Orlando Razo is a 5”11 left-handed pitcher from the University of Cal-Davis who was drafted by the Seattle Mariners in the 2017 MLB Draft in the 16th round. Orlando currently is a starting pitcher for our beloved Everett AquaSox.
When Orlando was age 5, his parents Jose and Laura had an interesting conversation with him. They were discussing the importance of reading with Orlando when unexpectedly he blurts out “I hope you know that I’m not going to college.” Orlando’s mother asked him “and why is that?” Orlando’s response was “because I’m signing my major league contract right out of high school.” We were amazed how a five-year old would know anything about that as Laura told Seattle Sports Union in a recent conversation. We told him “that is not an option nor a goal we could support but certainly we would be okay with that after college.” Orlando responded, “well than I will play division one college baseball and then sign my contract with a major league club.” They told Orlando that they would support his goal. With that said, Orlando has been focused on baseball his entire life!
Seattle Sports Union recently sat down with Orlando Razo and talked about him and his career in baseball.
Seattle Sports Union: How are you? Before we get to the questions, got talk a little about your dancing. Nice job yesterday in the dance-off. Where did you learn to dance?
Razo: For many it naturally comes to them, I’m not one of those people lol. I let the music take control.
SSU: I heard you are a singer too, any truth to those rumors?
Razo: It was a last moment thing where a scrimmage we had was extended. I told them to let me sing the anthem. I figured it was not about the quality but the energy you put into it, and that was that lol.
SSU: When did you start playing baseball?
Razo: It was probably around the age where kids play tee-ball. I would always play catch with my Mom and Dad. I have always loved the game of baseball. It’s been a mainstay in my entire life. I was fortunate that I had wonderful parents who supported me and helped me achieve that. My older brother was my mentor and taught me everything I know. I have also always had great coaches who helped develop me into the pitcher that I am today.
SSU: Did you brother play ball?
Razo: He did play high school ball but unfortunately, he tore his labrum which cut his playing career short, but he’s doing fantastic and is and I’m truly thankful for all he’s done for me.
SSU: Have you always been a pitcher, or did you play any other positions growing up?
Razo: I have played other positions, but pitching has always been my passion. When I was growing up, I played outfield and 1b where lefthanders can play. I’ve always loved to pitch because it is competitive.
SSU: How many pitches do you throw?
Razo: I currently throw 3 pitches; a fastball, a curveball, and a changeup. I have been working on a slider but it’s still a work in progress. When I’m on the mound, my focus is mixing it up with my pitches by speed and by location. The better I maximize this, the better pitcher I will become.
SSU: Are you coaches supportive of you?
Razo: My coaches are very supportive. They make me feel comfortable when I ask for suggestions, they correct my mechanics when feel needed and they teach me how to pitch out of sequence. I’ve learned a lot and continue to learn daily. My coaches in Arizona were very supportive and helpful. They deserve the kudos as well.
SSU: We notice you are a man with lots of strikeouts to your resume. Does Orlando Razo have a strike out pitch?
Razo: It depends on the situation. I usually use my fastball or changeup, though I prefer my fastball. I’m not the “fast guy: but our goal is pitching to contact, so if we are fortunate to get them to strike out, great!
SSU: Do you mix up the speed with the pitches you throw, or do you throw as hard as you can?
Razo: My intent is to throw as hard as I can but sometimes it doesn’t go as I intend either lol. Just try to paint the corners, or if its up and away, generally you toss it as hard as you can. That is my intent anyway. Today during my bullpen session, my coach told me to act like you are throwing long toss on every pitch.
SSU: How was Cal-Davis?
Razo: It was awesome. I loved it so much. It is where I met many of my best friends. We had a good coaching staff. It was a fantastic college atmosphere and town. It will always have a piece of my heart. I was very fortunate.
SSU: It looks like you were drafted after your junior year? Did you get your degree?
Razo: It was my redshirt junior year. I was granted a 5th year of eligibility if I wanted to stay. I missed my junior year due to Tommy John surgery.
