Draft Interview: Graham Hicks, LHP

The Nationals took left-hander Graham Hicks out of Jenkins High School in Lakeland, Florida in the fourth round of the 2008 Draft. DC Baseball News talked to him about what he throws and where he thinks he'll be down the road.

Graham Hicks is an interesting kid. He's a good, strong left-handed pitcher who could also possibly be a good, strong right-handed pitcher. After all, he can throw a fastball in the low-80s right-handed, he used a right-handed pick-off throw in a high school game, and also threw out a runner looking to advance to third on a throw from right field using - you guessed it - his right hand. Still, he's a lefty, through and through and doesn't figure to need his right hand for much more than a place to store his glove or to shake hands congratulating teammates after a game. After all, he's a lefty who throws between 88 and 92 miles per hour with his fastball and also features a quality slider and change-up in his arsenal.

He also flew somewhat under the radar coming into the draft. Actually, it was the Nationals who flew under the radar in scouting Hicks. "I never even knew they had followed me at all," said Hicks of the Nationals interest in him. "The first time that I even talked to them was when I was drafted and they told me how many games they had been at and how many people they had there. I was completely surprised," laughed the Jenkins High School (Lakeland, Florida) pitcher. Obviously, the Nationals saw him enough and liked what they saw well enough that they took him with the 121st overall pick in the draft last week and will now look to sign him out of a commitment to the University of Central Florida.

While he was a little surprised that it was the Nationals that drafted him, Hicks wasn't surprised that he was drafted right around the fourth round. "That's about where I expected to go. At least that's what I was hoping for," said Hicks.

Hicks is a guy who knows what he wants, and that's to go pro. It appears that as long as the Nationals come through with a decent offer, he'll forgo UCF - at least for now - and start his pro career, most likely in the Gulf Coast League. "Playing pro ball has always been my dream and I definitely would prefer to start now, rather than having to push it off," said Hicks of his interest in signing with the Nationals.

After playing on some pretty good high school teams, Hicks thinks he'll be a bit different pitcher at the next level. "I did strike out a lot of hitter, but I don't know if I'll necessarily be a strikeout pitcher at the next level," said Hicks. "I have good command and I just rely on that and put confidence in the other guys on the field."

While he may have been caught off-guard by the Nationals, it's unlikely that Hicks will remain under the radar very long. If - or is it when? - he signs with the Nats, he's likely to work through the GCL and start to move up in a fair amount of time. He's got good stuff to work with and should be able to make the adjustments necessary to move up into the pro ranks. Hicks is a Florida kid who had the chance to stay close to home for college and now, he may be staying fairly close to home to start his pro career in the next few weeks.

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