Kevin Duchene's name won't soon be forgotten at the University of Illinois. The left-hander was a key member of the best baseball team ever assembled in Champaign-Urbana. The Fightin' Illini went 50-10-1 (21-1 in the Big Ten) this season, and Duchene was a big part of their success. The Joliet, Illinois, native went 11-2 with a 1.75 ERA in 102.2 innings. Pitching under the tutledge of former Oakland A's prospect and current Illini pitching coach Drew Dickinson, Duchene walked just 18 and he allowed only three homeruns.
When the draft rolled around, Duchene was one of 10 Illinois players to hear their names called. He was the second-highest player selected among the Illinois players taken in the draft, trailing only fellow lefty Tyler Jay, who went sixth overall.
Thus far, the A's have kept a close eye on Duchene's innings, limiting their fifth-round pick to three-inning outings. He currently has a 4.26 ERA and a 19:9 K:BB in 25.1 innings, 22.1 of which have come with the short-season Vermont Lake Monsters. Donald Moore spoke with Duchene during a July Lake Monsters' roadtrip to upstate New York.
Donald Moore: Hi Kevin. How is everything going for you so far this season?
Kevin Duchene: Oh fantastic. You know coming out of college and having the opportunity to chase my dream is great and this has been everything I expected and more.
DM: What are your goals for this year?
KD: I would like to do as well as I can to help the team and in whatever way possible. Obviously all of us in here want to win, and we want to win the championship. All of us in here are trying to develop and that's pretty much what this level is for: to develop and become whatever the organization needs of us.
DM: What do you feel is your greatest strength as a pitcher?
KD: Probably just my competitiveness. I hate to lose. When I feel I haven't done my job, it upsets me to the point where I try not to let it happen ever again. Obviously, I understand that it will happen at times and that's baseball, but at the same time, I feel is my competitiveness is what drives me and has gotten me here.
DM: What would you'd like to improve on?
KD: My strength. Just my overall form. I feel like getting stronger and getting my body in better shape opens up a lot more doors and helps me become a better overall pitcher.
DM: How are you adjusting to professional baseball?
KD: It's a little more fast paced than college ball, but I think that was the biggest adjustment I had to make from high school to college was that the game speeds up a little bit, the players are a lot better and you just have to execute at a much higher rate to be successful.
DM: Any pregame routine?
KD: Not too much. I try to keep it loose and just enjoy the game and not to get too fired up or whatever and get myself in the right state of mind to help me compete.
DM: Favorite baseball team growing up?
KD: The Cubs.
DM: If there is one person who taught you the most about baseball, who would that be?
KD: Probably Drew Dickerson, who played in this organization for a couple of years and was our pitching coach at Illinois.
DM: Where do you see yourself regarding your baseball career in the future?
KD: Hopefully in the big leagues. I really believe I have what it takes and I am hoping to get it done.
DM: Kevin, thank you so much for your time and the best of luck to you and your career.
KD: Thank you very much.