(Photo Credit: David Herold)
Bryan Woo is a pitcher from California who was drafted in 2021 by the Mariners in the 6th round. 2022 is his first professional season and he’s been on fire, starting in Rookie ball and now currently lighting up Funko Field with his talents after hitting Modesto on the way. He was recently gracious enough to chat with Seattle Sports Union and share some insight into his early career.
SSU: So where are you from?
BW: From Alameda, California bay area, little town right near Oakland.
SSU: How old were you when you started playing baseball?
BW: Oh, young age, probably five or six, maybe little league tee-ball, something like that.
SSU: Were you always a pitcher?
BW: No, I actually didn’t really pitch too much. I mean, I pitched my fair share in little league and whatnot, but I was always an infielder. Up until my junior year of high school, our team just didn’t have many pitchers and I told him I could throw a couple innings here and there. Ended up kind of developing a lot, lot faster than I thought it would.
SSU: So, you went to Cal Poly?
BW: Yep! San Luis Obispo. Spent kind of a short time there. I played my freshman year, sophomore year was COVID and then missed the second half of the year from the injury. But I loved my time there, loved all the guys, loved all the coaches, and yeah, couldn’t say enough.
SSU: You had Tommy John Surgery?
BW: Yeah, so I had TJ end of April in 2021. So I got hurt basically halfway through college, so I missed the whole second half of it. So yeah, unfortunate, but you know everything works out the way its supposed to, and I’m happy the way it did.
SSU: Do you have a favorite baseball moment from your college or high school career?
BW: Yeah, probably. High school, my senior year we won our section tournament, which is as big as it gets for our area high school. So that’s pretty cool to do that. We had a super cool tight knit group of guys my senior year, a lot of older guys, so that was a lot of fun. But yeah, I would also say all my college games were pretty fun. It’s all your best friends, 35 of your best friends, all playing together. So it’s hard not to have a good time!
SSU: Where were you on draft day? We know you were taken in the 6th round.
BW: Yeah, draft day was a little weird and a little different. Obviously last year was the first year that it got pushed back a little bit. So I actually was in Hawaii. At the time I was on a planned vacation already. I got a good buddy from college that I played ball with that lives in Hawaii.
So he was kind enough to let me stay at his house and kind of hung out there. I had my family there. So yeah, in Hawaii for draft there, it started at like, 1 o’clock Eastern. So it was like five o’clock or six o’clock AM Hawaii time.
So I was up really early getting calls and talking to my agent and whatnot. But yeah, just happy the way it turned out.
SSU: Did you know the Mariners were interested in you?
BW: No. I mean, I talked to the Mariners, I think maybe one time with like the local scout. Early before the year even started, but never talked to them up after that or up until draft day.
And then, when my agent gave me the call and said the Mariners wanted to take me, I was kind of shocked, not gonna lie. Wasn’t really expecting to hear from them, but I mean, yeah, like I said, I loved it.
SSU: This is your first professional season, yes? Tell us how it’s been going so far.
BW: It’s been great! I mean I think I’ve been kind of just trying to take it day by day. Learn as much as I can, trying to just soak up all the information that I can, a lot of great resources here. Older guys, all the staff all the pitching coaches and the coordinators. So I’m kind of just trying to be a sponge and learn as much as I can. Get a little bit better every day and just kind of take it slow. I mean, it’s worked out great results wise so far. But more kind of just process based right now.
SSU: Do they have you on an innings limit this year?
BW: Yeah, the first couple months of the year I was kind of slowly building up my pitch count for all the games I was throwing. So, every outing I would throw a little bit more coming off the rehab. But I’ve gotten to a point now I think where I’ve gotten through the rehab phase. I think we have a pretty general pitch count of not getting too crazy.
SSU: 37Ks and like 6 walks…that’s some great control there. Have you always had that success?
BW: I mean, not always. I think, like I said, I try to get a little bit better every day and work on little things and kind of always tweaking things and working on little stuff.
I think as I’ve gotten older, the command has gotten a little better and the command with my secondary pitches as well. So definitely not always like that. But yeah, like I said, just trying to get a little bit better every day.
SSU: What’s your favorite pitch right now?
BW: My fastball’s always been my go-to. It’s what’s I’ve always had through high school and college, but honestly the changeup is coming along really well right now.
It’s not where I want it to be yet, but I really like what I see out of it. I think it can be a really good weapon for me.
SSU: How many pitches do you have right now?
BW: Fastball, Slider and the change up. So it’s a 3 pitch mix, working on them as much as I can.
SSU: When you retire from the game 20 years from now, what do you see yourself doing?
BW: Geez….I don’t know, that’s a long time from now, haha. I guess help grow the game best I can. If I have kids, help them out and teach them things about the game. But hopefully still be around the game somehow at that point.
SSU: Who would play Bryan Woo in the movie about you?
BW: Adam Sandler. I’ve watched him my whole life and I love what he does with his movies.
SSU: What’s your favorite Sports movie?
BW: Can I choose two? I can choose between serious and funny ones.
SSU: Ok, top serious and top funny movies.
BW: For fun, I have to go with Dodgeball! For more serious I’d either go with Rookie of the year or Bull Durham. I feel like rookie of the year is older but obviously Bull Durham is a classic.