Q&A with Jays 36th Round Pick Arik Sikula

We sat down with Blue Jays' 36th round pick, Arik Sikula, for a Draft Day Q&A session. Find out what the right-handed pitcher from Marshall University says about his stuff, his thoughts about starting his professional career now, who he'd compare his game to at the big league level, and more!

FutureJays.com: How did you feel during the draft and then once the Jays called your name?

Arik Sikula: I was nervous. Knowing that all the rounds are going so quick. Last year it didn't work out for me and that was in the back of my mind. Getting drafted by the Blue Jays is a dream come true. It's the team I wanted to play for. One of my best friends, Shane Farrell, his dad is the manager of the team and I'm a good friend of Shane so to get picked up by the team is awesome. I'm very excited to be drafted by them.

FutureJays.com: So you were keeping your fingers crossed that the Jays selected you above all other teams?

Sikula: I definitely wanted the Jays more than anything else, just for that sole reason. I thought that would be very cool. It's very cool that that was the team that selected me. I don't really know any other guys coaching in the big leagues or anything so it's cool to have that connection with Shane and his dad. It's a once in a lifetime opportunity.

FutureJays.com: Had the Jays spoken to you and shown any interest before the draft?

Sikula: I'd been in contact with the area scout about a half-dozen times or so. He's a real good guy. He liked me and he really liked how I threw so I thought there was a good chance the Jays would pick me up.

FutureJays.com: How much familiarity do you have with the organization, it's affiliates etc.?

Sikula: None really at all.

FutureJays.com: You were a starter in college. Do the Jays see you as a starter and where do you see yourself fitting best?

Sikula: I'm not sure what's going to be in line for me just because that's something that the coaches control. I would prefer to be a starter but basically whatever they want me to do I'll do it gladly.

FutureJays.com: Can you take us through a scouting report on your pitching repertoire?

Sikula: I throw a lot of two seamers. My two seamer is probably about 88-91 and my four seam is from 90-93, usually tops out at 93. I only throw three pitches. I throw a changeup that I throw quite a bit to righties and lefties around 80. I throw a pretty hard curveball around 82. It's not a 12-6 breaking ball, more of a 1-7 breaking ball, almost a slurve. I throw any pitch at any time. I wouldn't say I'm a mix guy though, I can command my fastball and throw it to both sides.

FutureJays.com: The Jays organization really places an emphasis on throwing a lot of changeups at all levels throughout the organization. Do you think that will help you in the long run?

Sikula: That's great. I threw a lot of changeups in college just because you get a lot three, four, five hitters that are so aggressive in 0-2 counts, if you throw a quick changeup at them that looks like a fastball it's a lot of quick easy outs. So if you have an effective changeup, you keep your pitch count down and it makes your fastball look harder. It's the most effective pitch and probably neglected by most people. It's not thrown enough and not learned effectively.

FutureJays.com: Did you have a favorite team growing up?

Sikula: I grew up in Northern California and I was always a Giants fan. I've always been a Giants fan so this past year was pretty good for me.

FutureJays.com: What about a favorite player?

Sikula: I guess growing up I really liked Barry Bonds. When I moved to West Virginia and realized everyone outside of California hated Barry Bonds, he wasn't really my favorite player anymore. Pitcher-wise, I really like Tim Lincecumb. He's awesome, he's fun to watch and he's got great stuff.

FutureJays.com: Stuff wise, who would you compare yourself to?

Sikula: James Shields. We throw almost the same velocity, same everything. His changeup, that's what makes him such a great pitcher. I like to claim that I have a pretty good changeup and I think I throw very similar to him even though he's got a good cutter too that I don't have. But I think my stuff is pretty similar to his.

FutureJays.com: What's been the best baseball moment in your life and why?

Sikula: Besides [being drafted by the Jays], I would have to say my freshmen year in college. We were never a very dominant team but we made it to our conference championship game. We had to win four games in two days. I picked up a win and a save in the same day. I pitched four games in two days, throwing an inning or two in each game. My arm was sore but we made it to the championship game and that was just a thrill, beating Rice [University] and knocking them out of the tournament. Beating Tulane (University) the host and knocking them out - it was very fun, being a freshman and being right in the thick of things, that was one of my best baseball moments.

FutureJays.com: You're a senior, what does the immediate future hold? Are you eager to get your pro career started as soon as possible?

Sikula: I wanted to continue baseball and I figured that was going to happen so I'm really ready to start my professional baseball career and see how far that takes me.

FutureJays.com: From speaking to the organization, do you have any sense of where you will begin once you sign?

Sikula: My area scout told me probably Vancouver. That's not for sure but that would be awesome, I would love that. I've been watching the Stanly Cup and I don't watch a lot of hockey. I've become a Vancouver fan because I don't like Boston.


