Nine Questions with Rece Hinds
Rece Hinds spent the 2022 season with the Dragons. He was originally signed as a second round draft pick in 2019 by the Reds out of Niceville, Florida. Rece was ranked by many media outlets as the player with the best raw power of any high school prospect in the
Rece Hinds spent the 2022 season with the Dragons. He was originally signed as a second round draft pick in 2019 by the Reds out of Niceville, Florida. Rece was ranked by many media outlets as the player with the best raw power of any high school prospect in the 2019 draft. He won the prestigious 2018 Under Armour All-America Home Run Derby, edging his future Dayton teammate, Tyler Callihan, by one home run in the final round. He finished second behind future first overall draft pick Bobby Witt, Jr. in the Junior Home Run Derby at the 2018 MLB All-Star Game, hosted by the Washington Nationals. Rece was named the Northwest Florida Daily News 2018 Large School Hitter of the Year at Niceville. He was rated by Perfect Game as the #4 prospect in the state of Florida and #11 prospect in America entering the 2019 draft. Rece was a member of the 2017 USA Baseball 17 and under national team. With the Dragons in 2022, Rece earned the Reds Minor League Player of the Month Award for May.
Q: Rece, first of all, how did you enjoy your time in Dayton in 2022, playing in front of some of the biggest crowds in Minor League Baseball?
A: Dayton was honestly my first real minor league experience to me. Having a nice stadium like that and playing in front of a full stadium was a different feeling than I’ve had since being in professional baseball. Having the crowd there just gives you that different type of energy and adrenaline than just playing, for example, on the backfields of spring training.
Q: Was there a major league player that you took a special liking to, or emulated?
A: I wouldn’t say there was anyone I really tried to emulate or be like because I believe that everyone is themselves and to be able to be your best, or in this case, me wanting to be the best on the field at all times, I had to be myself fully 100% of the time. Growing up in the panhandle of Florida, the closest team was the Braves so, I took a liking to them pretty early and Andruw Jones was a guy I looked up too since he was black, and it proved to me that guys like us can play this sport and be very successful.
Q: As a high school prospect in Florida, you were one of the most highly-regarded players in the entire country. Were you able to balance any pressure to perform with the ability to still enjoy playing a kid’s game?
A: Honestly think that’s probably the hardest part about sports now is that young kids are put on this platform of pressure with hundreds of scouts showing up to tournaments and all these different showcases and you can get lost in the purpose of doing what you are doing. The biggest thing I was preached to from my mom was having fun because the moment you stop having fun, the game becomes a chore, and that’s not what this game is, so really, I’m always just trying to have fun on the field at all times, even to this day.
Q: You had the chance to play in several national showcase events that were gatherings for some of the best baseball players in America. How did you enjoy that experience?
A: This was some of the best times I’ve had in baseball, being able to play with the best of the best, all over the country, and sometimes even the world, brings out a different side of you. You realize it’s a lot bigger pond than you think and really makes you want it more and work even harder. I made some lifelong friends and I am very grateful that I had the opportunity to have these experiences.
Q. How did you and your family react on the day the Reds drafted you?
A: This was something I’ve wanted ever since I started playing baseball - to hear my name get called and for it to actually happen, and for it to be on the first day was something my family and I will never forget. It really is life changing and when it did happen, I had all my family around me, and that will be a moment I’ll never forget.
Q: As you entered professional baseball, tells us what (about the life of being a ballplayer) has surprised you the most?
A: The biggest thing that has surprised me is the mental side of the game. Playing a game for your job every single day may sound like it’s so much easier than other jobs but people don’t understand how mentally hard it is. Not being engaged for one pitch can cost you an at-bat, a play in the field, or even a whole game. There’s no time to lack focus and doing that for 140+ games every year is very hard to do mentally, especially if you are struggling at the moment.
Q: While you have enjoyed tremendous success as a baseball player, did you have to overcome any specific challenges that might have otherwise held you back or kept you from fulfilling your dreams?
A: I’ve had a pretty unlucky road in professional baseball so far. I’ve basically been injured every year since I’ve been drafted, pulling my quad my first year in short season, then covid hit, then I tore my meniscus in 2021, then last year I broke my hamate bone. With all those injuries, I wouldn’t take it back for anything. I believe that these injuries I’ve had have actually helped me tremendously in my career by me having to learn all about my body and what I need to do on a daily basis to be able to play everyday. It may have taken me awhile to realize that, but once I found positivity in those injuries I was able to use them to my advantage.
Q: As an African-American player, do you feel like you can help encourage more African-American kids to compete in baseball and follow your lead?
A: I do believe I can do that. Growing up in the baseball world is incredibly difficult for black kids. For one, it is an expensive sport to play for kids that are less fortunate. Also there is such a small percentage of black baseball players in the league, it’s hard to see yourself do something and be successful at it when you don’t see anyone like you doing it. For example, this year’s World Series was the first World Series that there was not a single black player on either team. Out of 50 players including both teams not a single African American was on either roster. Lack of representation causes black kids to see that and whether it’s conscious or subconscious they think “well none of our people are there so we can’t do it.” So I believe in me playing and doing what I’ve got to do to be successful in my career will help black kids look and see that we can do this and we can be very successful. The more representation we have the more I think you’ll see younger black kids getting into the game of baseball.
Q: Professional baseball celebrates Jackie Robinson Day every year and his uniform number is retired for every team in the majors and minors. Are you proud to continue his legacy?
A: I am beyond proud to carry on his legacy, to be able to play the game of baseball because of him is something no black player could out-do. But what we can do is continue what he did and so many other greats back in his time were able to do. Like I said before the more representation we can get in the league, the more black kids you’ll see indulge in baseball and that is what I want to continue, just being able to make these young black kids know that they can play this game and they can be great at it as well, and if it’s only one kid that I inspire so be it, that’s one more black baseball player that we didn’t have before I was playing.