After spending four seasons pitching for Dartmouth, Michael Danielak is spending his professional debut season not far from where he pitched in college. After one appearance with the AZL Athletics, the Oakland A’s 19th-round pick traveled to Burlington, Vermont. He has been part of the Lake Monsters’ pitching staff ever since.
In 13 relief appearances, Danielak has provided stability out of the Lake Monsters’ bullpen. He has a 1.64 ERA and a 26:9 K:BB in 22 innings. New York-Penn League batters are hitting just .229 against him.
Success is nothing new for Danielak, who was one of the Ivy League’s top pitchers the past two seasons. In 2016, he had a 2.95 ERA in 39.2 innings. He was selected in the 28th round of the 2016 draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates, but he returned to Dartmouth. This season Danielak had a 2.64 ERA in 58 innings for Dartmouth and he moved up nine rounds in the draft. Danielak battled patella issues early in his college career, but he was healthy this season.
Donald Moore spoke with Danielak about his transition to pro baseball.
Donald Moore: Hi Michael, how is everything going for you so far this season?
Michael Danielak: It’s going well, the transition to pro ball has been pretty good.
DM: What are your goals for this year?
MD: Just getting better every time out. The goal is to execute pitches and pitch more consistently every time out.
DM: What do you feel is your greatest strength as a ball player?
MD: Pitchability, being able to make my pitches.
DM: What would you’d like to improve on?
MD: I want to improve my change up and always improve on pitchability. You can never be too perfect for that.
DM: How are you adjusting to professional baseball?
MD: The adjustment is going really well. I have really enjoyed being around this group of guys and it’s been a blast.
DM: What do you like best about being a professional athlete?
MD: Being able to get into a routine. Having come from school and worrying about studies and baseball at the same time, now only focusing on baseball, it allows me to be able to progress.
DM: Any pre-game routine?
MD: I kind of follow what the organization wants us to do: throw, stretch, get your workouts in and be ready to go.
DM: Any hobbies?
MD: Being away from the baseball field, I like to spend time with my family. I’m from Chicago so I like hanging out in the city.
DM: Where are you originally from?
DM: Favorite baseball team growing up?
MD: Was the Cubs, but now it’s the A’s.
DM: If there is one person who taught you the most about baseball, who would that be?
MD: My dad. He’s been my coach since I’ve been little and he has been a huge influence on everything from my baseball career.
DM: Craziest thing you have ever seen on a baseball diamond?
MD: My friend hurt his arm on the field. It was petty gruesome, but it was probably the craziest thing I ever saw.
DM: Any off-season plans?
MD: No, just going home, spending some time with my family in Chicago and spend time with my girlfriend and getting to work for next season.
DM: I want to thank you for your time and the best of luck to you and your career.
MD: Thank you, I appreciate it.
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