Q&A: Ninth Round Pick Kevin Rhoderick

Oregon State right-hander Kevin Rhoderick was taken in the ninth round of the MLB draft Tuesday by the Chicago Cubs and is anxious to begin his professional career.

The 21-year-old Rhoderick hails from Scottsdale, Ariz., and was drafted previously by the Detroit Tigers in the 18th round of 2007. This past season, Rhoderick made 23 appearances for the Beavers and was 2-2 with a 3.13 ERA and four saves in 31 2/3 innings. He struck out 35 batters and walked 15.

InsideTheIvy.com caught up with Rhoderick Wednesday for a Q&A session.

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Q: You were drafted a couple of years back by Detroit. What made you decide you wanted to put off your pro career for a bit and go into college baseball?

A: The decision to go to college was just more that I didn't think I was ready mentally or physically (for the pros). I wanted to go to school, get a little education and better myself on the field as well, and I think I accomplished that.

Q: In what ways has college ball helped you improve?

A: I've learned to locate my fastball a whole lot better, (hone) breaking stuff and just be mentally tough out there. Little stuff like errors and if you allow a hit, you can't let it rattle you, so I think going to college really helped me in that.

Q: Corvallis isn't a huge town, but in the minor leagues you're going to be playing in some small towns as you progress and move up. Do you think the lifestyle experience at OSU helps prepare you for the minor leagues?

A: I hope so. I spent a lot of time in little towns growing up playing baseball so I think all of those experiences are going to help me in pro ball.

Q: You're from Arizona originally. What made you decide on Oregon State over some in-state schools?

A: When I was coming out of high school, they had just got done winning two national championships, so that was obviously a pretty big factor. A couple of my buddies, Greg Peavey and Tanner Robles, they were already going up there and it was a great place to play, so I thought I would try it out. … It wasn't that I necessarily wanted to go up north, but the fact that they kept winning kind of made it more exciting.

Q: This isn't always the case, but the Cubs like to develop a lot of relievers from college as starters. Would that be something you're open to?

A: Definitely; I'd even be open to playing second base if they needed me to. I'm just really excited about the opportunity to be a Chicago Cub.

Q: Have you played second base before?

A: I was just kidding around, but I'd do anything to be a pro athlete.

Q: Do you have some experience swinging a bat from high school?

A: Oh, yeah. I'm juiced that I was drafted by a National League club so that maybe I can (hit) a little bit.

Q: There was a fair amount of players from your team that were drafted this year. What would you say about the club you were on?

A: It was a lot of fun. We had a lot of good friendships and a lot of really good team chemistry, even though we had a lot of guys that were draft eligible. It was just a lot of fun yesterday seeing everyone's name taken off the (draft) board.

Q: With the number of players on your team expected to be drafted, can that sometimes become a distraction?

A: I don't think so. We got accustomed to it throughout the year.

Q: Talk about your repertoire.

A: I throw a fastball, usually low to mid 90s, a slider in the low to mid 80s, and a changeup that I've been working on. I'm really excited to take this next step so I can throw more of the changeup.

Q: Which is your out-pitch?

A: Definitely my slider. If I have two strikes on a guy, I'm going to go ahead and attack him with that and use my fastball to get ahead in the count.

Q: Tell us a little about yourself off the field and what kind of things you enjoy doing.

A: I'm a big golfer. I'm really into that and trying to get that handicap down, and then just kind of hanging out and also anything to do with baseball. I love watching baseball. I watched Strasburg pitch last night, so anything to do with sports, that's all I like to do.

Q: What would you say was your proudest moment at Oregon State?

A: It might have to be my freshman year when I went down back to Arizona State and got a save against them on Friday night. It was a lot of fun, just because it was a little rivalry with my home state and I got the job done. It was a blast. … I think Oregon State and Arizona State in baseball is a pretty good rivalry. The fact that I'm from there made it even more special and to play those guys, I was a little more fired up to get it done.

Q: Have you talked to any representatives from the Cubs about contract stuff?

A: I talked to the area scout (Tuesday) and we're meeting up for dinner (Wednesday). I'm not sure what's going to happen in negotiations, but I'm really hoping that it gets done quickly and I can get out there and play.

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