Q&A with Rox 4th round pick Seth Willoughby

We sat down with Seth Willoughby, a right-handed pitcher from Xavier University. The Rockies made Seth the highest drafted player in Xavier's history on Tuesday and shortly after the Musketeer's closer discussed his arsenal, his left hand injury, his makeup, and his best moment in baseball so far.

Rockies Digest: On behalf of everyone here at Fox Sports and Scout.com, congratulations on being selected by the Rockies. 

Seth Willoughby: Thanks, I appreciate it. 

RD: You were drafted Tuesday afternoon, could you take us back to that moment and what your first impression was after being notified of your selection?

Willoughby: Well, I was watching it on my computer and my computer had just frozen up and I had exited out of [the browser] and I got it back up real quick and I heard my last name called and they were just getting over calling my name. So, I said to my girlfriend, "I just got drafted." It was pretty exciting, I was just sitting there waiting for it to happen and it was definitely exciting. 

RD: How much contact did you have with the Rockies before the draft? Was this a surprise that they were the team that picked you?

Willoughby: Yeah, I really can't remember talking to the Rockies at all. I was really shocked. They called my advisor in the third round, but I really didn't see it coming. I didn't think they were a player. I wasn't expecting it at all and when they picked me in the 4th round I was a little confused because there were definitely some other teams that I thought I'd have a better chance of them picking me because they showed way more interest. But, they picked me. They didn't even call me or anything [before the draft], I think I might've filled out a survey for them, but that's about it. They didn't talk to me much at all. It was definitely a big surprise when they called my name. 

RD: I'm sure they're glad to have you. Could you give us a scouting report on yourself?

Willoughby: Well, I would call myself a hard throwing righty with plus off speed. My best secondary pitch is my cutter. I can pretty much throw it in any situation and to either side of the plate. That's definitely tough for hitters to get the barrel on, whether it's righties or lefties. It's my go-to pitch. I also have a very good slider and a changeup that I throw to lefties. I throw it to righties sometimes too, but mostly to lefties. 

RD: Just from watching your highlights, I noticed your a bit of a lanky kid. Could you talk about how you seem to use your legs to generate velocity?

Willoughby: I think this year I definitely worked on pitching more because I wasn't hitting because I hurt my hand. The coaches really helped me with my delivery. My legs are definitely the strongest part of my body right now because I can't really do much lifting with my upper body because I have a broken hand. I definitely focus on getting my hips into it and pushing off as hard as I can and getting a lot of momentum going towards the plate. When I feel smooth and powerful in my lower half, that's when I know I'm throwing with the best of my abilities. 

RD: Do you think once you've recovered from the injury that you'll be able to lift more and put on a little more weight?

Willoughby: Yeah, definitely. I lost some weight actually, in my upper body just from not lifting. I have to get surgery to have the bone removed and I don't know when that's going to happen. I think it'll definitely help if I'm able to get stronger with my upper body or at least get back to the point where I was at when it all happened.I think that'll definitely help me. 

RD: And just to clarify, the injury you had was to your hamate bone?

Willoughby: Yes, broken left hamate.

RD: And do you have a date for the surgery yet?

Willoughby: No, I'm actually going to talk it over with the Rockies guys first because it doesn't really even bother me when I'm doing day to day things or even playing baseball now. I hit last weekend and it was fine. It's not as strong as it was and it's not super painful but it can hurt at times.

RD: I suppose you're lucky that you're a pitcher then because those hamate injuries tend to sap a hitter's power.

Willoughby: Yeah, I was seriously considering taking a redshirt in the days after it happened. I was pretty depressed. Just watching your team go out there and knowing that you aren't able to help them as much as you could was tough. I hit fourth in our lineup last year and we struggled this year hitting wise and it was hard for me to sit back and watch. It helped me fall into a routine pitching wise, I would say. That was definitely good for me to follow that routine day in and day out. It got me more prepared to pitch. 

RD: You seem to be a very competitive guy and what scouts call a "plus makeup" guy. The Rockies really are a team that values makeup and clubhouse chemistry, could you talk about that makeup aspect of your game?

Willoughby: Well, on field I definitely am a completely different person than off the field, I would say. I'm a real no nonsense type of guy on the field, I just want to take care of business when I'm out there, pretty much. I hate to lose, that's my mindset when I'm out there on the mound. I'm gonna do everything I can to get the job done and win. Other than that, I'm just trying to go out there and be myself. 

RD: Did you have a favorite player growing up or is there anyone in the major leagues right now that you like to model yourself after or compare yourself to?

Willoughby: I was a huge Cleveland Indians fan and my favorite player growing up was Omar Vizquel. I loved watching him. He was a great shortstop and I was always really, really little compared to everyone else. I didn't start getting as big as I am today until like my sophomore year of high school is when I started to catch up to most of the guys. If Omar can be out there as little as he is making all those great plays and I'm a little guy too, I just liked watching him. He was so smooth and he'd make those barehanded plays and be on SportsCenter every night. It's amazing that he's still out there. I liked his personality too. He just seems like he's having fun out there. I remember during rain delays sometimes he'd come out and juggle a soccer ball, he's just a fun guy. 

RD: Definitely, a favorite of mine as well. What would you say is your best moment in baseball so far? And you can't say today. 

Willoughby: Probably today, being drafted (laughs). Probably making it to the A-10 tournament and pitching my freshman year. Definitely playing in the A-10 tournament because that was the first time we'd made since I've been here and that's what we try and work towards every year. I was really dissappointed that we weren't able to get there this year. 

RD: Lastly, is it you intention to sign quickly or are you taking more of a wait and see approach?

Willoughby: I'm not too sure, I don't know that I even have an approach right now. I'm just kinda going with the flow right now. I know I'm going to meet with their area scout tomorrow and if I'm treated fairly I don't see why it would take a super long time. 

RD: Thanks again for doing the interview, Seth. 

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