11 Questions with Ryan Kellogg
* Andrew Tinnish has been promoted from scouting director to assistant GM, but he still has a few loose ends to try and tie up — like signing 12th-round pick Ryan Kellogg ….
By Clayton Richer
The pride of Whitby, Ont. Ryan Kellogg was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 12th round of the amateur baseball draft. The southpaw was projected to be the top Canuck drafted and to go somewhere between the fourth and sixth rounds of the draft but slipped to the deeper rounds due to his commitment to Arizona State University.
Kellogg is a veteran of the Canadian Junior National Team and has pitched on the International stage representing Canada. Kellogg named the MVP of the National Team a honour that took him by surprise but that Kellogg calls his greatest accomplishment to date. The lefty toes the rubber with a repertoire that features a fastball, curveball and a changeup that Kellogg tabs as his “out-pitch”.
As a Jays fan I personally hope the Blue Jays can pry Kellogg away from ASU and convince him to sign with the Jays but for now Kellogg is keeping his cards close to his chest as he is about to engage in the bargaining process with the Jays. One thing is guaranteed after all the dust settles Kellogg will continue to represent his country with pride no matter what logo is on the front of his jersey.
RYAN KELLOGG INTERVIEW:
1. You were slotted to be drafted between the 4th and 6th rounds of the baseball draft. Do you think your commitment to Arizona State University contributed to being drafted in the 12th round? Did scouts regard you as a hard sign?
My commitment to Arizona State University definitely contributed to the round I was selected in. The scouts did see me as a difficult sign and were not willing to take the risk of me not signing in the earlier rounds. They knew I was interested in school due to the prestigious reputation of ASU’s baseball program and the scouts knew they would have to try and buy me out of that opportunity.
2. How tough of a decision has is it been trying to decide whether to sign with the hometown Toronto Describe “Draft Day” and the days leading up to the Amateur Draft, had you had much dialogue with the Blue Jays prior to the draft?
It has been very tough deciding whether to sign or go off to school. My family and I have looked at it from every possible angle to try and make the decision easier but at the end of the day it is still a difficult one to make. I had talked to the Jays only a little bit before the draft. I did a questionnaire in February but other than that there wasn’t much communication until about a week before the draft when Jamie Lehman, Jay’s scout for Canada, invited me to the Roger’s Center to throw a bullpen for all their scouts on the Sunday before the draft. That was the first time I could really tell they were interested.
3. Describe the emotion of “Draft Day” and the days leading up to the Amateur Draft, were you surprised being taken in the 12th round and did it make the day bittersweet?
Draft Day was very tense. We were all very excited but also anxious to see what would happen. I received calls from many teams trying to see what I would or wouldn’t sign for. Once the first 6 or 7 rounds were over I didn’t think I would be taken that day. I thought I would be taken in a much later round a more of a courtesy rather than a team that had real intentions of signing me. In a way it was bittersweet. The dream of being drafted was reached but not in the same way as it could have been. I am curious as to when I would have been drafted if I wasn’t seen as a tough sign or if the draft process didn’t change but that doesn’t really matter because I am very happy with being able to say I was drafted. That’s something I can be proud of and no one can take away from me.
4. In March you held the Toronto Blue Jays scoreless for two innings. Describe the experience and what it was like facing Jose Bautista, J.P. Arencibia, Adam Lind and Brett Lawrie?
Facing hitters like Bautista, Arencibia, Lind and, fellow Canadian, Brett Lawrie was an incredible experience. To be given the opportunity to face big name major league players, as a Canadian high school kid, is unbelievable. That was a once in a life time experience that I will never forget.
5. What was the greatest obstacle growing up in Canada and what advice do you have for aspiring Canadian baseball players?
The toughest part about playing baseball is the limited amount of time that can be played outside. We have to compete against kids from Arizona, Texas, California, etc. that can play outside all year round, while we’re inside for almost 6 months. Indoor training is available for those six months but it’s not the same as being outside and having the room to do a full practice and long toss every day. My advice to other Canadian baseball players would be to make the best of what you have and get your work in one way or another. Doing long toss outside is great but being at to throw a little bit inside is better than nothing. It’s tough sometimes but the reward is worth the sacrifice.
6. What baseball team did you follow growing up and do you emulate your style around any major league players?
I always followed the Toronto Blue Jays. The Rogers Centre is only 45 minutes from my house so I spent many summer afternoons there as a kid. I always followed them because they were so close to my home town and because they are now the only remaining Canadian team. I try to model my game after Cliff Lee and Brian Wilson. I model my pitching after Lee because we throw the same pitches and he is very smart and composed on the mound. I also like Brian Wilson. I love his ability to have fun around the game while still being a great competitor on the mound.
7. For people who have never seen you pitch, what type of player can they expect from Ryan Kellogg?
For people who have never seen me play, they can expect to see a young Canadian kid that loves playing the game and being with his teammates and who is going to give you his best effort every time he takes the field.
8. What pitches do you throw and what is your “out pitch “and what type of velocity do your pitches hover around?
I throw a fastball (87-90), changeup (74-76), curveball (70-72) and most recently have started working on a cutter (82-84). My out pitch is my changeup. I have been throwing it much longer than my cutter and curveball so I have better feel for it and more control.
9. What has been your biggest baseball related accomplishment to date?
My biggest baseball related accomplishment thus far is being named the Canadian Junior National Team MVP. This is a very special award to me and I was very surprised and honoured to receive it.
10. Who has been the most influential person in helping you develop as a baseball player throughout your career?
There have been a few very influential who have contributed to my development as a baseball player. My coaches from Homerun Academy, Rob Butler and Rich Butler have been very helpful over the years. Chris Kemlo, our pitching coach, has been the one I have worked most closely with over that last 5 years and I attribute a lot of my success to his help. Greg Hamilton, who runs of the Canadian Junior National team, has also helped me out a lot. He is the one who gave me the opportunity to play for Team Canada as well as in the Under Armour All-America game. He is the one that helped me get noticed by scouts. Chris Reitsma, the JNT pitching coach, has also been very influential over the last year. His advice and insight to pitching has been very beneficial in aiding my young career and pitching philosophy.
11. What do you think the chances of you signing are where you sit right now on a percentage out of 100, and is the a dollar amount the Jays could offer that would convince you to sign?
At this point the chance of signing is still up in the air. Negotiations have not yet started so we’ll have to wait and see. At this point I do not feel it is in my best interest to reveal that figure.