The Royals added Alec Mills in the 22nd round of the 2012 draft after scout Sean Gibbs advised Lonnie Goldberg to give the Ohio Valley Conference righty a shot. It’s not quite the Jarrod Dyson 50th round pick to bigs story, but to find any major league pitcher from the 22nd round is still quite a coup for any scouting staff. With an opportunity at winning a spot in this year’s rotation or bullpen, I attempted to fill in some of the righthander’s background in an interview.
1. You played multiple sports in high school (basketball, golf and baseball) was baseball your favorite?
Baseball was definitely my favorite. I love the camaraderie of having a team out there battling with me. I do still enjoy playing golf any chance I can get but baseball has been my favorite ever since I was a little kid.
2. From what I’ve read you went to UT-Martin with the thoughts of being a full-time student and decided to try to walking on the baseball team, making it and changing your life forever in the process. Had you been recruited by any other schools to play any sports prior to attending UT-Martin?
To my knowledge I had no other offers to play baseball at a D-1 school. Other small schools had interest but never actually offered anything.
Had you discussed walking onto the program with any coaches prior to trying out?
I did get into contact with the coach beforehand. And he informed me of a tryout day on a Saturday during the fall semester.
3. After being drafted in 2012 by the Royals, you had Tommy John surgery slightly more than one year later. As a person who had went to college not thinking about baseball as a career did you ever think about walking away from the game then?
Not really, I had taken on baseball as a career now and wasn’t going to give up because of injury. I will give everything I have until I no longer can.
4. Something appeared to click in 2013 in Lexington. Was there a mechanical change that you made or a change in your mentality that lead to your career taking off?
I think I just started to throw more strikes and make hitters get themselves out. I think I was letting the intimidation factor between college and rookie ball get to me. Tried to be too perfect more times than not. Not the best recipe for success most times.
5. Describe your offseason workout program compared to your in season program?
During the offseason I’m able to life a little heavier weight, can train a little harder because of no worry of having to play a game that night or the next day. I can spend the rest of day relaxing and recovering. In season is more maintenance type lifting with flexibility added in.
Pitching programs like Driveline have crossed over into the fields of science with their pitching program. As a former engineering major and now a pitcher how much does this interest you? Do you employ a similar program in your routines?
I think it’s interesting to see the thoughts on some people beliefs but the amount of stress our arms goes through is nuts. It makes me a little uneasy thinking about putting it under more stress.
6. What pitchers do you prefer to watch? Is there someone you try to model your game after?