By Hunter Jones/Special to The News
Even though he’s now officially playing professional baseball, former Alabama pitcher Deacon Medders says that playing baseball every day makes it feel more like he’s back in summer ball.
“During college you play summer ball; I’ve been to Virginia my freshman summer, and then last summer I was in Massachusetts, so I’m kind of used to being away from home playing baseball,” said Medders. “I guess it’s just really the time zone difference. Usually when I stayed on the east coast, I was able to talk to my parents a lot more than out here because of the time and how it matches up. They’re at work but when they get off, I got to go to the field, so I just don’t get to talk to my parents much on the phone.”
Medders was selected by the San Diego Padres in the 20th round (593 overall) of the 2019 MLB draft. Coming from American Christian Academy and playing in college at Alabama, he’s lived in Tuscaloosa nearly all his life; however, summer ball also helped him with being away from home.
As for the competition, Medders believes the difference between college and pro hitters isn’t a big one.
“The SEC is an absolute grind of a schedule, you face really good hitters,” Medders said. “Some could maybe even argue that the hitters up here are not as good as in the SEC, and another huge advantage for pitching in pro ball at this level is the wood bat. A lot of times if you pitch inside with the aluminum bat, some of those balls fall into the outfield for singles or they get enough with the aluminum to get it through a hole on a ground ball. I’d say that’s been the biggest difference so far is being able to go in with more confidence that you’re not going to give up a cheap hit because of the bat.”
For Medders, the biggest thing he’s working on to get to that next level is overall command between his pitches. Despite this being more for his own development, Medders is still here to win games.
“I think it’s just like any kind of baseball really, it’s different but it’s similar,” Medders said. “You can’t play this game angry or solely on winning, it’s an individual game but a team game at the same time, so even though you’re always wanting to win, you’re very focused on yourself individually because as a pitcher there’s nobody else on the mound but me, so I have to do what’s best for me in order for the team to succeed.”