Q&A With A's 8th Round Pick: Daniel Schlereth

With their 8th round selection, the Oakland A's chose Arizona LHP Daniel Schlereth. Schlereth, who is the son of former Denver Bronco and current ESPN analyst Mark Schlereth, has made a niche for himself at the back of the Arizona bullpen. We spoke with Schlereth about what it will take for Oakland to sign him, how his father's career shaped his sports career, his thoughts on closing and more…

Name: Daniel Schlereth
School/Year: Arizona, Red-shirt SO
Position: RP
Throws: Left
Round Selected: Eighth

Short Bio: Schlereth began his career at San Diego State, but missed his only season with the Aztecs after he underwent Tommy John surgery on his pitching elbow. He then transferred to Arizona, where he has been a closer for the past two seasons. Schlereth is a sturdy left-hander who was a stand-out high school football player in addition to playing baseball. He throws a low-90s fastball, change-up and curve-ball. struck out 47 batters in 37 innings of work and posted a 2.68 ERA. During his two years at Arizona, Schlereth converted 15 saves, the second-most in school history.

OaklandClubhouse: Congratulations on being drafted!

Daniel Schlereth: Thank you.

OC: At this point, do you think you are leaning towards signing or going back to college for another year?

DS: I actually got called in the second round by the Twins [on Thursday] and during the third round by the A's. They didn't really match my signability figure [on Thursday], which was too bad, but right now, it's going to be a situation where they are going to have to equal the signability figure I put out for them yesterday, otherwise, I'll probably stay. I have a really great opportunity to come back to Arizona and play again, so I've just got to wait-and-see how it all works out.

OC: I know you had a few injury issues come up this season. Are those pretty much cleared up at this point?

DS: I wouldn't say I am completely 100 percent, but it is pretty close. If I don't sign, I'd like to take a few weeks off and just rest my body a bit and get my arm a little more time to recover. Depending on the situation, we'll just see how it goes.

OC: You've done a lot of relief pitching since you had your Tommy John surgery. Is it something where you want to be a reliever full-time or are you looking to build up your arm strength and become a starter down the road?

DS: I think the mental part of closing is more of a fit for me than starting just because I kind of have that chaotic mindset or whatever. [laughs] If I need to start, then I can start. It pretty much depends on what the club needs from me at that particular time. Preferably, I'd like to close just because it fits my personality better, but if I needed to, I could start as well.

OC: I know you had a football background with your father playing in the NFL and you were, I believe, a pretty good high school player. What made you decide to go with baseball over football?

DS: My dad, he played in the NFL for a really long time and I think he sustained something like 29 or 30 surgeries. So I kind of went the opposite route. He kind of led me towards the baseball route. Also, I'm not the biggest guy out there. I got recruited [for football] at a few D-1 schools, but ultimately baseball will work out better for me, I think.

OC: I know it is the NFL and not MLB, but how much has your dad's pro career helped you prepare for making that next step to the pros?

DS: I think that is what has really helped me in my short career thus far. Being around those guys, especially those guys in the NFL – they are tough as nails – I think I learned at a really young age what it means to be in a pressure situation. That's why I think that closing is probably more of my repertoire. I think it has given me an advantage over a lot of guys to have gone through the NFL life style with my dad. It has helped me a tremendous amount coming up through the college ranks and maybe through the pro ranks, I'm not sure, we'll just have to see.

OC: What has pitching in a big conference like the Pac-10 done to build your confidence as a pitcher and to learn to compete against top competition?

DS: Oh, my gosh, it has been huge. Having the opportunity to play at a Pac-10 school and to be at Arizona, which is a good school and one of the top Pac-10 schools, is great. Once you go there and you get a chance to compete against the best players on the West Coast, it really prepares you for something like pro ball.

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