Recently, I had the pleasure of interviewing Athletics starter Daniel Mengden for Six Man Rotation. The amazingly-mustached RHP posted a 3.14 ERA in 43.0 innings, and is in the mix for their starting rotation next year. He was limited by injuries but finished strong in his 2017 campaign.

First off, how did you feel about your performance this last season, and what are your future goals?
Mengden: “This season didn’t go as planned. I came into spring training needing foot surgery, right before pitchers and catchers reported.. after being set back and having to miss the first month and half I came back for 2 starts and went straight back to the DL with a stress reaction in my ribs.. I missed almost 2/3 of the season due to injury and that’s never how you want a season to go. Luckily, I was able to get healthy for August in Nashville and September with the A’s.

My September couldn’t have gone too much better, I felt like I had really good command of all my pitches and was able to force early outs allowing my defense to play behind me. As a whole my season ended on a very high promising note for my confidence going into next season.”

Awesome. Speaking of finishing strong, did you have a start down the stretch that you particularly enjoyed or felt “in the zone” in?
Mengden: “I mean nothing really beats a complete game shutout, that’s by far the highest point of my baseball career, that was an unbelievable feeling, so in Philly.”

Do you have any pre-game rituals or superstitions before you pitch?
Mengden: “I mean, I wouldn’t say I’m crazy superstitious, only thing I really do is make sure my mustache is in tip top shape.”

On the topic of your mustache, the writers on Six Man Rotation and I were curious about how you keep it in such great condition. I’ve got to say, it’s really impressive.
Mengden: “Surprisingly the upkeep is pretty expensive with the mustache. I have to trim it a lot, use oil and conditioner for the longevity of the hair or whatever they say it helps…”

How does it feel to be compared to an Athletics legend, Rollie Fingers, and were there any players you aspired to be like?
Mengden: “Being compared to Rollie is awesome, he was one a the greats for the A’s. When I was growing up, I really looked up to Lance Berkman for who he was on and off the field. I always hoped I could grow up and have a career like his.”

What advice would you give to aspiring big league pitchers?
Mengden: “Answer is for all ages, honest opinion, school should be first priority. When I was growing up, my father wouldn’t let me go to practice unless my homework was finished. Once you have that taken care of [school] baseball takes a lot effort and hard work. Most players have played since they were little and wanted to be big leaguers since tee ball or at least that’s what I told my dad. You can’t slack off and you always have to make sure you preparing and working harder than the person next to you.”

Thanks again for answering. Best of luck to you and the A’s next year. My friends and I will be rooting for you.
Mengden: “Thank you very much!”

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