The Dodgers on Tuesday finalized a contract with Ralston Cash, a right-handed pitcher from Lakeview Academy in Gainesville, Georgia and their second round pick from this year's draft. Tony Jackson of ESPN Los Angeles reported the signing bonus to be $464,000. Cash is the 17th high school pitcher drafted in the first two rounds by Logan White in the past nine years.
Cash will play in the Arizona rookie league, which just began their season this week, although he said no timetable has yet been set for his future. Cash was gracious enough to answer some questions via email about baseball, life, and his future.
On his high school baseball coach, Deuce Roark:
He had a great influence on me, I have a strong mental game most say..And all the credit goes to him on that one. We use to do exercises to make our minds mentally tough, and they worked..He also helped me mature, and he got me the academic help I needed.
The Dodgers met with Cash at Dodger Stadium on June 6, one day before the draft. He threw a bullpen session under the watchful eyes of Logan White and others. "The bullpen was amazing, but the best part was getting out there and watching the game," said Cash, "The fans are crazy about their Dodgers, and that is what I loved."
Cash had committed to play baseball at the University of Georgia, but the lure of turning pro appealed to him. I asked Cash if the choice between the college experience and turning pro was a difficult one:
No sir, just mostly because I prayed that God would help me make the decision and give me a sign of where to go. Getting drafted in the second round just seemed like a sign I needed to take.
I asked Cash to describe his pitching arsenal and if there was a current major league pitcher comparable in style:
89-92 sinking fb. Fastball, Slider, Changeup and sometimes a sinker is in my arsenal. No pitchers I would compare myself too, I don't really watch the game that much.
Cash said he didn't really have a favorite baseball player or team, although the Dodgers are his favorite team now (which is understandable when their logo appears on your paychecks). He does, however, look up to Ethan Martin, who was drafted in 2008 by the Dodgers and is currently with Class A Inland Empire. Martin, you see, is Cash's cousin. "It means a lot, and I think it's the coolest thing in the world to be in the same organization as him," said Cash, "I look up to him a lot and hope to fill the shoes that he has left behind for me."
Cash, who was exceedingly polite in our email exchange, comes across as someone with a strong head on his shoulders. His maturity comes from his faith, a recent change in his life. I asked him how a 2009 Fellowship of Christian Athletes camp altered his life:
Every bit of it changed.. My outlook on life, and my performance on the field also changed. In the weight room I sacrifice it all to the Lord. ON the field I give all my effort for the Lord and if I succeed, all credit is given to the Lord. He is an awesome God and has changed my life unbelievably.