GRUNDY RETURNS FOR SENIOR SEASON
By Brent Ingram
A lot of factors went
into Kentucky left-handed pitcher Jerad Grundy’s decision to return for
his senior season after the Minnesota Twins selected him in the 26th
round of the 2012 MLB Draft.
The chance to get
closer to his college degree and a second season to prove himself in
the nation’s best conference as he moved up draft boards played a
factor in his decision.
But it was the opportunity
to return to a talent-laden Kentucky roster in 2013 that convinced
Grundy that he needed to spend the 2013 season completing his
“I have a lot of pride in playing
for the University of Kentucky,” Grundy said. “The comradererie that we
have as a team and all the talent coming back that we have this year
creates a tremendous opportunity. We have a lot of wins, a lot of
innings and a lot of hits coming back this year and that is huge in the
SEC. When I weighed all the options and I am looking at the team we are
going to have in 2013, it is hard to not want to be a part of that.”
6-foot-1, 200-pounder was picked for the third time in his career in
the MLB Draft after a strong 2012 season at UK, his first year in
Lexington. He opened his collegiate career in 2010 at Miami (Fla.) as
one of the more highly recruited high school prospects in the nation,
choosing the Hurricanes over the Wildcats.
serving as a midweek starter and middle reliever in Miami as a
freshman, Grundy transferred to Heartland Community College, where he
had a solid 12-start season with a 7-3 record and 70 strikeouts in 62
After being recruited to Kentucky for a
second time, Grundy had a tremendous season as the Saturday starter
during a historic 2012 campaign.
He made 16 starts
with a 6-3 record and a 3.78 ERA in his debut season for UK, tossing
85.2 innings, allowing 79 hits and 36 walks, striking out 63. The
Wildcats posted a 12-4 record overall when Grundy took the mound as the
Grundy’s already good numbers were even
more impressive without a four-start stretch in the middle of the year,
during which he was limited to shorter outings as he refined his
mechanics. Without that period, Grundy had a 6-2 record and a 2.41 ERA
in 12 starts.
He found his form when it mattered
the most, posting a 2.88 ERA over his final seven starts, including a
breakout pair of starts in the postseason.
picked up wins over No. 21 Mississippi State in the Southeastern
Conference Tournament and Valparaiso in an NCAA Tournament elimination
game, sporting a 1.50 ERA in the two-start span.
game started to really get better as the season went along,” Grundy
said. “Coming into the postseason, and even late in the year, we
weren’t playing as well as we needed too. When the team started to
slump like that, we need the older guys to step in and have the type of
outings I did in the postseason to try and break the ice a little bit
and get the team on a roll.”
After the 2012 season
and his selection by the Twins in the draft, Grundy ventured to the
prestigious Cape Cod League, where he was one of an NCAA-leading nine
UK players in either the CCBL or with the USA Collegiate National Team.
representation that we had in the summer in the Cape was huge for our
program,” Grundy said. “We had nine guys out there that were developing
their games against the nation’s premier competition.”
was good for the Orleans Firebirds in seven games and five starts,
owning a 1-2 record with a 4.45 ERA. He tossed 30.1 innings, walking
only nine and allowing 27 hits, striking out 32. Grundy had a
dominating start on June 24 against Wareham, tossing five one-hit
innings in a shutout win.
“For me, I had a lot of
fun,” Grundy said about the Cape. “It was great to work on some
specifics of my game and to not have quite the pressure of playing in
the SEC. It is a little more laid-back in summer ball and you have the
ability to sit back and make some adjustments and work on some things.”
as one of three senior leaders on the UK roster, along with former
Heartland CC teammate Zac Zellers and righty reliever Walter Wijas,
Grundy will be expected to shoulder part of the leadership load for the
preseason top-10 ranked Wildcats.
“Being a leader
on a staff that is so talented is humbling and is a real honor,” Grundy
said. “As a senior, I have a lot more college games under my belt then
the freshmen or the sophomores. I was an underclassman too so I know
what it is like to too look up to a senior and see how they lead the
team. That is why we are going to be so good this year. We have a lot
of seniors and juniors that have good heads on their shoulders and work
hard. They show the way to do it for the freshmen and sophomores. That
is going to be great for the program when the time will come for them
to be the upperclassmen on the staff.”