Meet the Grand Junction pitchers

Alex Balog

Position: P

School: University of San Francisco

Hometown: Saratoga, Calif.

Drafted: 2013, 2nd round (Comp B)

Height, Weight: 6-6, 225

Bats/Throws: R/R

Walk-up song: “That’s the Only Way I Know” (Jason Aldean)

Best baseball memory: Getting drafted

Greatest baseball accomplishment: Being drafted in the second round

Goals for this season: Get better each day

Favorite player growing up: Greg Maddux. Great pitcher, understood the game and how to control it.

Who has influenced you most? My dad. He’s taught me the most, having played at San Diego State University, and pushed me the most.

Favorite pregame meal: Sandwich

Favorite food: Steak

Off-field hobbies: Fishing, golf, reading

John 
Beck

Position: P

School: University of Texas at Arlington

Hometown: Belton, Texas

Drafted: 2013, 15th round

Height, Weight: 6-2, 195

Bats/Throws: R/R

Walk-up song: “Working Man” (Rush)

Best baseball memory: Winning the national championship in the summer of 2012

Greatest baseball accomplishment: Being drafted

Goals for this season: To become more mature as a ballplayer

Favorite player growing up: Nolan Ryan, because he was a dog on the mound.

Who has influenced you most? My grandfather, because he always pushed me to be the best I could be.

Favorite pregame meal: Chipotle

Favorite food: Steak and chicken

Off-field hobbies: Fishing, hunting

Scott Firth

Position: P

School: Clemson

Hometown: Buffalo Grove, Ill.

Drafted: 2013, 19th round

Height, Weight: 6-0, 170

Bats/Throws: R/R

Walk-up song: “Homecoming” (Kanye West)

Best baseball memory: Playing in the College World Series

Favorite player growing up: Greg Maddux; He was competitive, mentally tough, and dominated without overpowering stuff.

Who has influenced you most? My dad, Bruce. He taught me how to play hard and play the right way.

Favorite pregame meal: Jimmy John’s sandwich

Favorite food: Italian beef sandwiches or deep dish pizza

Off-field hobbies: Enjoying the outdoors, finding new music

Jon 
Gray

Position: P

Jersey number: 28

School: Oklahoma

Hometown: Chandler, Okla.

Drafted: 2013, 1st round

Height, Weight: 6-4, 239

Bats/Throws: R/R

Walk-up song: “Candy and Dreams” (Yelawolf)

Favorite player growing up: Nolan Ryan

Favorite pregame meal: Chicken Parmesan

Favorite food: Seafood/shrimp

Off-field hobbies: Hunting, fishing, trying to get good at golf

Zach Jemiola

Nickname: Jemi-brola, Jimbo

Position: P

Jersey number: 27

School: Great Oak (Calif.) HS

Hometown: Temecula, Calif.

Drafted: 2012, 9th round

Height, Weight: 6-3, 200

Bats/Throws: L/R

Walk-up song: “California Dreaming” (Kid Ink)

Best baseball memory: The first home run I ever hit.

Greatest baseball accomplishment: Getting drafted by the Colorado Rockies

Goals for this season: To have an era under 3.00.

Favorite player growing up: Darin Erstad. He played hard and never gave up

Who has influenced you most? My dad. He always pushed me to do my best no matter what the situation was.

Favorite pregame meal: Egg, cheese and bacon sandwich

Favorite food: California burrito or sushi

Off-field hobbies: Golf or go to the beach

 

Jordan Mejia

Position: P

Nickname: Jordy

Jersey number: 24

School: Long Beach State/Riverside City College

Hometown: Riverside, Calif.

Drafted: 2012, 22nd round

Height, Weight: 6-2, 190

Bats/Throws: L/R

Walk-up song: “Cruise” (Florida Georgia Line)

Best baseball memory: Getting my first professional win last year here in Grand Junction.

Greatest baseball accomplishment: Throwing a complete game 2-hitter in regionals to move my team on.

