05/13/2004 9:00 AM ET
Justin time, Part II
Verlander and Orenduff conclude conversation
Old Dominion's Justin Verlander and
Virginia Commonwealth's Justin Orenduff
conclude their conversation with MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo by giving scouting reports of each other and talking about draft day.
|Justin Verlander (right) and Justin Orenduff are friends, rivals and possible first-round picks. (courtesy Old Dominion)
to Justin Orenduff and Justin Verlander on
MLB.com: Give me a scouting report of each other.
Verlander: He's got a good fastball with good movement and late action, in the low 90s. He's got one of the filthiest sliders I've every seen. My guys said they couldn't pick it up. You should've thrown 100 percent sliders (on April 9). He's got a good changeup. He just started throwing it, what last year?
Verlander: Considering he's been working on it for only a year, you can tell he's got a feel for it. That could be a plus pitch for him. He uses what he has to the best of his ability.
MLB.com: Any weakness in his game?
Verlander: Coming from a guy who's emotional, sometimes he doesn't...
Orenduff: Sometimes I don't get fired up enough.
Verlander: That's what I was going to say. It's a fine line. You don't want to get too fired up. I'm on the other end of it.
MLB.com: And how about a report on Verlander?
Orenduff: I tell everyone about this. One time this summer, we were playing long-toss. We kept moving further and further back, to the point we were foul line to foul line. He was throwing it to me on a straight line. I was getting it to him in like two hops. He's got the best arm I've ever seen. He's got the best stuff in college baseball right now. He's got a great fastball and curve. If he gets in a groove, he's unhittable. Do you throw a slider?
Verlander: I threw one (on April 9).
Orenduff: And a changeup?
Verlander: I haven't really (needed it). People haven't been able to hit my curve, so I haven't had to throw anything else.
MLB.com: And his weakness?
Orenduff: His emotions. Sometimes he gets so pumped up, he gets his fastball up in the zone. That's when hitters can do something with it.
Verlander: Sometimes I try to throw too hard. I can't throw strikes like I want to when that happens.
MLB.com: What can you guys do to improve as pitchers? Can you take something from each other?
Orenduff: I wouldn't mind adding another pitch to my repertoire. I've added a two-seamer to go inside. I'm working on my change.
Verlander: You can throw that changeup to right-handed hitters.
Orenduff: I'll try to teach guys my slider. But it doesn't always work. Everyone's hands are different, grips are different. I never had to work on it. I just pick it up and throw in naturally.
Verlander: That's weird.
MLB.com: So all the attention, all the scouts, that doesn't faze you guys in any way?
Orenduff: When I was younger, as a freshman and even a little last year as a sophomore, I used to say, "Wow, I've got to throw harder." But eventually it just becomes a part of the game. They're watching everything you do. It was pretty intimidating early, but now it doesn't bother me. I know the guys. I'm used to it.
Verlander: Everyone's been really straight-forward. Nothing has happened out of the ordinary.
Orenduff: They just want to get to know who you are.
MLB.com: Do you guys keep track of how some of the other top college pitchers are doing, to see what they're up to?
Verlander: I do. I look up guys to see how they're doing. Aside from April 9, I'm always rooting for Duff and my Team USA teammates. I hope we all go in the first round.
MLB.com: Do you get caught up in all the talk about Team USA teammate Jered Weaver, and the "competition" between the two of you as possible No. 1 picks?
Verlander: That's up to the team's discretion. We're two totally different pitchers.
Orenduff: I hope one of those guys (from Team USA) goes No. 1 instead of someone like Jeff Niemann. I think it's either going to be Verlander or Weaver.
MLB.com: The whole process is kind of daunting, isn't it? Each start can mean so much in terms of draft status. Does that ever get to you, that one or two starts are so vital, rather than looking at your entire career?
Verlander: It comes with the territory. It's all part of the process. Teams like to see if you can step up and pitch under stress. They know you know how important it is. They want to see how you handle the situation.
MLB.com: Does that make your April 9 outing even more special?
Verlander: It ranks up there as one of the best baseball experiences I've had altogether. The way everything came together, with me and Orenduff facing each other, it's a great story.
Orenduff: I'm very happy with the way I threw. This has not been an ideal junior year for me. I've gotten some bad breaks, but I've been pretty consistent each time out. And I try not to dwell on draft status. It's not how you start, it's how you finish.
MLB.com: Some players have admitted that the whole draft status thing can get in the way. Has it been an issue for you?
Verlander: Neither of us have a problem worrying about draft status.
Orenduff: Off the field, maybe you think about it a little. But once you're on the mound, you just go out and pitch.
MLB.com: If you could have one start back this year, what would it be?
Verlander: Definitely Princeton. My stuff just wasn't working. My fastball was up, I mixed in a few walks. It was a bad day altogether. I wish I could have that one back.
Orenduff: Probably Auburn. I had good stuff that day, but I made a couple of mistakes that cost me. That was kind of disappointing.
MLB.com: Duff, I know you grew up a Mets fan, and Verlander, you were a Braves fan. Would you like to pitch for those teams?
Orenduff: Pitching for the Mets would be fine, but where I'd want to pitch in the big leagues is in Boston, because of the city and the fans. After my freshman year, I pitched in a New England league and I got a feel for how much baseball, and the Red Sox, mean to people there.
Verlander: I've always liked the Braves. If I had a chance to pitch in Richmond (his hometown), that'd be cool. But wherever that road leads, if I get to pitch in the big leagues, I'll love to pitch wherever it is.
MLB.com: I'm going to go out on a limb and say by the time the Braves pick, you'll be off the board.
MLB.com: OK, it's time for you to interview each other. What's one question you would ask the other if given the chance?
Verlander: On April 9, the ball "slipped" out of my hand and it seemed like I was throwing at your catcher. With all the warnings handed out, if we meet up again in the conference tournament, would you risk ejection by retaliating?
Orenduff: Maybe by that time, I'll become a scarier pitcher and I'll send a message. I'll be a mean guy by then.
MLB.com: Orenduff, do you have a question for Verlander?
Verlander: Maybe you want to ask me about my workout regimen, how I get these guns?
Orenduff: I've seen you with your shirt off. That's scary. OK, what do I need to do to throw 99 mph? Even though I don't think that's phsycially possible for me.
Verlander: A "good work ethic." I don't know. It could happen. I was only touching 93 mph out of high school. Maybe I just matured more quickly than you.
MLB.com: Any plans for draft day?
Orenduff: I just want to have my close friends and family around, everyone who's been there as I rose through the ranks.
Verlander: That's a good idea. You want your family and friends around you. They'll really enjoy the moment.
MLB.com: You think it'll be even sweeter because both of you went undrafted in high school?
Orenduff: You know, I'm really glad I took the college route. I've learned so much.
Verlander: I'm still learning.
Orenduff: We've really established ourselves.
Verlander: The college experience was priceless. I understand now why teams are hesitant to draft high school pitchers. I really wanted to be drafted when I was in high school, and I probably would've went if I had gone high, but I've learned so much. I was naive and immature on the mound back then.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.