Dustin Beggs, a 17th round selection by the St. Louis Cardinals out of Georgia Perimeter College, spoke to Redbird Rants on Wednesday. Beggs has decided to enroll at the University of Kentucky and play baseball for the Kentucky Wildcats rather than embark on a professional baseball career at this time.
Daniel Solzman: Thanks for joining Redbird Rants today. How are things treating you as you up in Georgia?
Dustin Beggs: Things in Georgia were very laid back until about a week ago then I was busy with the draft, decision, and moving up to Kentucky.
Daniel Solzman: Can you describe what it felt like when you found out that Cardinals were selecting you in the 17th round of the draft?
Dustin Beggs: It was a surreal feeling, to be honest. Just to hear them say my name and then physically see it on the draft tracker was truly an honor.
Daniel Solzman: When did you find out that the Cardinals were interested in selecting you?
Dustin Beggs: I got a call from one of their scouts and he asked me a bunch of questions about a week or two before the draft and that was when I had a good idea that there was a chance of them taking me.
Daniel Solzman: What’s the reaction been like on Twitter and social media since the Cardinals drafted you?
Dustin Beggs: Oh, goodness. It’s been such an outpouring of support and love from my friends, family, and Cardinal Nation people just congratulating me and welcoming me. I couldn’t have been more blessed by everyone who participated.
Daniel Solzman: With being a 17th round pick, you had the option of signing or following through on your commitment to the University of Kentucky. The St. Louis Cardinals are a pitching-rich organization from top to bottom. How much of a factor did that play in your decision to play at Kentucky rather than sign with the Cardinals?
Dustin Beggs: I actually think that was a big help to their case, in my opinion. I have full faith that the Cardinals are one of the best in the league at developing pitchers, as seen by the ones they have now. The decision I made was more from a stand point of becoming more mature as a pitcher and individual.
Daniel Solzman: Gary Henderson has done a heck of a job since taking over as head coach of the Kentucky Wildcats baseball team. This season, Kentucky had the national College Baseball Player of the Year in A.J. Reed, who starred on both the mound and the plate. While Kentucky loses rotation fixtures in Reed and Chandler Shepherd, they also saw some breakout performances from some of their freshmen during the 2014 campaign. What has Coach Henderson said about where you will fit in on the Wildcats roster?
Dustin Beggs: He has given me a opportunity to be in the rotation, which is all I can ask for. Now, I have to work as hard as I can to earn that. Nothing in this game is given to you; the only things you get are what you give your full effort and determination to.
Daniel Solzman: How has Georgia Perimeter coach Brett Campbell helped in your development as a pitcher?
Dustin Beggs: Coach Campbell was an unbelievable asset to my development. He basically rewrote everything I ever knew about pitching and being under his wing for the past two years, I have learned more than I had in my previous 11 years of baseball. I truly have him to thank for everything I have achieved.
Daniel Solzman: Do you feel that playing a season under Coach Henderson and facing SEC competition will further help in your pitching development improve your position in next summer’s MLB draft?
Dustin Beggs: That is what the hope is. He and I both believe that this will put me in the best position possible to learn as much as I can from him and next year, possibly be taken again.
Daniel Solzman: While posting an 11-4 record and 1.65 ERA, you led the NJCAA with 125 strikeouts, which very well might be a GPC record. How awesome was that?
Dustin Beggs: It was such a fun year. The team really bonded, we hit the ball well, and played good defense. My job was just to go out there and give my team the best possible chance we could to win. My team really backed me up and helped me achieve what I did this year.
Daniel Solzman: What’s something that you like to do for fun when you aren’t playing baseball?
Dustin Beggs: I am a big fan of watching movies. I love to be entertained or mentally challenged by a good movie.
Daniel Solzman: What was your favorite movie in the last year and is there one you are looking forward to seeing this year?
Dustin Beggs: I was a big fan of silver linings playbook this past year and I’m looking forward to watching Divergent and 22 Jump Street.
Daniel Solzman: Who was your favorite player growing up?
Dustin Beggs: I had two. Ichiro was one because I am a big Seattle Mariners fan and used to play outfield. My number growing up was always 51. Another one was Albert Pujols because he plays the game the right way and is a Godly man on and off the field.
Daniel Solzman: What is something that Cardinals fans should know about you?
Dustin Beggs: I guess a good thing for them to know is that I am a big nerd. I love health sciences and anatomy so I love to show off my knowledge some times and use big scientific words to confuse people.
Daniel Solzman: Thanks again for joining us and best of luck next season with the Kentucky Wildcats. Any words for the best fans in baseball?
Dustin Beggs: I just want to thank them for being so welcoming via twitter and social media. They really made the experience wildly more special and I hope to be a Red Bird next year as well!