Will, congratulations on completing your first season of professional
baseball. Could you tell us a little about yourself?
WI: I don’t
really know what people would like to know about me. I’m a very
simple person and your average guy. I workout, eat, and love to play
sports. I’m still a young man at the age of 18 and I feel like
I have been blessed to be able to play baseball for a living.
What sort of things do you like to do outside of baseball?
WI: A lot of my time
is taken up by baseball, but when I get a chance I love to play HALO
2 the video game on Xbox. That’s a big pastime of mine. And
when I’m not doing that or baseball, it’s normally
working out or just running a lot.
When did you start playing baseball?
WI: I started to
play baseball as soon as I could walk, like most guys...LOL. I
played when I was 5 and I loved playing SS.
did you start pitching?
WI: I never started to
pitch until I was about 10.
you play any other sports in high school?
WI: I never played any
other sports in high school because I was playing baseball year
round. I played football until I was 12 and I loved it. I wish I
would have played that in high school. I think it would have been
Can you talk a little about what it was like to have ML scouts
attending your HS games? When did they first start attending your
games? What sort of contact did you have with them? How much
pressure did having scouts at the game place on your team?
WI: This is going
to be a funny story for you guys. The first time guys started to come
to my games, it was not to see me. I had Jacob Thompson on my team
and he was absolutely amazing. About 15 different teams came to
watch him pitch one day and after the game my coach Barry Shelton
told the scouts that they should stick around a day or 2 and watch me
throw a game. And so only about 3 did and it was the Brewers, Braves
and Reds. My buddy Jacob hurt his ankle earlier in the year and was
only about 50 percent when they saw him. So the scouts didn’t
see him at 100 percent and they decided not to offer him what he was
really worth and so he said no and decided to go to his college of
choice UVA. Getting back to the question, only 3 teams came and saw
me pitch at first and they all ended up coming to my house about a
week after they saw me throw. I really can’t remember being
that nervous or anything because of them. I never thought about pro
baseball because I was so happy to be going to Auburn I didn’t
even think about it. After the game I talked to all 3 and they
wanted to come to my house for a visit. And so I visited with all 3
within 2 weeks. After that I started to notice a few more teams
showing up here and there, but not a lot. It was sort of pressuring
seeing them at the games, but when I was on the field I didn’t
feel a lot of pressure. I don’t know if it’s that I
don’t feel it or that I’m just so into the game I don’t
notice it. I get so much adrenaline going during games that it’s
like I’m in another world and I don’t come down until the
last out is over. It’s just like coming off a 2 or 3 hour run,
I’m just drained. As far as during the game, I just do what I
You struck out an incredible number of batters in HS. Did you
simply overpower most of them with your fastball, or did you use your
WI: I don’t
know how I struck out all of them...*laughter*. I look back on it now
and I don’t even know how I did that. I just did what I felt
was necessary on the mound in high school. I used the fastball
mostly, so I guess you could say I overpowered them. I just tried to
take control of the game in HS and just do everything I could to win.
was the scene like when you broke the state strikeout record?
WI: It was very nice,
but I wasn’t worried about it at the time. We were in a close
game and I had come on in a relief appearance and I was more worried
about winning the game. I came in after that inning was over and
everyone was giving me hugs and congratulating me and I was just
saying thanks and shaking hands, but I was headed to the dugout to
get my helmet because I was about to hit...*laughter*
was draft day like for you? Were you following live?
WI: Draft day was the
most hectic day of my life I think. I had 2 exams that day and I was
getting phone calls left and right from my agent and from teams and
what not. I was in my coach’s class room with him watching it.
When the 3rd round came, right before the Brewers picked
on my computer, my phone rang and it was my best friend, Nic
Gatewood. He said “Will, You just got picked.” I said,
“No I didn’t.” He said, “Yes, you did!”
Then it popped up on my computer and I just went crazy. The school
had to tell me to be quiet because everyone was taking
more teams following you your Junior year prior to your drop in
velocity at the Virginia Commonwealth Games?
WI: There were no
teams following me after the Commonwealth Games because I had a bad
outing. Prior to my outing at the Commonwealth, I had thrown almost
130 innings with high school and American legion play. I was tired
and just drained and I had a bad outing.
close were you to attending Auburn?
WI: I’ll tell
you this; I had no problems at all, if I didn’t get the money I
wanted, to go to Auburn. That is a great place with what I think is
probably the best coaching staff in college baseball.
What pitches are you throwing? How much input do the Brewers
have in what pitches you develop/throw?
WI: Right now, I’m
in instructional league learning how to throw a change up. I threw a
fastball, curveball and split this year in Helena.. They want me to
get away from the split because it is bad for my elbow. The Brewers
are putting an incredible amount of input on my pitches. They are
looking out for my best interest and they want me to stay healthy.
When you see a scouting report on a guy, do you rely solely on
that when you pitch or do you make adjustments as necessary? Or do
you sometimes ignore the scouting report and do what you need to do
to keep developing as a pitcher?
WI: I look at scouting
reports, but I keep them in the back of my mind. I pitch guys based
on how I feel that day. If I have a good fastball, I pitch with it.
I’m going to pitch to my strengths and to their weaknesses. My
strength is usually my fastball, but if a guy is a fastball hitter I
might challenge him with it anyway depending on how I feel that day.
Did the Brewers do anything with your mechanics when you came into
WI: As Lit would
say, “I haven’t changed anything, I have enhanced
them”...*laughter*. I’ve changed a few things, but
mostly the same.
The Brewers have piggybacked pitchers in the lower minors. How has
that worked for you?
WI: The piggyback
system is a good thing when you have guys who are limited on how many
innings they can throw.
Has it been frustrating at all to be removed from games not
because of your performance, but because you reached your pitch
WI: That is something
I have had to get used to. At the same time they are looking at this
in the long run.
