Michael Wacha, a 2012 St. Louis Cardinals first round draft pick, spoke to Redbird Rants this week.
Daniel Solzman: The Cardinals selected you during the first round of the 2012 MLB Draft. At what point did you know that they were going to draft you?
Michael Wacha: I really had no idea they were going to draft me until my name was called. It was a great night though being able to spend it with my family and teammates
Daniel Solzman: After being drafted and given the season you had with the Aggies, the Cardinals used you in a relief role with the GSL Cardinals, Palm Beach, and Springfield although I think it’s safe to say you will likely be a starter this season. How much of a break did you give your throwing arm over the past few months?
Michael Wacha: Yea, that was plan from the beginning. And going into spring training, I will be working as a starter. But after the college season, I would say that I shut my arm down from throwing for a couple weeks to give it a little rest before reporting to Florida.
Daniel Solzman: How excited were you in winning the Texas League championship during your first professional season?
Michael Wacha: It was very exciting! I was glad I was able to experience that playoff race with that group of guys.
Daniel Solzman: Texas A&M coach Rob Childress is known to be one of the best pitching coaches in the country. What kind of role did he have in developing you in order to get ready for the next level?
Michael Wacha: Coach Childress played a huge role in where I am today. He was the guy who gave me an opportunity to come play at Texas A&M when a lot of other schools weren’t interested. But, he changed up my mechanics when I was a freshman and it helped me get more velocity. He also gets his players ready mentally.
Daniel Solzman: In 2011, the Aggies reached the College World Series. While I realize you did not have a good game when you started, what was the whole CWS experience like in Omaha?
Michael Wacha: The CWS was amazing. I know that I wish i would have performed better for my teammates and the seniors but none the less it was a great experience.
Daniel Solzman: What was the experience like with being able to play for the USA Collegiate National Team in 2011?
Michael Wacha: It was a great experience! I met a lot of great guys/players playing with that team. It was a lot of fun playing against Japan in a 5 game series and just seeing a different type of culture and how they play the game.
Daniel Solzman: Who was your favorite player growing up?
Michael Wacha: My favorite player was Roger Clemens. Just his competitiveness on the mound is something that I look up to.
Daniel Solzman: How excited are you for your first Cardinals Winter Caravan and Winter Warm-Up?
Michael Wacha: The Cardinals Caravan and Winter Warm Up was a lot of fun. Got to meet a lot of the fans and it was great to get that interaction with them.
Daniel Solzman: Going back to A&M, how many football games did you get to watch this season and what overall thoughts do you have on Johnny Football?
Michael Wacha: I made it to about 3 of the home games and then was also able to make it to Tuscaloosa for the Alabama game. It was great watching us come in their place and take down the defending national champions. Johnny Football is amazing. He definitely has College Station buzzing right now. Gig ‘Em!
Daniel Solzman: Thanks again for joining Redbird Rants and best of luck this season. Any final words for the best fans in baseball?
Michael Wacha: Thanks for having me Daniel and can’t wait to get started up soon!