From one-game winner as a freshman to the first Fresno State player to be named the Mountain West Pitcher of the Year as a junior, Jimmy Lambert has grown quite a bit during the past three years with the Bulldogs.
And the Major League Baseball draft set for Thursday-Saturday could be a barometer of just how far the right-hander has come.
Lambert – who allowed only 20 earned runs in 68 innings over 10 MW starts during the regular season to share the conference’s top pitching award with Air Force’s Griffin Jax – wasn’t drafted out of San Dimas High in 2013 but is among the Fresno area’s top prospects this year.
The Bee’s Angel Moreno caught up with him this week for his thoughts on his future.
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Question: How are you preparing for the draft?
Answer: I have an advisor, who has helped me be in contact with just about all of the teams.
Looking back on your career at Fresno State, are you happy with what you’ve accomplished in three seasons?
I’m definitely very happy and satisfied with the way the last three years have gone at Fresno State. Not just for me, but for the team. If you look, we got better every year. And from an individual aspect, I was just improving every year and taking the chances I had to get stronger. From a developmental standpoint, I’m very happy with the last three years at Fresno State.
Have you decided if you are leaving school early?
No, I have not made a decision. It’s pending in what happens in the next two days. I cannot give you a final answer.
If you had the choice, what team would you like to be drafted by?
I’ve grown up a Dodgers fan, so obviously that would be cool. But it’d be an honor to go to anybody. My brother was drafted by the Rockies last year, so joining him would be nice. But I’m just looking forward to the next few days and whatever happens.
After seeing what your younger brother Peter went through (a pitcher who went in the second round a year ago out of San Dimas High), how has that helped you prepare for this season?
It’s definitely a lot different because it’s me this year. There’s definitely more emotions, and I’m excited and anxious to see what happens. But going through it last year with my little brother, I feel like I have a good understanding of it. ... I talk to my brother every day. We’re both really close. We both have a good idea of what we’re doing and where we’re at.
MLB draft at a glance
- When: Starts Thursday at 4 p.m. and continues for 40 rounds over three days, with first two rounds (and two “competitive balance rounds”) from MLB Network’s studios in Secaucus, N.J. Rounds 3-10 on Friday and rounds 11-40 on Saturday will be held via conference calls with teams.
- First pick: Philadelphia Phillies have No. 1 overall pick for second time, and first since taking Miami slugger Pat Burrell in 1998.
- Order: Determined by reverse order of finish in overall standings from last season. Also, teams not allowed to trade picks.
- Top prospects: New Jersey high school LH Jason Groome, Mercer OF Kyle Lewis, California high school OF Mickey Moniak, Florida LH A.J. Puk, Louisville OF Corey Ray and Tennessee 3B Nick Senzel.
- On the clock: Teams have 4 minutes to make picks in first round, and 1 minute in first competitive balance round, second round, second competitive balance round and rounds 3-10. Rest of draft has selections without time delays.
- Competitive balance rounds: Started in 2013, these rounds give 10 teams with lowest revenues and 10 in smallest markets opportunity to get additional picks through lottery, held last July.
- Signing deadline: Teams must sign drafted players, other than those who were college seniors, by 2 p.m. July 15. Players who have exhausted their college eligibility have until one week before 2017 draft to sign.