Q&A with Joseph Williams

NYfansonly.com sat down with Cyclones left hand starter Joseph Williams Tuesday night, one night after making his KeySpan park debut. Williams was the Mets 17th round selection in this years draft. Find out why Joseph was very close to not becoming a Met, about his outstanding college career which goes much further than the pitchers mound, what he has in common with Mike Piazza's favorite pitcher, Roger Clemens, and what he wants to sit down, and talk to Clemens about.

NYF: Seventeenth round pick in this years draft. Was the 17th round around where you expected to be drafted, or did you expect to be drafted earlier or even later than that?

Joseph Williams: Well I signed as a free agent before the draft, but something happened with my contract, and didn't get approved, and I had a bunch of guys from the [Mets] front office call me, and told me they would draft me on the first day. I didn't really know when exactly I would be drafted, because they just said the first day, but I knew I was going to be picked by the end of day one.

NYF: Did you think any others teams would have taken you after the situation with your contract allowed you to enter the draft?

Joseph Williams: Yea, because I talked to a couple of teams, and thought there was a chance someone would pick me up, but the Mets told me they would draft me, so I was banking on them.

NYF: You had one outstanding college career. NAIA scholar athlete of the year for three straight years, you graduated pre-med with a 3.8GPA, a 1.33ERA in 88 innings while striking out 87 batters. Opponents batted just .199 off you, and above that you hit .369 in 203 at bats with 55 runs scored, 8 home runs and 61 runs batted in.

Joseph Williams: My college career was lots of fun. I had lots of fun, however it was lots of hard work. I am proud of my accomplishments, and I am glad to have played college ball.

NYF: What position did you play on the field when you did not pitch?

Joseph Williams: My first year I played right field, and when they moved me to pitching full time I was the designated hitter.

NYF: Twenty doubles and one triple your senior year in college. So tell me are you the fastest pitcher on this staff?

Joseph Williams: I don't really know [while laughing]….I am not too sure about that one.

NYF: You grew up in Illinois. So did you grow up a Cubs fan or a White sox fan?

Joseph Williams: I grew up on the south side which would make me a White sox fan, but my dad was a Cubs fan growing up so I was a Cubs fan.

NYF: Did you have a favorite player growing up?

Joseph Williams: That would have to be Mark Grace.

NYF: If by any chance your baseball career does not work out, do you plan on going to medical school?

Joseph Williams: Possibly…My girl friend started medical school in the fall, so it is always a possibility of going to medical school.

NYF: What has been the biggest moment in your baseball career so far?

Joseph Williams: That would be throwing a no hitter.

NYF: When did that occur?

Joseph Williams: That was my junior year in college that I threw the no hitter.

NYF: Who has been the biggest influence in your life?

Joseph Williams: Oh that is a tough one, I really don't know… I have had so many people influence me so far so it really is hard to say. In baseball though, I would probably say my pitching coaches in college. My head coach who was my pitching coach this year, and the year before my pitching coach was from Arizona, and he played in the big leagues for three or four years with Oakland so he was a huge influence in my baseball career.

NYF: If you had the chance to talk for 15 minutes with any major league player, who would it be, and why? What would you talk to him about?

Joseph Williams: Probably Roger Clemens. He has pitched for so good so long, and I have been looking at his work ethic, and how hard he works. In the summer I have been doing his workouts, and it is real hard. I would talk to him, and pick his brain about his philosophy on pitching, and how he works so hard each day.

NYF: Dirty socks, a rabbits foot, same underwear not washed. Do you have any superstitions?

Joseph Williams: When I am hitting I do. I have a certain thing I do when I go up to the plate, a certain routine I go throw but on the mound not really.

NYF: You have spoken pretty highly of hitting, and seem like someone who really enjoys it. You were drafted as a pitcher, however do you have any aspirations of switching to being a hitter?

Joseph Williams: Well hitting is fun, I really enjoy hitting, I like to hit, but I guess I have to go to Double A before I start hitting again, but I also love pitching, and I wish I could pitch every day.

NYF: I have noticed watching you pitch that you feature some sort of breaking ball that appears to resemble a curve ball, but does not have the movement of a curve ball. It is a special type of curve, a knuckle curve…

Joseph Williams: Yea I guess it is a knuckle curve. I spike my fingers like this [showing how he extends some fingers over the ball with two fingers bent like throwing a knuckle ball] so I guess it is a knuckle curve, however I find it just gives me a more sharper break on the ball.

NYF: Your coach at St. Xavier, Coach Dooley recently told NYfansonly.com that your work ethic is your best quality. You spoke earlier about imitating Clemens' workout which is a very rigorous one. That goes along with what Coach Dooley said about you doing whatever needs to be done to succeed in everything that you do. Do you take a lot of pride in that…

Joseph Williams: Definitely, definitely. I love putting work in because I know it will produce results. I mean it is really tough, but after the fact I can look back and smile and take pride in how much I work at it.

NYF: You pitched for the first time at KeySpan Monday night. Can you share tour experience with us about how you felt going into the game?

Joseph Williams: I wasn't real nervous, I was excited because it was my first start in Brooklyn, and it was the most fans I have ever pitched in front of ever. In my first two games we had about 4,000 fans, so it was definitely fun to pitch at home, and in front of the home fans. These fans rooted me on and it was a big help, and I look forward to pitching here again.

NYF: I noticed something differed with you Monday night. Even though you were the scheduled starter you still took time to sign some autographs. You don't see that much in the major leagues.

Joseph Williams: I was thinking about it earlier in the clubhouse. I got my rub down at around 6pm and I was dressed by 6:30pm, and I figured I would go out, and sign autographs. I remember being a kid, and wanting autographs from my favorite players so I would never turn anyone down for autographs. I actually think it is an honor that people want my signature even though I am a minor leaguer [while breaking a laugh].

NYF: Even though they call you "hey number 33" and not by your name?

Joseph Williams: Yea [laughing] that's just fine. Hopefully they will learn my name soon enough.

NYFansOnly.com would like to thank Joseph Williams for taking time and sitting down and answering our questions.

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