I got in touch with NY Mets 2011 3rd round draft choice Logan Verrett the other day. Verrett a 6’3″ right-hander, is in his final off-season preparations before heading out to spring training at Port St. Lucie in less than two weeks. Logan was nice enough to fill us in on his feelings on being drafted by the Mets, his record-setting college career, his pitching arsenal, and his expectations for his first professional season, which is now right around the corner. Take a look inside to see what else Logan had to say:
Petey: First of all Logan, congratulations on a big year in 2011. Being the 3rd round pick in the 2011 draft by the Mets, and then signing your first professional contract in the 11th hour before the deadline, must have been quite a thrill! Thank you so much for sharing a little of your time. The readers at MetsMerizedOnline.com will really enjoy reading about you, and getting to know a little bit about one of our newest Met pitching prospects! When the Mets drafted you out of Baylor University last June, how did you first hear about it, and what was that feeling like? Did you have any idea that the Mets were interested in drafting you, or which round(s) of the draft you might be taken in?
Logan: On the second day of the draft me, my parents, and my girlfriend were all gathered around the computer watching the draft online. It seemed like forever that we were sitting there when we finally heard my name called. It was an overwhelming feeling of relief and excitement at the same time. I knew the Mets were interested because I had met with the area scout a couple of times and they had called the night before they drafted me.
Petey: Is there one person, a coach, a friend or family member, or even another player, who you learned the most from, or who inspired you to chase your dream of becoming a major league baseball player?
Logan: There are so many people that I owe for pushing me to reach my dream that I don’t even know where to begin. My parents are a major reason that I am a professional baseball player today, they are the ones that dragged me around every weekend from tournament to tournament. My brother, Jared, also taught me a lot about the game. He is 3 years older than me so he pretty much paved the path and he helped me learn from his experiences.
Petey: While pitching at Baylor, you set Big 12 Conference records for a single season in K/BB ratio (4.14), and BB/9 (2.3). In addition, you set the career conference record for K/BB ratio (3.83). What were some of the most important things you learned from your experience at college and pitching college ball?
Logan: One of the most important things that I learned in college which attributed to the records I set was simply that it’s not all about velocity. You have to be able to pitch not just throw. Anybody can square up 96 mph if you leave it down the middle of the plate, but if you can turn that into 92 mph on the corners and at the hitters knees then you are going to be very successful.
Petey: What was your biggest moment on the field in college?
Logan: I think that one of the biggest moments I had in college was my sophomore year when I pitched a complete game against Texas A&M, it was a big game not only because we beat one of our biggest rivals but because I set the record for most strikeouts at Baylor Ballpark that game.
Petey: We have heard that you possess simple, repeatable mechanics and good command of three quality pitches. But for those of us that have never seen you pitch, could you tell us a little more about your arsenal? What pitches you throw, at what speeds, and how you set up hitters? Are you working on any new pitches moving forward?
Logan: As a pitcher I like to keep things as simple as possible, I don’t want to “trick” a hitter. I think when you start thinking that you have to “trick” a hitter then that is when you can get in trouble. I set guys up with my fastball and keep them off balance with either my curveball, slider, or changeup. My fastball and slider are pitches that I have tremendous confidence in and I think they are very hard to hit. To complete my arsenal I have a pretty good curveball and an average changeup. I have been really working hard this offseason on developing my changeup to become a much better pitch for me.
Petey: That will certainly serve you well when you pitch in the Florida State League, and the Eastern League. What kind of things did you do to stay in shape over the winter? Can you describe your workout regimen? Did the Mets give you anything specific to work on?
Logan: This offseason I have been working hard to get stronger and improve as a pitcher. I have a strength coach in Houston that I meet with once a week to go through a workout and to get my workouts for the week. We have put a focus on leg strength as well as flexibility and hip mobility.
Petey: You have been referred to as “durable” on the mound. Do you have a preference to starting or relieving, or is it something where you don’t care as long as the opportunity to pitch is there?
Logan: I prefer starting, that is what my role has been ever since high school and it’s a role that I really have embraced, and love looking forward to going at least six or seven innings for my team.
Petey: Tell us what is the biggest obstacle for you in getting to the major leagues? Is there one thing in particular, that you need to work on and improve to be able able to succeed at the highest level?
Logan: I think in order for me to reach my ultimate goal of pitching in the major leagues I have to be consistent week in and week out. I’m confident that I have the tools and the right people surrounding me to get me there, it is just going to take consistent outings every time I take the mound.
Petey: What are your goals for next season? Is there a particular club you hope to make out of spring training? Have the Mets made any indication of what they are planning for you next season, or are those things to be decided in spring training?
Logan: My expectations for this upcoming season are to lead whatever club I am with to a championship. I am truly blessed to have this opportunity and I am going to bring a winning attitude to the park every day with me no matter what club I am with.
Petey: What was your favorite baseball team growing up? Your favorite player? Is there a major leaguer, either past or present, who you would say is similar in pitching style to you?
Logan: Growing up so close to Houston naturally I was a bit of an Astros fan, nothing over the top though. It is so hard to be an Astros fan anyways. I always enjoyed watching Roy Oswalt pitch, and also watching Craig Biggio when he was playing second base for Oswalt.
Petey: Biggio was an awesome player. I think every Mets fan who saw him play wished that he was on our team. I mean he was as hard-nosed and competitive a player as there ever was. And a NL All-Star at catcher, centerfield, and second base? Who does that? That’s just crazy. The guy has to make the HOF. Anyway, to finish up Logan, just a little personal info, not pertaining to baseball. What is your favorite movie? Favorite musician or band? Favorite food?
Logan: My favorite types of movies are comedies first, and then I enjoy movies that make you think like Inception and Shutter Island, stuff like that. I love listening to Texas Country, which I know most people probably aren’t familiar with unless they are from Texas. But most Texas Country has a little Southern Rock feel to it, and some of my favorite artists are Randy Rogers Band, Robert Earl Keen, and Ryan Bingham. My favorite food is a little weird, but BBQ crabs are definitely my favorite food, it’s a lot of work to eat them but it is well worth it.
Petey: Thanks again Logan, it was a lot of fun doing this interview with you. Have a great spring training, and 2012 season! All of us at MMO and Mets fans everywhere are looking forward to seeing you on the “bump” real soon.
Although the big league starting pitching will remain relatively untouched, and will have to do it’s improving from within this year, the true influx of talent into the organization will be seen in the starting rotations at Savannah and St. Lucie. Some recently drafted pitchers that will make their organizational debuts as starters this season are, in addition to Verrett, Cory Mazzoni, Tyler Pill, Jack Leathersich, Alex Panteliodis and Michael Fulmer. It should be an exciting year to follow these young pitching prospects, as there is plenty of talent here. Another strong pitching draft for the team in 2012, combined with a little luck and development from these guys, and this organizations farm system may start to move up the rankings soon, based on the strength of it’s pitching.
For more of my player interviews, and some other cool stuff, click here.