Future Jays Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nFutureJays.com: How did you feel during the draft and then once the Jays called your name?
\r\n
\r\nArik Sikula: I was nervous. Knowing that all the rounds are going so quick. Last year it didn't work out for me and that was in the back of my mind. Getting drafted by the Blue Jays is a dream come true. It's the team I wanted to play for. One of my best friends, Shane Farrell, his dad is the manager of the team and I'm a good friend of Shane so to get picked up by the team is awesome. I'm very excited to be drafted by them.
\r\n
\r\nFutureJays.com: So you were keeping your fingers crossed that the Jays selected you above all other teams?
\r\n
\r\nSikula: I definitely wanted the Jays more than anything else, just for that sole reason. I thought that would be very cool. It's very cool that that was the team that selected me. I don't really know any other guys coaching in the big leagues or anything so it's cool to have that connection with Shane and his dad. It's a once in a lifetime opportunity.
\r\n
\r\nFutureJays.com: Had the Jays spoken to you and shown any interest before the draft?
\r\n
\r\nSikula: I'd been in contact with the area scout about a half-dozen times or so. He's a real good guy. He liked me and he really liked how I threw so I thought there was a good chance the Jays would pick me up.
\r\n
\r\nFutureJays.com: How much familiarity do you have with the organization, it's affiliates etc.?
\r\n
\r\nSikula: None really at all.
\r\n
\r\nFutureJays.com: You were a starter in college. Do the Jays see you as a starter and where do you see yourself fitting best?
\r\n
\r\nSikula: I'm not sure what's going to be in line for me just because that's something that the coaches control. I would prefer to be a starter but basically whatever they want me to do I'll do it gladly.
\r\n
\r\nFutureJays.com: Can you take us through a scouting report on your pitching repertoire?
\r\n
\r\nSikula: I throw a lot of two seamers. My two seamer is probably about 88-91 and my four seam is from 90-93, usually tops out at 93. I only throw three pitches. I throw a changeup that I throw quite a bit to righties and lefties around 80. I throw a pretty hard curveball around 82. It's not a 12-6 breaking ball, more of a 1-7 breaking ball, almost a slurve. I throw any pitch at any time. I wouldn't say I'm a mix guy though, I can command my fastball and throw it to both sides.
\r\n
\r\nFutureJays.com: The Jays organization really places an emphasis on throwing a lot of changeups at all levels throughout the organization. Do you think that will help you in the long run?
\r\n
\r\nSikula: That's great. I threw a lot of changeups in college just because you get a lot three, four, five hitters that are so aggressive in 0-2 counts, if you throw a quick changeup at them that looks like a fastball it's a lot of quick easy outs. So if you have an effective changeup, you keep your pitch count down and it makes your fastball look harder. It's the most effective pitch and probably neglected by most people. It's not thrown enough and not learned effectively.
\r\n
\r\nFutureJays.com: Did you have a favorite team growing up?
\r\n
\r\nSikula: I grew up in Northern California and I was always a Giants fan. I've always been a Giants fan so this past year was pretty good for me.
\r\n
\r\nFutureJays.com: What about a favorite player?
\r\n
\r\nSikula: I guess growing up I really liked Barry Bonds. When I moved to West Virginia and realized everyone outside of California hated Barry Bonds, he wasn't really my favorite player anymore. Pitcher-wise, I really like Tim Lincecumb. He's awesome, he's fun to watch and he's got great stuff.
\r\n
\r\nFutureJays.com: Stuff wise, who would you compare yourself to?
\r\n
\r\nSikula: James Shields. We throw almost the same velocity, same everything. His changeup, that's what makes him such a great pitcher. I like to claim that I have a pretty good changeup and I think I throw very similar to him even though he's got a good cutter too that I don't have. But I think my stuff is pretty similar to his.
\r\n
\r\nFutureJays.com: What's been the best baseball moment in your life and why?
\r\n
\r\nSikula: Besides [being drafted by the Jays], I would have to say my freshmen year in college. We were never a very dominant team but we made it to our conference championship game. We had to win four games in two days. I picked up a win and a save in the same day. I pitched four games in two days, throwing an inning or two in each game. My arm was sore but we made it to the championship game and that was just a thrill, beating Rice [University] and knocking them out of the tournament. Beating Tulane (University) the host and knocking them out - it was very fun, being a freshman and being right in the thick of things, that was one of my best baseball moments.
\r\n
\r\nFutureJays.com: You're a senior, what does the immediate future hold? Are you eager to get your pro career started as soon as possible?
\r\n
\r\nSikula: I wanted to continue baseball and I figured that was going to happen so I'm really ready to start my professional baseball career and see how far that takes me.
\r\n
\r\nFutureJays.com: From speaking to the organization, do you have any sense of where you will begin once you sign?
\r\n
\r\nSikula: My area scout told me probably Vancouver. That's not for sure but that would be awesome, I would love that. I've been watching the Stanly Cup and I don't watch a lot of hockey. I've become a Vancouver fan because I don't like Boston.
\r\n
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