The Rangers selected Irving native Blake Beavan with their first pick – number 17 overall – in the 2007 first-year player draft. Beavan, a 6-foot-7 right-handed pitcher, had a 0.23 ERA and 124 strikeouts with Irving High School this year.
Known for his highly competitive presence on the mound, Beavan pitched a complete-game shutout of Cuba while playing with the Team USA amateur team last summer.
Lone Star Dugout caught up with the right-hander shortly after he was drafted on Thursday afternoon.
Jason Cole: Tell me what your thoughts are after being drafted 17th overall.
Blake Beavan: It's amazing. It's a dream come true. I don't think I would have wanted to go anywhere else but 17th. Going to the Texas Rangers, what's better than playing in your hometown?
Cole: Were you a fan of the Rangers growing up?
Beavan: Yes, I was. I was the biggest Rangers fan you could imagine.
Cole: Did you have a favorite pitcher growing up?
Beavan: Yeah I did, Randy Johnson and Roger Clemens.
Cole: Is there a major league pitcher that you would compare yourself to?
Beavan: I'd probably compare myself to Randy Johnson, but from the other side.
Cole: Did you talk to the Rangers at all before the draft?
Beavan: No, I didn't.
Cole: How about after? Have you talked to them yet?
Beavan: Yes. We just talked to them a little bit ago. We talked to Jay Eddings and my advisor.
Cole: Can you talk a little bit about what pitches you throw and the speeds you typically work at?
Beavan: My fastball ranges anywhere from 91 to 96 MPH and I'll run it up to 97 every now and then. My slider is usually 82-85 MPH. It's hard and it breaks away from you. As some people say in the paper and coaches that I've talked to, it's devastating. The changeup is in the works, but it's a good pitch right now. I know that I'm going to have to make it a little better to get the better hitters out. That's what I'm working on this offseason, right now. Depending on how fast I go to the minors, I'll be working on it down there.
Cole: You had very few walks this year. How important is it to you to throw strikes and get ahead in the count?
Beavan: It's very important. The first pitch of the game is important. A first-pitch strike is the best way to start of an inning and the best way to start off a hitter. If you get the hitter down 0-1, it's the best feeling in your mind and the worst feeling in his because he doesn't know what you're going to do next.
Cole: Were you happy with your high school season this year?
Beavan: It was probably my best performance ever. I don't think I could have done any better. I only allowed one earned run all year.
Cole: You got to play with Team USA in Cuba last summer. Can you talk about the experience of getting to play baseball in Cuba?
Beavan: Not a lot of people get to do that. We're considered the best young ballplayers in the country. The team is good for the country and good for the player. Representing your country correctly, representing the red, white, and blue, and going out and bringing home a medal is a great thing.
Cole: You threw a shutout against Cuba while you were there. Can you talk about your performance in that game?
Beavan: It was the best game I've ever pitched in my life. Everything was on and everything was moving. I was pounding the zone left and right. I think I only walked one person in nine innings. I struck out 11 and gave up seven hits with four of them being in the infield. It was probably the best performance I've displayed for anybody. Especially playing in Cuba since they're one of the best clubs in the world.
Cole: Do you feel that you were able to feed off that kind of high-pressure atmosphere?
Beavan: I think the atmosphere and the hostility that was going on made me rise above the occasion. I was able to prove how well I could perform to myself and my teammates. There's nothing to fear whenever I'm dealing and my team is behind me making plays and putting some runs on the board. It makes me feel comfortable. It takes nine players, not just one, and everything gelled together for a bunch of guys that pretty much just played one summer together.
Cole: How do you think playing for Team USA that summer helped prepare you for professional baseball?
Beavan: I think it prepared me real well. I got to face a lot of the top hitters. Some of the guys like Mike Moustakas, Jason Heyward, Burgess, and a bunch of those guys were drafted in the first and second round. I think it prepared me to see what the minor leagues are going to be like. Hopefully I'll get to start off pitching against college guys and getting my feet wet against some more advanced competition. But that's all depending on what the Rangers want to do. I think all the hitters I faced helped me become the player that I am right now. It made me rise above and go into a different mindset when I'm facing hitters like that.
Lone Star Dugout Q&A: Blake Beavan
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