The Pittsburgh Pirates drafted left handed pitcher Mike Jefferson in the 22nd round of the 2011 draft. Jefferson was a college senior out of Louisiana Tech University, where he was the ace of the pitching staff in 2011. He was coming off a season where he posted a 3.56 ERA in 86 innings, along with a 70:46 K/BB ratio. He throws 90-91 MPH, and reportedly has a good curveball. Jefferson was drafted in the 46th round by the Mets in 2010, but opted to return to Louisiana Tech, where he cut down on his walks and home runs in 2011. He had one year of eligibility remaining, as he red shirted in his freshman year, although he decided to sign with the Pirates, rather than playing one more year.
I talked with Mike when I was in State College last week, discussing the day of the draft, his skills, and what he’s looking forward to with the start of his pro career. Here is what he had to say:
1. Did you do anything special to follow the draft?
No, I didn’t really. Wasn’t really draft watching that day. It was just more along the lines of just sitting and waiting, and just tried to carry on my normal daily routine. Of course, it’s hard to do when you’re waiting on a phone call and stuff. Just tried to make it a normal day.
2. Did you have any indication of what teams were looking at you?
I had a couple teams scouts that were calling me, and interested in me, but the Pirates were…Jerome Cochran, the scout who actually picked me up, he was in contact with me a lot throughout the process. So he was a big help. It was nice to have that, and I felt that the Pirates were going to be that team.
3. How did you find out that you were picked?
Jerome actually, he called me right before it happened. He was like ‘you ready to go?’, and I said ‘Yeah’. Sure enough, about an hour later, got a call.
4. You’ve only been with the team a few days. What’s your initial impression of the pro life?
I’m really liking it so far. The organization, first of all, they treated me well with bringing me in and showing me around (PNC Park). And then when I got here, it’s nice to see the guys all came up and shook my hand and said ‘Hey, how you doing?’. And the coaching staff here is really nice. They’re really knowledgable, and it’s good to have that too.
5. What was your impression going to Pittsburgh and seing the park?
It was very impressive. It’s a really beautiful ballpark. It looks like that’d be a great place to play someday.
6. What’s in your mix of pitches?
I’ve got, of course the four seam, two seam fastball. I’ve got a curve ball, changeup, and a split finger.
7. What do you feel most comfortable with?
I just try to pitch with my fastball, but my changeups probably one of my favorite off-speed pitches that I like to use. It’s been one of my more consistent pitches to.
8. Anything you’re looking to make adjustments with in your game?
Really just trying to be more consistent, more than anything. I know the coaches here are going to take hold of me, and take care of me, and get me as good as I can get. And we’ll just have to see where it goes from there.
9. Any goals this year for performance, or reaching a certain level?
Not really any goals, just want to go out there and perform and do the best I can, and let it all work out.
10. Making the jump from college ball to pro ball, from what you’ve watched so far, do you feel the talent level here is different, or about the same?
I feel it’s kind of like the jump from high school to college. The top three guys from high school went to college to play ball. Now the top three guys in college came up. College, it was always tough one through nine. Here it’s going to be even tougher. But I feel like it’s an adjustment, like anything else you ever have to do in life. I feel that’s one I’m ready for, that’s why I’m here.