How much of pitching is mental versus physical?
WI: At this level I
would say that pitching is 90 percent mental and 10 physical. Anyone
who is at this level is full of physical ability. The mental part is
where I feel like I have an advantage. Without it I would be just
How do you prepare yourself mentally for games?
WI: I try to stay
focused before games. I have a routine where I call my father, my
mother and a great friend back home, Raegan Clark, before every game.
I’m a very superstitions person.
What is your greatest strength on the mound?
WI: I feel like my
best strength on the mound is just the ability I have to go out there
and just go at it. I don’t leave anything on the field. I
give everything I have and not a lot of people do that. A lot of
people say I should have done this, I should have done that. When I
leave the field I know I have done everything I can to give my team
the best chance to win.
Are you more of a fly ball pitcher or groundball pitcher?
WI: I would say I’m
a ground ball pitcher.
You were quite successful as a hitter in high school. Do you miss
that? Do you look forward to hitting again while playing for a
National League squad?
WI: I miss hitting a
ton. I feel like I can’t control the game as much as I did in
high school when I’m not hitting. That is not what I get paid
for so I can’t say anything.
has been the toughest batter you’ve faced to date? Who just
has your number?
WI: I will say that
Dallas Morris for the Orem Owls is one of the better hitters I’ve
faced. I will never say anyone has my number.
As fans, we often only see players for the two-to-three hours they
are playing the games. Can you talk a bit about the work you put in
WI: There is a lot
that fans don’t see. They don’t see the teams practice 3
hours before all of the games. We all do our running, throwing,
lifting and stuff before or after all the games.
As fans, we have seen and heard stories about long bus rides
between games. How has the travel been? What sort of things do you
do to kill time during long trips?
WI: I listen to my
Ipod a lot and I also like to just sit and talk to people. Normally
you’re not always with the same person every time and so I just
talk to them about life a lot. How they got here, their families and
about things they have done in their life.
Has adjusting to the “baseball lifestyle” been harder
than adjusting to the increased level of competition?
WI: I mean both
are tough so I will just call them equal...*laughter*. Both are very
How often was your family able to see you pitch this last season?
WI: My father and best
friend, Nic Gatewood, came and saw me pitch at
Billings. I ended
up with a no-hitter through 7 before my pitch count was up so that
What were your biggest challenges your first season?
WI: I think the
biggest challenge for me was being able to take a beating like I did
at Ogden, where I gave up 4 homers in an inning. Being able to
bounce back from that and still have the confidence is tough.
Most Brewer fans from Wisconsin haven’t been able to see you
pitch in person this year. Given that we’ve only been able to
follow you via web casts and box scores, how would you assess your
season? What do you think you did well?
WI: I am happy with my
first season. I think I did a decent job of giving my team a chance
to win every time I was on the mound.
were your goals at the beginning of your professional career?
In the beginning, I didn’t set any goals because when you set
goals you might get to them and be satisfied. So I don’t set
there anything in particular you think you need to improve?
WI: I need to improve
my change up.
there one thing you’ve done particularly well this year that
you’re especially proud of?
WI: The one thing that
I am proud of is that when the big games came, I feel like my team
wanted me on the mound and that I am proud of.
While the minors, particularly at the lower levels, is about
development, how important was getting that first professional win
earlier this season?
WI: It was nice to get
it out of the way, but I never thought about it a lot.
was the atmosphere like in the championship game in Helena?
WI: It was a great
atmosphere and the fans were great. I just wish I could have done a
little better of job for them and got the win.
How often do you talk to the guys in the front office, like Doug
Melvin, or Reid Nichols, or others in the front office?
WI: The last time
I talked to Reid, he was telling me to get off the phone before a
game...*laughter*. I don’t talk to them much, but I’m
sure I will get to know them better here in instructional league.
Is there anyone within the organization that you’re
encouraged to talk to with non-baseball related questions that might
come up throughout the year?
WI: I have not been
encouraged to talk to anyone about stuff outside of baseball. In
Helena, Bobby Randall and I had a few good talks here and there about
life in general. He’s a great human being.
you have your own personal timetable for reaching Milwaukee?
WI: I have no time
table for when I’ll be in Milwaukee.
team and players did you follow growing up?
WI: I didn’t
follow any team a lot growing up. In the past few years, I’ve
grown to be a big Red Sox fan and Curt Schilling is my man.
you're a quotable guy, and a lot of Brewerfan.net users admire your
willingness to tell it like it is in addition to your ability to get
hitters out. Do you think about having an 'image,' and use it to your
advantage on or off the field?
WI: Like I’ve
said in a lot of other interviews I have done, I’m a different
guy on the field then off. When I’m on the field, it’s
like I’m at war. I feel like it’s me against them and I
have the best weapon on the field, myself. I’m not a big image
guy. A lot of people like the way I approach the game and a lot
don’t. On the field I have no friends but my team. The other
team is the enemy and I will do whatever it takes to win. Off the
field, I’m a very friendly guy.
do you consider yourself more like: Mel Brooks or the Dalai Lama?
WI: Now that’s a
good question. On the field during the game, I’m the Dalai
Lama. Off the field I’m definitely Mel Brooks. I like to make
people laugh and I like to have fun.
for the ladies out there, is there a “Mrs. Inman” in the
WI: I have no
attachments now..*laughter* I have someone back home who I care
about a lot and I’m hoping there could be a future with.
Bfan.net: What is
the first thing an 18 year old ballplayer does with his signing
WI: The first thing an
18 year old does with his signing bonus normally is to blow it. For
me, the first thing was finding a way to make more money off of what
I already had. Looking out for the long term part of it..
for taking the time to speak with us and good luck in 2006 and