I'd always been a starter in high school, but I got to college and the coaches were only looking to get some innings from me my freshman year. They figured that putting me into the bullpen was not only where they needed the most help, but where they saw me. I went on to be a closer for four years.
Is closing something you feel you can really add to your resume on draft day?
I'm not sure how much teams really look at it. As a closer, you can handle pressure really well and throughout my career, I was in a lot of tight games and tough environments. I guess my numbers speak for themselves and show that I was able to handle that pressure. Pitching in professional baseball, that's what it's all about and as a closer, I think that's where it helps the most.
How much do you know about the Cubs?
Wrigley Field is always a place everyone hears about growing up and the entire mystique of it. The realization that I get an opportunity to possibly pitch in that stadium some time in front of the home fans that are ready for a championship to be brought back to Chicago, hopefully I'll help them win one. Brandon Guyer was drafted just ahead of me and two years ago, Matt Avery was drafted by the Cubs. So I've got some ties to the organization and have heard nothing but good things.
I gave (Avery) a call after I got drafted and told him that he needs to start sucking really bad so I can get moved up to Double-A as soon as possible. (laughs) Hopefully he'll beat me to Chicago, but we'll still both get there.
What's the rundown of your arsenal?
My breaking ball is my out-pitch. I had a pretty good strikeout-to-inning ratio this year and the majority of it was done with my breaking ball. As a left-handed pitcher, it's nice to have that pitch to keep left-handers off balance. I also throw a pretty decent changeup and run my fastball up around 90 (mph). I have three pitches that work against right-handed hitters. My breaking ball is my most confident pitch to throw in a clutch situation and hopefully it'll help me move along.
What have you worked on this season?
It's mostly throwing strikes. You don't get the success that I had without getting ahead of hitters. I think I did a good job the entire year of working ahead in the count. That's where you get hitters off-balance. Having three different pitches that I can throw for strikes at any time really helps.
Are you thinking about what your immediate bullpen role might be in the farm system?
I think with the way that I pitch, I'll be more of a situational guy; either a seventh-inning type guy or someone who can get left-handers out. What I heard from the organization just today is that they have good things in store for me and that they wouldn't have drafted me in the sixth round if they didn't think I could move up. Hopefully I'll be able to do a good enough job so that one day in the not too far future, they'll bring me up.