Paukovits was a draft-and-follow signee this year
On Thursday night in Burlington, North Carolina, Bryan Paukovits made his professional debut, pitching three innings against the Greeneville Astros. Paukovits was drafted by the Royals in both 2005 and 2006, and he signed this year as a draft-and-follow after an excellent season at San Diego-Mesa Junior College. After the game, RC caught up with Paukovits to discuss his debut and his repertoire.
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Royals Corner: Bryan, you made your professional debut [on Thursday night]. How do you feel about your performance, and what was the experience like?
Bryan Paukovits: I was pretty happy. I was kind of nervous out there, but I’m just happy to get it over with. I think I did pretty good, and I had good defense behind me, and the offense did really well. I was happy with all the results we had.
RC: What kind of pitch count were you on tonight?
BP: All the newcomers are on a 45 pitch count. Forty-five in about three innings, that’s about right. Sometimes I like to get it in a little less, but with opening day and all that stuff, I was pretty happy.
Paukovits pitched three innings on Thursday, allowing two runs on five hits while striking out two
RC: You were a draft and follow from the 2006 draft. What types of things did you work on at college in San Diego this past season?
BP: I worked a lot on location. I did a lot of cardio and ran a lot. I just worked on my pitches, mostly location, getting the inside part of the plate and the outside. I was pretty successful this year, and I couldn’t have been happier with what happened.
RC: What kind of contact did you have with the organization this spring while you were at school? Were they telling you the types of things they wanted you to work on?
BP: Yeah, I was actually a draft and follow in 2005 as well. But I’ve had the same scout for two years, and I’ve worked on everything he’s told me. The first year, I didn’t improve as much, but this last year, I pretty much improved on all the things he told me to do. I kept in contact with him throughout the whole year and just worked on whatever he told me to work on.
RC: Could you talk a little about the pitches you throw, and what speeds you generally work at?
BP: I throw a fastball, a changeup, and a power curve. My fastball is anywhere between 91 and 95, and I topped out at 97 this year in college.
Paukovits' fastball topped out around 94 mph on Thursday
RC: Did you throw any changeups in your debut?
BP: Yeah, I threw two changeups, one successfully, and the other one wasn’t. I threw one changeup the first inning, and the guy grounded out. The second one, I just left up a little right over the plate, and the guy got a hit. There’s nothing I can do about it, except just work on getting it down more, just like every other pitch.
RC: What pitch would you say you have the best command of right now?
BP: Definitely fastball. My changeup’s good. My curveball is good, but it’s not always consistent, so that’s going to be the pitch I work on the most over the next few months.
RC: Now, you stand in at 6-foot-7. Would it be a stretch to imagine that you played a little basketball growing up?
BP: Just with my friends. I never got serious. I was always into sports since I was five-years old. I played soccer, football, baseball, but I never played basketball for a league or anything. But after awhile, baseball just took over and that’s all I worried about.
Forget basketball...Paukovits has always preferred baseball
RC: Do you feel your height gives you an advantage, or are there also some disadvantages that make you have to work a little harder, like on your mechanics?
BP: Yeah, I do believe my height gives me an advantage. But there are also some bad things. I have to work extra hard on fielding the ball and stuff like that, because I have that much more just to bend over and get the ball, so that was another thing I really worked on this year at San Diego-Mesa Junior College. Just a lot of drills dealing with fielding the ball, and I think I’ve really improved on it. Two years ago, I would say I was rusty on it, but I worked really hard this year, and I think I got it down pretty well.
RC: What are your goals this year?
BP: I really haven’t had much time to think about that. Just try my hardest. Don’t worry about anyone else, just worry about myself, and just work on the things I need to work on to become a successful pitcher.
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