Interview: Cards Sixth Rounder Eric Fornataro

With their sixth-round pick in the 2008 MLB first year player draft, the St. Louis Cardinals selected Eric Fornataro, an unfamiliar name to most of Cardinal Nation. Dustin Mattison was able to catch up with one of the newest Cardinals.

For a player whose first taste of college baseball could be classified as a failure, the St. Louis Cardinals sixth round pick Eric Fornataro has to be sitting on top of the world right now. 

 

This time one year ago, he was out of baseball and working as a waiter at a country club pool. His first year of college baseball was trying, to say the least.  In his freshman season atPensacola Junior College, Fornataro allowed 18 runs with 13 strikeouts in only 18.1 innings.  He was not offered a scholarship to return. 

 

Fornataro took a chance and contacted Miami-Dade Community College in July of 2007.  A high-powered program, MDC has produced major leaguers Placido Polanco, Mike Piazza, Bucky Dent, and Steve Carlton. In all, the program has produced 57 players that have reached the big leagues.  After a tryout, he was offered a scholarship. 

 

Eleven months later, the 20-year-old had solidified himself as a pro prospect after posting a 2.87 ERA while fanning 77 batters in 78 innings on a team that won the challenging Southern Conference Championship. 

 

I was able to catch up with the 6-foot-1 right-hander after he was selected with the 184th overall pick. 

 

Dustin Mattison: First, Cardinal fans want to know about your pitching repertoire.

 

Eric Fornataro:  Fastball at 91-95 MPH, changeup at 77-79 MPH, slider at 81-84 MPH,curve at 75-77 MPH.

 

DM: Tell me about your background and how you came to Miami Dade

 

EF: Last year (2007), I went to Pensacola Junior College but they did not offer me a scholarship to return. The coach (Bill Hamilton) told me I was not good enough to play junior college in Florida. So I came to Miami-Dade County because they were ranked #1 in the state the previous year. I tried out for the team and they gave me a full scholarship.

 

DM: How did you find out that the Cardinals picked you? Were you expecting to be picked in the sixth round?

 

EF: I was expecting to go in the third or fourth. My agent texted me and then my Dad called me seconds after. That's how I found out. I wasn't watching the draft.

 

DM: What other teams had shown interest?

 

EF: All 30 teams showed interest and talked to me over this past year.

 

DM: What do you know about the St. Louis Cardinals organization?

 

EF: I have never followed the team. I just have heard they have some intense, hardcore fans.

 

DM: What four-year universities have contacted you and have you committed to any?

 

EF: I did not commit to any because UM (University of Miami) said they would make me an offer after the draft if I was not interested in the money offered to me in the draft. I also talked to Texas A&M, Florida, and Oklahoma.

 

DM: Where do talks stand between you and the Cardinals?  Is a contract imminent?  Have they told you where you would most likely start out at, Batavia or Johnson City?  (Note: The questions were sent to Fornataro before he agreed to terms but answered after he had signed.)

 

EF: I have signed my contract and am happy with it. I am not sure where I will end up. I will know by this Saturday.

 

DM: What has been your best baseball moment?

 

EF:  Being drafted.

 

DM: What do you want Cardinal Nation to know about you?

EF:  I am very hard-working and plan on winning the Cardinals a World Series in the next 3-4 years.

 

I thank Eric for his time and wish him much success in his Redbirds career. 

 

 

Other interviews in this series:

Supplemental-round pick Lance Lynn
Second-round pick Shane Peterson
Fifth-round pick Jermaine Curtis



Dustin Mattison can be reached via email at dustin@whiteyball.com

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