Q&A with Mets 10th Rd Pick Brian Valenzuela

Inside Pitch caught up with the Mets 10th round pick, left-hander Brian Valenzuela, for a Draft Day Q&A. The young southpaw talks about decisions he faced on draft day, what his game is like, what his best moment in baseball was, and more.

InsidePitchMagazine.com: What is going through your mind right now after being drafted by a team like the Mets?

Brian Valenzuela: I'm kind of in shock. I really just want to enjoy it and savor the feeling that I know I'm going to be playing professional baseball. I'm loving it. I've always been more of a National League player. I grew up loving the Dodgers and watching the Mets. I know the Mets have a really good team this season and I hope to contribute to the organization in some way this season and hoping for good things in the future.

Inside Pitch: Were you surprised that it was the Mets who selected you? Did you have any discussions with the club prior to the draft?

Valenzuela: The Mets called me on Thursday and that was the first time we really had in depth talks. It was kind of a surprise to me today because there were other teams I had heard from like the Cubs and the Yankees, and both of their local guys had been calling me so I was surprised to hear it was the Mets.

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

Valenzuela: I do have a little idea. I know rookie ball is in Florida and all the clubs are back East. The organization did tell me that when I do advance up the organization, it's all going to be on me and up to me to make it happen. Basically they said the sky is the limit so that's what my belief is.

Inside Pitch: Did you have any expectations of where you may have gone in the draft? Any range of rounds or did you just prepare to be selected at any time?

Valenzuela: Pretty much that anyone I talked to said fifth to tenth round so when a few of those rounds went by, I got a little nervous of whether it was going to be earlier or later. When the tenth round rolled around, I was actually on the phone with a couple college coaches who I had talk to about going to school if the draft did not work out. The tenth round was pretty much my bottom. I was actually at school when the news broke and all my friends came up to me to congratulate me before I had even heard from anyone. Everyone was really excited.

Inside Pitch: What type of player would you say you are and how do you see yourself fitting in with the Mets?

Valenzuela: I'm a real competitive player. I go out there to win every time I get the ball and I'm going to give 100 percent every time. I really don't let anything effect me. I just want to go out there and do my thing. I'm sure the Mets have a bunch of really good pitching coaches that can coach me up and get some things going for me.

Inside Pitch: Describe your repertoire. What kind of speeds do you hit? What pitch would you say is your strongest and what do you think needs more work?

Valenzuela: My fastball is pretty much high-80s, but it can touch 90-91 MPH from time to time. I throw a 12-to-6 curveball that can range anywhere from 67-71 MPH, and then I throw a changeup that usually sits 73-75 MPH.

Inside Pitch: How do you think your secondary pitches are coming along? Will they be a big focus for you when you finally report and get to work?

Valenzuela: I think my secondary pitches are my best pitches actually. My high school program really worked on first-pitch strikes with your off-speed pitch and then come back with a fastball. The coaches really stressed pitching backwards and we have some really good hitters out there make you work on the mound. I just did what I could to try and get outs.

Inside Pitch: To give our readers and Mets fans a better visualization of what you look like on the mound, is there a current big leaguer whose style you see a little in your own game?

Valenzuela: I guess I take a little bit from Johan Santana from the fact that we throw a little more overhand for a left-hander with some explosion. Location is also a real focal point for me, changing speeds, stuff like that.

Inside Pitch: What would you say is your best moment in baseball so far?

Valenzuela: So far, my best moment was winning our state title last year and getting to pitch on Dodger Stadium's mound.

Inside Pitch: As a long time observer of the Mets and Dodgers, you must be aware of the intensity of playing in New York. What do you think about the prospects of playing there one day?

Valenzuela: I'd love to play in front of all those fans. I think that style of play fits well for me as I love to feed off the energy of other players and the atmosphere. Being around a lot of high energy guys will help me raise my game.

Inside Pitch: You had mentioned that you were on the phone with college coaches during the draft. Is it your intention to sign immediately and get your career underway?

Valenzuela: I was looking at going to Azusa Pacific, but I want to sign and get my career started as soon as possible and go to school later. I was also on the phone with some junior college coaches. I had been thinking maybe go there for one year and go back into the draft, but I don't see that happening now. I'm very excited to get my career started.


