In the 12th round of the most recent baseball Amateur Draft, the Brewers picked Eric Semmelhack, a right-handed pitcher. Semmelhack is a local product, growing up in Wisconsin and playing college ball at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. On Friday, Semmelhack took some time to do an interview with me. Here is the transcript of that interview. Many thanks again to him for being willing to do this, and thanks to Rendezvous for setting up the interview.
NJ: So what did it feel like when you first heard you were drafted?
ES: Yeah, it was pretty exciting. I was actually playing for a summer league team in Mequon and my dad called me and let me know. So I didn't really get to see the draft, but it was pretty cool when he told me about it.
Growing up in Wisconsin, I'm guessing you've been a Brewers fan your whole life?
Yeah, I grew up a Brewers fan, being from Milwaukee.
Is it weird thinking that you could potentially play on the team you grew up watching?
It's both weird and exciting. I don't know if I really pictured it playing out this way, but now that it's pretty exciting.
Is this the best case scenario for you?
I really can't think of a better scenario I could have had. I could potentially play in my home state where I grew up, so that's great.
Did you have any idea the Brewers might draft you?
Yeah, I had an idea. I talked to several teams, and went to the Brewers pro scout day a couple weeks ago Thursday. They had invited me to their pro scout day, so I had an idea that they liked me. But sometimes there were other teams that were talking to me, so I didn't really have any idea where I was going to go.
Tell us a little bit about yourself as a pitcher-what kinds of pitches do you throw?
As a pitcher I just have three pitches. I throw, predominately, a fastball and I throw a slider and a changeup once in a while. But I'm kind of known as a power arm guy.
So you throw somewhere in the mid-90s?
I usually sit between 93 and 95.
You've already signed with the Brewers, correct?
I signed a contract with them last night.
What was it like working out a contract? I'm guessing you were pretty eager to start your pro career.
Yeah, I mean they just sent me down to look at their contract. They gave me their offer. I mean, I was pretty sure I was going to sign. Which I did, I wanted to get my pro career started as soon as I could.
Do you knew yet where the Brewers will be sending you to play first?
I leave on Monday morning to go to Helena, Montana to play with the Helena Brewers.
Has the team said whether they were going to try to keep you as a starter or try and convert you to a reliever?
We talked a little bit about both. I think at the start I will be coming out of the bullpen. Kind of a seventh inning kind of guy.
Do you have any preference between starting and relieving?
No, it doesn't bother me. I'm just glad to get my chance and hopefully things will play out well enough where I get an opportunity to move up in the minors and one day pitch for the Brewers.
What do you think is the biggest thing you need to work on to succeed?
There are a couple things. I need to work on some command. I also need to just work on overall player development. Working on my pitches, better quality, developing better physically and getting stronger. And also developing mentally.
What is your greatest strength as a pitcher?
I'm really competitive. I get pretty intense, and I think that can help me out.
And here I was just about to ask what kind of personality you had when pitching, whether you were more of an easy-going kind of guy or a more fiery attitude.
Yeah, I'm pretty competitive. That's just been my approach to baseball and my whole life. I feel like that's the way it has to be if you want to succeed.
Is there anything you're looking forward to in the minors?
Just getting started I think (laughs). It'll be good to find out what it's all about. I'm looking forward to the first few games and just seeing what happens.
If you do end up starting in the National League, you'll have to hit of course. I know you played some infield during high school, do you feel pretty comfortable swinging the bat?
I haven't done it in a while, but hopefully I'd be able to pick it up and do a little something with it (laughs).
Any interesting facts about yourself? Any strange hobbies or skills?
I'm a pretty mellow person, I don't do much out of the ordinary.
Just focusing on baseball?
Yeah, you know, it's been my whole life. I just finished up being a UWM student, so it's just a lot of baseball going on.
Well, thanks so much for taking the time, we hope to see you in Milwaukee soon!
Thank you, I really appreciate it.