Mike Augliera: Boston Red Sox Pitching Prospect Talks Baseball
The Boston Red Sox have some of the better-known pitching prospects in baseball with Rubby De La Rosa, Allen Webster and Matt Barnes all leading most peoples’ lists. It turns out that they are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Boston’s farm system, as there are a number of other promising young arms being developed, including last year’s fifth-round draft choice, Mike Augliera.
The 22-year-old right-hander attended Old Bridge High School in New Jersey. He later became a college star at Binghamton University, where he is the all-time leader in wins (23) and innings (298.1). As a senior, he led the NCAA with an 83/7 strikeout-to-walk ratio, showing his excellent control.
According to an article by MLB.com’s Evan Drellich, even Tim Sinicki, Augliera’s college coach, is amazed by the type of pitcher the Red Sox prospect became: “The evolution over the past four years has been remarkable, and he really is very deserving of this opportunity. I thought he was going to be a good college pitcher. He had a decent fastball in the kind of mid-80s range, decent secondary stuff. [I] really kind of thought if he developed and worked like he did, he’d turn into a really good college pitcher. I’d be lying if I said my crystal ball told me he’d be a fifth-rounder. He’s just gone way above and beyond his expectations, and it’s all because of his hard work.”
SoxProspects.com describes Augliera’s arsenal as including a high-80s fastball, an outstanding curveball and a promising slider. However, his fastball velocity has crept into the low 90s and only made him that more dangerous on the mound. In addition to his talent, Boston coveted Augliera in the fifth round because of his signability as a college senior, which allowed them greater flexibility to sign some of their other picks, like fourth-round pick, pitcher Ty Buttrey, who had the option of attending college if he didn’t like Boston’s signing bonus offer.
Augliera had a 4.42 ERA in 15 games at short-season Lowell during his inaugural pro season last year, but did strike out 10 batters per nine innings. He has started 2013 with high Single-A Salem and is off to an excellent start, going 3-0 with a 4.24 ERA in four starts. His strikeouts have been cut to 5.4 per nine innings, but he is certainly making adjustments to playing at a new level.
During a recent off-day due to a rainout, Augliera was kind enough to answer some questions about his baseball career. Check out what the Boston prospect had to say.
Mike Augliera Interview:
If you could sit down and pick the brain of any pitcher, current or former, who would that be and why?: I would probably pick Greg Maddux. I loved the way he pitched. He didn’t throw the hardest, but he seemed to have a plan for every batter and was fun to watch pitch. I would enjoy receiving some tips from him on the finer things of getting hitters out.
Leading up to the 2012 MLB Draft, what kind of contact and recruiting were you getting from different teams?: I was in contact with a bunch of teams; some more interested than others. I would receive general information letters, emails and phone calls from different teams. I didn’t have much leverage being a senior, so I was just happy to be getting any kind of contact.
Can you run through what your draft experience was like?: It was an amazing experience; something that I try to relive in my head a lot. From the contact with scouts at games, to the phone calls leading up to the draft, it was all a very enjoyable time for me and family. On Day 2 of the draft, my family and friends were over as we watched on the tv. There is no explanation for the variety of emotions I felt that day. We were all anxious, excited, nervous, and in the end it couldn’t have played out any better.
What pitches do you throw and which one do you hope to improve the most?: I throw a two-seam and four-seam fastballs, circle changeup and a slider. I am always trying to improve all of my pitches, but the one that I have spent the most time on since the season started is my slider.
Minnesota Twins’ pitcher Scott Diamond is the only MLBer to come from your alma mater Binghamton. Have you had any contact or advice from him?: Yes, I met Scott before he got called up to Minnesota a few times when he would come back and work out at Binghamton. With the Red Sox and Twins facilities both being in Fort Myers, Florida, we were able to grab dinner one night in spring training.
What do you believe sets you apart from other pitching prospects in the Red Sox organization?: With all of the very good pitching prospects that are in the Red Sox organization, it is tough to set yourself apart. I do believe that with my combination of command and work ethic I will continue to get better each time out there. Being a college senior helps me in terms of having some more experience.
Have you connected with any other Boston prospects since joining the organization?: Yes, I have made a lot of good friends in the organization since I signed last June. I have met a lot of good people in my short time so far with the Red Sox.
What has been the most difficult part of adapting to life as a professional player?: Probably getting used to the daily grind of traveling, games and getting yourself ready to play. It’s a big difference from college when you throw on weekends and have the weekdays off. We don’t get many off days, so there is a lot of work to make sure that your body is able to recover for each game or start.
Andrew Martin is the founder of “The Baseball Historian” blog where he posts his thoughts about baseball on a regular basis. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also reach him on Twitter at@historianandrew.