TigsTown Q&A: CWS MOP Jonah Nickerson

The Tigers selected a right-hander out of Oregon State, and just a few weeks later, Jonah Nickerson emerged as a college pitching star, earning the Most Outstanding Player award as he led his Oregon State club to the College World Series title.

TigsTown: Congrats on winning the College World Series, and on being named M.O.P. How does that feel?

Jonah Nickerson: It's pretty exciting – still hasn't really set in, I haven't thought about it all that much yet I guess. But yeah, it's pretty exciting.

TT: You received some heavy praise for taking on an enormous workload – what made you go out and do that?

JN: Not in anyone else's mind really; I don't know why I did it, our pitching staff was pretty short after we lost the first game, and I always take care of my arm, so I was able to come back on short rest. My arm recovers quick, so I just put the fatigue in the back in my head – I got a massage after the first game, and I felt like I could go - my arm just kept feeling great. I obviously didn't have my legs, but when the championship game comes around, didn't really have another choice for me.

TT: Are you at all concerned about pitching so many innings in such a short period could have a negative effect on your future as a pitcher?

JN: Not at all – I wouldn't have done it if it would have put myself in harm's way – I told the coaches I was ready to go, but I make sure to always take care of my arm. I don't put too much stress on my arm either, I use my legs pretty well, so I don't put the same stress on my arm as other pitchers do. Really rely more on location than on velocity.

TT: Tiger fans got a chance to see you in the CWS – but what's something about yourself (pitching or otherwise) you feel Tiger fans didn't get a chance to see in the limited time they saw you?

JN: It's tough to say – I don't show much emotion on the mound, so they might think I'm just going through the motions – but I see myself as a silent competitor – I don't want to show the opponent any sign that they may have me beat, so I like to stay cool. But really, I'm just a great competitor.

TT: At this point, what do you feel is your best pitch?

JN: Fastball, definitely. – I can throw 115 pitches and 100 of them are fastballs – it's not over-powering, but I locate it really well, I can keep hitters off-balance with it and I can locate it real well. I use a four seam grip - haven't thrown 2 seamer since I started college – my fastball has a natural cut, doesn't have the typical sink, just cuts away from righties, cuts in on lefties.

TT: Do you anticipate having any problems signing with the Tigers?

JN: No roadblocks, I'm ready to go – they were letting me finish my season obviously, but now, I'm ready to move on to that next step.

TT: Would you like to keep pitching this season, or would you like to have some rest after a long college season.

JN: I think they'll let me throw, but I don't know for sure, but I'd guess I'll be on a pitch count – they won't push me too much. I threw around 140 innings this year, so I've had a pretty good workload. But I'd definitely like to keep going.

TT: And, have you talked at all with the organization about this, as well as where you'd start your pro career?

JN: Not yet – I haven't talked much along those lines. I'm flying into Florida (Lakeland) to get a physical, and then we'll go from there.

TT: What do you know about the Tiger organization?

JN: Pretty young organization as far as the team, the club is obviously rising – which is certainly evident this year. They've got pretty young pitching staff, but move guys quickly through the system when they earn the move, so I like that.

TT: Was there a team you followed growing up?

JN: I didn't have one team that I always followed – probably either the Braves or the Mariners, I grew up in the Northwest, so they were always on, and the Braves were always on TBS. So those were probably my two teams.

TT: Any thoughts on where you see yourself five years from now?

JN: Hopefully pitching in the big leagues – that's where most kids like me wanna be.

TT: What's the one thing you think could keep yourself from getting there?

JN: Myself is probably the only thing – the goals I set are attainable, so really I'm the only one that can hold myself back, and I won't let happen.

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