Q&A With A's Third Round Pick Sam Demel

The Oakland A's selected RHP Sam Demel in the third round in the recent June 2007 Major League Baseball draft. We caught up with Demel, who has been a shutdown closer for TCU, to chat about his decision to go to college after being drafted out of high school and about his path to this point in his career.

Name: Sam Demel
School/Year: Texas Christian University/ Junior
Position: RP
Throws: Right
Round Selected: Third

Short Bio: Demel is the TCU career saves leader with 20 saves, including 13 saves during his junior season. He had 271 strikeouts in 237.2 innings for the Horned Frogs. Demel was originally selected by the Texas Rangers in the 35th round in 2004, when he was a high school senior. His best pitch is a slider. He also has a developing change-up and a low- to mid-90s fastball. Demel broke Josh Beckett's Texas high school strikeout record.

Oakland Clubhouse: You spent your collegiate career at TCU, what was that experience like for you?

Sam Demel: It was a really good experience for me. I was from a big high school and I went to a smaller school in TCU and it really helped me stay focused on baseball. I learned so much there from the coaching staff and I'm really happy with my time there.

OC: Was going to a smaller school something that you really wanted to do?

SD: It was because I figured it would help me stay focused. There wasn't a ton of stuff going around us like some other colleges in the country so there weren't too many ways I could get in trouble.

OC: Besides TCU, what other colleges offered you scholarships coming out of high school?

SD: I had offers from Rice, Texas A&M, Baylor, USC, Stanford, Miami (FL) and a lot of other programs in the nation. I pretty much had a choice of where I wanted to go. But I choose TCU mostly because I wanted to be involved in a program that wasn't carrying on tradition but rather starting one of their own.

OC: You were drafted originally by the Texas Rangers out of high school. Why did you decide to go to college instead of signing?

SD: I turned down a good deal of money because I didn't feel that I was ready to go right to professional baseball. I went to college for three years to develop into what I hoped to be a better draft prospect. My main goal for the past six years was to be play major league baseball.

OC: Do you have any regrets about that decision?

SD: I have no regrets at all. I just wanted to go play ball and after going to college and maturing, I figured out that I wasn't a starter like I originally would have been drafted as out of high school. At TCU, I had time to work on becoming a relief pitcher and I wouldn't have gotten to do that if I went to play pro ball. I learned so much about what I needed to learn about the game at TCU.

OC: As you mentioned, you were in the starting rotation at TCU for two years. Was it a difficult transition for you moving to the bullpen?

SD: It was an easy transition because of my mentality. I have a closer's mentality where it's ‘balls to the walls.' When I was a starter, I had that same kind of mentality. My stuff didn't tire but I tired mentally. Because I was throwing so hard and intense the whole game, I think I'm much better equipped for the bullpen.

OC: How does it feel to know you are part of the A's organization, one that has shown a great understanding of how to bring along pitchers?

SD: It's a comfortable feeling to know that I'm in an organization that knows how to develop pitchers. They're not scared to move guys around fast. Huston Street was moved up very fast so I'm excited to get started as soon as possible.

OC: Are you close to signing a deal with the A's?

SD: My advisor is handling all the money situations as of right now and we're really close to making a deal.

OC: What was draft day like for you?

SD: It was a long and stressful day; a three-hour first round was ridiculous. It was three hours of straight stress and hell. I went a little lower than I was expecting and we we're expecting but I went to a good team so it worked out.

OC: Were you were hoping to get drafted by the A's? Had you talked to them a lot before the draft?

SD: I had a top three in mind and actually the A's were tied for the first spot with the Texas Rangers. I have been in contact with them but I have still yet to meet Billy Beane. Like I said earlier, the A's were high on my list because they can really help develop pitchers. The Rangers were a top choice because it would be closer to my home.

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