The Pittsburgh Pirates drafted Jason Townsend in the 31st round of the 2010 MLB draft, selecting him as a junior from the University of Alabama. Townsend went to State College, where he served as the closer for the Spikes. He works with a mid-90s fastball, and was recently named by Baseball America as being the best late round pick for the Pirates in the 2010 draft. John Dreker of Pirates Prospects recently had a chance to sit down and talk to Jason about being drafted, as well as his pro debut with the Pirates.
John Dreker: Could you give us some background, such as when you started playing baseball and were you always a pitcher growing up?
Jason Townsend: I started playing baseball when I was around 5 years old. Growing up I’ve always been a pitcher and it’s always been my favorite position, but when I didn’t pitch I usually played shortstop.
John: What teams besides the Pirates were interested in you and what was it like leading up to the draft and when you were drafted?
Jason: Before the draft, I received several phone calls from other organizations including the Detroit Tigers, Milwaukee Brewers, and Chicago Cubs. I remember getting a phone call from the Pirates area scout on the third day of the draft and feeling like everything I have ever worked for has finally paid off. I was getting ready to go to practice at Alabama because we had just beat Georgia Tech in regionals and was getting ready for Clemson in the Super Regionals. I called my dad and told him the news and felt like everything was finally falling into place, just like I had hoped!
John: Could you tell us what pitches you throw and the velocity? Also are you working on any new pitches?
Jason: Right now I throw 3 pitches, a 4-seam fastball, slider, and a changeup. My fastball has topped out at 97 MPH. Right now I’m working on a 2-seam fastball and playing around with the 2-seam grip.
John: How did you feel your first season in the pros went?
Jason: I feel like my first season in the pros went very well. I’ve learned so much about pitching both mechanically and mentally which has helped me out in having success on the mound.
John: Now that Instructional League is about the wrap up, what will your offseason consist of?
Jason: Now that the Instructional League is over, I plan on working out and working on my mechanics on a mound so that I feel comfortable with some things I’ve been working on.
John: Any final thoughts for Pirates fans and the readers of the site?
Jason: I look forward to the 2011 season and making a full season team!