Meet Mark Pawelek

The Cubs took LHP Mark Pawelek out of Springville High School in Utah with their 20th overall pick in the 2005 Draft on Tuesday. Moments after Pawelek got the news, Inside The Ivy caught up with the 18-year-old and got his thoughts on being drafted and more.

"I'm very excited," said Pawelek, 10-0 with a zero ERA in his senior season with the Mighty Red Devils. "We all sat down as the picks were going by, and when they called on me, it was a dream come true."

Such a dream come true, in fact, that Pawelek wasted no time before agreeing to terms with the Cubs. By the time the organization had decided on its third pick, Ole Miss right-hander Mark Holliman, the left-hander had already signed.

As a Scott Boras client, there was some skepticism with regards to just how soon the Cubs could get a deal done with Pawelek—even in spite of the well-known good relationship between Boras and Cubs General Manager Jim Hendry.

"Scott was just an advisor, not my agent," Pawelek said. "I haven't talked to Scott himself, but he has associates. They called and told me what was up before the draft, and what was going to happen. They were working hard for me."

Pawelek went 10-0 with 132 strikeouts over the span of 63 innings in his final prep season. His 476 career strikeouts are the all-time high for any Utah state high school pitcher.

Pawelek features a low- to mid-90's fastball, curveball and slider in his repertoire. Most scouting reports on Pawelek indicate that his out pitch is his curveball. Pawelek disagrees, however.

"I'd have to say my slider is," he said. "When I throw it, it has the usual late, sharp break that you always look for. It registers at about 78-80 mph."

After learning that one of his former players had been drafted in the first round, Springville High Coach Willy Child said: "I'm real excited for Mark and his family. They deserve it. As coaches, we've said for four years how fortunate we are to have a talent like Mark on our staff."

Pawelek was scouted by 29 of the 30 major league teams while pitching for Springville, a north-central Utah school that is approximately an hour from Salt Lake City. The only team that did not scout him, Pawelek said, were the Toronto Blue Jays, who went with Cal State Fullerton's Ricky Romero with the sixth overall pick.

"I'd met John Bartsch and also Bob Birch (area scouts)," Pawelek said. "John called and stayed in touch. Bob also put my name in a lot."

Pawelek had committed to Arizona State before the draft. The southpaw knew that even if he did not sign with a major league team, he had a place to call home in the Pac 10.

Fortunately, one wasn't needed.

"I talked to the coaches (at ASU) a few days ago," Pawelek said. "One told me, ‘Congratulations on being the best lefty in the country'. He said that if I didn't sign, I still had a good school to come to in ASU."

Pawelek was drafted and signed on a day when the Cubs' first overall pick in last year's draft, right-hander Grant Johnson of Notre Dame, was assigned to Class-A Peoria of the Midwest League.

Due to injuries, it's the first roster Johnson, 22, has been on since his college baseball career with the Irish ended. Johnson himself did not sign with the Cubs until August of last year.

As for this year's top Cubs pick, it's going to take awhile for all of the emotion to wear off.

"I don't know how to cope with all of this excitement just yet," said Pawelek. "I'm just going through the emotions. It's an awesome feeling."


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