Chasing The Dream: The Josh Conway Story and Interview
Josh Conway: Quick Stats
Height: 6′ 1″, Weight: 195 lb. Born: April 12, 1991 in Smithsburg, Maryland
Drafted: Chicago Cubs in the 4th round of the 2012 MLB June Amateur Draft
Favorite Player: Ken Griffey Jr.
Chasing The Dream: The Josh Conway Story
Over the last 5 years, 10 Coastal Carolina University baseball players have been drafted in the first 10 rounds of the draft. Among those is pitcher Josh Conway who was drafted in the 4th round by the Chicago Cubs. If it wasn’t for a mid-season injury, which resulted in Tommy John surgery, Conway could have been drafted much higher.
Conway was originally drafted by the Atlanta Braves in the 42nd round of the 2009 draft after starring on the diamond for Smithsburg High School in Maryland. At Smithsburg, Conway starred as a two sport athlete, both on the baseball diamond and the football field. During his Senior campaign Conway was 4-0 with a 0.98 ERA and accumulated 52 strike outs. He also put up some impressive numbers at the plate batting .500 with five home runs and 29 RBI’s. Conway opted for a scholarship at Coastal Carolina University instead of starting a pro career with the Atlanta Braves.
As a freshman at Coastal, Conway immediately began making an impact. He appeared in 19 games, including five starts and finished 2-0 with a 3.30 ERA in 46 1/3 innings. Building off a solid freshman season Conway was slowly thrusted into a bigger role with the Chanticleers in 2011. Conway started 12 games (20 appearances) and finished with an impressive 8-2 record. Over the course of 77 innings Conway struck out 70 hitters and finished the season with a 2.69 ERA. After the season had ended Conway continued to have success in the Cape Cod League. In his 6 appearances for the Bourne Braves, Conway dominated opponents to a tune of a 2-0 record and a 1.88 ERA. In the 28 2/3 innings he pitched he struck out 28 hitters while only walking 10.
After a successful 2011 season Conway was named preseason Big South Pitcher of the Year entering 2012. As the season began Conway’s name started to inch of draft boards and the games biggest draft prognosticators had Conway going anywhere from the supplemental first round to the second round. In his first seven starts of the season the right hander posted a 4-1 record that is when things went south for Conway. During his scheduled start on April 26th against Liberty University, Conway lasted four innings and allowed three runs. The following day an MRI revealed a complete tear of the ulnar ligament in his throwing elbow. The tear finished Conway’s career with the Chanticleers. Over the course of his three seasons on the team Conway was 14-3 with a 2.68 ERA.
The 2012 draft was just a little over a month away when the injury occurred. Conway knew he would not be able to throw a baseball for months and was unsure what might happen come draft time. Despite the injury and knowing he would not pitch in meaningful action for at least a year the Chicago Cubs did not let Conway fall much further than where the pre injury projections had him. The Cubs drafted Conway early in the 4th round of the draft. With a new management team taking over in Chicago one thing was clear. The Cubs draft strategy in 2012 was to go with upside and potential. Conway fit the mold and could be a diamond in the rough for the Cubs once he gets back on the mound and fully recovers from his injury.
As the year 2013 approaches Conway is already working hard on his recovery and hopes to make his professional debut in the upcoming season. Fellow Coastal Carolina alumni Cody Wheeler also suffered this same injury shortly into his professional career. Last season Wheeler made his comeback in the Arizona organization and finished the season 3-0 with a 1.87 including 11 starts on the mound. Lets hope that as Conway starts chasing his dream as a professional to the major leagues he has the same success in his return to the mound.
We will be following Josh Conway all season long here and on twitter. Please follow Josh @JoshConway16 and give us a follow at @CTD_Sypien for all the updates on Josh’s progress and the progress of others we have featured on the site heading into 2013.
Seven Questions with Josh Conway
Tell us a little bit about yourself? What do you throw, what are your strengths and weaknesses?
