Monday, December 26, 2016

The following is a transcript of conversations Scott Allen from had with Chris O'Grady before the publication of his top prospect profile.

Scott Allen: Hey Chris!  Congratulations, you've made it onto the Top 30 Prospects.  I caught a couple of games after you moved to the rotation.  Guys had a hard time squaring you up.  Do you know if the Angels plan on keeping you as a starter?

Chris O'Grady: Hey Scott.  What number did I come in at?!?  It went great moving into the rotation.  Honestly, I haven't heard anything about next year, but I assume I'll start.  I haven't gotten any type of big league invite for camp, so I'm hoping for that. 

Scott Allen: You came in at #24.  The Angels seem short-handed on situational lefties and long relievers, it seems like they'd give you a look.  I was a bit surprised to see you go un-selected in the Rule 5 Draft. 

Chris O'Grady:  I like the rotation and bullpen, so anything they need me to do is fine with me.  Hopefully this will be the year I get the call! (Majors).  The Rule 5 would've been awesome, but I'd definitely like to make it up with the Angels. 

Scott Allen: Well it seems like you offer the flexibility GM's like.  You're left handed but are also effective on righties, you can start or relieve, and you have minor league options. 

Chris O'Grady: I appreciate that. I'd like to improve against lefties. The cut fastball I throw, I have more success against righties.

Scott Allen: How did the transition to starter come up?

Chris O'Grady: Well I've had several spot starts throughout my career. I always did long relief, and I tended to do well in the starts that I had. Our pitching coordinator Pat Rice mentioned he thought I'd make a good starter. Then I got sent down to Little Rock and made a couple spot starts when Victor Alcantara got a blister. I ended up going 5 innings in one of them. A few days later, my pitching coach Scott Budner brought me aside and said he sees me as a starter and he wanted to suggest it to the Angels. And they went for it. So a week later I was officially in the rotation. The transition came surprisingly easy, and I'm definitely thankful to Pat and Scott for that. It could be huge for my career.

Scott Allen: Have you had to change your approach since moving into the rotation?

Chris O'Grady: For me, I haven't changed too much, except throwing the change up a little more. I still rely heavily on my cut-fastball, which I've always done. Many times I can command it better than I can my four-seam. But being able to command both of those is what got me where I am. I don't throw in the mid or high 90's, so I had to learn to really "pitch" rather than blow fastballs by everybody. I mix fastballs and cutters inside and out and throw in the occasional curve or change to keep them off balance. I like to attack inside. That's the biggest in my eyes. Doesn't matter how hard you throw if you can attack hitters on the inside and make them uncomfortable. And when they adjust, the outside opens right up again.

Scott Allen: So how's your offseason going so far?

Chris O'Grady: I'm down in the Dominican Republic right now trying to work on my breaking ball. Coming along well so far. I found something that's making it much better, so hopefully I can prove myself in spring and show I can pitch at the top level. I felt like I had a good spring last year after being selected by the Reds in the Rule 5, but because of one or two big innings, my ERA didn't show how I really pitched. I know I can get these guys out.

Scott Allen: Yeah, I read that you were much better than your final line. So how does the Dominican Republic-Winter League thing work? Do they just stick you in an apartment and tell you good luck?

Chris O'Grady: My agent called one day and said I had an offer from Estrellas Orientales to be a starting pitcher. I had to get permission from the Angels first, and then signed my contract. My goal was to come down and get some more experience starting. But they have been amazing so far. They set me up in a resort right on the beach. Most days I feel like I'm on vacation instead of playing baseball. I'm loving it and the competition is very good. I got lucky, Anthony Bemboom happened to be on my team, so I have a guy that I've been pitching to for like 5 years. Couldn't have worked out better. Speaking of Winter Ball, I just signed another contract with the Aguilas team to come pitch for them in the playoffs.

Scott Allen: So your team didn't make the playoffs, but you still get to pitch in the playoffs? Sounds like a big win.

Chris O'Grady: Correct. The teams that make the playoffs have a draft of the teams that didn't. They get to pick up 4-5 American players to put on the team for the playoffs. would like to thank Chris O'Grady for his time and wish him the best of luck in the Caribbean World Series and next year.
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