Pat Dean is a pitcher in the Twins system. After finishing an impressive career at Boston College he was drafted by the Twins in the 3rd round of the 2010 draft. He signed in enough time to get his feet wet and in 29 rookie ball innings managed to strike out 37 while walking just one. And you thought Cliff Lee had a good K/BB rate didn't you?
I imagine his answer to question #2 will prove particularly satisfying to those who frequent this site.
1) Was there a definitive moment in your life where you realized when you wanted to play baseball professionally? Or has the journey been one of circumstance where you kept pitching well and things just came together for you?
Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve always wanted to be a baseball player. That’s all I ever wanted to do and all I still want to do. It has definitely been a long journey, and having some of the success has driven to try to achieve more. I am looking forward to fulfilling my lifelong dream of becoming a major league pitcher.
2) Favorite team growing up?
My favorite team growing up was the Yankees, but that’s changed for obvious reasons.
3) A lot of players have someone they credit from their childhood as someone who played a significant role in their development within the sport - a parent, coach, friend or family member. Is there anyone in particular who stands out to you?
Both of my parents. If it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t have the opportunities that I have been given. They have always been supportive of my dream and I could not have gotten this far without their help.
4) Did you have a lot of scholarship offers coming out of high school, and what went in to your decision to pitch for Boston College?
I had a few scholarship offers, but once BC came along I knew it was a perfect fit. I knew I wanted to play in a big time conference, to play against the best competition. Playing at BC in the ACC was perfect. I fell in love with the university the minute I stepped on campus. It couldn’t have worked out any better than it did.
5) A lot of people describe their college years as the best of their lives, what was one of your more cherished memories of your baseball career there? What did you study?
I would have to say pitching against Texas in the 25 inning game. Being the starter in that marathon was an amazing experience that I will never forget.
6) If you would, explain the process of what it's like to go pro. How did you know when the right time was, did you have any expectations of where you'd be drafted?
After the success I had my sophomore year in college, I started getting a decent amount of attention and realized that my chance to begin the next step toward my dream may be coming true. I felt like it was time to test my skills at the next level. However, I knew it was going to take a lot to get me to leave BC for my senior year. Luckily I got drafted into the perfect situation.
7) What was it like when you got the word that you'd been selected?
I was sitting with my family listening to the broadcast on the computer. Once I heard my name, I can’t even begin to describe the feeling that went through me.
8) Some guys drag out the signing process trying to leverage the best deal possible, but you signed quickly - what was the process like?
For me, there was no point in dragging out the process. I had my minor elbow injury, so I didn’t have really any leverage to get any more money. I was ready to get started on my new journey as fast as I possibly could.
9) It was a busy 2010 for you between making 12 starts for BC, going through the draft/signing process, and then starting another five games (and appearing in relief in 4 others) for the Twins. We're you happy to finally be done with the season?
My body definitely needed the break of the off season, but I am very anxious to get back out on the mound and throw again.
10) We hear a lot about "instructs," that occur in the fall after the season. Tell us about some of the things you go through during that.
A lot of PFPs. I felt like I could play short stop after all the ground balls we took. It was a very laid back time, and we had a lot of fun playing and learning.
11) You're probably not going to be confused with Cliff Lee, yet you and he both had impressive seasons in terms of not allowing walks. Some might say his 10.28 K/BB ratio was impressive but you struck out 32 in just 24 innings, while walking just one. He called you for pitching advice didn't he?
Hahaha I wish I got a call from him. I’ve got a million questions I would ask him. I feel like we both have the same mindset of attacking the zone, making the hitters beat you, and allowing your defense to make the plays behind you.
12) Tell us about your stuff. We know you're not a particularly hard thrower, most reports say you work in the 89-91 mph range, but you also throw a curve, slider, and changeup. What's your best pitch, and what are you working on to try and improve your off-speed stuff.
My best pitch is my fastball. It’s not the fastest out there, but my ability to spot up when I want makes it so effective for me. I also feel comfortable throwing every pitch in any situation which is also a big help.
13) It's a safe guess that you wont be starting the season in the Rookie Leagues in 2011 - has the team notified you of what to expect in 2011? Or is it a wait-and-see process?
They haven’t said anything to me yet. I just need to stay healthy and work hard every day and things will work out.
14) If you had to pin-point one area for improvement in your game, what would it be?
Every area needs work, but one specific area would be calling pitches.
15) When you're in the bullpen doing your pre game work, what are you most focused on?
A lot of guys get into a “zone” or are very serious, but what works for me is being nice and relaxed. I’ll joke around with some teammates until it’s time to actually start getting ready to go out into the game.
16) Finally, what will it be like to take the mound for the first time in the Majors?
I can’t even imagine, but I’ll be sure to let you know!
Corey Ettinger is a Senior Writer for Baseball Digest as well as a proud contributor to both 612Sports.net, 312Sports.com, and 313sports.com. He also provides extensive analysis of the American League Central Division at his own blog, AL Central In Focus. Be sure to follow me on Twitter @Coreyettinger for the latest updates, random thoughts and general tomfoolery.