Q&A with Rangers 5th Round Pick Nick McBride

Standing at 6-foot-4, 172-pounds, pitcher Nick McBride has what scouts like to call a projectable body. The 18-year-old has been steadily adding velocity, and scouts expect him to gain even more once he develops. Lone Star Dugout talked with the right-hander on Wednesday afternoon.

The Texas Rangers chose right-hander Nick McBride in the fifth round of the MLB Draft on Wednesday morning.

A 6-foot-4 native of North Carolina, McBride was a speedy, athletic two-way player in high school, but his future lies on the mound. The lanky hurler has a very projectable body, and he figures to add velocity to a fastball that has slowly crept up over the last couple of years.

Lone Star Dugout talked with the 18-year-old after he was drafted on Wednesday afternoon.

Jason Cole: Tell me what's going through your mind and how it feels to be drafted by the Rangers today.

Nick McBride: It feels great. I'm actually a life-long Red Sox fan, but I actually went into the draft wanting to go to the Texas Rangers. Right now it just feels like a dream come true. Everything I've ever wanted to work for just happened within five minutes.

Cole: Why was it that you wanted to go to the Rangers?

McBride: We've actually looked and they have a great player development system, with their farm teams. Having Nolan Ryan as the president now, he knows how to handle is pitchers and hitters now. Especially with pitchers throwing actual batting practice to the hitters. The team is looking great right now in the Major Leagues. And my area scout—Jim Cuthbert—he was one of the nicest people I've talked to. I just loved talking to him.

Cole: How much have you been talking to Jim Cuthbert during your senior year of high school?

McBride: I actually talked to him a lot. He talked to my dad a lot. He talked to me some.

Cole: You went in the fifth round today. Is that about where you were expecting to go?

McBride: Yes. I was actually going to go last night to the Rangers—in the third round. My area scout told me they were going to try and get something worked out last night. But it fell through and told me last night that they were sorry that they couldn't squeeze me in there, and that they were going to try and get me today. I was hoping and praying for it, and it actually worked out. It was a good thing.

Cole: Going into the draft, was it pretty obvious to you that the Rangers were going to be the team that got you?

McBride: No, there were actually a lot of teams that were interested pretty good. The Rangers of course, the Yankees, Phillies, Pirates, Dodgers, and Padres. They were on me pretty hard. I didn't know who I was going with.

Cole: Tell me about your stuff on the mound. What pitches do you throw and what velocities are you usually sitting at?

McBride: I have a four-seam and two-seam fastball. My four-seam usually averages within the 90-92 [mph] range. I've been up to 95 this summer. The two-seam, I probably throw that more in the 88-90 range with great downward movement into a righty. My changeup has actually come a long way. I didn't throw that much this year because in high school, I threw hard enough that I dominated hitters. My high school coach didn't like me throwing it because he thought it would speed the bats up. The changeup was probably one of my better offspeed pitches. Then I have a breaking ball—it's more of a 12-to-6 curveball. I'm not really sure of the range on that. Then I have a hard slider that I like to use for a strikeout pitch.

Cole: Do you throw your slider more often than you throw your curveball?

McBride: No, I probably throw my curveball more. I've probably thrown them about the same, but probably my curveball a little bit more.

Cole: Out of all of your pitches, which do you look forward to working on with professional coaches the most?

McBride: Probably curveball and two-seam fastball.

Cole: Which of those pitches do you consider to be your best right now?

McBride: Probably my fastball. I have great control with it and a lot of people tell me I have a lot of upside with it, with my projectability right now being at 6-foot-4, 6-foot-5 and 170 pounds. They say that they can actually make me throw a lot harder with my fastball, even with me being at 95 right now.

Cole: Are you a guy that has added a couple of miles per hour in velocity over the past couple of years?

McBride: Yes.

Cole: What do you think has been behind that? Is it just maturing physically?

McBride: I have matured physically, but I would say that probably just my mechanics have helped my a lot. If you'd see me, everybody calls me a wiry frame because I'm really tall and skinny. Teams said they drool over me because I have so much more upside to go, because they can work with me the way they want.

Cole: Is there a big league pitcher that you would compare yourself to or that your try and model your game after?

McBride: Josh Beckett.

Cole: Why is that?

McBride: I feel like I have the same mentality as him. I want to try to have the same mechanics as him, because he is one of the most successful pitchers in the pros right now.

Cole: Aside from today, what has been your best experience on a baseball field?

McBride: This year, throwing against Daniel Tuttle, one of our conference rivals and one of my good friends. I actually threw a perfect game against him, and the Texas Rangers were there to see me along with all 30 Major League clubs. There were a bunch of crosscheckers. It was a big crowd there for that game, because everybody knew the hype about me and Daniel going into the game and going into the draft later in the year. That was a pretty big game for me. I stepped up for a lot of people there and ended up throwing a perfect game.

Cole: Obviously every time you'd go into your windup, you'd also see all those radar guns going up right behind home plate. Going into that game, did you feel any extra pressure that you had to perform?

McBride: No. My pitching coach, who became one of my great friends this year, he played in the Phillies organization for five or six years. He told me this is going to be like every game that you're at. You've just got to go out there and do what you can. You can't perform to other peoples' level. If you do what you can, then you'll perform to them and they'll come down to you and say, ‘Wow, this kid is something amazing.'

Cole: You've signed with East Carolina University. What led you to pick the Pirates?

McBride: I just fell in love with the coaches. I talk to them a lot. They support my decisions in whatever I do. It came down to them or the University of North Carolina. I've actually always been a Duke fan in basketball, and I've never really liked UNC. So I actually chose ECU based on my beliefs, I guess.

Cole: Can you talk about your chances of signing with the Rangers versus attending East Carolina?

McBride: If the Rangers and all our deals work out, I would love to pursue Major League Baseball and forego college.

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