My name is Josh Conway, from Smithsburg MD. I attended Coastal Carolina University as a RHP. I throw a Fastball, Cutter, Slider and Change Up. I’d say my strengths are being an athletic pitcher, it has helped me throughout years because if something is off, whether it is mechanical or just a physical error, my body has allowed me to fix the problem quickly, which hopefully brings me success throughout the games. I’d also say I am mentally strong, I don’t feel the need to get too high or too low. I like to stay relax throughout the game, it helps me stay locked in and able to have fun with what I’m doing. As far as weaknesses, there are some things I always need to work on the stay sharp, whether its simple things such as footwork, PFPs, controlling the running game or as stated before the working on the mental game. I know there is always a continuous effort to get better at ever aspect of pitching.
Back in 2009 you were selected in the draft by the Atlanta Braves. What was that experience like and did you ever consider signing and starting your professional career then?
In 2009 I was taken in by the Atlanta Braves as an outfielder. the experience was pretty cool, I was actually at “senior week” with my high school friends, celebrating the end of high school, so I had to come off the beach to take the call, it was pretty sweet. There is always the hope to sign, but at that time I knew I was 18 and wasn’t ready for that level. I needed to go to school and develop as a player and decide whether I was going to play a position or pitch.
When I visited Coastal Carolina I absolutely fell in love. The coaching staff is first class and they treat you with great respect. I knew they had a great track record for the game and knew it was a great place geographically to play.
You know every year the draft guys come back to work out with us and prepare for their next step, and everyone is so helpful year in and year out. I’ve been able to discuss things with former pitchers and collect advice over the years that has help me grow as a pitcher and those guys even look to some of the college for advice as well. A brotherhood has been developed at Coastal and it will never change.
What was it like to be a part of this years team which just won its 6th straight Big South Championship? Do you have a memorable moment from the season?
This season was a little different from past. A lot of young guys but everyone embraced their role and ran with it. It was tough sitting out those last couple weeks but you know the guys still treated me as if I was out there playing . I just tried to provide positive encouragement and be the best teammate I possibly could be. To win 6 straight was sweet, and I know those guys will continue to grow and do what they can to keep the streak alive.
Unfortunately I torn my UCL and underwent Tommy John Surgery on May 15, 2012. It just kind of happened and it sucked but i had a lot of people gather around me with support and it has made the process so much easier. I am currently a little over 6 weeks and my arm feels great. Dr Andrews did a wonderful job and everyone who has helped with the rehab has been great as well. I am currently in Arizona, rehabbing with the Cubs and couldn’t be happier with the progress.
Throughout the season I talked to them, but no more than any other team. On draft day my advisor texted me and said he has been in contact with some clubs and to pay attention and then he called and congratulated me and there it was. It was a great release, you know especially with all this arm stuff going on, to be so fortunate that the Cubs still had faith in me after the surgery to take me in the draft was awesome. The experience itself was wonderful, all the hard work has paid off, but it certainly doesn’t stop. I have a lot more work to reach the ultimate goal, which is to play in the major leagues.
After I got off the phone with my advisor, the South Carolina area scout Keith Lockhart called and congratulated me and just told me they are confident that I will recover from my injury and they have trust in me to get back and be better and continue my career.
A Few For Fun
I guess my favorite team is the Red Sox, but being from Maryland I like the Os too, and now obviously the Cubs! Being around baseball all my life, I really just love the game and enjoy watching any game. Believe it or not, I didn’t really have a favorite player growing up, if I had pick, I’d say Griffey Jr was the man when I was young, he made the game exciting.
No one favorite artist, listen to basically whatever comes on Pandora radio.
Well my TV is always on ESPN, but after Sportcenter has cycled through about 3 times, ill flip it to The Office, Family Guy or something. Actually on draft day,I flipped it to Tom and Jerry, it kept me relaxed and my mind off the things to come.