Earlier this week I had the privilege to talk with one of the Brewers top pitching prospects Jake Odorizzi. Odorizzi was a supplemental first round pick for the Brewers in the 2008 draft, and has been steadily improving ever since. Currently, Odorizzi is pitching for Low-A Wisconsin, where he owns a 3.21 ERA in four appearances. I want to thank him and everyone at the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers front office for making this interview happen.
ELI: Tell me what was going through your mind in the months leading up to the draft during your senior year of high school?
JAKE: [The draft] was on my mind a little bit, but we were in the middle of our State Cup tournament, so I was more focused on that.
ELI: Did you think you were going to be taken as high as you did?
JAKE: I wasn't sure. As the year progressed and I continued playing well, I started to hear I could go pretty high.
ELI: Was there any doubt in your mind after you were drafted that you were not going to go straight to the professional level?
JAKE: Once I got drafted, pretty much right then and there, I knew I was going to sign with the Brewers and start my professional career.
ELI: Growing up in Southwest Illinois, what team did you support the most?
JAKE: I'm a big Cardinals fan since we lived just outside St. Louis.
ELI: Did you have a favorite player growing up?
JAKE: I really like [Albert] Pujols when he got there, but I would probably say Matt Morris. He's a gamer.
ELI: In your most recent start, you and your teammates nearly threw a no-hitter. For you personally, what was working during the game?
JAKE: I was working primarily with fastballs, wanting to go up and in but I mixed in my slider and curveball too. If the fastball is working, why change it, you know?
ELI: Making the jump from high school to the professional level, did you notice that the tempo of the game had changed?
JAKE: It wasn't as fast as I thought it was going to be. It wasn't too big of a jump, but I did have to start from scratch with my teammates and coaches.
ELI: What did you think of your performance in your first season?
JAKE: It was all right. I needed to relax more, quit over thinking everything. I thought I had to do things new because I was in a new place, but that wasn't the case.
ELI: This past spring, you were called over to the big league complex for a game or two. What was that like?
JAKE: I didn't actually get to play in any of the games, I was more there for the extra arm. But it was a very proud moment, very cool to be over there on the other side.
ELI: Was there anyone in particular that took you under their wing or offered you some pointers?
JAKE: Not so much. We all kind of hung out, talked baseball. Everyone acted like they were friends with everyone, it was really cool.
ELI: What do you and your teammates like to do after games?
JAKE: Not too much really. We play some video games, make food, watch TV.
ELI: You have a favorite TV show?
JAKE: We mostly watch ESPN.
ELI: Have you set any goals for yourself this year?
JAKE: Yeah, I want to try and move up and level, so I have to play to certain level to make that happen.