Goals for this season: Establish dominant role as a reliever and get to the championship game!

Favorite player growing up: Ken Griffey Jr. He had a natural swing and I liked the way he played the game.

Who has influenced you most? My family, of course. I grew up in a sports-oriented family and they always supported me no matter what.

Favorite pregame meal: Turkey sandwich with pepper jack cheese

Favorite food: Pepperoni pizza with ranch

Off-field hobbies: Fishing, spending time with family and friends, listening to music

Manuel Montilla

Position: P

Jersey number: 19

School: Dominican Summer League

Hometown: Santo Domingo, D.R.

Drafted: Free agent, 2009

Height, Weight: 6-4, 205

Bats/Throws: R/R

Walk-up song: “How We Do” (The Game)

Best baseball memory: Pitching seven shutout innings in a high school tournament in Miami.

Greatest baseball accomplishment: Making it to the USA to play baseball. This has been my goal since I was a young kid.

Goals for this season: Be GJ’s best pitcher, help my friends and teammates, have an ERA below 2.00, work hard every day.

Favorite player growing up: Max Scherzer.

Who has influenced you most? My Dominican coaches.

Favorite pregame meal: Grapes, pears, yogurt

Favorite food: Rice and corn, fried chicken, green salad

Off-field hobbies: Shop at the mall, spend time with family, go to the beach

Jacob Newberry

Position: P

Jersey number: 30

School: High Point (N.C.) University

Hometown: Eagle Lake, Fla.

Drafted: 2013, 18th round

Height, Weight: 6-2, 220

Bats/Throws: R/R

Walk-up song: “Muckalee Creek Water” (Luke Bryan)

Best baseball memory: Winning Dixie boys World Series.

Greatest baseball accomplishment: Being drafted to the Rockies.

Goals for this season: Help my team win in any way that I can.

Favorite player growing up: Chipper Jones. I always loved how he played and he was one of the best to play the game.

Who has influenced you most? Bill Bullock. He is the one that got me to focus most on baseball and to believe I can play pro ball.

Favorite pregame meal: Don’t have one

Favorite food: Chicken wings

Off-field hobbies: Fishing

Daniel 
Palo

Nickname: Palo

Position: P

Jersey number: 29

School: Middle Tennessee State

Hometown: Germantown, Tenn.

Drafted: 2013, 27th round

Height, Weight: 6-4, 240

Bats/Throws: R/R

Walk-up song: “Creatures” (311)

Best baseball memory: Getting to throw bullpens with Matt Cain.

Greatest baseball accomplishment: Bring drafted out of high school and again in college.

Goals for this season: Pitch to the best of my abilities and keep the ball down.

Favorite player growing up: I was a Royals fan, so Mike Sweeney was always my idol. Once I got older, Matt Cain became someone I watched a lot.

Who has influenced you most? My brother. He is a motivating person and always pushes me to my goals.

Favorite pregame meal: Grilled chicken with pasta or rice

Favorite food: Mexican, sushi, or really anything

Off-field hobbies: Fishing, video games, golf

Joel Payamps

Position: P

Jersey number: 37

School: Dominican Summer League

Hometown: Santiago, D.R.

Drafted: Free agent, 2010

Height, Weight: 6-2, 175

Bats/Throws: R/R

Walk-up song: “El Escudo de Dios” (Omega el Fuerte)

Best baseball memory: I threw a 
no-hitter as a 13-year-old against a team of 15 & 16-year-olds.

Greatest baseball accomplishment: Signing my contract

Goals for this season: Have an ERA below 2.50.

Favorite player growing up: Justin Verlander. I love the way he pitches.

Who has influenced you most? My family.

Favorite pregame meal: Hamburger (Burger King)

Favorite food: Rice, beans and chicken

Off-field hobbies: Chat with friends, music

Helmis Rodriguez

Position: P

Jersey number: 33

School: Dominican Summer League

Hometown: Coloncito, Venezuela

Drafted: 2010, free agent

Height, Weight: 5-11, 160

Bats/Throws: L/L

Walk-up song: “Conteo” (Don Omar)

Best baseball memory: I pitched a no-hitter through 8 1/3 innings.

