The Pittsburgh Pirates drafted Jason Hursh in the sixth round of the 2010 draft, continuing their trend of taking prep pitchers in the middle rounds. Hursh was rated the #173 prospect in the draft by Baseball America, and has a commitment to Oklahoma State, which means he will likely command an over-slot bonus. Pirates Prospects recently had a chance to interview Jason on being drafted, his history of pitching, and how the negotiations with the Pirates are going. Here is what Jason had to say:
1. How long have you been pitching? At what point did you start getting attention from scouts and realize that you had the potential be drafted by a Major League team?
Funny story, I didn’t start pitching until my junior year in high school. Before that I was a primary shortstop. My coach kinda just put me on the mound one day and I went from there and obviously it worked out. I started getting attention from pro scouts my senior year. Pitching my first couple outings there was about 3 or 4 per game, and as I continued to pitch it increased to 20 or even sometimes 30 a game, which was very exciting for me as a private school pitcher.
2. Before the draft, what did you hear about where you might go, and what teams were in contact with you?
Before the draft I had been in contact with just about every team in the MLB, most of them showing a lot of interest so I had no idea where I would go or what round. I was just excited to watch the draft and see the guys you hear about all the time go to their respectfull teams.
3. What have you been doing since your high school season ended to stay in pitching shape?
I have been pitching for my summer team, the DBAT Mustangs, under coach Sam Carpenter which has given me the opportunity to compete agianst some of the better players in the country and stay in shape, as well as conditioning a lot and an occasional trip to the gym haha.
4. What is your current arsenal of pitches and what speeds do you typically sit at?
I have a fastball which can range anywhere from 90-95, a curveball around 75, a low 80’s slider and a changup.
5. Have the Pirates talked you about dropping one of your current pitches or working on adding another type of pitch?
They haven’t told me to drop any of my pitches, which is good, but mainly they stress the fact of fastball command in rookie ball and the minor leagues.
6. What pitcher do you try to model your game after?
I really respect Roy Halladay and love the way he pitches. I wouldn’t mind resembling him on the mound.
7. What is your personal timeline to get to the majors?
I know its a tough road to the majors and sometimes it doesn’t work out for the best, but I’m gonna try to shoot for 3-5 years to make my MLB debut.
8. You recently visited Pittsburgh, how did the trip go?
I have never been to the Northeast so i didnt know what to expect, but I loved Pittsburgh. It was pretty cool coming from the airport and through the Fort Pitt tunnel and getting a whole view of Pittsburgh. I ate at Jerome Bettis’ grill which was very good, and got to see the Pirates take BP, the clubhouse, and met the skipper John Russell. Plus PNC Park was a great stadium, one of the best I’ve seen.
9. How would you classify the negotiations, and do you have any meetings set up with the team in the next week?
Negotiations are going good. I’m talking to the Pirates Area Scout for Texas pretty regularly so it’s getting there.
10. Do you have any meetings set up any time soon? If so, what are your expectations for those meetings?
Yes. (Pirates area scout) Mike Luezinger is coming to my house tonight actually for a meeting with my family.
11. Between your commitment to Oklahoma State and signing with the Pirates, which way are you currently leaning?
It’s a win-win situation. Honestly, I couldn’t go wrong with either pick, and education is important to me, but so is pitching in the big leagues.
12. Last year, Zach Von Rosenberg and Colton Cain mentioned that being able to pitch together was one of the reasons they both signed. Is there any draft pick from the 2010 draft class that you would like to be teammates with on the Pirates? If this person signed, would it influence your decision to sign?
I know the Pirates picked a great pitcher in Jameson Taillon for their first pick in the draft. We are both high school pitchers from Texas, so it would be cool to play together someday. Brandon Pierce, who is my summer teammate now, was drafted by the Pirates also in the 26th round, so it would be cool to both continue or careers together.