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Meet Aaron Ashby, 4th-round pick of the Milwaukee Brewers

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Ashby breaks down his dominant breaking pitches.

Our Q & As with the 2018 Milwaukee Brewers draft class starts with Aaron Ashby. The left-handed throwing Ashby was taken in fourth round and was the Brewers’ fourth pick of the draft at #125 overall out of Crowder College in Missouri after posting a 2.29 ERA and 156 strikeouts in 74.2 innings this season.

Brad Ford: Hi Aaron, congratulations on being drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers! We’re very excited that you could be a part of the team. What was it like being drafted?

Aaron Ashby: Absolutely unreal. Hearing my name called on the TV was extremely cool and something I will never forget. A lot of my family came over. My uncle and three of his daughters flew in from Pennsylvania. My grandma was there and other family members. Mom and grandma were definitely the most emotional but everyone was extremely excited.

BF: Did you know the Brewers were interested in you before the draft?

AA: Not at all. It was a team that came on late, like three days ago late. My advisor told me they were showing some late interest with a couple of other teams. Just so happened I fell down to the fourth round when they were up.

BF: What do you know about Milwaukee or Wisconsin?

AA: Not a whole lot, to be honest. I know cheese is a huge thing up there, and I love cheese so can’t wait for that! I’ve looked up some pictures of Miller Park and the place looks phenomenal.

BF: Give us a self-scouting report. Everything I’ve read says you have a really good curveball.

AA: So I throw a four seam and two seam fastball. Those usually sit around 91-94 miles per hour, touching 95 throughout the game. Changeup has been a pitch that has really shown improvement this past season. The curveball and slider are the two pitches people talk about most. When I have both pitches working the curveball is like a 12-6 at 71-74mph. The slider is a really hard breaking ball that usually sits 79-82 and sometimes looks like a curveball.

BF: I was going to say, a lot of the older scouting reports describe you as a “two-pitch pitcher” but some of the more recent notes say your changeup can be pretty dangerous. What did you have to do to get there and make it something you’re comfortable throwing in-game?

AA: I actually learned the grip and release from a video that Max Scherzer did about his changeup. So knowing in my mind that I’m throwing the same changeup as a guy like that gave me the confidence to throw it in the game.

BF: So, I should project a Max Scherzer ceiling then?

AA: No doubt! (Laughing) That is who I strive to compete like though. I love his attitude and competitiveness on the mound.

BF: When did you master the curveball and get it to the point it is? A lot of scouts said it might be the best breaking pitch of all of the collegiate players in the draft.

AA: I started throwing my slider — which is the pitch some scouts call the curveball — the summer coming into my first year at Crowder. I tried throwing it to make it look like Chris Sale’s slider. Obviously, it is not on that level given my arm slot, but just throwing it with max intent and max confidence was really what did it for me. I know if I throw that pitch right below the zone it’s going to be really hard to hit.

BF: Oh, I know you mentioned the slider looked like the curve before, but I didn’t realize that that’s your go-to out pitch then?

AA: Yes, sir. I will throw it in any count.

BF: One other interesting note about you on the mound, I’ve noticed you will occasionally change your delivery just a bit, like pausing during the windup. Why did you start doing that and how do you use it to your advantage on the mound?

AA: Yes, I started doing that this past fall. Our coaches at Crowder preach to the hitters to be in time with the pitcher. So, thinking to myself, I said, “Well, I’ll just get them out of time.” That’s where it stemmed from and I just added on to it as the year went on.

BF: On a day off, where can we find you?

AA: Likely golfing or fishing. I’m not very good at either, but I absolutely love being outdoors.

BF: In good news, we have some pretty good fishing spots here. What do you like to catch?

AA: Good deal! I love fishing for bass. It’s a really fun fish to catch. Also, fishing on the beach is one of the greatest fishing experiences I’ve had.

BF: Any Fortnite?

AA: I do not play Fortnite, although I do love the game. I tried playing it when it got popular and was really good, but the WiFi at Crowder was terrible. I would get beyond frustrated with it. I do like to watch Ninja live streams.

BF: When it’s time to watch TV, what show or movie are you watching?

AA: Mostly baseball, action movies, and documentaries about sports, like 30 for 30. Jason Bourne is my favorite series.

BF: What about music? Favorite genre and artist?

AA: Literally anything. Anything from Bob Seger to J Cole. I love all music. The atmosphere I’m in determines what I want to listen to.

BF: Where do you see your future role in the mound? Do you want to be a starter, reliever, closer?

AA: I would love to be a major league starter. Although, the closing role in the majors is one of the most competitive and intense positions in baseball. I think I’m more geared towards starting.

BF: You model yourself after Max Scherzer as a competitor, but who do you think is the major league player you’re most similar to?

AA: Honestly, I’m not sure there is someone that I’m really similar too. I think my delivery is the most unique part of me. Maybe a little bit like Brandon Finnegan.

BF: Finally, anything you want Brewers fans to know about you?

AA: I really enjoy meeting new people. I’m looking forward to playing for a great fan base!