TigsTown: We'll start with the obvious and easy question here. Welcome to the Tigers organization, and how does it feel to be drafted by the Tigers?
Adam Wilk: It feels good! It was always a dream to be drafted. There was never really a team that I wanted to be picked by, but the Tigers are a great organization, and it's a good start.
TT: When I talked to your coach at Long Beach State, he mentioned that you had worked your first two years in the bullpen and then moved to the rotation as the Friday night starter this year. What was it that you believe allowed you to step up and move into that rotation and take such a prominent role on a college team?
AW: I think the first two years of experience I got in the bullpen were great. We face such a difficult schedule, Rice, Fullerton several times a year, I mean we played the best each year. That definitely prepared me to pitch against the best. Then this past summer on the Cape, I pitched in a relief role as the setup guy for Orleans, and once again faced the best hitters in the country. It made me mature more. It wasn't like I'd face some okay hitters each time through the lineup; I faced the best hitters in the country each time through, every day out. You have to make good pitches to do that; you can't afford to make bad pitches. I was prepared to face the best hitters, which helped a lot this year. Another thing, I was really prepared mentally. I really pride myself on being mentally strong and believe I'm a guy that can go through the lineup three and four times, and give my team a chance to win.
TT: Do you have a preference whether you start or relieve at the professional level?
AW: I like starting more because I control a full game myself. I did kind of like being in that setup role on the Cape though. If we were winning by three runs or less, I'd come in for that one inning everyday, and try to get us to the closer. That was really fun because the game is on the line at that point, and every pitch matters. So that was really fun, but I really like being a starter. Every five days you're coming out, you know when you're throwing, you're on a schedule, and you're on a set plan for everything you do. It's good because you control the game yourself.
TT: You mentioned a couple of times being mentally tough and being prepared for the game. Talk to me a little bit about what you feel you bring to the table from a raw stuff standpoint.
AW: I'm a pretty typical lefty I think. I bring it up in the mid- to high-80s, and I throw a good little curveball, and a very controlling change-up. I like to throw my change-up in a lot of counts. I think one of my best assets is my pitchability, working the ball in and out. I can make hitters uncomfortable being in the box with the way I pitch, rather than just throwing because he's there; I work to make him not feel good.
TT: Entering pro ball, what is something you think you can improve upon to become a better pitcher?
AW: The biggest thing for me is that I need to become a more physical pitcher. I'm kind of a little thin right now. I don't know that I've really filled out as much as I can, and I think they can get me on a good workout plan, an eating plan, and maybe I can pick up a mile or two an hour on my velocity, which would really make my stuff altogether more overpowering. When I was a reliever on the Cape, coming in for one inning, I did throw the ball a lot harder – about 88-90, touching 91 – and I think I can get there all the time.
TT: Were you aware that the Tigers were really interested? Had they been talking to you about where they might pick you, or was it kind of a surprise when your name popped up with the Detroit Tigers?
AW: I was aware that they were interested in me. Pretty much all throughout the year, the area scout called me and texted me a lot. I knew they were definitely interested, and on draft day they did call me a few times and talk about this round and this much money. It wasn't really a surprise at all with the Tigers.
TT: Do you have any final words you would like to leave with our readers?
AW: It's a great opportunity to be drafted by the Tigers and to get out and start my professional career with them would be an exciting thing, especially considering most of my family comes from that area and they're big Detroit fans. I'm excited and this is something that could work out well for my family. This should be a good experience!