I’m admittedly hyperbolic when it comes to baseball. I like to wax (un)poetically about the game, ‘cause, well, why not. I’m not a scout and I don’t work for a team, plus it’s not as if you paid big bucks to read this. Sometimes I make mountains out of molehills and personify the impersonal. I enjoy the mystic, transient qualities of baseball and I’m learning to appreciate (and understand) the empirical leanings of its inherent algorithms. But perhaps more than anything, I’m a fan of the characters in the game. I’m telling you this because I think we’ve found one.
Will Lamb was a second round pick outta Clemson in 2011. His role as a pitcher wasn’t set in stone ‘cause as a Tiger he kinda raked at the plate. Playing CF and 1B, the lanky lefty appeared in 138 games over 3 seasons, hitting .316/.376/.432. During his junior season, Will scorched the ball to the tune of .348/.389/.471 and included a 25 game hitting streak for good measure. In addition to his prowess at the dish, he had 31 stolen bases in 36 attempts. As a pitcher, Will tallied 74 strike outs in 99 collegiate innings, while making 15 of his 43 appearances as a starter. Again, it was his junior season when Will was at his finest, averaging more than a strikeout per frame and allowing a single homerun during his 24.2 innings. He was even on the mound when his team clinched a trip to the College World Series. (a unique distinction he shares with Mitch Moreland) A native of Virginia, Will will play the entire 2013 season as a 22 year-old. And he’ll play the entire season as a left-hander. Following a year in Hickory, where he started 21 games and struck out 80 hitters in 108.1 innings, Will’s likely to feature in the Myrtle Beach rotation. As a Pelican, he'll be looking for the same things hoardes of pitchers seek: a consistent fastball and the ability to command his secondary offerings. But that’s all statsy stuff. I like writing these because they give the prospects a chance to show us that they’re more than a page on baseball-reference.com. I like to personify these guys, but sometimes I don’t have to, they do it themselves.
Okey dokey, let’s roll.
1. How tall are you, in socks, standing straight up?
In socks, I am 6 feet 6 inches. Without, 6 feet 5.
2. Whoa. A.) Can you dunk? B.) Do people ask you if you can dunk?
Yes, I can dunk; I would be pretty ashamed if I couldn’t. And, yes all the time. First question is usually do you play basketball
3. How much pounds are you right now?
I am tippin the scales at 190 pounds right now. Up 10 from last year, so that’s a plus.
4. Let’s talk about college for a second and ask a Sports Illustrated For Kids question. How cool is it to play in the College World Series?
Playing in Rosenblatt the last season it was around was a once in a lifetime experience. Best teams in the country, and the history in the stadium is crazy. Stepping in the same box or on the same rubber as some of the all time greats is really mind-blowing after the fact.
5. Many Lone Star Ball folks (including myself) will see Kyle Parker this season with Tulsa. Anything we should specifically heckle him about?
Haha, not really. He played well when I was at Clemson, not only dropping tanks but also throwing touchdowns. Has some great head lettuce as well.
6. It’s different for everybody, but you hit the ball a ton your final year in school, how did the process go in deciding whether your future would be on the mound or in the field?
I didn’t really have control over it. It was 50/50 with teams seeing me as a P/OF. I really enjoyed hitting and running around in the outfield, but at the same time I like controlling the game on the bump.
7. With Tajh Boyd returning, Clemson is sure to win the National Championship, right?
Oh, no doubt in my mind! I already have my ticket bought to Pasadena! It would make it better if we had DeAndre ‘Nuk’ Hopkins returning, but still a frontrunner. Open up against UGA, so Cone and me will definitely be jawing that entire week.
8. As you know, Nick[Martinez] was a 2-way player in college as well and I asked him if he misses playing in the field and hitting. He said he does, and he prolly misses fielding more than hitting. Howsabout you? You miss runnin’ around in centerfield, scoopin up short hops at first, or stepping into the box against a fireballer?
No doubt. It was a blast hitting a ball square to the gap and stretching it into 3. I really enjoyed running around, diving, and trying to throw people out. 1B, not soo much, it was fun but hated pickin, and there are some big lefty hitters in the ACC.
9. What do you throw, pitch-wise?
I have a fastball, slider, and changeup.
10. What’s the pitch you hope to improve the most in 2013?
Changeup, for sure. In college I was told to throw in relief and just throw hard. Being a starter I have to actually pitch. Its more conviction in the pitch with a changeup and don’t baby it, so that’s what I am workin on.
11. This is a pretty personal question, but does it piss you off to not be on some of the “Top Prospect” lists? I’ve always wondered if you guys read those things.
Eh, it doesn’t piss me off. Those things are opinions on projection. I know that if I pitch well, and do the things that I need to do for me to know that I am prepared every time I touch the rubber, then I did all I could. So, no I don’t read into those things too much. Prove it on the field.
12. Would you rather chew and swallow a live bug, or wear a University of South Carolina hat for 15 seconds?
I’d chew three large moths still alive before you caught me dead in any gamecock memorabilia. I wont buy shirts strictly because it looks like South Carolina garnet.
13. Name someone not in your immediate family that’s a favorite face to see in the stands when you’re pitching.
Hands down my college teammates and friends. I had the opportunity to have my first start of the season in Greenville, so they all came out and got to talk after the game. Those guys, are family to me and its always a fun time when we get together.
14. You’re a starter, but I’ve read some stuff hinting you might be whiz-bang nasty comin’ out of the ‘pen at some point. Do young pitchers think about their future as a starter versus a reliever/closer?
I think about it as I’m going to be a starter until told otherwise. If not, then starters and relievers work loads are totally different. I feel I get more out of starting routines: long distance running, and lifting on scheduled days. But, if I get to the bigs I do not care if I start or relieve.
15. What’s your handicap right now? (golf wise) Also, what’s in your golf bag?
Haha my handicap is so bad. I go out to hit a ball as hard as I can. Strictly fun for me, it’s a release. Put me on a green though ill sink a putt anywhere. My golf bag has the essentials; Driver, fairway wood, the ol sand wedge, and my trusty 5 iron, oh and cant forget my Scotty Cameron putter (thanks pawpaw)
At this point I thanked Will for his time in answering these questions and I shared with him that Hampton Roads Virginia, which is close to where he grew up, and Hampton Road in Dallas are very, very different. I told him I hope he stays healthy and I genuinely hope that we see him in Arlington someday. As for you, I just hope you enjoyed learning a little more about him.
As always, enjoy baseball. Love Ya!