Jared Shagool is in his second career season with the Castle Rock Rapids, for whom is the ace pitcher and highly productive batter. As a rookie last season his pitching numbers were mostly average in every major category, but he hit .321. Because the Rapids went 4-4 and missed the playoffs for a 4th-straight season — and because the Fog's Chase Johnson won Outstanding Rookie and took his team to the playoffs — Shagool was flying a bit under the radar all offseason. Now, a month into the JAL 23 season, he's quickly rising as a well known name in the league, and even being mentioned as a "star" in some circles. In the Rapids first gameday of the season a couple weeks ago, Shagool pitched well in both games, beating the Cobras easily and nearly upsetting the 2nd-ranked Bison. His ERA is currently 6.88 (2nd best) and is hitting .353. The Following is Q&A with Shagool, interviewed by Commissioner Cale Johnson...
Cale: What's the most valuable thing you feel that you bring to the Rapids?
Shagool: Pitching for sure. If I keep the walks down, that gives Ty (Johnson) a chance to make plays and we are cooking with hot grease at that point.
Cale: What's the difference between Ty and other team managers?
Shagool: Well, a couple things.. He plays and managers, so that's different than some guys. But the biggest thing is his decision making on the fly.. Top notch.
Cale: Has he ever made a bad decison?
Shagool: Not being the guy to sign Trevor Goforth originally to his rookie contract, whatever season that was. Other than that, no.
Cale: The Rapids are, by design, pretty much just a 2-man team of you and Ty. Every other team has a core of at least three guys.. What do you make of that difference to other teams?
Shagool: I think we are even more dangerous with Troy (Flanagan) in the lineup and expect him back soon, but with just Ty and I, we each get more at-bats so we just time things up faster. But I believe we are better with Troy in the lineup as well.
Cale: When you pitch it seems like it takes more energy out of you than most guys. For example, you probably sweat more than anyone in the circle.. Where does pitching a good JAL game rank compared to other sports difficulties you've experienced?
Shagool: It's got to be the hardest thing I've done in sports to be honest. With one pitch at-bats it's also mentally challenging. I'm probably one of the more out of shape guys, have to get that in check.
Cale: People don't truly realize how it is to be a pitcher in the league do they?
Shagool: Not at all. When you break it down, four pitches and a team can be scoring runs.. Then add weather and distance into the mix.. That's tough.
Cale: What do you think making the playoffs would be like?
Shagool: Enjoyable, but a title is the only real thing to celebrate.
Cale: Most guys in the JAL never win a title though...
Shagool: I know, that's why winning one is so special.
Cale: And are you starting to believe that's something you could accomplish, or would those kind of thoughts be getting too ahead of yourself still?
Shagool: I think so, I believe the Rapids could do it.