Kyle Cuellar – Senior UCLA Baseball

“My name is Kyle Cuellar. I am a senior Political Science major at UCLA where I also play baseball. I have played baseball since I was 3 years old, it was my first love. I enrolled at UCLA as a freshmen in fall of 2016. Since then I have had a career that has seen many highs and also many lows, it has been far from easy. As a freshmen I hit a team leading .319 and was named a Freshmen All American. The next year I was ready to come back to school and have a strong sophomore campaign, however the exact opposite happened.”

“In my sophomore year I hit a team low .115 and was quickly pulled out of the starting lineup after about 12 games into the season. These same struggles continued into my junior year where I was hitting .174. About three quarters of the way into my junior season I went and got my eyes checked by a sports vision doctor. After many hours of tests it was determined by the doctor that my depth perception and binocularity were both in the 1st percentile (the worst). Depth perception and binocularity are both two major factors into trying to hit a baseball, and for the past two years my skills in both had declined quickly.”

“I was stunned to hear this news, but at the same time I was glad that I finally had an answer as to what has been going on with my performance. During my sophomore and junior year it was very tough for me to keep plugging along, not knowing why I was struggling to perform, but finally I had an answer. After receiving this news I was able to start going to vision therapy, this retrained how my eyes communicated with my brain. Vision therapy was by far one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to go through. Hours on hours looking at screens, crossing my eyes, and looking at objects in the distance. After about thirty sessions of therapy I was back into the 85th percentile range and trending upward.”

“During this time I had to make a tough decision of letting my coaches know or not. It was tough for me because I knew in the mean time I would be left out of games and possible not take on away road trips, but I knew that this was better for me to get the therapy I needed. After all of this happened and my eyes were finally back to normal I spent the summer going into my senior year just prepping for my final shot at baseball.”

“I worked so hard in the offseason coming into this year to make sure my eyes stayed stable, swing, and body were all dialed in for fall camp. I had a successful fall camp as well as winter, and was starting in left field. For the first time since the very beginning of my sophomore year I was back into the starting lineup opening night of the 2020 season. Through the first fifteen games of the season my team was off to a great start at 13-2 and ranked #4 in the country. As for me I was also off to a great start batting .341.”

“What could’ve been my last game at UCLA was March 8th an away game at USC. Not knowing it would be our final game of the season, we beat USC 15-3. In one of my last at bats of the season I hit a two run homer against USC, which could possibly be my last hit as a Bruin. As for what’s next for me, I do not know. This last week has all been a whirlwind of events for me as well as I’m sure many other senior athletes around the country.”

“My goal has always been to play in the MLB and with this season I was hoping to prove to MLB teams that I had recovered from everything that happened and I was ready to go. With this season being cancelled due to COVID-19 I am left with many questions as well as many uncertainty’s. The one thing that will remain certain however is my determination to play this beautiful game for as long as I possibly can, as well as the ability of never giving up no matter how hard things might get.” 

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