Professional baseball players hope to hit the ground running at the start of their careers. With so many peers surrounding them, competing for limited jobs, getting out strong is of the essence. A player with one of the best starts one could hope for belongs to Texas Rangers pitching prospect Cody Ege, who has piled up positive results in the early going.
The left-handed Ege was a three-time All-State selection at Washington High school in Cherokee, Iowa, finishing with the seventh-lowest ERA in state high school history. After a 6-2 record and 0.97 ERA as a senior, he headed off to college at Louisville.
Ege immediately became a shutdown reliever for the Cardinals. In 78 career games over three seasons, he was an impressive 6-2 with a 2.45 ERA and 80 strikeouts in 58.2 innings.
He was 4-1 with a 1.04 ERA in 2013, with his biggest contribution being the game-clinching strikeout he had of Vanderbilt’s Mike Yastrzemski (grandson of Carl) to send Louisville to the College World Series. His production was enough to earn the junior a 15th-round selection by the Rangers in the that year’s MLB Draft.
As previously mentioned, the southpaw burst out of the gate like he had been there before. He pitched at three different levels last year, going a combined 4-0 with a 0.90 ERA in 17 games, while striking out 39 in 30 innings.
The 23-year-old is off to another strong start this season, pitching for High Single-A Myrtle Beach. He is 3-0 with a 4.00 ERA and two saves in 14 relief appearances, and has struck out 25 in 27 innings.
This past offseason, I was able to ask Ege some questions about his career. Keep reading for more information on this fast-moving prospect.
Cody Ege Interview:
Who was your favorite player when you were growing up, and why?: While I was growing up I had a few favorite players. A couple to name would be Cal Ripken Jr., Rafael Palmeiro and Alex Rodriguez.
I liked Ripken because of the toughness he had. To play in so many consecutive games is insane.
I liked Palmeiro because of his beautiful left handed swing. And A-Rod always had my attention from the beginning because he dominated at a young age.
How did you wind up attending Louisville?: Matt Koch, a former high school teammate, attended Louisville the year before me. His dad, Scott, was our high school coach, and he made sure I would throw every time someone was there to watch Matt. The deal was sealed after I went down to Jupiter, Florida and threw down there for a team from Chicago. Took my visit to Louisville and knew that’s where I wanted to call home for the next few years.
Can you describe what the draft process was like for you?: The draft process was simple for me. I didn’t want to think about it at all because we had a chance to go to Omaha. So the process was simple. I was so focused on the game I didn’t have time to think about the draft.
What pitches do you throw and which do you think you need to work on the most?: I throw a fastball, slider and changeup. I think I just need to develop every pitch and build confidence to be able to throw any pitch in any count. Just to develop my game all around.
You had a great professional debut in 2013. How can you top that?: The three months I played professionally was as fun as it gets. Every outing I wanted to show everyone what I was made of. The one thing I will never be is complacent. To be called complacent could be the worst thing you could ever be called. I will always be hungry for more no matter who I’m playing or what level I am at.
What was the most difficult thing to get used to about being a professional player?: The toughest thing to get used to was playing every day of the week. In college you have to be ready for three days of the week. Professionally, it’s every day. Every single day you need to go out and work your tail off to get yourself better without a coach holding your hand.
Who has been your most influential coach or manager?: There have been several coaches that have influenced me throughout my career. I have been blessed with coaches that have only wanted the best for me and the teams. It makes it easy to play for guys like that.
What will you need to do to be able to make the major leagues?: I think to make the league it’s all about consistency and resilience. The guys that play in the majors are exactly that. Each and every day they go out you know what you’re going to get from them. And when they fail, they bounce back the next day and are hungry for another opportunity.
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