Editor’s note: These interviews took place midseason, but personal circumstances prevented us from publishing them at the time of the interviews. We still wanted to share them even if they are a few months after the fact. Thank you!
It’s hard to make a better first impression than right-hander Gus Varland did in his professional debut season in the Oakland A’s system. A 14th-round pick out of Concordia-St. Paul, Varland threw 38 innings in his pro debut this season, mostly with the short-season Vermont Lake Monsters and the Low-A Beloit Snappers. In those 38 innings, he allowed just four earned runs and he struck out 50 while walking only eight.
Varland had a 1.04 ERA during his final season at Concordia-St. Paul. Featuring a fastball that tops out at 94 mph and a good changeup, the right-hander looks poised to jump to High-A in 2019.
Donald Moore spoke with Varland while he was pitching for Vermont.
Donald Moore: Hi Gus, how is everything going for you so far this season?
Gus Varland: Awesome, it’s been a dream come true.
DM: What are your goals for this season?
GV: Pitch and throw strikes and help my team the best I can.
DM: What do you feel is your greatest strength as a ball player?
GV: My ability to throw strikes and keep my team in the game. And never get too flustered with things going around me.
DM: What would you like to improve on?
GV: Holding runners. I have a little difficulty with that but I’m working on it and hopefully it will get better soon.
DM: How are you acclimating to professional baseball?
GV: It’s a grind, like everybody says, but I’m learning each and every day. It’s a lifestyle.
DM: What is the best thing about being a professional athlete?
GV: Just to call yourself a pro, you know, just the title.
DM: What do you feel is the hardest thing?
GV: Just getting used to lifestyle like I said. It’s a grind but it’s not for everyone, so I’m just doing the best I can.
DM: Any pre-game routines?
GV: Not really. I chew a lot of gum on days I throw. A lot of guys do, too, but other than that, no.
DM: Any hobbies?
GV: Fishing and hunting, video games, hacky sac and others games as well.
DM: Favorite baseball team growing up?
GV: Yankees. New York Yankees.
DM: Where are you originally from?
DM: If there is one person that taught you the most about baseball, who would that be?
GV: My dad.
DM: Craziest thing you have ever seen on a baseball diamond?
GV: We actually saw a skunk yesterday. So that was pretty crazy.
DM: Any off-season plans?
GV: Just see my family. It’s a long season and everything. Going back in the off-season to see all my college friends, too. So those are my plans.
DM: I want to thank you for all your time and the best of luck to you and your career.
GV: Thank you.
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