Q&A with Rangers 4th Round Pick Joe Wieland

The Texas Rangers picked Nevada prep star Joe Wieland with their fourth round pick on Thursday afternoon. Lone Star Dugout was able to catch up with the pitcher on Saturday.

The Rangers selected Nevada high school standout Joe Wieland in the fourth round of the 2008 MLB Draft on Thursday.

Wieland attended Bishop Manogue High School in Reno, Nev. He posted a 4-2 record with a 2.63 ERA as a junior, but was even better this season. The right-hander racked up 115 strikeouts while issuing only 15 walks. But Wieland isn't bad with the bat either. After hitting .508 with 10 homers on 2007, he drove in a Nevada state record 76 runs this season.

The pitcher has signed a letter of intent with Tony Gwynn's San Diego State club, but Wieland is expected to sign a contract with the Rangers on Sunday.

Jason Cole: Describe the feeling of being drafted by the Rangers two days ago?

Joe Wieland: It was awesome. It was just kind of a tough day. I didn't get much sleep the night before. I was pacing around that morning – real excited for it. Then I got the call and it felt like a huge relief. It was just awesome.

Cole: You were picked in the fourth round. Is that about where you were expecting to be going?

Wieland: Yeah. I was kind of thinking that fourth round would be where I was going to get drafted. I got the call there and I was just happy.

Cole: Did you talk to the Rangers a whole lot before the draft?

Wieland: Yeah. Actually, Butch Metzger – the guy that drafted me – he came into the house and we had a nice visit and everything. He was a real nice guy and I liked him a lot.

Cole: What kind of stuff was discussed when he came in for the visit?

Wieland: It was pretty much pitching. We talked a lot of pitching. He actually showed me a video of my delivery up against Curt Schilling's delivery, so that was kind of cool.

Cole: How much have you talked to the Rangers since they drafted you two days ago?

Wieland: I just actually got off the phone when them a couple of minutes ago. The contract was finalized and tomorrow [Sunday] we'll be signing.

Cole: I read that you went to a pre-draft workout in San Francisco. How did that go and what did you do there?

Wieland: That went real well. I pitched 20 pitches on the mound. It was a great experience and it was a lot of fun getting to pitch on that type of mound with that type of setting. It was a lot of fun.

Cole: Was that an event that all of the Major League clubs were scouting at?

Wieland: No, it was just the Giants. I was invited to a few other ones, but the Giants were the only one I went to.

Cole: Tell me about your game on the mound. Give me a little bit of a scouting report on you as a pitcher, like what pitches you throw and the speeds you're usually working at.

Wieland: I throw a four-seam and a two-seam fastball. I'm usually about 89-91 or 92. I throw a curveball and a changeup. When I'm up there, my goal is to go out and I'm going to get you out. That's my mentality out there. If I'm not confident in what I have, then I'm not going to be able to make pitches and go with the plan.

Cole: What would you consider to be your best pitch?

Wieland: I think my fastball. Definitely my two-seamer because when I throw my two-seam, it'll get in on guys. When I played with the Rockies scout team over the fall, I was able to throw that pitch real well. It was very effective. Sometimes, using a wood bat, I was able to get in on guys and I had a few broken bats. That will probably be one of my better pitches.

Cole: How does that feel? Pitching in high school and throwing to metal bats, you can jam a guy with a great pitch and it can still be a bloop single. How does it feel to be able to break a wood bat with your sinker?

Wieland: It's a lot better. Whenever you break a bat, it's always a good feeling. Like you said, with aluminum, there's always that chance that you make a great pitch but he gets it off the end of the bat and it's a bloop single. In the situation now with wood, it's a broken bat and a little lazy fly ball to the second baseman.

Cole: Which of your pitches would you say has the most room for improvement right now?

Wieland: My changeup. Definitely my changeup. I know I didn't throw it very much this year. It is a pitch that, when I'm on with it, it works well. But I just have to develop more consistency with it.

Cole: To give people an idea of what kind of pitcher you are, is there a big leaguer that you would compare yourself to or model your game after?

Wieland: A lot of guys would say more like a Mark Prior. I'm not quite as physical as him, but stuff-wise, that's kind of what it's like.

Cole: What were your thoughts on how you performed in your high school season this past year?

Wieland: I thought I did real well. Last year I was hurt and I didn't really get to pitch that much. This year I knew that I would be one of the better guys out there and I just had to go out and prove it every day. That's what I did. It was a lot of fun. We got to the state tournament and it was just a great season.

Cole: What was the injury that you had last year?

Wieland: I had a strained lat muscle, which prevented me from throwing more than 40 pitches. So instead of going from a starter, I went to a closer.

Cole: Are there any lingering effects from the injury?

Wieland: No. I took like two weeks of rest and then it was back to 100 percent.

Cole: What would you say has been the best moment of your baseball career thus far?

Wieland: Probably getting drafted, but playing in the Area Code games last year was awesome. Getting to watch all of the top guys in the country and just sitting back and looking at how good they all were. That was just a lot of fun.

Cole: You mentioned that you'll be signing with the Rangers on Sunday. Have they told you where you will be going after you sign?

Wieland: Yeah, I'll be going to the Arizona League down in Surprise.

Cole: When are you going to be reporting out there?

Wieland: Next Sunday. I know I'll sign tomorrow and then a week later I'm gone.

Cole: As you now get into pro ball and get to work with professional coaches, what aspect of your game are you looking forward to working on most?

Wieland: Really learning how to pitch now. Like most high schoolers, the coach called the game and you're just kind of saying, ‘okay, I'm going to throw that pitch.' Now, you're going to get into the habit of calling the game. You are going to go out and you actually have to learn how to pitch now because you're not going against high schoolers anymore where you can get away with just throwing a fastball 80 percent of the time. You actually have to learn now and I'm hoping to really learn how to pitch and develop my pitches.

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