Amazin Clubhouse Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nInsidePitchMagazine.com: What is going through your mind right now after being drafted by a team like the Mets?
\r\n
\r\nBrian Valenzuela: I'm kind of in shock. I really just want to enjoy it and savor the feeling that I know I'm going to be playing professional baseball. I'm loving it. I've always been more of a National League player. I grew up loving the Dodgers and watching the Mets. I know the Mets have a really good team this season and I hope to contribute to the organization in some way this season and hoping for good things in the future.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: Were you surprised that it was the Mets who selected you? Did you have any discussions with the club prior to the draft?
\r\n
\r\nValenzuela: The Mets called me on Thursday and that was the first time we really had in depth talks. It was kind of a surprise to me today because there were other teams I had heard from like the Cubs and the Yankees, and both of their local guys had been calling me so I was surprised to hear it was the Mets.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: Do you have any ideas of what the Mets' organization or the farm system is like?
\r\n
\r\nValenzuela: I do have a little idea. I know rookie ball is in Florida and all the clubs are back East. The organization did tell me that when I do advance up the organization, it's all going to be on me and up to me to make it happen. Basically they said the sky is the limit so that's what my belief is.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: Did you have any expectations of where you may have gone in the draft? Any range of rounds or did you just prepare to be selected at any time?
\r\n
\r\nValenzuela: Pretty much that anyone I talked to said fifth to tenth round so when a few of those rounds went by, I got a little nervous of whether it was going to be earlier or later. When the tenth round rolled around, I was actually on the phone with a couple college coaches who I had talk to about going to school if the draft did not work out. The tenth round was pretty much my bottom. I was actually at school when the news broke and all my friends came up to me to congratulate me before I had even heard from anyone. Everyone was really excited.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: What type of player would you say you are and how do you see yourself fitting in with the Mets?
\r\n
\r\nValenzuela: I'm a real competitive player. I go out there to win every time I get the ball and I'm going to give 100 percent every time. I really don't let anything effect me. I just want to go out there and do my thing. I'm sure the Mets have a bunch of really good pitching coaches that can coach me up and get some things going for me.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: Describe your repertoire. What kind of speeds do you hit? What pitch would you say is your strongest and what do you think needs more work?
\r\n
\r\nValenzuela: My fastball is pretty much high-80s, but it can touch 90-91 MPH from time to time. I throw a 12-to-6 curveball that can range anywhere from 67-71 MPH, and then I throw a changeup that usually sits 73-75 MPH.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: How do you think your secondary pitches are coming along? Will they be a big focus for you when you finally report and get to work?
\r\n
\r\nValenzuela: I think my secondary pitches are my best pitches actually. My high school program really worked on first-pitch strikes with your off-speed pitch and then come back with a fastball. The coaches really stressed pitching backwards and we have some really good hitters out there make you work on the mound. I just did what I could to try and get outs.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: To give our readers and Mets fans a better visualization of what you look like on the mound, is there a current big leaguer whose style you see a little in your own game?
\r\n
\r\nValenzuela: I guess I take a little bit from Johan Santana from the fact that we throw a little more overhand for a left-hander with some explosion. Location is also a real focal point for me, changing speeds, stuff like that.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: What would you say is your best moment in baseball so far?
\r\n
\r\nValenzuela: So far, my best moment was winning our state title last year and getting to pitch on Dodger Stadium's mound.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: As a long time observer of the Mets and Dodgers, you must be aware of the intensity of playing in New York. What do you think about the prospects of playing there one day?
\r\n
\r\nValenzuela: I'd love to play in front of all those fans. I think that style of play fits well for me as I love to feed off the energy of other players and the atmosphere. Being around a lot of high energy guys will help me raise my game.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: You had mentioned that you were on the phone with college coaches during the draft. Is it your intention to sign immediately and get your career underway?
\r\n
\r\nValenzuela: I was looking at going to Azusa Pacific, but I want to sign and get my career started as soon as possible and go to school later. I was also on the phone with some junior college coaches. I had been thinking maybe go there for one year and go back into the draft, but I don't see that happening now. I'm very excited to get my career started.
\r\n
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