In this year's draft, the Oakland A's used their last two top-10 round picks on a pair of college seniors. Both are left-handed pitchers and both would see their professional debut seasons limited by injuries, but that's where the similarities between ninth-round pick Matt Stalcup and 10th-round pick Jerad Grundy end. Stalcup is a hard-throwing left-hander from a small collegiate program who is still developing his arsenal, while Grundy is a finesse southpaw who mixes and matches his pitches to get outs.
Although limited to 28.2 innings with the short-season Vermont Lake Monsters because of injury, Stalcup made a solid first impression in his pro debut season. He posted a 2.83 ERA and held opposing hitters to a .222 average. Stalcup also did a good job inducing groundballs and he didn't allow a homerun.
A native of Willington, Kansas, Stalcup starred at Pittsburgh (KS) State. A fifth-year senior this season, Stalcup used a good fastball and a sharp breaking ball to lead the nation in strike-outs per nine innings this season (11.9 K/9). With the Lake Monsters, Stalcup struck-out 19, but his command escaped him at times, as he walked 15.
Donald Moore spoke with Stalcup during the Lake Monsters' final roadtrip about his 2013 season.
Donald Moore: Hi Matt, how is everything going for you this season?
Matt Stalcup: It's been going pretty well you know. We've had our ups and downs, but so far it's what you've got to do to get through your first season, just get through the grind.
DM: Have you reached your goals for this season?
MS: I kind of had a couple of injuries that have [limited] me, but I tried to get past them. I'm kind of a little way from [his goals] still because I've been set back from the injuries.
DM: What is your greatest strength as a ball player?
MS: I'd say I developed from mini games through college that I've just be able to basically forget [bad games]. Forget it and go to the next game.
DM: What would you like to improve on?
MS: I'd really like to improve on my command of all pitches. I still have a little work to do on my off speed and my fastball command. So hopefully, I'll just keep working on that during the off-season and come back stronger.
DM: How are you adjusting to professional baseball?
MS: I'm adjusting all right. Just a little different, you know. Lineups are a little more stacked, but it's fun.
DM: What do you like best about being a pro?
MS: Just the pride that goes with it.
DM: Any pregame routine?
MS: Not that I can think of right now.
DM: Favorite thing you like to do off the field?
MS: Just hang out with my buddies. I really miss a lot of my friends from back home.
DM: Favorite team growing up?
MS: The Kansas City Royals. It's been a rough run. [laughs]
DM: If there is one person who taught you the most about baseball, who would that be?
MS: Probably just say my pops. It's mostly more general life stuff that kind of applies to baseball, so I'd say my father.
DM: Where do you see yourself five years from now?
MS: Big leagues.
DM: Thank you for your time and the best of luck to you.
MS: I appreciate it.