Oakland A's Prospect Q&A: Jerad Grundy

TROY, NY - The fourth time was the charm for Jerad Grundy and affiliated professional baseball. The left-hander turned down the opportunity to sign with an MLB organization three times before finally inking a deal with the Oakland A's last season. The former Kentucky Wildcat had a solid 2014 season with the Vermont Lake Monsters. Donald Moore spoke with the left-hander.

Oakland A’s 2013 10th-round pick Jerad Grundy had a rough pro debut season. Grundy battled injuries and inconsistent command with the Vermont Lake Monsters last year. In 29.2 innings, he posted a 7.14 ERA and a 14:13 K:BB.

After spending the first half of the 2014 season at extended spring training, Grundy returned to Vermont in June as part of the Lake Monsters’ rotation. He looked like a different pitcher in 2014, as he did a much better job locating and mixing his pitches. In 75 innings, Grundy had a 4.05 ERA and a 51:16 K:BB. He pitched particularly well during the final few weeks of the season, allowing two earned runs or fewer in each of his final six starts.

The Chicagoland area native had an interesting collegiate experience. He started his career at the University of Miami but transferred to Heartland Community College after his freshman season. Grundy then joined the Kentucky Wildcats and pitched for the SEC school for two seasons, serving as the Wildcats’ Sunday starter for much of that time. He also had a solid summer stint with the Orleans Firebirds of the Cape Cod League in 2012.

Grundy has been on the radar for scouts since he was a highly regarded high school pitcher. He was drafted three times before the A’s picked him in 2013 (46th round in 2009 by the Rangers; 42nd round in 2011 by the Marlins; 26th round in 2012 by the Twins). Grundy’s fastball sits in the high-80s and he has a solid change-up and a curveball. Grundy has reached 94 with his fastball in the past, but he has shown better command when he dials back his velocity.

Donald Moore spoke with Grundy during the final week of the Vermont season about his 2014 campaign.

Donald Moore: How is everything going for you this season?

Jerad Grundy: It's been going well. I thought I made a lot of good improvements during extended. I’m still kind of getting acclimated my first full year in pro ball and I think this go round in short(-season), has been a lot better for me. I matured as a pitcher and a baseball player and the results have shown that.

DM: What are your goals for this year?

JG: Just improve my pitchability. I felt that I have always had the "stuff," as far as pitches, it's just being able to locate them, and I think that is something a pitcher never really stops working on. It's always something they are trying to improve on because that's what's most important in getting guys out.

DM: What do you feel is your greatest strength as a ballplayer?

JG: I think my greatest strength as a ballplayer is the natural movement I have with the ball. I think that is something you really can't teach and it's something I've been fortunate enough to have.

DM: How are you adjusting to professional baseball?

JG: It's my second year and I was drafted in 2013. I think the adjustment has been easy for me. I came from a big school where we played really good competition and the travel was similar. The only difference is the five-day rotation versus the seven-day you played in in college.

DM: What do you like best about being a professional baseball player?

JG: I think the best part is getting to see a variety of different places that you probably wouldn't go to. We get to live in Northern Vermont in a spot where most guys would never go, if they aren't playing there, you know.

DM: Any pregame routine?

JG: No, I usually just go over my notes from previous starts or look over the lineup and the scouting report on those guys. I really don't have any superstitions or anything like that.

DM: Favorite thing you like to do off the field?

JG: Just hang out with my family and friends. I'm gone half the year, so it's just nice hang out with them.

DM: Favorite team growing up?

JG: It was the Cubs. I grew up on the north side of Chicago, so it was definitely the Chicago Cubs.

DM: If there was one person who taught you the most about baseball, who would that be?

JG: That would be my dad. He's the one that got me started with baseball and he has been there since the beginning.

DM: Craziest thing you have ever seen on a baseball diamond?

JG: I've seen a few fans running on the field and guys throwing water on mascots and stuff. I've seen a bunch of different stuff.

DM: Where do you see yourself in the future as a pitcher in the Oakland Athletics organization?

JG: Hopefully in the big leagues. I think that's why everyone is here. If you are not working towards the big leagues, I would question why you are here doing it.

DM: Thank you so much for your time and the best of luck to you and your future.

JG: Thank you and I appreciate it.

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