Welcome everyone back to another Project Farm System interview here on 365SportsNetwork. Today we Colorado Rockies pitcher Dakota Behr with us. Before being apart of the Colorado Rockies organization Behr played baseball with Colorado Mesa University where he succeeded with the team. During his time with Colorado Mesa Mavericks, Behr was apart of two championship winning team’s in 2013 and in 2014 where Colorado Mesa won the RMAC Championship in 2013 and the RMAC and NCAA South Central Region Championships in 2014.
Behr’s contributions to solid performances in college ultimately landed him a deal with the Colorado Rockies in 2015. Hope you enjoy the interview with Colorado Rockies pitcher Dakota Behr.
Justin Kish: Thank you so much for joining us Dakota, how are things going for you today?
Dakota Behr: Things are going pretty well, can’t complain when you get to throw a ball for a living.
Justin Kish: In these interviews I love for the players to take us back to where it all started, how was baseball first brought to your attention?
Dakota Behr: That’s hard to answer. I grew up at the ball park. It has kind of been a part of my life since I was born. My earliest memories are of myself learning to play.
Justin Kish: You grew up in West Covina, California, what team was your favorite growing up and who is your baseball idol and why?
Dakota Behr: My favorite team was the Angels. I loved going to their games and picturing myself in their shoes. My favorite player has always been Pete Rose. Although I never got to see him play in person, I’ve seen many games on ESPN Classic and I heard all the stories about him. I tried to emulate how hard he played in everything I did. I wanted to be the new Charlie Hustle.
Justin Kish: You attended High School at South Hills High School, tell us about your time playing with South Hills?
Dakota Behr: I had a great time playing at South Hills. I pitched and played outfield during my high school career. We were fortunate enough go to two consecutive championships, losing the first and winning the second.
Justin Kish: During your time at South Hills you won multiple awards like San Gabriel Valley Athlete of the Year and Two-Time All-San Antonio League selection. What is like earning awards like that?
Dakota Behr: It feels great to receive recognition for the hard work I put it. It also motivates me to work even harder to prove that I deserve the awards and recognition I’ve received.
Justin Kish: Tell us about your last time on the mound with South Hills?
Dakota Behr: My last time on the mound at South Hills ended in a bit of a disappointment. We had a good enough team to make it to our third consecutive championship, but we came up short in the quarter finals. I pitched 6 innings and we were ahead when I was pulled out. Our defense ended up giving up the lead in the last inning and we couldn’t recover. But I did hit a home run in my last at bat, so I guess that’s a positive.
Justin Kish: Following high school came college, tell us about your college recruitment and why did you decide on Colorado Mesa University?
Dakota Behr: I really didn’t get much interest from big colleges. I had a few smaller offers from here and there, but I never received the offer I thought I was worth. I took a trip to CMU, at that time it was Mesa State, and I just fell in love with the area. The scholarship I received was smaller than a lot of other options, but the people and the city of Grand Junction just felt like a perfect fit.
Justin Kish: What was your transition like from high school baseball to college baseball?
Dakota Behr: In high school I was a three sport athlete, so it was weird for me to go from one sport to another every season to focusing on just one sport all year. And not only that, I became solely a pitcher. So I didn’t even have to focus on offense, just defense. The workouts were more specific and tailored to a pitcher, but to be honest they were much easier than what I was doing in high school.
Justin Kish: Tell us about your time with Colorado Mesa University?
Dakota Behr: I had an amazing time at CMU. The team was like a big family. We lived, played and partied together. I made friendships and connections that will last for the rest of my life. That chemistry took us all the way to the national title game in Cary, NC my junior year. Unfortunately we finished as runners up, but it was the farthest any sport in our school had ever gone. All in all, I ended up earning my bachelors degree and that’s what it was all about.
Justin Kish: How did the coaching staff at CSU help improve yourself as player?
Dakota Behr: The coaching staff please pushed me to not only be the best pitcher I could be, but also the best person I could be. They really stressed excellence on the field and in the classroom. They also brought in very talented players every year that made everyone work to earn and keep their job.
Justin Kish: During your time in college did you add any new pitches to your repertoire?
Dakota Behr: Ya actually, I taught myself how to throw what the guys at Mesa called, “The Behr Claw”. It is a palm ball that nobody I’ve ever heard of throws. It took me years to throw well, but it can be a pretty devastating pitch. I ended up teaching it to a few guys that still use it at Mesa.
Justin Kish: What pitches are currently in your pitching repertoire?
Dakota Behr: I pretty much stick to two pitches, fastball and curveball. I have been developing a change-up, but it still needs work. I also have a cutter and of course The Behr Claw.
Justin Kish: You currently find yourself with the Colorado Rockies, tell us about how you landed with the Colorado Rockies?
Dakota Behr: Well, I did not get drafted my junior or my senior year despite quite a bit of interest from various scouts. I figured my career was over until a few days after the draft when I received a call from my coach at CMU. He asked if I still wanted to play ball and I said of course. He told me the Rockies had a spot left and I would be getting a call. About an hour after that I received the call I was hoping for. As a senior sign I didn’t receive any signing bonus, but I was just excited for the opportunity to keep my career alive.
Justin Kish: How were you first notified of your first minor league assignment?
Dakota Behr: During the course of the phone call in which I was hired, I was informed that I would be playing for the Grand Junction Rockies. This was awesome news. I was already living there, because of school and playing for the same city I’ve been in for five years made my transition to the pros that much easier.
Justin Kish: You are currently with the Grand Junction Rockies like last year, tell us about your first year with Grand Junction?
Dakota Behr: Playing in Junction was an awesome experience. The people in that city love their baseball and after playing for CMU the city responded in an unbelievable way to seeing me play at the next level. It was as if I was playing for my home town. The transition to professional baseball was a bit of shock. The work load and the amount of time you put in at the field was unbelievable. It took me a while to adjust, but the support I received made it a little easier for me.
Justin Kish: How are you getting ready for the upcoming season?
Dakota Behr: I hurt my shoulder the first week of spring training, so I have been spending every day in extended spring training trying to recover from that. I’m finally getting back to the point where I can throw a ball with some velocity. My goal it to be healthy by the time the short season comes around then hopefully move up from there.
Justin Kish: Before we let you go I want to ask you, if you could compare yourself to any current MLB pitcher, who would you compare yourself to and why?
Dakota Behr: I’m not sure who I would compare myself to. I’ve heard that I kind of throw like Sergio Romo of the Giants. I throw from a three quarter slot and I don’t throw extremely hard. But I have a lot of movement on my ball and a good curveball. Also we both went to CMU so that’s pretty cool.
Justin Kish: Lastly, is there any advice you can give to any aspiring high school and college baseball players wanting to play at the next level?
Dakota Behr: I would say, listen to your coaches and your teammates even if what they are saying seems crazy or even dumb at the time. They are smart and wouldn’t be where they are if they didn’t know something about the game. Also you’ve got to push yourself, but never forget that this is a game and it is supposed to be fun so enjoy every minute of it.