Michael Messier was dominant on the mound for the Utica Blue Sox (formerly the Brewers) in 2015. He took that momentum into the collegiate season and was ultimately drafted by the Kansas City Royals.
Messier was drafted in the 15th round of the 2016 MLB First Year Player Draft by the defending champion Royals. During the 2015 summer in Utica, Messier went 3-1 with a 1.38 ERA and 36 strikeouts. He started the All-Star Game for the West Division in the 2015 All-Star Game in Little Falls.
We caught up with Messier for this Q&A.
PGCBL: First off, what was the feeling like after being drafted?
Messier: I was in a state of shock even though I was somewhat expecting it. I was called the morning of the draft by Mike Ferrell (my area scout for KC) and he was telling me to keep my phone on me, as he was expecting me to be a Royal by the end of the day. So I was listening to the draft coverage and ended up shutting it off in the 14th round in order to get ready to go to the field for a summer game in the Coastal Plains League. I got to the locker room and all of my summer teammates were congratulating me, and I thought they were joking until I saw my name on the draft tracker - my stomach immediately dropped. It was one of the most memorable days of my life thus far.
PGCBL: You had a great summer last year with the Utica Brewers. How did that help you grow as a pitcher?
Messier: Utica was a very memorable experience as I was able to grow my confidence on the mound tremendously. Had it not been for my strong summer showing, I don't think I would have been able to build a platform to carry me into a successful 2016 draft. Outside of the baseball in the PGCBL last summer, Upstate New York made for a great atmosphere and I made lasting friendships with both my teammates and coaches.
PGCBL: What would you say was the highlight of your time in Utica?
Messier: My favorite moment from this past summer was starting in the All-Star Game. It was nice to be recognized by the league and the coaches. It was also very cool, because a lot of my Utica teammates made the trip to Mohawk Valley to support me. Another unforgettable moment from one of my favorite summers in memory.
PGCBL: For the readers who didn't get the opportunity to watch you pitch, what pitches do you throw and what would you say is your strongest pitch?
Messier: At the time I was pitching primarily off of my 2-seam fastball and throwing a circle change-up paired with a curveball that needed some work. I also started to throw my slider that I have been developing throughout the year for the first time last summer, and was able to rely on that as a decent pitch offering. I would definitely say that I felt most confident with my fastball and could control both sides of the plate most consistently with that pitch.
PGCBL: What's it like being drafted by the reigning world champions?
Messier: Being drafted by Kansas City the year after they won the whole thing left me speechless. It also bodes well that KC is a smaller market franchise that focuses on the development of their farm system in order to rely on them at the Major League level. It's an honor to be drafted by the Royals.
PGCBL: Outside of baseball, what's something fans may not necessarily know about you?
Messier: When I had off time in Utica I would go with some teammates to fly-fish throughout the surrounding rivers. Fishing is one of my favorite things to do when I'm not playing baseball.
The PGCBL is affiliated with Perfect Game, the largest independent scouting service in the country. Last year, more than 1,400 professional players had either worn the uniform of a PGCBL team or participated in a Perfect Game event.
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