We interviewed Mike Mayers, a right-handed pitcher out of Ole Miss, in late June. Mayers had been drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in the third round of the 2013 MLB Draft. At the time of our June 24th interview, Mayers had been assigned to the GCL Cardinals. He has since been promoted to the Peoria Chiefs of the Midwest League (A). Our apologies for the delay in getting this interview posted.
Daniel Solzman: Thank you for joining Redbird Rants today and congrats on being drafted by the Cardinals. How are things treating you down in Jupiter?
Mike Mayers: They’re good. Just getting acclimated to all the new things. Anything that’s different from college. Obviously, new group of guys, new atmosphere, new coaches. All that good stuff. It’s been good so far.
Daniel Solzman: When did you know that the Cardinals were interested in drafting you?
Mike Mayers: Nick Brannon was the area scout that drafted me. I talked to Nick over in the fall. We sat down and met. He called and, I’m not sure, but someone called my agent around 10:30 AM Friday morning and said we’re interested in taking Mike. It was, from then on, I knew my name would be called with that third pick.
Daniel Solzman: Did you do anything in the days prior to try and take your mind off the draft?
Mike Mayers: Well, the first day, they had a bunch of guys that I played with, throughout the country, so I actually sat down and watched the draft. My family came down. It was cool to see a lot of their names called.
Actually, the day, with the nature of the draft, is kind of the day that I thought I would be called. My dad and I went to play golf that morning. He thought I wouldn’t think about it, try and past the time, and spend some time with my dad, too. I was actually on the ninth tee box when I got a call from my agent, telling me that the Cardinals were going to be drafting me.
Daniel Solzman: You’ve been the Saturday starter for Ole Miss the past 2 seasons. How did it feel to have won SEC Pitcher of the Week honors?
Mike Mayers: It is an incredible award. I feel extremely blessed. Obviously, my teammates and my coaches had a huge, huge role in that individual award. It was a cool thing because it was my last time I’d be throwing at Ole Miss. It was against our rival, Mississippi State (who played for the National Championship). It was definitely a cool way to go out at Ole Miss.
Daniel Solzman: How has Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco helped prepare you for the next level?
Mike Mayers: I think that’s what he does best. If you look at all the guys, Obviously, Cardinals fans are extremely familiar with Lance Lynn. We’ve got guys in Major League Baseball succeeding. We’ve got a ton of guys that even I’ve played with the last 3 years that are in Double A and some have made it into the big leagues. If you look at the success rate that Ole Miss players have, especially the pitchers, it’s incredible. I think Coach Bianco plays a huge part of that. When you get to Ole Miss after high school, you’re a thrower. You don’t really understand the game. I know that was a big thing for me. He kind of set me down. We talked about the game, the ins and outs, and kind of what to look for it hitters, and why you throw certain pitchers at certain times. It kind of transformed me into a pitcher, not just a thrower. Just what to do outside of your start. Your start happens—you can’t really control what happens when you throw on the rubber. You can control and execute pitches. Where you find the ability to execute pitches is the work you put in. For me, it was every Saturday. So it’s what I did Sunday through Friday to prepare me for each start. He kind of helped me along the way and helped me develop a routine to get on the right track.
Daniel Solzman: I have to ask…how about the SEC?
Daniel Solzman: Has Lance Lynn reached out to you since you were drafted?
Mike Mayers: I know some people have talked to him since I’ve been drafted and he’s had nothing but positive things to say. It’s pretty cool experience for me. I got to work with Lance a little bit when he was working out in Oxford before he reported for Spring Training. Right before I threw my bullpens, I would sit and watch him throw his. That was a pretty cool experience, especially now that I am a Cardinal. At Ole Miss, Lance Lynn was the guy that you looked up to. Now that I’m a Cardinal, in the lower levels of the organization, it’s still the same guy that I looked up to for the last three years.
Daniel Solzman: Who was your favorite player growing up?
Mike Mayers: Growing up, my favorite player was probably Omar Vizquel. I was an Indians fan growing up. My grandparents are from Northern Ohio. He always did things the right way. He could flash the leather a little bit. Watching him and Robbie Alomar, Jr. up the middle was a pretty cool experience.
Daniel Solzman: What is something that you like to do for fun?
Mike Mayers: Honestly, I do a little bit of everything. I like to stay active. I’m not somebody to just sit around and sleep in all day. I’m not a big video game guy. I enjoy all the different types of sports. Basketball and golf, especially. Whether it’s going to the pool or, down here we’re able to the beach. Just different things to stay active but definitely, I’ll try just about anything.
Daniel Solzman: Thanks again for joining us and best of luck. Any final words for the best fans in baseball?
Mike Mayers: Just appreciate the opportunity and I look forward to getting started.