The Dodgers selected right-handed pitcher Trevor Oaks out of California Baptist University in the seventh-round of the 2014 MLB Draft. He answered some of my dumb questions.
– My older sister Tifani and I went down to the driving range and hit golf balls. My college coach suggested that I stayed away from the TV and just waited for the call. My dad, on the other hand, was watching every pick and was sending me updates, even if I didn’t want them at the time.
– I had a pretty good idea I was going to be selected, I just wasn’t sure where. I was told there were a ton of high school pitchers with good (velocity) this draft, so I knew there was a good chance I could fall a couple of rounds. However, most teams said somewhere in the top 10 rounds. Thankfully, the Dodgers saw something they liked, and they picked me in the seventh.
– A year after surgery, there’s still some caution and mental issues that you have to battle through. You have to find your release point and trust that your arm isn’t going to fall off if you snap a breaking ball. But after the second year, you definitely find your groove and begin to feel more comfortable. I would say most people can pitch their first year back, but their sharpness and mental grit usually develops after 18 months. You need confidence and that mound presence to pitch, and that’s all mental. The only difference for me between pre- and post-surgery is my preparation. I run a lot more for my next starts, and I also lift (weights) a few times a week to make sure that my legs and body are strong. That’s an important aspect that takes some maturity and experience to learn.
– I’m really looking forward to the process of developing and learning different tools that I can use to become a better baseball player. I’ve heard that it’s a grind, but I want to persevere when things get tough, and do my best to learn from the good and bad.
– This season, one of my biggest goals is to establish myself, get into a routine, and develop my off-speed pitches. I think it’s important to feel comfortable where you’re playing and the routine that goes into each game. I want to establish myself and become more comfortable with the system and process. In the future, I really would like to fine tune my curveball, slider and changeup, to the point where I could throw them in any count, at any time. The key is consistency, and I think all these goals will contribute to that primary focus.
– I am currently playing for the Ogden Raptors. After that, its really up to the organization to see where they want me.
– I don’t try to pitch like anyone. I have a different delivery and throwing motion that allows me to throw strikes and have a sinking fastball. But I don’t think it’s health to try to pitch the exact same way as another pitcher. I do admire several pitchers in the big leagues, two of them being Clayton Kershaw and Adam Wainwright. I love watching them succeed and I admire the way they carry themselves on- and off the field. They are both great men of character that stand out just by being themselves. I think that’s a very important quality to have, especially when you’re meeting so many new people and are constantly in the spot light. And it doesn’t hurt that they’re two of the best pitchers in baseball.
– I was told by a scout that I reminded him of Bert Blyleven, but I’m not completely sold on that one yet. His curveball was insane, and I’d have a long way to go before I could compare myself to him. I haven’t really seen anyone else with a similar throwing motion.