Q&A: 11th-Round Pick Eric Jokisch

Northwestern left-hander Eric Jokisch was the first local product taken by the Chicago Cubs in the 2010 draft. A native of Virginia, Ill., Jokisch led the Wildcats' staff with 92 1/3 innings and shared the team lead with five victories as a junior this past season.

Jokisch made 15 appearances (13 starts) and finished the season 5-7 with a 4.39 ERA. He struck out 62 batters and walked 37.

InsideTheIvy.com caught up with the southpaw the day after he was drafted to get his thoughts on joining the Cubs.

Q: Were you pleased with how your season ended, and in what ways did you improve from last season to this year?

A: I focused on trying to execute each. It was just a mind change for me where I focused on getting one pitch at a time and pounding the strike zone instead of either trying to strike the guy out or get out of a jam (all at once). I simplified everything.

Q: What kind of pitcher would you describe yourself as?

A: I'm definitely not considered a power pitcher. I can throw upper 80s and I hit 91, 92 every once in awhile, but I'm all about keeping (hitters) off balance. I'm not too worried about getting strikeouts as long as I get a nice, easy groundout. That's more of what I'm looking for.

Q: What's in your repertoire?

A: I throw a four-seam and a two-seam fastball like most people, and I throw a circle-change, which is by far my best pitch. I've really gotten a good feel for it and I'm not afraid to throw it at any time. I have a curveball that's been up and down over my Northwestern career. Recently I added a cutter, which has really started being an out pitch for me. I've really started to get a good feel for it. The cutter is an out pitch and my changeup I feel (is) good enough to get a strikeout.

Q: Did you know that the Cubs were heavily scouting you?

A: I had talked to them a few times and just asked them what my signability was and just talking about other players in the Big Ten and getting a feel for each other. There was a certain scout that I dealt with the whole process, so I definitely knew the Cubs were interested in me.

Q: Have you started talking to the Cubs yet about contract, signing bonus, etc.?

A: Yeah, we're trying to work something out right now. We've had a few discussions about it and we'll probably be able to work something out.

Q: I was reading a story that said you were a Cardinals fan growing up. What's it like now coming over to your arch-rival?

A: I'm from down around Springfield and that's kind of the cutoff line between the Cubs and the Cardinals, so they're mixed fans. The whole time growing up, they were arguing all the time between the Cardinals and the Cubs. I'll be honest: I hated the Cubs and going to Northwestern, I had the same (feeling). I was always ripping on the Cubs fans up there, and the second I got drafted by the Cubs, they all sent me a bunch of "ha ha ha" texts. I pretty quickly changed my fandom and I am definitely on board with the Cubs now. You would have never converted me any other way. It was a pretty good strategy if that's what they were looking for.

Q: Your teammate, Chad Noble, was drafted on Day 3 in the 37th round. What kind of tandem and pitcher-catcher relationship did you have with him?

A: He's been behind the plate since I got to Northwestern and we've got a great relationship. We actually lived together and we're great friends. We're always around each other and I'm really happy that he's with the Cubs too because now we get to keep on going together. He's really one of my better friends.

Q: What were some of the things you were working on this season, and what are some areas where you feel you can improve?

A: The big thing is you can always improve your command of the strike zone. If I'm going to miss my spot, I want to miss it by an inch and a half instead of five inches. I think that's something you can improve for the rest of your career. I've worked on that every year and I feel like I've gotten better at it. Toward the end of the season, my control was a little off and it kind of hurt us in the Indiana game especially. But that's something I try to focus on and will continue to focus on as I keep playing.

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