Left-handed pitcher Chris Lamb was the 10th player selected (11th round) by the Oakland A's in the 2011 draft. The Berkeley High alum has put together a strong career at Davidson University in North Carolina. In 2011, he went only 1-7, but Lamb posted a 3.75 ERA and he struck-out 85 while walking only 19 in 81.2 innings.
We spoke to Lamb shortly after he got the call from the A's.
OaklandClubhouse: Congratulations on being selected.
Chris Lamb: Thank you.
OC: You are from Berkeley. Was it exciting to hear that the A's had selected you?
CL: Yeah, definitely. The A's had been my favorite team growing up. I've been to a lot of A's games and also they are really good for developing pitchers. I couldn't be happier that they were the team that selected me. My parents are also excited because now they won't have to fly across the country every week to see me pitch.
OC: How did you get to Davidson from Berkeley High?
CL: The Davidson coaches saw me pitch at the Stanford camp out here in California and they invited me out for a visit. When they did that, I did my research and it turned out that even though I had never heard of it, it is a really good academic school. I really liked my teammates who I met when I went down there and I really liked the campus. It just seemed like a great fit for me as a college with great academics and high level baseball.
OC: I saw on your Davidson profile that you are a very good student. Is finishing school a priority at this point or are you strongly considering turning pro?
CL: Yeah, I'm certainly considering turning pro and academics are also very important to me. Major League Baseball has something called the college scholarship plan where if you do leave after a high school or after your junior year of college, they'll pay for you to finish college during the off-season or when you are done playing. That is something I am hoping I can get included in a deal if I do end up signing this year.
OC: How do you describe yourself as a pitcher?
CL: I've always been sort of a crafty lefty who didn't throw very hard who had to rely on hitting my spots and using all of my off-speed pitches. But in the past year, I've actually put on some velocity. I would still sort of consider myself a crafty lefty who relies on off-speed and hitting spots to get people out.
OC: You racked up a lot of strike-outs this year. Do you consider yourself a strike-out pitcher?
CL: I've always considered myself a strike-out pitcher. I've been throwing the split-finger ever since my freshman year of high school and I got a lot of strike-outs from that. Especially this year, since I've been throwing a little bit harder, it makes the off-speed pitches look even more deceptive, so that has helped out with the strike-outs.
OC: Do you prefer to start or relieve or do you not really care?
CL: I'm more used to starting because that is what I have done for the majority of my career. I enjoy starting because I have my routine I can get through before the game so I can get mentally and physically prepared. It's something that I am used to. But I also enjoy throwing out of the bullpen because you just go in there for a short period of time and you can just let the ball fly and see what happens and you are frequently in the game in big and important situations. So that is something else that I like to do. I'm happy to do whatever the A's want me to. If they want me to start, I'll start. If they want me to go out of the bullpen, I'll go out of the bullpen.
OC: You mentioned the A's were your favorite team. Did you go to the Coliseum a lot as a kid?
CL: Yeah. I still remember my first major league game that I ever went to was an A's-Blue Jays game. I was sitting with my dad in the front row down the first base line. I actually got a foul ball that game that was hit by Miguel Tejada, so I was pretty happy about that.
OC: Are you back in the Bay Area now or were you at school when you heard the news?
CL: No, I was in Berkeley. I was in my living room watching it on TV with my family.
OC: What was everyone's reaction when they heard the news?
CL: Everyone was really happy. Starting at the beginning of the draft at 9 o'clock this morning we were nothing but excited. As the rounds started to go by, I started to get a little nervous. I had been in communication with a number of teams during the draft. They just called to see if I would still be interested in signing with them. It gets really hectic as the picks go by so fast and they are calling in the middle of it. I would be getting a call from one team and a text message from another team at the same time. But it was all very exciting when I was drafted and to be drafted by the A's, oh man, it's a dream come true.
OC: Did you hear a lot from the A's area scout while you were playing in college?
CL: Yeah, I talked to him during the Davidson season and then these last couple of weeks, I talked to him again, so I wasn't totally surprised it was the A's but it was definitely exciting.