Draft Q&A: 5th Rd. Pick Jake Arrieta

Jake Arrieta was considered a consensus top 20 pick as recently as a few months ago. With no 2nd or 3rd round pick, the Orioles were able to land RHP Jake Arrieta in the 5th round, though they'll have to spend more than slot money to sign him. Recently, ITW was able to catch up with Jake and get his take on the draft, slipping into the 5th round, and his advisor- Scott Boras.

ITW: What factored into your decision to sign with Scott Boras?

Jake Arrieta: It was kind of a long process. I met with five to ten advisors, at least. The main guys that I deal with are Scott Champarino and Calvin Murray and I met with them several times. They had a lot of information and they were very personable. The one big thing that made go with them is that a lot of the guys that work for them have played some sort of major league baseball. They're really familiar with the game and I really wanted to surround myself with those kinds of people.

ITW: A lot of people expected you to be drafted higher than you were. How surprising was it to you to last until the fifth round?

Jake Arrieta: I'd be lying to you if I said I wasn't surprised. I was surprised, but things like that do happen for various reasons. I'm just really excited to go where I did go. Even though I did go lower in the draft than I expected, I think the deal that's going to be in place is going to be one that I'm really happy with. I think things worked out just fine.

ITW: So, did you have discussions with the Orioles discussing specific parameters?

Jake Arrieta: Not in great detail, but I've discussed a little bit about what I'm going to be doing. Things are still pretty much up in the air. I don't have much information about when I'm going to be signing or where I'm going to play and stuff like that.

ITW: Is it fair to say that you guys are on the same page in the negotiating process?

Jake Arrieta: Yes. Everything's gone smoothly so far. I talked with Joe Jordan, the Scouting Director, and he told me that they're very happy to have me. It just seems like the whole organization is happy and that's exactly what I want to hear. It makes you feel welcome.

ITW: You've been fortunate enough to have a distinguished amateur career. What would you say is your most memorable experience?

Jake Arrieta: I'd have to say, first of all, last year in the regionals, beating Oklahoma in the first game of the Norman regionals. We were down in the ninth inning and it was a come from behind victory and I threw a complete game. That was probably the biggest game in my career. This year, I threw against Baylor in the regional and we beat them. We fell short to Rice, but I think the two most memorable experiences have been my two starts in regional play last year and this year.

ITW: Did you know that the Orioles, specifically, were interested in you before the draft?

Jake Arrieta: Yeah I did and that's why I wasn't extremely surprised. They only had a first round pick and then they had a fourth and a fifth round pick. They really wanted to get me, but they didn't have more picks. I talked to Joe Jordan and I was in consideration for the first round pick early on in the year, mid-way through the season, but I had some inconsistencies this year. I don't blame them for going with Matt Wieters, he's a great player, so that's why I might have slipped a little bit. I knew that the Orioles had a strong interest in me throughout the year.

ITW: As you mentioned, your stock was really high early in the season and it dropped as the season went on. What was going on?

Jake Arrieta: I guess my stuff was a little inconsistent, from start to start. My velocity went down for about a month, three or four of my starts, but it was really due to nothing physical-wise or any kind of injury. What it was is I've always been a really hard worker, trying to find anything and everything I can do to get better. That kind of hurt me- I was doing these Jobe exercises and various arm exercises for about an hour a day. From doing that for three to four weeks, I felt tight and I wasn't able to get loose like I was in the past. As soon as I stopped doing that, my velocity went back up. I was in the mid-90's and things got back to normal. Scouts look at that as a reason to say that my stuff is inconsistent and my stock has dropped. You can't blame them, because they look at me as a hot prospect and they want to see my stuff throughout the year and that's just how it works.

ITW: What specific pitches do you throw? What velocities do you tend to work at?

Jake Arrieta: I throw fastball/slider mainly. I mixed in a curveball this year, which I hadn't thrown since my freshman year of college; I started throwing that again and I also throw a changeup. I work anywhere from the low-to-mid 90's, 91-95 [MPH].

ITW: What part of your game would you say you've improved most since coming to college?

Jake Arrieta: Since coming to college? I guess my knowledge of pitching and knowing how to keep batters off balance, how to keep them guessing. I really got better with the mental side of pitching. It's not all physical and there's a lot to the mental side that everyone needs to learn. I've gotten a lot stronger physically and that's helped a lot with being able to maintain my stuff deep into games. And just command, the command of all my pitches has really improved throughout the years.

Michael Hollman is the Senior Writer for Inside The Warehouse and can be reached via email at Publisher@InsideTheWarehouse.com

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