Q&A With Rays 27th Round Pick Alex Keudell

University of Oregon right-handed pitcher Alex Keudell was the Rays 27th round selection in the 2012 MLB Draft. Keudell was named the Pac-12 Pitcher of the Year after going 11-5 with a 2.38 ERA and was a 2012 Golden Spikes Award Semifinalist. Inside, he discusses his impressive senior season for Oregon, his experiences playing in collegiate summer leagues, his approach to pitching and much more.

University of Oregon
Born: 2/25/1990
B/T: R/R
HT/WT: 6-3/205

• Named 2012 Pac-12 Pitcher of the Year, 2012 Pac-12 All-Conference and a 2012 Golden Spikes Award Semifinalist.

• As senior went 11-5 with a 2.38 ERA, 3 CG, 74 K in 18 appearances (17 starts) over 124.2 innings.

• Pitched for the Cotuit Kettleers of the Cape Cod League and finished the summer with a 2-2 record and a 3.03 ERA.

• In 2010 was a Pac-10 All-Academic Honorable Mention.

• Pitched for the Glacier Pilots of the Alaska Baseball League in 2009, a summer league team which counts Greg Dobbs (2000), Jacoby Ellsbury (2003), Ben Francisco (2001), Eric Hinske (1996), Ryan Ludwick (1997), Mark McGwire (1982) and J.T. Snow (1987) among its alumni.

• Previously selected in the 38th round by the Minnesota Twins in the 2011 June Draft.

• Majored in political science at Oregon.


Rays Digest: First of all, I wanted to ask you where you were and what you were doing when you found out you had been drafted. This is the second time you've been drafted, you were drafted last year in the 38th round by the Twins, so how was this time different for you?

Alex Keudell: This time was different just because I was just about to go on a interview with one of the ESPN guys about our super regional with Kent State. Actually I just got a call from David (agent David Matranga of PSI Sports) right before that and he told me that I had been drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays, so that was the different part about it, but it was cool.

Rays Digest: You're team just got eliminated from the super regionals, but you had a pretty good pitching performance there. can you tell me a little bit about that experience?

Alex Keudell: It was a fun experience. I wouldn't trade anything or regret going to the Twins last year, this year's been great for me. It was fun playing against them and they're a good team. They played better than us for three games, they played better defense and had more hits than us, they deserved it. I made a couple of errors myself and left a couple of balls up and they hit them and they deserved it.

Rays Digest: You had a fantastic season this year and you were named Pac-12 Pitcher of the Year and were Pac-12 All-Conference and you were a Golden Spikes Semifinalist. Can you tell me a little bit about your success this year and what were some of the keys to it?

Alex Keudell: I think the key to my success was just focusing on our team and just knowing what I could control, what our offense could control and what the hitters who faced me were doing. That was what I focused on most. I just tried to make pitches and tried to get guys to make ground ball outs against me and I was lucky that more guys got ground ball outs than found the holes for hits. I was lucky enough to be named Pac-12 Pitcher of the Year, so it's a great honor.

Rays Digest: Could you tell me a little bit about yourself as a pitcher? What kinds of pitches do you throw and what's your approach to attacking hitters?

Alex Keudell: My approach to attacking hitters is to just try and keep them off-balance. I just try to throw them the pitch that they aren't thinking about in that situation and try to throw them the fastball and the sinker that they're not thinking about and try to get them to roll over on cutters. I throw a cutter and I try to get them to roll over on it and some changeups. I just try to get them out - the sooner they can sit on the bench, the better. That's what I try to do.

Rays Digest: I guess the big question is - I mean you're a senior - are you going to sign with the Rays or have you signed with them already?

Alex Keudell: I haven't signed with them yet, but I'm going to sign with the Rays. I'm looking forward to my opportunity wherever that may be and I'm looking forward to playing for the Rays.

Rays Digest: When you found out you'd been drafted by the Rays, you had probably heard from David and from other people that they have a very good reputation for developing players, specifically pitchers, but their player development is very good. When you found out it was the Rays, were you excited to know it was an organization like the Rays that are good at developing arms?

Alex Keudell: Absolutely. That's the thing, I didn't want to go to a team like the Yankees or Red Sox that just go out there and try to buy people. I wanna go to a team that develops people, that's my goal. I was really excited about going to the Rays, I mean it's a great opportunity for me.

Rays Digest: A couple of years ago you pitched in the Alaska Baseball League. I thought I knew about all the collegiate summer leagues, but I had never heard of it before. What's it like playing baseball in Alaska?

Alex Keudell: It's fun. I had a great time up there. No offense to the Alaskan league, but it's nothing like the Cape Cod League I played in last summer. But I went up there two summers ago and it was a great experience for me. It was just fun.

Rays Digest: The Cape Cod League is obviously the premier collegiate summer league and you played there last year and had a good amount of success. How do you think that that prepared you for both your senior season and professional baseball by playing against that level of competition?

Alex Keudell: That was the best competition I'd ever played against in my life. There were no weak spots in any lineups I faced from 1 to 9. It was a great experience for me and I just learned that there are no easy outs. I just tried to go out there and battle and tried to get guys out the best I could. I found my role was coming in in relief and I enjoyed that role very much and it was fun me. It was a great experience going with other guys and personally I thought we had the most talent on the Cape. It was definitely a great experience.

John Gregg is Publisher and Senior Editor of Rays Digest. You can follow him on Twitter at @RaysDigest. He can also be reached via e-mail at raysdigest.com@gmail.com.


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