The struggles of the 2012 Boston Red Sox have been accentuated by the decline of their starting pitching. Having had some fairly significant recent misses in free agency with Daisuke Matsuzaka and John Lackey, new GM Ben Cherington hopes to rebuild the team’s pitching depth through sound drafting and developing. He took two pitchers in the first round of this year’s draft, and Pat Light, the 37th overall selection, is someone the organization is very excited about.
Light is a big righty with a mid-90’s fastball and developing and projectable secondary stuff. After going 20-0 during his high school career he was drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the 28th round in 2009, but elected to attend Monmouth University (NJ) instead. He dominated in college, culminating with his inclusion on this year’s Golden Spikes Award watch list, all while going 8-3, with a 2.40 ERA and 102 strikeouts in 101.1 innings. His impressive production and steady improvement all appealed to the Red Sox, who believe he can be a quality major league starter.
Light recently signed his first contract and was assigned to the short season Lowell Spinners. I was able to catch him coming off the field after conditioning drills earlier this week and got to find out a little more about this exciting young pitcher.
How did you first become interested in baseball?
My dad was a big baseball player. He got me into it when I was real young. So, it has been basically from birth that I have been playing baseball.
Who were your favorite team and player when you were growing up?
Frank Thomas, playing for the White Sox; that was my favorite player growing up. He retired and ever since then I have just been a fan of baseball.
Is there a pitcher you model yourself after?
I guess I would say back in the day it would be Roy Halladay. He has that two-seam sink that I used to have that I am trying to get back. Right now don’t know if there is really a pitcher that I can model myself after. I’m kind of a hard throwing guy with some good secondary stuff. I don’t know if I am as developed as some of those big guys yet.
Can you run through a little bit of what your draft experience was like?
It was exciting. It was a year long process. Once the draft ended last year, it started up for me. It was exciting though and a good year. The fall was exciting with all the teams coming to watch me pitch and my teammates. You don’t get that exposure a lot coming from a small school like Monmouth. The spring obviously was awesome, as there were scouts at every game. Finally draft day was June 4th. I was sitting around my tv right around 6-ish with my family and ended up getting drafted around 11:30 by the Red Sox, a storied franchise. It couldn’t have been better.
Have you been to Boston yet or interacted with anyone from the team?
I went to Boston two days after the draft. I was up in Boston doing some physical work and getting some tests done on me, and stuff like that. I was able to sit in the locker room for about two hours, so I got to meet most of the guys and see how they did most of their daily stuff.
What is one thing you are hoping to work on or improve the most this season?
I would say my secondary pitches. I do want to get that two-seam back running, but right now my main focus is getting that secondary stuff refined to catch up with my fastball.