Greatest baseball accomplishment: Signing with the Rockies.

Goals for this season: Throw to be the best and to offer an opportunity to win for my team.

Favorite player growing up: Johan Santana, because of his humility and how he competed

Who has influenced you most? My two parents for their efforts in bringing me to achieve my goals in baseball.

Favorite pregame meal: Arepa with meat and cheese

Favorite food: Arepa

Off-field hobbies: Talk with the family in Venezuela and the United States and practice my English

Blake Shouse

Position: P

Jersey number: 11

School: Middle Georgia College

Hometown: Macon, Ga.

Drafted: 2013, 5th round

Height, Weight: 6-2, 185

Bats/Throws: R/R

Best baseball memory: Throwing a no-hitter in high school against Veterans High School.

Greatest baseball accomplishment: Getting drafted by the Colorado Rockies.

Goals for this season: Learn as much as I can. Help contribute to the team.

Favorite player growing up: Derek Jeter, because he is a great leader and respects the game.

Who has influenced you most? I would have to say my dad. He has pushed me to get better ever since I started playing T-ball.

Favorite pregame meal: none

Favorite food: Wendy’s Baconator

Off-field hobbies: Fishing, hunting, video games

Dylan Stamey

Position: P

Jersey number: 26

School: University of South Alabama

Hometown: Theodore, Ala.

Drafted: 2013, 14th round

Height, Weight: 6-2, 185

Bats/Throws: R/R

Walk-up song: “You’re Going Down” (Sick Puppies)

Best baseball memory: The bottom of the dog pile after winning a summer league World Series.

Greatest baseball accomplishment: Earning a spot on the field at South Alabama (that) I grew up watching guys play on all my childhood.

Goals for this season: Get stronger, learn from older guys and adjust to the new environment, develop better off-speed (pitch) and have more confidence with it.

Favorite player growing up: Jose Reyes, I just loved to watch him play.

Who has influenced you most? My mother, because she has gone above and beyond to help me enjoy my moments in baseball.

Favorite pregame meal: Subway

Favorite food: Chicken Parmesan

Off-field hobbies: Video games, golf

Billy Waltrip

Position: P

Jersey number: 21

School: University of Oklahoma

Hometown: Braggs, Okla.

Drafted: 2013, 12th round

Height, Weight: 6-1, 215

Bats/Throws: L/L

Walk-up song: “Prelude” (AFI)

Greatest baseball accomplishment: Having the chance to get drafted by the Colorado Rockies.

Goals for this season: To get better and keep progressing.

Favorite player growing up: Clayton Kershaw.

Who has influenced you most? My dad, because he has always been around the game and never let me give up.

Favorite pregame meal: Any type of pasta

Favorite food: Seafood

Off-field hobbies: Fishing, golf and hanging with friends

Carlos 
Yan

Position: P

Jersey number: 31

School: Dominican Summer League

Hometown: San Cristobal, D.R.

Drafted: 2011, free agent

Height, Weight: 6-5, 195

Bats/Throws: R/R

Walk-up song: “Pour it Up” (Rhianna)

Greatest baseball accomplishment: The first time I signed I felt very proud of myself because I knew that I had the potential to be a Rockie.

Goals for this season: My goal is to compete and play for the team and to keep working hard so that I can reach my ultimate goal, which is the major leagues. I not only want to get there, but maintain myself.

Favorite player growing up: Juan Nicasio, because when I was growing up I watched him compete and he never gave up.

Who has influenced you most? My mom, because she has always supported me and she is my inspiration. It is because of her I am playing baseball.

Favorite pregame meal: Fruit

Favorite food: Rice, beans and meat

Off-field hobbies: Run, dance and fish


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