Q&A with Mets 23rd Round Pick Connor Baits

With their 23rd round pick in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft, the Mets selected right-handed pitcher Connor Baits out of Point Loma High School in California. In this exclusive Draft Day Q&A, he talks about his process of being drafted by the organization, who he'd compare his game to at the professional level, if he's looking to sign quickly, and more.

InsidePitchMagazine.com: First off, congratulations. Tell us what is going through your mind, how does it feel to be drafted by the Mets?

Connor Baits: Feels good, I actually wasn't expecting it. I'm pretty committed to college and then I hurt my ankle. But I got a call from my advisor, my pitching coach, then the area scout letting me know I got drafted. It's a huge honor and I'm just really happy to be drafted to the Mets.

InsidePitchMagazine.com: It says all over the Internet that you're committed to Santa Barbara, so how long do you anticipate staying in college? What are your plans through college and after?

Baits: Going there for three years is the plan. Three years, 36 months, hopefully in June three years from now I'll be headed to the draft again. Coach Checketts, the head coach there, has a great reputation of developing pitchers and putting together a good program. So that's the plan. Three years and get drafted again out of college.

InsidePitchMagazine.com: What type of pitches do you throw and at what speeds? Give us a scouting report.

Baits: I throw a four-seam fastball, a two-seam fastball, I threw a curveball throughout high school and started throwing a slider a few weeks ago. I also throw a changeup, which I consider my best pitch. It's almost like a splitter, but I still throw it like a changeup. My four-seam and two-seam fastball have been up to 94. I had a little bit of a lat problem this spring so it dropped a little bit, but I've been up to 94 with my fastball. My curveball and slider are usually around 78-79, and my changeups are around 80-83.

InsidePitchMagazine.com: What would you say your biggest weakness is?

Baits: Right now, my biggest weakness is my mechanics. I'm 6-foot-6, 225. I'm still growing into my body. I have a big frame, so I think the main thing is improving my mechanics, staying back before I drift home, so I can really let my arm work. With repeating mechanics comes good command, so my command could be a little better. And as time goes on and my mechanics get better, my velocity will improve as well.

InsidePitchMagazine.com: So who would you compare your stuff to at the Major League level so Mets' fans can get an idea of what you're like on the mound? And why?

Baits: It's hard to tell. I've seen video of myself, but there's not one solid guy I could look at and say ‘Oh, that's what I look like.' But I could draw comparisons to a guy like Mat Latos. He's a big, tall guy like me, throws downhill, a lot of downward action coming from the top. I'd say Mat Latos, maybe Josh Johnson a bit.

InsidePitchMagazine.com: What would you say is your best moment in baseball has been so far?

Baits: I had the opportunity to play in Yankee Stadium last August, kind of a showcase all-star game between the West coast and the East coast. The West coast guys got to wear pinstripe pants and Yankee shirts and hats, so that was one of them. Also, in the fall, I got to play at Angels Stadium under the lights.

InsidePitchMagazine.com: You're from San Diego, should I even ask who your favorite team or favorite player is?

Baits: The Padres are my favorite team. It's always been the Padres growing up. Favorite player, that's tough to say, I like a lot of players, but I've always liked Josh Hamilton a lot. I read his book Beyond Belief twice now. I've really respected him, based on what he's been through and how he overcame that.

InsidePitchMagazine.com: Say it's June three years from now and you get drafted by the Mets again. Would you be excited at maybe playing in Flushing down the road and playing in the Mets' farm system?

Baits: Absolutely. It's a great organization. My friend Corey Oswalt got drafted by the Mets in the seventh round and he's really excited about that. I'd be honored to get drafted by the Mets. I've always liked the Mets. Their scout in the area is a great guy, always been in my corner, always been behind me. So yeah, I'd love to get drafted by the Mets again.


Amazin Clubhouse Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nInsidePitchMagazine.com: First off, congratulations. Tell us what is going through your mind, how does it feel to be drafted by the Mets?
\r\n
\r\nConnor Baits: Feels good, I actually wasn't expecting it. I'm pretty committed to college and then I hurt my ankle. But I got a call from my advisor, my pitching coach, then the area scout letting me know I got drafted. It's a huge honor and I'm just really happy to be drafted to the Mets.
\r\n
\r\nInsidePitchMagazine.com: It says all over the Internet that you're committed to Santa Barbara, so how long do you anticipate staying in college? What are your plans through college and after?
\r\n
\r\nBaits: Going there for three years is the plan. Three years, 36 months, hopefully in June three years from now I'll be headed to the draft again. Coach Checketts, the head coach there, has a great reputation of developing pitchers and putting together a good program. So that's the plan. Three years and get drafted again out of college.
\r\n
\r\nInsidePitchMagazine.com: What type of pitches do you throw and at what speeds? Give us a scouting report.
\r\n
\r\nBaits: I throw a four-seam fastball, a two-seam fastball, I threw a curveball throughout high school and started throwing a slider a few weeks ago. I also throw a changeup, which I consider my best pitch. It's almost like a splitter, but I still throw it like a changeup. My four-seam and two-seam fastball have been up to 94. I had a little bit of a lat problem this spring so it dropped a little bit, but I've been up to 94 with my fastball. My curveball and slider are usually around 78-79, and my changeups are around 80-83.
\r\n
\r\nInsidePitchMagazine.com: What would you say your biggest weakness is?
\r\n
\r\nBaits: Right now, my biggest weakness is my mechanics. I'm 6-foot-6, 225. I'm still growing into my body. I have a big frame, so I think the main thing is improving my mechanics, staying back before I drift home, so I can really let my arm work. With repeating mechanics comes good command, so my command could be a little better. And as time goes on and my mechanics get better, my velocity will improve as well.
\r\n
\r\nInsidePitchMagazine.com: So who would you compare your stuff to at the Major League level so Mets' fans can get an idea of what you're like on the mound? And why?
\r\n
\r\nBaits: It's hard to tell. I've seen video of myself, but there's not one solid guy I could look at and say ‘Oh, that's what I look like.' But I could draw comparisons to a guy like Mat Latos. He's a big, tall guy like me, throws downhill, a lot of downward action coming from the top. I'd say Mat Latos, maybe Josh Johnson a bit.
\r\n
\r\nInsidePitchMagazine.com: What would you say is your best moment in baseball has been so far?
\r\n
\r\nBaits: I had the opportunity to play in Yankee Stadium last August, kind of a showcase all-star game between the West coast and the East coast. The West coast guys got to wear pinstripe pants and Yankee shirts and hats, so that was one of them. Also, in the fall, I got to play at Angels Stadium under the lights.
\r\n
\r\nInsidePitchMagazine.com: You're from San Diego, should I even ask who your favorite team or favorite player is?
\r\n
\r\nBaits: The Padres are my favorite team. It's always been the Padres growing up. Favorite player, that's tough to say, I like a lot of players, but I've always liked Josh Hamilton a lot. I read his book Beyond Belief twice now. I've really respected him, based on what he's been through and how he overcame that.
\r\n
\r\nInsidePitchMagazine.com: Say it's June three years from now and you get drafted by the Mets again. Would you be excited at maybe playing in Flushing down the road and playing in the Mets' farm system?
\r\n
\r\nBaits: Absolutely. It's a great organization. My friend Corey Oswalt got drafted by the Mets in the seventh round and he's really excited about that. I'd be honored to get drafted by the Mets. I've always liked the Mets. Their scout in the area is a great guy, always been in my corner, always been behind me. So yeah, I'd love to get drafted by the Mets again.
\r\n
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