Q&A: Ninth Round Pick Matt Avery

University of Virginia right-hander Matt Avery was the Cubs' ninth round pick in this year's draft. Inside The Ivy met with Avery this week for a one-on-one Q&A.

Inside The Ivy: Matt, how excited are you at the possibility of joining a professional baseball club like the Chicago Cubs?

Matt Avery: I'm unbelievably excited. It was an awesome day for me, my friends and my family. It's something every player wants to do from tee ball on. I'm especially excited because of the fact that it was the Cubs who drafted me. What a great, storied franchise to work your way up through! I've heard nothing but good things about the Cubs from different people. I know they have some diehard fans. The scout I was in contact with the whole time was Billy Swoope. He was a stand-up guy. They'll give you a call every now and then to find out what you're thinking.

Inside The Ivy: Talking to your head coach (Brian O'Connor) earlier, he seemed to think that maybe you could have gone higher had you been a little more consistent in your past season.

Matt Avery: Yeah, everyone could do a little better and it might correlate into them going higher in the draft. At the end of the day, though, everyone said that I could be playing for a big league team. I'd have liked to have done a little better for the team this year, but the draft status was really inconsequential to me.

Inside The Ivy: What was different about last season than the two years before?

Matt Avery: I think I'm actually continuing to improve. The quality of pitches I have has gotten better this year than last. Sometimes they don't go where you want them to, but I really don't look back at this year with any regret or disappointment. We've gone to two regionals in a row, and that's what I'm going to remember; not whether my ERA was in the three's or four's 25 years from now.

Inside The Ivy: Your coach also gave us a nice description of you in terms of the type of pitcher you are. Now we want to hear it from you. What kind of pitcher are you?

Matt Avery: I'm a fastball-changeup-curveball guy. My fastball is usually 88 to 91 mph. I maxed out at 94 I think. I definitely relied on my changeup last summer. As far as my style, I like to try and attack hitters by throwing a lot of strikes. Sometimes it's easier than others. I'm a guy who really throws a lot of strikes and mixes it up. Because of that, I get a lot of groundballs.

Inside The Ivy: Have the Cubs talked to you about signing yet?

Matt Avery: I have to make it known to them that I want to be treated fairly, which I'm sure I will be. However, I'm still in a position where I have a good team and coaches to come back to if something doesn't work out.

Inside The Ivy: Give the fans a sneak peak of who Matt Avery is off the field. What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

Matt Avery: I'm really into music. I play guitar a lot most of the day. I have an acoustic guitar that's almost like a first born to me. (laughing) I play it all the time and probably treat it better than I do myself. I love all of the old classic rockers: Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, the Beatles ... all those guys. Awhile back, we all got to hang out with the Dave Matthews Band when they were doing a Rolling Stone magazine shoot on campus.

Inside The Ivy: You've been described as a competitor by everyone I've talked to so far. Would you say that's the strongest part of your make-up?

Matt Avery: As a pitcher, you have days where you can't find the plate, or where things just aren't going your way. It's all so mental and obviously I still have a ways to improve I think. But the competitiveness usually comes into play on those days when you don't have your best stuff.

Avery Career Stats:

2005: 6-5, 4.34 ERA, 15 G, 71 K, 28 BB
2004: 7-2, 3.22 ERA, 14 G, 51 K, 30 BB
2003: 2-4, 3.40 ERA, 14 G, 20 K, 14 BB

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