Q&A with Mets' 2nd Rd Pick Brant Rustich

Drafted in the second round of the 2007 MLB Draft out of UCLA, RHP Brant Rustich sits down for a Q&A session. Find out about his stuff, if he plans on signing quickly and beginning his professional career, what he believes he needs to work on the most, who he would compare himself to at the big league level, and more.

InsidePitchMagazine.com: Tell us what is going through your mind right now after being selected by a team like the Mets.

Brant Rustich: I was ecstatic when I found that I was selected by the Mets. I know some other teams were really interested and when I found out I was picked by the Mets, I was overwhelmed. The organization is fantastic and the Mets area scout has seen me pitch probably more than anybody else and I had a feeling I was going to be wearing a Mets uniform. Words can't begin to describe how thrilled I am right now.

Inside Pitch: So you weren't surprised it was the Mets that selected you? I mean, had you and the Mets talked much before the draft?

Rustich: The Mets area scout really did his homework on me; he watched me pitch a lot this past year and over the past few years. I had a really good feeling that they were interested in me and when they picked me, I was just thrilled that I was going to get the opportunity to play pro baseball in New York.

Inside Pitch: Do you have any idea what the Mets' organization or farm system is like?

Rustich: I haven't really thought about that yet. I know that's something I have to think about when the time comes, but right now I just really want the baseball. I know the Mets have good plans for me, so wherever I wind up, I just want to pitch and be put in a situation where I can help any team that I'm on, so I can eventually make it to the big club. I'm just really looking forward to the challenge. My advisor told me that regardless of where they put me in the organization that there will be plenty of people around and that the crowd and excitement will be always be there. I can't wait to get going. I can't wait to play pro ball with this organization and play in front of so many fans.

Inside Pitch: What type of pitches do you throw and at what speeds? What is your best pitch?

Rustich: I throw a two-seam and a four-seam fastball that ranges anywhere from 92 to 96 miles-per-hour; I've touched 97 MPH before as well. It [his two-seamer] has really good movement and it's probably my best pitch and it's been really successful against wood bats. My next best pitch is my slider, which ranges from anywhere from 85 to 89 MPH; I've got some pretty good stuff and that slider is a really good out pitch to have. My last pitch I call a changeup, but a lot of scouts have called it a splitter because it has some sink to it at the end. I like to think of it more along the lines of Eric Gagne's changeup. It's a good out pitch against left-handed hitters and I'm really looking forward to using it in the future.

Inside Pitch: Which pitch needs the most work?

Rustich: I think I really need to work on my fastball command and develop my changeup a little bit more. The most important thing I believe in getting me to the big leagues is establishing my fastball - I like the rest of my pitches. If I can do that, I think in time, the rest of my pitches will improve as well. I definitely have the velocity; it's just about putting the ball where I want it.

Inside Pitch: Did you have a favorite team growing up or a favorite player?

Rustich: Growing up in San Diego, I've always been a big Padres fan. When I was young, I was a big Nolan Ryan fan, but as I got older, I really liked Roger Clemens. Growing up, I always threw hard, so it was easy to kind of want to be like those hard-throwing right-handers. I love how pitchers like Clemens who can go out there every day and have the type of consistency they have. I also like Jonathan Paplebon a lot. Those are the types of guys whose presence I try and emulate while on the mound. Every time you watch guys like that, you can learn something.

Inside Pitch: 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?

Rustich: It's really hard to just compare myself to one person. Most of the time, I really try and focus on myself. I know I have a good fastball and a good slider and given that, I think it's hard for me to compare myself to anybody, but if I had to, I'd like to think it would be someone like Paplebon. Even though he throws a splitter, we kind of have the same presence out there and our fastball velocity is about the same. I see a lot of closers and set-up men out there with similar stuff as me and the same kind of mentality, but I think me and Paplebon have the most in common.

Inside Pitch: What would you say is your best moment in baseball and why?

Rustich: Well, getting drafted today was definitely one of them. Having the opportunity to play pro baseball has been a dream of mine since I was young, but right now, I'm really focused on ending my college career in Omaha and winning a national championship. If that happens, it'll be an amazing experience. Ask me again in two weeks and if we win, you'll have your answer.

Inside Pitch: Are you looking to sign quickly and get your professional career started right away?

Rustich: I don't think negotiations will be too long. I know the Mets will be fair. I'm not asking for anything else than what I'm worth. I really want to start playing pro baseball this summer. I'm still a junior and I could technically go back to school for a year, but I really want to get my professional career started.

Inside Pitch: Do you think the pressures of pitching in New York might be a problem?

Rustich: I've never even thought about that. I've always loved pressure and pitching in clutch situations. I don't think it's going to be a problem. That's what every competitor strives for and I'm not afraid of the challenge at all. Every young player dreams of pitching in a World Series or a huge game and I can honesty say that I'm not scared of pitching in the big game.

