Monday, April 12th, 2010: Cubs Home Opener vs Brewers
The Game Day Crew at the Cubs Home Opener, 4-12-2010
Friday, April 16th, 2010: Cubs vs Astros
You are regarded as the No. 1 baseball prospect in Illinois. What does that say about you? It means a lot to me. There are a lot of great players in Illinois. It is a great honor to be rated as the top player. I think I deserve it. I've worked hard to get where I am now.
Last week, 30 major-league scouts showed up for one of your games. Everyone is interested in me. All I have done has worked out in my favor. In my mind, I was shocked, seeing 30 radar guns behind home plate. They were even watching me when I was warming up. Sure, there is some pressure. But when I go out and do my thing, bear down, pitch like I know I can pitch, it will work out in my favor.
In your first nine games, you are 3-0, your fastball is at 94-96mph and you are hitting .400 with six homers and 24 RBI. Does it get any better than that? Pitching is what I love to do. But I love to hit, too. I like to whatever I can do to help my team win. When I'm pitching, I feel I am in great control of the game. I know what I can do. It gets me excited and pumped up. I feel I have an edge over any batter.
You are committed to Texas, one of the premier college baseball programs in the country. Why Texas? It was my dream school. I grew up liking Texas, since I was 13 and went to see them at the College World Series in Omaha. Augie Garrido was a big influence. I heard stories about what a great coach he is. And Texas has great tradition in baseball.
The major-league draft is in June. How badly do you want to play in Wrigley Field or Yankee Stadium? It's been a dream of mine. I'm hoping I will get a chance to sign. It will have to be a life changing amount of money or a high draft pick. Otherwise, I still have a great school to fall back on.
Coach Jeff Petrovic said he would be "shocked" if you aren't selected in the first three rounds. What is your projection? I'm just excited to see all the scouts showing up at my games. I want to keep my fastball above 90mph for the whole season. The scouts don't like to see a decrease. I'm at 96 now. The don't want to see high 80s. And I want to keep my earned-run average and walks as low as possible.
What do you have that excites the scouts? I have a tremendous amount of competitiveness. I'm one of the most competitive people you'll meet. I have a good mind-set for the game. I'm a leader and I have a great attitude. I have size and a 90 plus fastball. The scouts are looking for that.
Your fastball has been timed at 94-96mph. How badly do you want to throw even faster? Adding a couple of miles per hour would impress the scouts. But I have to stay within myself. All my work in the off season has turned into something good. Last year, I threw only 91-92. In the summer, (pitching coach) Bill Coop [editors note: coach is Bill Copp, misspelled in Chicago Sun Time, -S] worked with me. I changed my motion, strengthened my legs and improved my arm strength.
Are you superstitious? I play drums before a game, ever since I was 8. I also wear Texas shorts under my baseball pants.
If you could pick the brains of one pitcher or one pitching coach, who would it be? Justin Verlander of the Detroit Tigers. He is one of those people who you want to watch when he is pitching. He has a 98-100mph fastball for nine innings. He also has a sick curveball and a good changeup. When he is on, he is as good as there is. I love to watch him pitch.
What does it take to be a great pitcher? Mental attitude. You've got to want to learn things, to take criticism well, to get better. You must have confidence that you can pitch seven or eight innings strong and know you did your best. You also have to be calm when bad things are happening and be cool under pressure.
Official Press Release for TheBaseballLife.com:
“The Lineup: New York’s All-Time Best Baseball Players,” a new original series and interactive fantasy game that will determine the best baseball players in the history of New York, premier tonight on MSG Network with “Catchers,” the first of ten weekly episodes. Each 30-minute episode of “The Lineup” will present a number of nominees for consideration at each position, from the Yankees, Mets, New York Giants and Brooklyn Dodgers, with one episode dedicated to the best New York manager of all-time. MSG’s Fran Healy will host a panel, consisting of Hall of Fame Mets catcher Gary Carter, former Yankee bullpen ace Sparky Lyle, New York Magazine contributing editor and baseball aficionado Will Leitch, and executive vice president of the Elias Sports Bureau Steve Hirdt. The panel will whittle down a larger list of players from each position and determine the top five from each spot on the diamond. By the end of each episode, they will crown the top player at each position and name him to the official “Lineup” card.If this is something you know a yankee fan would enjoy, pass it along. I'm all about sharing relevant and unique sites and ideas with the readers here. I especially love the emails with sites that you guys send to me. There really is some cool stuff out there and I wouldn't know about it if it wasn't for you!
With an interactive fantasy game launched in conjunction with the on-air program and hosted on http://msg.com/lineup/, viewers can see how they stack up against The Lineup's experts. Fans will try to predict the five players who will be nominated each week and ultimately who will be selected as the starter in the final “Lineup.” Participants will receive points for each correct pick and will be eligible for weekly prizes such as signed memorabilia from baseball greats like Don Mattingly, Joe Torre, Reggie Jackson and Derek Jeter. At the end of the series, the participant with the most points will win a Grand Prize. The site will also feature chats for fans to interact and debate each position, quizzes about the nominated players, photo and video galleries, and player statistics for fans to comb through before making their picks.