2006 Draft Preview: Q&A with Jared Hughes

As the NCAA baseball season approaches, scouts and scouting directors will get ready to hit the road and will be on the look out for this year's top draftees. One of those potential top draftees is Long Beach State pitcher, Jared Hughes, expected to be a first round pick in June. We recently sat down with Jared for a Q&A session.

Scout.com: First of all, Jared, could you take us through your repertoire of pitches including pitch types and velocity?

Jared Hughes: Well, I throw a four-seam fastball, a two-seam fastball, a sinker, a changeup, a slider, and a curveball. I'd say that I throw my sinker about 70% of the time. That is basically like my bread and butter pitch. I throw that in the 88-92 MPH range. My curveball is around 74 MPH, my slider is about 80 MPH, and my changeup is like 81-82 MPH.

Scout.com: With the college season now beginning, what are some of your goals either personally or in regard to your team?

Hughes: I feel like any personal goals that I have tie directly into the team goals. My job is to take the ball when it is my turn to pitch and give my team at least a solid effort. If I'm doing that, I'm meeting my personal goals and I'm helping my team reach our goals as well. So, I just want to give my best, take the ball when it is my turn and always keep my team in the ball game.

Scout.com: You were a highly touted prospect coming out of high school, but teams backed off because of your price tag. Looking back, do you feel that going to college was the right decision for you?

Hughes: Without a doubt. College was the right thing to do and I am so glad that I made that decision. It was a tough decision at the time, but looking back, I think attending college is definitely the best route to take. I've learned so much playing against great competition and in big games. I think you have to learn as much as possible before going pro. The more you have learned going into it, the better you'll be in the future.

Scout.com: There have been a lot of MLB comparisons tossed around about you in various publications. But, in your personal opinion, who do you feel you are the most comparable to at the big league level?

Hughes: I really like Jon Garland. And, I think that I am pretty similar to him and I can only hope that I can eventually have the success that he's had. Another guy I like is Roy Halladay. Like him, I'm a pretty tall guy and we kind of throw the same way.

Scout.com: What are some of the major improvements that you are looking to make this season building off your 2005 season?

Hughes: I just want to be relaxed and trust my stuff. Last year, I would get ahead in the count and sometimes I would get too excited. This year, I just want to let things happen and not get out of my groove. If I get too excited and overthrow, my pitches are going to flatten out.

Scout.com: Pitching in the Cape Cod League must have been quite an experience, having the opportunity to play against such outstanding competition. What do you feel you learned from that experience?

Hughes: Right, the hitters were just amazing. I mean, we're talking about the best players in the country in one league. But, what I learned is to throw all my pitches with conviction. Up there, I basically was calling my own game. The coaches don't really tell you what to throw it all. It's all you out there. So, it really gave me confidence. When I threw a pitch, I was confident all the way that it was the right pitch to throw. So, I think that is really going to help me this season and for the rest of my career.

Scout.com: Jared, what do you feel is your strongest attribute as a pitcher? In other words, what sets you apart?

Hughes: Well, from just a pitching standpoint, I think it's my movement I get on my fastball. I get a lot of movement and I don't think there's many other pitchers who have that type of movement. I also think I have a good mentality and a real good idea of what I'm doing out there.

Scout.com: You mentioned earlier how happy you were about deciding to attend college. What are some things that you've learned over the past couple years?

Hughes: Oh, I've learned so much. But, back in high school, I think I was a totally different pitcher. I was just a guy trying to throw as hard as I could without really knowing what pitching was about and how to work over a hitter. Now, I understand that it isn't about throwing hard at all. I have a good fastball and everything, but pitching is not about velocity. You have to hit your spots, move the ball around, and have good movement to be successful.

Scout.com: Obviously, there will be scouts coming in waves to watch you pitch this season. How do you plan to handle that type of attention?

Hughes: I don't think it will bother me. I've had them watch me in high school and I pitched in front of them last year too when they were watching some of my teammates. It didn't phase me then and it won't phase me now. I just have to stick to my game plan.

Scout.com: If you had to tell the scouts one thing that they should know about you, what would you want them to know?

Hughes: I think they should know that not only am I a guy with good stuff, but I consider myself a smart pitcher. But, I think they'll be able to see that when I pitch.

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