|by David Hood|
Gossett, one of 21 semifinalists for the Golden Spikes Award and a First-Team All-ACC starting pitcher, had a 7-2 record, 1.93 ERA, .202 opponents' batting average and 107 strikeouts against only 30 walks in 107.1 innings pitched over 15 starts in 2014. The team co-captain's 107 strikeouts were the most by a Tiger since 1996 (Kris Benson).
Sporting an Oakland A’s hat and a big smile, Gossett told the media Friday at Doug Kingsmore Stadium that he had a pretty good idea the A’s were going to call his name.
“I actually got a call, and they were just asking me, hey, if we take you here, will you sign for this? I said, yeah, man, that’s fantastic,” Gossett said. “But you always hear about, you get the call and you’ve still got to wait. It’s not sealed down until you actually see your name pop up. To see my name pop up was everything, an unreal experience. I don’t even know how to describe it. I couldn’t even start to.
“I went home, I had to spend it with my parents. I was thinking about staying here, but I’ve kind of got my room packed up a little bit, and I knew my dad was going to pound me with some guilt if I didn’t go home, so I hung out with them for the night. Lot of screaming, a little bit of crying, a little bit of hugging, phone calls. It was an unreal experience.”
In 282.2 innings pitched over 50 appearances (41 starts) in his three years at Clemson, he has a 23-9 record, two saves, three shutouts and a 2.80 ERA while allowing 218 hits (.211 opponents' batting average) and 107 walks with 285 strikeouts. He is seventh in Tiger history in strikeouts, ninth in innings pitched, tied for ninth in shutouts, 10th in strikeouts per nine innings pitched (9.07), 10th in hits per nine innings pitched (6.94) and tied for 10th in wins.
The Athletics have a rich tradition of developing young pitching talent, and Gossett said he couldn’t have picked a better spot to land.
“You know, definitely all the cards are falling in the right spot,” he said. “If I had to pick an ideal situation, this is definitely one of them. I’m just blessed and honored to have a chance to play for that kind of organization. They’ve put out some really good arms over the last 10 years. The opportunity to train with their coaches, train with their people, and the opportunity to become one of the better pitchers to come through that organization and better myself as a pitcher, it’s a fantastic opportunity. I’m humbled by the arms they throw out, it’s ridiculous. I’m excited to be a part and hopefully it’ll help me in the long run.”
He smiled when he was reminded that he might be pitching for a professional team at some point next week, but said that he has no idea what the A’s are thinking or when and if he will sign.
“I have no idea. Everything happened really late last night, and everything was happening so fast, so he said he’d call me (today) to have everything settled out, talk a little more,” he said. “So we’ll have to figure everything out.”
He was asked what it would take for him to sign, and he said it would only take what he considers to be a fair offer.
“Everything’s just going to line up, and the situation’s going to have to be fair,” Gossett said. “For a time I get to be selfish and think of me. So that’s what I’m going to have to do. We’ll just see what happens. But the dream is to be on the big stage. You want to be in the majors. So as of right now, this is step one. This is the starting line of my dream. Now I’ve got that opportunity to chase my dream. So I’m more than happy, I’m blessed, I’m honored, and this is fantastic.”
Gossett said the second round pick caught him by surprise.
“I had been hearing a bunch of third round stuff, and then, I get a phone call saying hey, we’re thinking about taking you here, would you do this? I’m like, well, yeah, of course,” he said. “Then I see my name pop up and it’s an unreal surge of emotion. To know that’s my dream to be in a major league organization and that could potentially happen now, it’s unreal. I can’t really describe it. I think it can only be described by people that have been through it, and I guess I haven’t been through the whole process enough because I have no clue how to tell you about it.”
However, Gossett said he wouldn’t rule out – at least not completely – returning to Clemson for his senior season.
“Yeah, well, you never know. If everything works out, then we’ll find out then,” he said. “But there’s always that chance.”
David Hood can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org