This profile on recent Los Angeles Dodgers draft pick Andrew Pevsner is one in a series on individuals in the community who are involved with the world of sports.
In most cases, baseball players who go to Division III schools have given up on their dreams of playing Major League Baseball. They just play for the love of the game. Nobody told this to Andrew Pevsner.
Pevsner, who grew up in Monte Nido decided to go to Johns Hopkins University, knowing that only six players from that school had ever been selected in the MLB Draft. Nevertheless, the relief pitcher worked hard, and during the 2010 season he posted a 3-0 record with a 4.17 ERA. Opponents hit just .209 off him, and he set a school record with 20 relief appearances his senior year. The Los Angeles Dodgers, the team he grew up rooting for, took notice, and drafted Pevsner in the 16th round of the MLB Draft, making him the highest pick ever for a Johns Hopkins player.
Pevsner graduated in May with a degree in economics and a minor in entrepreneurship and management. He is pitching for the Ogden Raptors, the Dodgers’ advanced rookie minor league franchise, in Ogden, Utah. Pevsner has dominated in his first six appearances, going 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA and eleven strikeouts in 10.1 innings.
Coming out of high school, did you ever think that you would be drafted?
To be honest, I did not think about it too much. That was probably due in large part to the fact that I never really truly believed that I would get drafted. At the same time, I never really ruled out the possibility. I knew I had some things going for me, being tall (6 feet, 3 inches) and left-handed, and I had the vague notion that, if I just kept working hard, something might work out.
Your fastball was in the 80 mph range in high school, and now it is around 90 mph. What have you done to improve since high school?
I wish I had some big, mystical secret of how I added velocity, but it was really just a lot of hard work. Getting into a college lifting program and getting bigger and more explosive definitely helped a lot. I also owe a lot to working on my mechanics and getting advice from coaches and teammates.
Why did you choose to go to Johns Hopkins?
I wanted to go to a great academic school with a great baseball program. I was not getting many Division I looks out of high school, and Hopkins is among the best in terms of great academics and Division III athletics.
Where were you watching the draft?
Actually, I was not watching the draft. A big part of me did not think that I was going to be drafted, and I had heard a lot of stories about guys being disappointed, getting drafted in later rounds than they had expected. So, I did not really pay any attention to the draft. I was still in Baltimore, and getting ready to go to the Orioles game with my roommate. I started getting congratulatory text messages. After about two or three of them, I started to realize what must have happened, and sprinted to my computer to check the draft.
What was your reaction when you found out that the Dodgers drafted you?
Shock and euphoria. It was literally a dream come true. I think it took me about 48 hours for my heart to slow down and to stop shaking.
Did you go to a lot of Dodges games growing up?
My dad grew up a Dodger fan, so he started taking me to games sometime around the time that I started walking, although he may not have even waited that long.
Is it true that John Wooden told the Dodgers to scout you?
It is true indirectly. I honestly do not know the specifics of what happened, but I think it went as follows: My dad’s close friend had taken care of Coach Wooden for the past several years. Through Coach Wooden, he became friends with a lot of sports people in the LA area, including some in baseball and the Dodgers organization. I do not know if it was Coach who gave the word to the Dodgers or not, but that is basically the connection.
What has been the biggest transition going from college to the minor leagues?
Off the field, definitely the daily routine. There is definitely a learning curve getting used to the travel and playing every day. On the field, you have to bring it mentally everyday, and make quality pitches. You do not get away with mistakes at this level.
What are your goals for the future?
There are a lot of things that I want to do with my life eventually, but right now, I have a pretty single-minded focus—get to the Major Leagues.