For many high school baseball players, the expectation to perform can be overwhelming. For Carter Aldrete, that expectation is assumed. The high school senior from Monterey, California has quite the shoes to fill in his family.
The son of Rich Aldrete, UC Berkeley standout and San Francisco Giants draft pick in the 1987 Draft, and the nephew of Mike Aldrete, who played at Stanford, as well as in the Majors for ten years with seven teams, Carter definitely has a lot to live up to within his own family. In the eyes of Carter, his baseball family bloodlines serve as nothing but a benefit.
“It’s very helpful because every question I have ever had, or anything I have ever wondered, about baseball, or life as a baseball player, it’s just one simple question away from either one of them. Whether it’s what count is [best] to hit a curveball, or stupid questions like, ‘what are host families like?’, they have the answer or solution to everything. With those two guiding me, I really don’t have any unexpected fears about the upcoming years of my life because they’ve told me how it is, they told me it was a blast and they told me that it’s worth it. Most importantly, that the hard work I have put in is going to pay off.”
Aldrete, who has yet to turn 18 years old, is entering his senior season with his Monterey High baseball team, already having committed to play for Arizona State in the Fall of 2016. For Carter, the decision to attend Arizona State was an easy one.
“Throughout my recruiting process I was waiting, because I have known a lot of people [who] have told me to weigh my options and not commit too early, because you have to really love where you go. I had [other] offers, but nothing really blew my mind to that point. When I first went to Arizona State, they really blew my mind. Tracy and Ben were really cool; I love the coaching staff. The tradition there is awesome, and I love hot weather, so Arizona is the place for me. Like I said, the coaching staff really intrigued me, the facilities are really nice, I have some family members there, and it all worked out perfectly.”
For Carter, going to Arizona State made all the sense in the world. However, the decision was just as much about academics as it was about baseball.
“At Arizona State when you fill out your application you have to declare a major, just like with any other school, so I [chose] business. I am up for the challenge, and my whole family has really pushed me my whole life to be great academically.”
At Monterey High, Carter has been a standout both on and off the field. Not only has Carter played baseball all four years of high school, he also played football up until his senior year, all while maintaining a GPA over 3.5. Prior to the start of his senior year, Carter made the decision to quit playing football in order to focus on baseball, knowing where his future was.
Being the son and nephew of two players who spent a significant amount of time on college, minor-league, and major-league rosters, Carter has been around baseball his entire life. Carter has been playing baseball ever since he could remember, throwing the ball around with his family, including his sister Annie, who is a bit of a softball superstar herself. Carter grew up with baseball around the house as the main topic of conversation.
“I was playing in 12-and-under tournaments when I was eight years old, so I was probably six years old when I started playing. I’ve been throwing stuff since I could walk. It was always a joke around the table when I was younger that I would throw salt and pepper shakers at my aunt and uncle’s house. So I was throwing stuff, always hitting stuff, I’ve been playing forever.
For Carter, each member of his family has their own individual, unique impact on his baseball development and on his future.
“All my family members kind of add something different to my baseball experience. Like my sister, she is really into the mental side of the game and she is probably the most mentally strong person I know. My dad helps me stay calm and make adjustments to my game.”
“My uncle Mike, I don’t see him as much as I would like because he is always on the road coaching, but when he is here I hit with him. It’s nice to get a different perspective [from someone at] the big league level, and [hear about] what he is doing with his guys, and how the game is developing. So everything that everyone adds is just building up inside of me and it’s just making me better and better.”
On the surface, Carter may appear to be just your average teenage kid. However, on the baseball field, Carter sets himself apart from most kids his age. In terms of work ethic, no player works as hard on and off the field as Carter does. This same sentiment was discussed by Carter’s father, Rich.
“The work ethic sets Carter apart. No one works like him. People can work just as hard, but he doesn’t take days off. He doesn’t go out and smoke or drink. He spends his time lifting, running, throwing, hitting. 24/7. He respects his body and he is on a journey, and he is well beyond his years in terms of his maturity. Besides that, [there is] the fact that he is the biggest, strongest kid on the field. What sets him apart from every 18-year-old is his maturity.”
His sister, Annie, also had positive things to say about her younger brother’s work ethic.
“I have never seen anybody play shortstop the way my brother does. I envy him for that. All the skill work is great, but I have also never seen anyone work as hard as he does. I was at Tennessee for two years, across the country, and I was not aware of the kind of work my brother was putting in until I came home for summer. Last summer my dad kept telling me, ‘Annie, your brother is getting big, he’s getting strong.’ I didn’t really understand it, but now I don’t know any other 18-year-old kid that wakes up at 5 A.M. to go to hot yoga before school. Then he goes to school. Then he works out with his trainer. Then he hits with my uncle and my dad at night. I know what working hard is like, and I go to school with Division I athletes, and I see big-time athletes. But I have not seen a kid his age with so much drive. I thought I worked out hard, but he is just on a different level. There is no way any kid is putting in as much work as he is on a daily basis. He knows it, and he wants to be the best. He is listening, he is learning, he is doing everything he can to get better. Every little thing he does and all the effort he puts in is really mind-blowing. Every single day he is on the field, at yoga, sprinting, putting in effort. It’s been really amazing watching him grow and get better. It’s just a good experience for all of us.”
It appears as though the Aldrete family will continue to see payoffs athletically for some time now. And for Carter, it hasn’t hurt being surrounded by pros.