Mariners Insider Blog

Q&A with Joshua Fields

This is courtesy of the Mariners:

Josh Fields: I am just super excited for the opportunity to play and I am just so pumped to see what the Lord has done for me the past year. It's an honor to be chosen by the Seattle Mariners as their first pick.

I had heard that several teams were interested, with Seattle being one of them, it was a complete surprise, I hadn't had any calls. I was just sitting there waiting for my name to be called and I just looked around at my family and I jumped up out of my seat so it was a complete surprise while I was watching it, it was awesome.

Question: Timeline for reaching the Majors?

Fields: I have no idea what the team is expecting of me and how long that would take but personally I would like to be in the Majors by next year but I don't know if that is going to be possible. It'd be tough for me to say now, but I just have to wait and see how things play out. Next year is when I would like to be up there if I'm ready.

Question: What do you need to do to be ready?

Fields: Just need to refine myself more as a pitcher, control of my fastball. I can throw it on both sides of the plate now but (I have to work) on being able to keep it down more and being able to refine myself more to throw to both sides of the plate better. A little better command of my off speed would really help me make it there quickly.

Question: Why didn't you sign last year?

Fields: I don't expect signing to be an issue at all. I don't know how long it's going to take, we haven't really started that part but I don't think it's going to be an issue, I'm ready to go play. I'm excited for the Mariners giving me that chance.

Last year, it just wasn't the right time for me, I didn't feel like I was mentally or physically ready and I just felt that the timing wasn't right last year and I feel like the timing is right on this year. Last year after the draft I was pretty set on going out, it's been my dream my whole life.

Over the summer, I really had a change of heart and I was praying a lot about it and the change of heart wasn't anything that I'd done, because that was my dream but it felt like the Lord was leading me back to Georgia for my Senior year. Looking back on it now, all the opportunities and all the blessings that I've had, I feel like that was the best decision to make. I don't think it's going to be an issue this year; I'm ready to go play.

Question: Is Scott Boras still your advisor?

Fields: Yes, sir.

Question: When did you develop the closer mentality?

Fields: I wanted to close coming out of high school. When I started my freshman year at Georgia, Will Startup was the closer and he had been there for a couple of years and had proven himself so any chance I could get to learn from him was great.

I really started to prepare the summer after my freshman year when I played up in New Hampshire for a team called the Wombats. The first day the pitchers were all throwing bullpens and the coaches were all trying to place them where they thought they should be and I just asked him and let him know that I'd really like to be the closer for the team.

They thought about it and it didn't take them long and they said okay. I threw a bullpen and they got to see me throw and I was the guy they put in the position and it ended up working out and I haven't looked back from there.

Question: Have you ever been up to Seattle?

Fields: I've never been. The closest I've been was when we played Oregon State this year. We weren't very far from Washington, but that's the closest I've been to Seattle.

Question: You don't button up your jersey, is there a story behind that?

Fields: That started at school. A lot of the guys would button them all up, some would not button the top button but for me, I think I got it from Chipper Jones. Ever since I've been in college I've kept the top two unbuttoned.

It's been once or twice where an umpire told me to button it up and I wasn't too happy about that. I guess it's just been a mark for me, other guys do it, but that's one thing that defines me and I've been going with it ever since.

Question: What was it like, the pressure, after being drafted by your hometown team, the Atlanta Braves, last year?

Fields: There was a little bit of pressure, I did grow up watching the Braves, I live an hour and a half from the stadium and it would have been nice but more of it came early on. As the summer played out, the summer really alleviated, it just felt like coming back was the right thing and there was no pressure because that's what I wanted to do and I wasn't ready yet. When it came time to make the decision, I didn't feel any pressure either way.

Question: What is it like to be preparing for the Super Regionals and have something like this come up right in the middle?

Fields: It is something that I've never had to deal with before, it was a different experience, but to be honest, I hadn't thought about the draft until these last couple of days. We've been playing and pulling off of last year and seeing the business side of baseball and how you can't take things personally, you have to roll with the punches and it really helped to prepare me for this year.

Last year I put a lot of pressure on myself and I thought about it and this year I tried to step back and told myself to be myself and do what I do and that helped take a lot of pressure off me. This year, I didn't have anything to lose after the season that I had and I just tried to put the draft in the back of my mind and wanted to be myself and had fun. This year has been so much fun since I've been back.

These last couple of days, after the regionals were over, I've been thinking about it because there were no games in between then and the draft. I've enjoyed the experience while it's lasted but I have to put it in the back of my mind and get ready for NC State this weekend.

Question: Had you thought about where you might go?

Fields: I had heard about different teams that had interest in me, most of it was middle to late first round, they said there was some supplemental, even some second round stuff, but most of it was middle to late first round so that's where I was expecting to go. I'll be honest, I was getting a little bit honest, I was getting a little bit antsy as the 18th and 19th picks started rolling around because I knew that the first round was coming to an end. I had heard that it would probably be late first round, but to go to the Mariners at the 20th pick was a real surprise and it was awesome.

Question: Where did you watch the draft?

Fields: I was in Athens at my apartment, my parents were with me, two of my best friends and my girlfriend were there, we were just chilling on the couch and watching it there.

Question: Have you had a chance to learn about the Mariners?

Fields: I haven't had a chance, It's been pretty hectic, a lot of phone calls and text messages so I haven't really had a chance to look at the staff and the team just yet but I'm really excited to get that chance.

Question: Who did you pattern your game after?

Fields: As far as pitching style, I like Roger Clemens a lot just because he had that bulldog mentality on the mound, not afraid to knock down and off the plate and really dominate the inside part of the plate.

As far as demeanor and mentality on the mound, I like to look at Mariano Rivera because he seems so cool no matter what is going on on the mound and nothing fazes him and that's something that I work very hard on on the mound, even when things aren't going right, just to show absolutely no emotions.

Even though I may be feeling things on the inside, I just can't let anybody else see that. Mariano Rivera has done that very well and that's what I try to mimic out there on the mound.