Q&A 19th Round Pick, Dustin Ward

ITO interviews the Orioles 19th round pick, Junior LHP Dustin Ward from University of Central Arkansas. This season, Ward was 8-4 with a 4.46 ERA. He pitched in 19 games with 12 starts and three complete games. He threw 82.2 innings striking out 71 and walking 35.

InsidetheOs: Tell us what is going through your mind after being selected by the Orioles

Dustin Ward: We had been waiting all day. It was kind of a relief. It was really exciting. Every time the Orioles would come up I’d pay more attention because we had been talking a lot. I was outside and my brother came out and told me that I had to come see, then my college coach called and then a representative from the Orioles called about two minutes later.

ITO: Were you surprised it was the Orioles that selected you? Had you and the Orioles talked much before the draft?

Ward: I wasn’t really surprised. I talked to about six teams or so and figured it would be one of those, I just didn’t know which one.

ITO: Do you have any idea what the Orioles organization or farm system is like?

Ward: Yea, I looked at where the teams are and the other people that they picked in the draft and some top prospect lists.

ITO: What type of pitches do you throw and at what speeds? Give us a scouting report please- what are your strengths and what do you need to work on the most?

Ward: I pitch off of a fastball mostly. I also have a curve, change and cutter. The last half of the season I picked up a lot of velocity and it sat at 90-91.

ITO: Would you say you are a strike out pitcher or do you pitch to contact?

Ward: Well, I wouldn’t say that I go out there looking to strike people out, but I have had some big strike out games. I would rather get a strikeout than let them put it in play. I have had trouble in the past with walks, but this season my walk numbers were down.

ITO: Do you the Orioles want you as a starter or releiver?

Ward: They have no really specified one way or another

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

Ward: I have been a Giants fan since I was a little kid. I don’t know why, I just watched a lot of games as a kid and Barry Bonds just kind of became my favorite player.

ITO: Who would you compare your stuff to at the Major League level so Orioles' fans can get an idea of what you're like on the mound? and why?

Ward: I can’t think of one off the top of my head. I was watching the Orioles game yesterday and was watching Britton and saw things similar to myself in the way he pitches.

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

Ward: This year I had a complete game with 15 strikeouts vs. Nichols State. We had a game against Sam Houston and won 16-0 and I pitched a complete game and it was towards the end of the season and we were trying to get into the conference tournament and it was an important game, so that was one. That was a great moment. We didnt end up making the tournament but at that time we still had a chance.

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

Ward: I hope to get it done quickly so I can get started playing.

ITO: What do you think you will bring to the Orioles organization?

Ward: I will do what they ask of me. I will work hard. I am happy to be drafted. I want to move up as fast as I can. I will do whatever they want me to

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