'Best Feeling of My Life'
Tyler Mark Talks About Becoming A Professional Ballplayer
June 25, 2015
By Fred Altieri
"My mom was sleeping so I woke her up and told my dad to turn on the TV. Then it came on: "With the first pick of the sixth round the Arizona Diamondbacks select Tyler Mark."
"It was easily the best feeling in my life."
It was the moment of truth for former Culver High right-handed pitcher Tyler Mark as he described being chosen in the recent Major League Baseball draft on Tuesday, June 9. He was the 166th player selected overall.
The ace of the staff, Mark played four years of varsity ball at Culver. His senior year, 2012, he had a 9-2 won-loss record, an ERA of 2.13 while compiling an impressive 78 strikeouts in 62 1/3 innings. His Centaur career stats: 18-8 W-L, 2.01 ERA with 184 strikeouts in 167 innings.
Mark signed a contract with Arizona last Wednesday and is now assigned to the D-Backs' rookie team in Scottsdale, where their summer season just started in the Arizona League that will run through early September.
The 2015 MLB Draft Day 2 created a bit of anxiousness in the Mark household Tyler related:
"I was slated in the top 200 draft prospects around 150 or 160 so I had an idea of where I would go in the draft.
"I wasn't thinking about it too much and trying to stay positive. I got a couple of texts from scouts asking me if my money value was the same. I told them that nothing had changed.
"I was watching the draft and rounds three and four passed. Then my advisor called and said the Marlins were going to take me in the fifth round. That didn't end up happening. The fifth round was over and there was a 10-minute intermission.
"At the start of the sixth round I started to get nervous thinking that I might slip. Then my advisor called and said the Cubs were going to take me in the seventh no matter what. That kind of calmed me down but I still can't believe it until it happens."
And then the Diamondbacks called. Their scout, Jeff Mousser, calmly asked me: "How do you feel about being an Arizona Diamondback?" I said: "I'd love that!" Then he told me he was taking me with the first pick of the sixth round.
"I just remember my heart dropping. I've pitched in front of 5,000 people but I've never felt like that before. It was like: "Wow!
"My mom took the day off. I told her I don't really know, I could go Day 3, we don't really know. But she took the day off and we were all there. It was pretty special."
Mark spoke of his baseball roots: "My dad coached me from T-ball to travel ball until I was about 12 years old and pretty much showed me the ropes. It was nice playing for my dad.
"He gave me a lot of advice. It's good to have your dad as a role model, showing you everything he knows and helping you out in the best way possible."
He also credited his development at Culver High under head coach Rick Prieto and pitching coach Ron Ozaki. "I loved playing for Coach Prieto. He definitely got me ready for college and pro ball, not just the baseball aspect of it but also the life aspect of it"
"Being on time. Being responsible. That has carried on to where I am with the Arizona Diamondbacks. I'm never late, always on time and try to be responsible. Because I remember if we were late at practice Coach Prieto would let us know. It really helped out.
"I felt like I got better every year mostly because of pitching coach Ron Ozaki. He talked to me a lot on and off the field. We still talk about baseball but also about life and school. He has been a huge help to me."
Mark studied and played the last three years at local universities. "I went to Cal State Dominquez Hills my freshman and sophomore years. I learned a lot and love the people there. I still keep in touch and the baseball was great. Unfortunately they had a coaching change and I wasn't comfortable staying.
"I decided to transfer to Concordia University in Irvine. I spent my junior year there and loved it, loved the people, loved the area and the coaching staff. They took me in like it was my freshman year and I really appreciated that.
"I started relieving right away. I spent the summer before going into my junior year as a closer in the Northwoods League in the Midwest. Coming to Concordia they liked me as a closer so they stuck me in that role and I was very comfortable with it."
Mark on his pitching: "The pitches I mostly rely on are a fastball and a slider. During my longer relief stints I would throw in a change-up just to give the hitters another look.
"I feel the reason for my success is that it's mental for me. It's about not over-thinking things, coming into big situations like with the bases loaded, taking it one pitch at a time and performing well.
"The scouts really liked the way I went after and constantly attacked hitters and that I didn't have much of a high walk ratio."
Mark wrapped it up: "I want to thank my family, friends and past teammates. I pretty much owe all of my success to them. Everyone has helped me out in a special way. There have been friends with me since elementary school. That's why leaving them in that last game at Culver was rough but life still goes on.
"I just finished my junior year at Concordia. Within the next couple of years I'm going to go back and complete my senior year at Concordia. It's definitely a goal of mine. I know my mom wants that so I have to do that for her.
"For my family it's big for me going to college, sticking with it and now playing pro ball. I remember telling my parents after my freshman year that this is what I want to do. They didn't judge me about it. They said: "I believe in you." They just stuck with me."