SSU: Can you tell us about that experience?
Razo: It was a terrible thing to happen and a tough road back to recovery. It was really “cliché” and I try not to use that word. I learned you just got to take it one day at a time. You got to trust that the surgery will work, and you got to believe in your medical doctors and staff to do their job. Last year was my first healthy year after the surgery and so far, so good.
SSU: Is there one memory you might have from college?
Razo: It’s just playing the game. In college and we have it here as well in Everett, every player is playing for each other. Being able to have your brother’s back is everything in this game. I played with many of my best friends in college. I was fortunate to play with 2 best friends growing up. The bus rides on the road trips were amazing. It’s all about the experience. This isn’t one memory, it’s a collection of experiences. Other than playing pitcher and always being a part of the game, the best part of baseball I love is playing for your team. There is something about the comradery.
SSU: Tell me about the day you were drafted?
Razo: I remember it was early morning. I remember day 2 of the draft had passed. I told myself whatever happens, happens. There will be no regrets. I remember I was in bed refreshing my computer and I them left my apartment to make breakfast. My friend told me the Mariners drafted me. I wasn’t sure what to think. It was a dream come true. I immediately thought about my family and how much they sacrificed for me. I had a big sense of pride. After about 5 minutes it sunk in and realized the real work was just beginning. I told myself that I will have to work twice as hard as I did in college. That was pretty much it.
SSU: Does Orlando Razo have a nickname?
Razo: To be honest I don’t really have a nickname. They usually don’t call me by my first name. They call me Razo or Raz, nothing too big. My family doesn’t call me by my nickname because we are all Razo. Funny story, my friend was over one time and he said hey Razo, and all my family turned to look at him.
SSU: You started out in Peoria?
Razo: Yes, I did. To be honest, I had lots of growing pains. It wasn’t my best summer. I came to spring training this year and worked on adjustments in my mechanics. I felt I came away with good command on all my pitches. It’s important to have that on any level you pitch, and you got to maintain a good attitude. Making good pitches will get you the outs. Playing here in Everett we have one of the best defenses in the league, so I know that I have no worries when I pitch to contact.
SSU: You started out in Clinton and then went to Modesto in 2018?
Razo: I started out in extended spring training and did a spot start in Clinton than in Modesto. Both teams have great coaches and teammates. I can’t say enough about them. Both my starts I gave them a chance to win the game. It’s all about simplifying your game and throwing strikes and bigger things will come.
SSU: Do you know what the Mariners plans are for you as a pitcher?
Razo: It doesn’t matter to me. Whatever they want I will do. Its all about keep on playing and working hard. I am in great hands and happy to be a part of this organization. It’s all about buying in to what they want me to be and trust in my control. I know I can do both.
SSU: What do you want to be doing 20 years from now once you’re playing career is over?
Razo: Believe it or not, I want to host my own radio show discuss sports and life.
SSU: A little birdie told me you were a huge fan of John Wooden. Would you care to elaborate or tell us a favorite quote perhaps?
Razo: I’m a huge fan of his and read his books. My favorite quote probably is “failing to prepare is preparing to fail” It’s all about preparation; preparation before the game, preparation during the middle game and what you do in between starts to prepare. It’s all about achieving success. There are no excuses about producing good results. You got to think about your control, attitude and effort and think about yourself.
SSU: We all know that Everett is your favorite city to play in and Everett Memorial is your favorite stadium. Do you have any other favorites?
Razo: Playing at the University of Hawaii was amazing. They have a 2-deck stadium that seats thousands of people. Ironically that was the stadium I first got hurt in. As I was walking off the field 1000s of fans were screaming at me. Last year I got redemption which was memorable.
SSU: What is your favorite baseball or sports movie of all time?
Razo: That’s a tough question because there are so many of them. I’d say Friday Night Lights or Major League. I loved them both and I probably can quote everything from both of those movies.
Thank you, Orlando Razo, for taking the time and sitting down with us. Best of luck to you and your teammates and your journey up the Mariners organization. We will always be huge fans!