MAAC MLB Draft Prospect Charlie Jerla Reflects on Red Fox Career
On the eve the college baseball season the Marist Red Foxes are flying high as the defending MAAC conference champions. With a stunning season, a regular season win over SEC champs, Mississippi State, and an appearance in the NCAA Regional Tournament the Red Foxes had one for the history books.
With preseason polls, rankings, and other accolades making their way into all kinds of press releases around the league, one of the most notable ones is the MAAC Baseball prospects for the MLB Draft.
Included in the Top 5 MLB draft prospects from the MAAC sits Marist RHP, Charlie Jerla.
Jerla led the Red Foxes pitching staff last season with a 9-2 record and 13 starts on the hill. Jerla has also maintained a 4.08 ERA through 70.2 innings pitched and was named MAAC pitcher of the year in 2017.
Jerla and the Red Foxes are prepared to defend their title this year and make another run for the conference championship. Ranked #1 in the MAAC Baseball pre-season poll the stakes are higher than ever and the pressure is on.
Jerla sat down with The Circle to talk his draft status, the upcoming season, and the status of the Red Foxes.
How does it feel to be recognized by the MAAC conference as a Top 5 MLB draft prospect?
It is really humbling to be noticed as a Top 5 MLB draft prospect in the MAAC Conference. Looking back, I wasn’t highly recruited out of high school and seeing myself at this point now is kind of crazy to me.
How did it feel being named MAAC pitcher of the year in 2017? Talk to me about some of the hard work that went into your great season last year?
Being named MAAC Pitcher of the Year last year was the best personal accomplishment I could’ve received last year. Even though I was the one who received the award I couldn’t have done it without my teammates. They are the ones who played defense behind me and scored the runs that put me in the position to be successful. So much hard work went into that award and it was unbelievable to see it all pay off.
What are some things that you have been working on in the past years that have led to your success on the diamond?
The things that I have worked on the past years that led to my success would be getting stronger in the weight room, working on my flexibility, gaining velocity, and really working hard to perfect my mechanics and pitches. All of those things combined made me into who I am today.
What parts of your schedule this year do you expect to the be the toughest? Long stint on the road, tough series against an opponent? Etc.
Our entire schedule this year is going to be tough. We have a tough out of conference schedule this year and we have huge target on our backs in the MAAC since we won last year so this entire season is going to be a challenge but we are ready to go.
Was being named a draft prospect something that you expected or was it something that came as a pleasant surprise?
Being named a draft prospect came as a surprise. I try to not think about the draft and just focus on doing whatever I can to help my team win another championship.
You are coming off a strong year as a pitcher, what are some of your goals for this season?
My goal for this season is to be better than I was last year. I am constantly trying to get better and do whatever it takes to help my team win another championship.
You guys are coming off a conference championship and a trip to the national tournament, how does that impact your preparations for this season?
The success we had last year made us hungrier this year. We know we can compete with the best teams in the country and we are ready to show everyone that.
Marist Baseball was picked to finish first in the MAAC poll, does that give you guys an added boost of confidence headed into the season?
We don’t pay attention to preseason ranks because they do not mean anything. Last year I think we were preseason ranked 4th or 5th place and we ended up winning the championship. We know everyone is coming for us this year and we are ready.
Marist College Baseball has had 8 players selected in the MLB draft, what is the first thing you are going to do if you become the ninth?
If I were to get drafted this year it would be a dream come true. I’ve wanted to be a professional baseball player since I was three years old and if I were to see my name called in the draft I would celebrate with my parents and sister. They have supported me and been there for me since day one and I wouldn’t be where I am today without their support. They supported me when no one else did and I am forever grateful.