Amazin Clubhouse Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nInsidePitchMagazine.com: Tell us what is going through your mind right now after being selected by a team like the Mets.
\r\n
\r\nBrant Rustich: I was ecstatic when I found that I was selected by the Mets. I know some other teams were really interested and when I found out I was picked by the Mets, I was overwhelmed. The organization is fantastic and the Mets area scout has seen me pitch probably more than anybody else and I had a feeling I was going to be wearing a Mets uniform. Words can't begin to describe how thrilled I am right now.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: So you weren't surprised it was the Mets that selected you? I mean, had you and the Mets talked much before the draft?
\r\n
\r\nRustich: The Mets area scout really did his homework on me; he watched me pitch a lot this past year and over the past few years. I had a really good feeling that they were interested in me and when they picked me, I was just thrilled that I was going to get the opportunity to play pro baseball in New York.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: Do you have any idea what the Mets' organization or farm system is like?
\r\n
\r\nRustich: I haven't really thought about that yet. I know that's something I have to think about when the time comes, but right now I just really want the baseball. I know the Mets have good plans for me, so wherever I wind up, I just want to pitch and be put in a situation where I can help any team that I'm on, so I can eventually make it to the big club. I'm just really looking forward to the challenge. My advisor told me that regardless of where they put me in the organization that there will be plenty of people around and that the crowd and excitement will be always be there. I can't wait to get going. I can't wait to play pro ball with this organization and play in front of so many fans.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: What type of pitches do you throw and at what speeds? What is your best pitch?
\r\n
\r\nRustich: I throw a two-seam and a four-seam fastball that ranges anywhere from 92 to 96 miles-per-hour; I've touched 97 MPH before as well. It [his two-seamer] has really good movement and it's probably my best pitch and it's been really successful against wood bats. My next best pitch is my slider, which ranges from anywhere from 85 to 89 MPH; I've got some pretty good stuff and that slider is a really good out pitch to have. My last pitch I call a changeup, but a lot of scouts have called it a splitter because it has some sink to it at the end. I like to think of it more along the lines of Eric Gagne's changeup. It's a good out pitch against left-handed hitters and I'm really looking forward to using it in the future.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: Which pitch needs the most work?
\r\n
\r\nRustich: I think I really need to work on my fastball command and develop my changeup a little bit more. The most important thing I believe in getting me to the big leagues is establishing my fastball - I like the rest of my pitches. If I can do that, I think in time, the rest of my pitches will improve as well. I definitely have the velocity; it's just about putting the ball where I want it.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: Did you have a favorite team growing up or a favorite player?
\r\n
\r\nRustich: Growing up in San Diego, I've always been a big Padres fan. When I was young, I was a big Nolan Ryan fan, but as I got older, I really liked Roger Clemens. Growing up, I always threw hard, so it was easy to kind of want to be like those hard-throwing right-handers. I love how pitchers like Clemens who can go out there every day and have the type of consistency they have. I also like Jonathan Paplebon a lot. Those are the types of guys whose presence I try and emulate while on the mound. Every time you watch guys like that, you can learn something.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: 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?
\r\n
\r\nRustich: It's really hard to just compare myself to one person. Most of the time, I really try and focus on myself. I know I have a good fastball and a good slider and given that, I think it's hard for me to compare myself to anybody, but if I had to, I'd like to think it would be someone like Paplebon. Even though he throws a splitter, we kind of have the same presence out there and our fastball velocity is about the same. I see a lot of closers and set-up men out there with similar stuff as me and the same kind of mentality, but I think me and Paplebon have the most in common.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: What would you say is your best moment in baseball and why?
\r\n
\r\nRustich: Well, getting drafted today was definitely one of them. Having the opportunity to play pro baseball has been a dream of mine since I was young, but right now, I'm really focused on ending my college career in Omaha and winning a national championship. If that happens, it'll be an amazing experience. Ask me again in two weeks and if we win, you'll have your answer.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: Are you looking to sign quickly and get your professional career started right away?
\r\n
\r\nRustich: I don't think negotiations will be too long. I know the Mets will be fair. I'm not asking for anything else than what I'm worth. I really want to start playing pro baseball this summer. I'm still a junior and I could technically go back to school for a year, but I really want to get my professional career started.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: Do you think the pressures of pitching in New York might be a problem?
\r\n
\r\nRustich: I've never even thought about that. I've always loved pressure and pitching in clutch situations. I don't think it's going to be a problem. That's what every competitor strives for and I'm not afraid of the challenge at all. Every young player dreams of pitching in a World Series or a huge game and I can honesty say that I'm not scared of pitching in the big game.
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