Cardinals Prospect Interview: Nick McCully

The St. Louis Cardinals chose right-handed pitcher Nick McCully in the seventh round of the 2009 First Year Player draft. The 279th overall pick was 8-1 with a 2.10 earned-run average in 28 appearances in 2009. He collected eight saves and struck out 64 batters in 73 innings pitched.

McCully earned the win in the 2009 NCAA Chapel Hill Regional opener against Kansas, striking out four and allowing just four hits in 7.1 innings.

Just days after the 2009 draft, McCully took time to share his draft day experiences and talk about his "foggy" perfect game on the Cape.

Dustin Mattison: Can you tell me about draft day?

Nick McCully: First off, draft day was a very eventful day filled with excitement and a bit of nervousness. I was hoping to go early on the second day of the draft and was extremely happy when I saw and heard my name called on the computer. I was with a few of my roommates and friends at my house at Coastal, as well as with my mom who drove up from my hometown of Lakeland in Florida. We were all pretty excited and I don't think any of us were quite as excited as my mom who has been the biggest fan and supporter of my baseball career. She immediately had to go change out her teal and black wardrobe for some new red clothes and accessories.

DM: Were the Cardinals the team you expected or did it come as a surprise?

NM: I had heard some word from the Cardinals and was not surprised that they were the ones to select me in the draft. I was very happy to get the call and could not be happier about an opportunity to play baseball in such a good organization.

DM: How did you first come in contact with the Cardinals' scout?

I believe the first contact I had with the Cardinals' scout was a team meeting in our locker room at Coastal. He talked to a group of draft eligible guys and that was the extent of our face-to-face contact. I'm sure he was at several games and I'm happy that he liked me enough to put me on the draft board and give me an opportunity to play professional baseball.

DM: Can you tell me about the "foggy" perfect game on the Cape?

NM: The fog-shortened perfect game was an interesting story. It was extremely foggy before the game had ever even started, and being from Florida and playing in South Carolina, I had no idea how bad the fog could really get. As the game progressed, the fog was settling lower and lower. I believe it was the sixth inning with one out and nobody on when I gave up a routine fly-ball to Tony Plagman from Georgia Tech and the shortstop ran the wrong direction after the ball. The ball fell for a hit and after a few moments of discussing the weather there was about a 45-minute delay. Finally, they called the game and technically it was a full game so they reverted back to the previous inning, taking away the hit. So I don't know that it was necessarily a perfect game, but we took it as one and no telling what could have happened had the fog not settled and we could have played a full nine innings.

DM: Take me through your regional game against Kansas this season. That had to be quite a thrill.

NM: I was very excited about getting the start in our first game of the Regional in Chapel Hill. I knew a good deal about them since one of my best friends plays for Oklahoma, in Kansas' conference. He told me to be aggressive and he told me which guys to watch out for. We had a pretty good crowd and our team really came to play that day. The defense was very good and backed me up all day and our offense was rolling out of the gate allowing me to settle in. I threw a ton of pitches in the first inning so after that I tried to get ahead of guys and let them get themselves out, and other than their leadoff guy, they all did. Starting in my third regional game in as many years kind of allowed me to relax and although we could not get past UNC or Kansas the second time we played them, I'm glad we had another opportunity to play in a Regional and was happy with the way I went out of my college career.

DM: Can you tell me about your repertoire?

NM: As for the repertoire, I am mainly an aggressive fastball guy and have developed a much better slider over last summer and this season as well as a cutter. I think that people would actually refer to my cutter as a slider and my slider as a breaking ball, but I refer to them the way I do to help me focus on my release point. I throw a change-up that is more of just a BP fastball, with a two-seam grip that I just turn over. Getting the opportunity to start and be a reliever for three years in college really helped me to learn how to pitch and master my pitches, as well as how to mix speeds and pitch with my fastball when my secondary pitches are not sharp.

DM: You pitched mostly out of the bullpen this season. Has the organization given you any indication its plans for you?

I have pretty much started and closed for half of every season since I was at Coastal, and feel that I am better out of the pen. I think that the Cardinals think the same so I would not be surprised if I were a reliever? However, I have heard that they are not sure which I will do for sure in the minor leagues.

DM: What is a Chanticleer?

NM: Everywhere we go, it's the same question, "What is a Chanticleer?" It is a real tough chicken from Canterburry Tales. Coastal was a part of University of South Carolina before they branched into their own university, which is why I believe they kept the fighting chicken theme. However, I do think that the teal and black chicken looks good and I am a big fan of the colors at Coastal Carolina.

DM: How quickly do you expect a deal to get done and you start your professional career?

NM: I expect to get a deal done very shortly. I am very anxious to start my professional career and am dying for the chance to pitch. I will try to prove myself to the organization. Hopefully, we can work everything out, a few minor things, in the next day or two and depending on how soon we get everything done, I hope to be going to Batavia to be a Muckdog. I have a ton of friends from home heading to the NY-Penn League and it would be exciting to get a chance to face all of them.

DM: When you are not playing baseball, how do you like to spend your free time?

NM: When I am not playing baseball, I like to spend my free time lounging around watching TV. I love golfing, but to be honest, I think I spend more time looking for ball than I actually do on the fairways and greens. Occasionally, I play well but that is very rare. I hope to get out on the course a bit more in the fall once my first professional season comes to an end.

DM: What should Cardinal fans know about you that they probably don't know?

NM: Something that Cardinals fans should know about me that they probably don't know is that I am a very good MVP NCAA 06 baseball player on PS2. My friends and I spend a decent amount of time playing video games on the road and I like to think that I am the best, although the competition has gotten tougher throughout the years.

Thanks so much and I am very excited to be a part of this organization, I can't wait to put my spikes on and get on the mound. It will be a great deal of fun for me, so thanks again.

I thank Nick for his time and wish him the best of luck in his professional career.

 

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