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Cubs Draft: Q&A with 11th rounder and Northwestern LHP Eric Jokisch

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Matt Swain

Illinois engineering student, way too emotionally invested in the Cubs.

A dream was realized Tuesday for lefthander Eric Jokisch when he found himself selected in the 11th round of the MLB Draft (340th overall) by the Chicago Cubs.

Originally from Virginia, IL, a small town in the western part of the state, Jokisch has spent the last three years at Northwestern. During his time as a Wildcat, he's posted a 17-16 record and a 4.71 ERA, and has won honors like Big Ten Freshman of the Year and First Team All-Big Ten.

In the aftermath of his selection, Eric took some time to reflect on the process and discuss his game with Wrigley Bound.

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Wrigley Bound: What was the draft process like for you? What did you do on draft day?

Eric Jokisch: It was a long process drawn out over the whole year, and when the day finally came, I was fortunate enough to finish my last paper for Northwestern and head home to be with the family.

WB: About when were you expecting to be taken? Did you have an idea that the Cubs might pick you?

EJ: I had been told anywhere from 4th to 12th round. I did have a good idea that the Cubs were interested, but there were also other teams that I felt the same about.

WB: Give a quick scouting report on yourself. What are your best pitches? What do you have to do in a given game to be successful?

EJ: I'm not an overpowering pitcher, so I have to focus on hitting spots and keeping the other team off balance. I try to execute pitches and get easy groundouts. My best pitch is my changeup. I will throw it at any time and trust that I can get anyone out with it at any time.

WB: Your numbers as far as strikeouts and walks made dramatic improvements this year. What do you attribute that to?

EJ: I attribute my improvement to the mental game. I have focused more on executing pitches and attacking the strike zone instead of getting the batter out. One pitch at a time.

WB: How much consideration will you give to returning for another season at Northwestern?

EJ: There is definitely a chance I go back and finish my senior season. I have enjoyed every minute of being a Northwestern student-athlete and would have no problem going back if the Cubs do not work out.

WB: Who is the toughest hitter you've ever pitched to? Most impressive pitcher you've dueled?

EJ: The toughest hitter I have ever faced would be Alex Dickerson from Indiana. The kid is strong and patient at the plate. He waits for his pitch to drive and doesn't get fooled. All around great hitter. Best pitcher I've pitched against was Matt Bischoff from Purdue. I faced him two years in a row and he won both 3-2 and 2-1. Both games were tight, and he is the best competitor I have ever faced. Wish I could have beat him, but he was as good as they come.

WB: You're originally from Illinois and played at Northwestern. Were you a Cubs fan growing up?

EJ: This is the irony of the Cubs. I grew up a HUGE Cardinal fan. I went to school in Evanston, so I had to defend myself against hundreds of Cub fans, and when the Cubs drafted me, I got about ten texts in a minute all laughing at me. I guess I'll have to change my feelings now.

 

Thanks a lot to Eric for his time, and we wish him luck going forward.

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