Schrom following in father's footsteps

The Texas Rangers gave right-hander Jared Schrom an opportunity to play professional baseball last summer, when they signed him as a non-drafted free agent. The 22-year-old capitalized on the chance with a strong performance in the AZL. Lone Star Dugout has an interview with the native Texan.

Right-hander Jared Schrom comes from a solid baseball background, to say the least.

His father, former Major League pitcher and 1986 American League All-Star Ken Schrom, pitched seven big league seasons between 1980 and 1987, logging a 51-51 record and a 4.81 earned-run average.

Because Jared wasn't born until February 1987, he never really got to see his father's professional baseball career first hand. However, he has still experienced a life in baseball.

Upon his retirement from professional baseball in 1989, Ken moved straight into the front office for the team he was previously playing for–the El Paso Diablos. After 15 years with the club, he moved on to Corpus Christi, where he became the Hooks' first general manager, working with principal owners Nolan Ryan and Don Sanders.

Not long after Ken helped make the Hooks one of Minor League Baseball's most successful franchises, Jared went off to college to help build another program from the ground up.

Stephen F. Austin State University, located in the East Texas town of Nacogdoches, originally folded its baseball program after a 2-40 season in 1995. But the school decided to bring baseball back, and Schrom became part of its first recruiting class in over 11 years.

In four seasons at SFA [he took a medical redshirt in 2008], Schrom witnessed a quick transformation in the baseball-solid Southland Conference. In just their second season as a program, the Lumberjacks posted a winning overall record [31-28], including a 17-13 mark in league play.

During Schrom's collegiate career, the 6-foot-4, 230-pound hurler worked as both a starter and a reliever, posting a 4.85 ERA in 178 innings.

After Schrom's 2009 collegiate season, the Texas Rangers gave him an opportunity to take another step in his father's footsteps–by playing professional baseball.

The 22-year-old spent last summer playing with the rookie-level AZL Rangers, where he went 2-0 with a 3.71 ERA in 17 relief appearances. Schrom logged 26.2 innings, allowing 31 hits, walking nine and fanning 34.

Lone Star Dugout sat down with Schrom for a Q&A about growing up in a baseball family, playing at Stephen F. Austin, and his first taste of professional ball.

Jason Cole: You signed with the Texas Rangers as a non-drafted free agent. If you can, talk to me about that process of the Rangers finding you and signing you after the draft.

Jared Schrom: Nolan Ryan and his family are kind of linked to mine with the whole Astros organization and my dad working for them. So they knew about me and put in a word. I got a little tryout, I guess. I got to throw a bullpen for Nolan Ryan and Mike Maddux, and it went really well. They invited me back for a pre-draft workout and that seemed to go pretty well too. It kind of just fell into place.

Cole: Where did you throw that bullpen?

Schrom: I threw it at the baseball field in Arlington.

Cole: What was getting to throw it in the big league stadium?

Schrom: Awesome. Kind of shocking, but it was fun. It was a good experience to have.

Cole: Pitching basically an audition in a big league stadium in front of Ryan and Maddux, were there any nerves?

Schrom: Definitely. I threw two bullpens. The first one was kind of shaky. Then I kind of settled in and the second one, it didn't seem to bother me really.

Cole: Were you a senior last season at Stephen F. Austin before you signed?

Schrom: It was my senior year school-wise, but eligibility-wise, I still had another year. I redshirted my junior year because I had a little setback. I was a junior this past year, but I only have six hours left of school.

Cole: Given that you had one more year of eligibility, was it a tough decision to sign?

Schrom: No. Not at all. I was ready to get out of there. With only two classes left, the decision was evident and it worked out really well.

Cole: Tell me a little bit about yourself on the mound. What do you have in your arsenal on the mound?

Schrom: When my arm is feeling good–it just depends on how I feel. I'm anywhere from 86 to maybe 90 or 91. I seem to get a little bit of run on my fastball. I throw a curveball and a changeup.

Cole: Did you use the changeup much in college?

Schrom: No, I really didn't. If I could go back, I definitely wish I would have. You got ahead with your fastball–you use your fastball a lot. But when you went to an offspeed pitch, it was usually your breaking pitch.

Cole: How often did you throw the pitch during your AZL season?

Schrom: A ton.

Cole: Were the coaches saying that you would need the changeup from day one?

Schrom: Yes, they are very set on if you make it to the next level, you need to have a changeup. They make that evident. It's a key pitch to have, especially with the wooden bats. It works out really well.

Cole: You mentioned that you get some run on your fastball. Is it a two-seamer?

Schrom: It runs into a righty, but it's not even a two-seam. It looks like a two-seam, but it's not.

Cole: Has it always been like that?

Schrom: It has been. It's kind of a natural arm motion, I guess, that makes it do that. I couldn't even tell you.

Cole: Your father pitched in the big leagues and he has spent his entire life around baseball. What has he contributed towards getting you to where you currently are?

Schrom: He has played a factor in everything. He taught me my mechanics. He taught me every single pitch that I throw and how to throw it. I'm not saying that other people didn't help me along the way also, because they did. But he was definitely the most important role when it came to baseball.

Not just the physical aspect, but also the mental part of the game–he also played a big role there. He is the one that told me to stay positive through thick and thin. Things are going to happen–just deal with it, get over it. I kind of took that to heart and I've been doing it ever since.

Cole: How much have you gotten to see your dad pitch, whether it be live or on video?

Schrom: He actually stopped playing professional baseball when I was two. So I don't really remember him pitching. I remember him maybe throwing some bullpens in the minor leagues before he hung it up completely. But I've always played catch with him. Throughout my life, he helped out pitching-wise and he would throw BP to us. I've seen him throw. I've seen what he has.

Cole: Are you guys' mechanics at all alike?

Schrom: Maybe not now anymore, but early in my career it was definitely very similar to his. I kind of broke out of that shell and started doing my own thing. But I still think they're very similar.

Cole: You went to SFA out of high school, and they recently resurrected their baseball program. Were you on the team the very first year of the program?

Schrom: Yep, very first year.

Cole: What was that recruiting process like? What led you to go to SFA and start kind of a new beginning there?

Schrom: Once again, that kind of fell into the Ryan family. Reid and Reese Ryan played at TCU, and the pitching coach at that time was actually my head coach at SFA. They put in a good word for me, and he came down and watched me. That's how I ended up getting recruited by them.

I didn't even know where Stephen F. Austin was, growing up in West Texas. But Donnie Watson–good recruiter. It was just a random visit I took. I didn't really think anything of it until I got there, and I absolutely fell in love with it. Everything just worked out really well there.

Cole: Talk about the experience of being with that program and watching it build from the ground up.

Schrom: It was awesome. Just going in there and nobody was really better than the other. We were all equal individuals. We grew together. That first year, we didn't have anybody graduate. We had everybody back. It was just a good feeling and an awesome team to play for.

Cole: How did you feel about your first summer in professional ball?

Schrom: Good, good. I had a couple ups and downs, but that's going to happen. It's similar to college–hit your spots and stay down in the zone, and you should be alright.

Cole: How much different is the AZL game from what you saw at Stephen F. Austin?

Schrom: The Southland is an awesome baseball conference. A lot of people don't know that. And that kind of got me ready for this. But I'll tell you one thing–I love wooden bats. It has worked out really well. Competition-wise, it's equal to what I've been playing in. Of course, that's going to change as I go through the system hopefully. But as of right now, there doesn't seem to be much difference from college ball.

Cole: As a guy that gets some run on his fastball, were you able to break a few bats?

Schrom: Yes. And I love it. It's an awesome feeling. I broke about three or four and hopefully I'm not done.

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