: What types of things are you working on at third base right now?
DV: Consistency. I know what I have to do to be successful, fielding ground balls of course. Some days, I’m in that zone where my body, my feet, and my eyes are all in the right position. And some days, it’s just not there. So yeah, I’m just working on consistency.
RC: Thanks for taking the time to talk with me.
DV: You’re welcome. Thanks a lot.
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