Draft Q&A: 8th Rd. Pick Shane Mathews

The 22 year old Shane Mathews spent his junior season acclimating to a new role as East Carolina University's closer. Inside, the hard throwing right-hander talks about his conversion to relief, getting drafted by the Orioles, who he models his game after and much more.

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

Shane Mathews: I kinda knew a little bit. My area scout, Dominic Viola, he had met with me and one or two of my teammates. He had met with me and talked with me and I had filled out one of his questionnaires, so I knew there was a little interest there. And then, after day one of the draft, he called me and wanted to make sure that I was still interested under the terms we had talked about. Then, on day two of the draft, they pulled the trigger on me early.

ITW: Have you come to terms yet?

Shane Mathews: No.

ITW: Would you say that the negotiation process is going well?

Shane Mathews: Yes. That's right.

ITW: Who'd you grow up rooting for in the major leagues?

Shane Mathews: I always grew up kind of a Braves fan, because in our area, that is the team you can always see playing. As I got older, I was still a Braves fan, but I became more of a player guy; I liked players more than teams.

ITW: What players did you root for?

Shane Mathews: Greg Maddux is probably my favorite pitcher. Some of the ex-Braves, I guess you would say Maddux and [Tom] Glavine and [Javy] Lopez; a lot of different guys.

ITW: Is there anybody, in particular, that you would say that you model your game after?

Shane Mathews: Well, this year I went from being a starter to a closer. I guess when I started, I modeled my game after Greg Maddux, just trying to stay down in the zone and hitting my spots and getting a lot of ground balls. Now, since I've been moved to a closer, I just kind of have that mentality of coming in and closing the door.

ITW: Can you describe what pitches you throw and what velocities you work at?

Shane Mathews: I throw a fastball/slider/change. As a closer, you try to have two power pitches. You can get away with having two good pitches instead of as a starter when you need three good ones. My fastball, I throw a four-seam and a two-seam; it has a lot of downward movement and a lot of sink to it. I throw somewhat of a power-slider; it's in the low-80's. My fastball usually sits at 90, 92, 93 and I can run it up there sometimes into the mid-90's.

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

Shane Mathews: Probably the physical side of the game. Mentally, I've always felt that I was ready and calm in pressure situations. Physically, I've grown into my body and I've been able to do more physical things like add more velocity. I think, also, just being a student of the game and working at a lot of things. Some of the things that I thought were important in high school, I've gotten better at in college and I've paid attention to the game and it's really helped me out.

ITW: Have you been given any indication of where you'll start if you sign?

Shane Mathews: I know I'll report to Sarasota for a mini-camp and then start out in short-season ball.

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

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